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Kat and Kevin Yares
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That Old Tyme Music
If you like old time mountain music and think you haven't the talent to play an instrument - think again. I used to believe the same thing, that is, until I bought my new to me homemade Appalachian mountain dulcimer.
I've always wanted one, but could never justify the three to six hundred dollars or more to buy one, since I truly believed I have a tin ear, no talent and would never be able to play anything recognizable on the ancient little lap instrument. I got lucky with this flea market find and purchased it for mere pennies compared to those I have seen in music stores and online.
I've had it now three weeks and in that time, I've taught myself how to play three full songs and a smattering of others. If I can do this, trust me, anyone can. Start with children's songs…they are the easiest. The key for me has been to learn songs that I know what they are supposed to sound like…that really helps.
I started with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (hey, at least the grandkids should like it) and moved forward to Amazing Grace and Michael Row the Boat Ashore and am now songs like House of the Rising Sun, Man of Constant Sorrow and I'll Fly Away.
The coolest part of learning this is all the help you can find online. Several groups are totally dedicated to the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer, including Everything Dulcimer and Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. There are more, many, many, more but I've found these two to be the most helpful.
Bottom line, if you ever wanted to make music, music you are proud to play, see if you can find a mountain dulcimer.
Get online, find a few tabbed music sheets and I promise within a week you will be playing an easily identifiable song on a stringed instrument.
There is also something soothing about playing the dulcimer. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's as the whole world is calm as I listen to the music coming from my lap.
Places to Check Out
Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer
Tons of Free Music