Apology for my lack of posting

I note that I am neglecting my blogs, there are several reasons, all due to being quite busy!  I attended a Society for Creative Anachronism event called Gulf Wars in March, which was a blast. I also decided a few months back to begin updating my skills in puppetry and add ventriloquism to what I knew. It seems there are now some excellent resources for ventriloquism online, so this has been a great boon to me. AND I have been working on ONE song playing it on each of my autoharps in an attempt to learn to play something.  I … Continue reading

Ordinary Beauty VI: health

Our culture does not value beauty beyond its relationship to function or earning power. Girls are taught to pursue careers and earn good money; they are taught to develop a career before they consider marriage and family. Men seek wives who can add a solid second paycheck; men used to seek wives who had the skills to create a beautiful home for a family. There was a time when the beauty created by home makers was valued. Girls were taught the skills and could expect to have those skills valued.  Those days are long gone. Our culture glorifies the career … Continue reading

To Know Myself!

I realized this evening that I love ballads.  Songs like The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald, and Bristlecone Pine.  I realized this when I heard the song, Bristlecone Pine, on an interview with Bryan Bowers and found myself obsessed.  I had to know what CD had the song, and it turns out the CD is named for that ballad.  Then I purchased that CD just for that one song! This caused me to wonder, am I ever so obsessed with a song that is not a ballad?  Truth is, generally NO.  I do love Church music of all kinds, especially … Continue reading

Western-Eastern Fusion Music, or what I Learned when I asked if a Chinese Pipa could play American Folk Music

One of the good things about being American is that we tend  to explore elements of many other cultures, and add them to the many uniquely American elements that have grown up here. All the members of our family value the cultures of our ancestors.  My niece will likely do the same, after all, she is one of us. My niece is also musical and enjoys playing her piano and musical people often play more than one instrument. So I began to explore folk instruments from the culture of her ancestors. I wanted to find something interesting that might be … Continue reading

Winter Festival of Acoustic Music 2013

This weekend was a BLAST.  I attended, for only the second time, a small but absolutely fantastic gathering in Irving, TX called the Winter Festival of Acoustic Music.  This year, Chuck and Karen Daniels and Charles Whitmer were the workshop leaders in autoharp. 2011 The first year I attended I took workshops with Charles Whitmer.  Mr. Whitmer opened my eyes to amazing variations in strums.  I learned exercises to take home and practice and I didn’t even have my own autoharp yet!  Also, I was fitted with nice brass picks by Chuck Daniels (brass on the fingers and plastic for … Continue reading

Music Theory

Learning to read sheet music (dots on lines) is a form of literacy I never quite managed to acquire and always wanted.  As a child, I could learn a tune by ear but was discouraged from learning music from that starting point by a teacher who insisted that I learn to name the dots on the page and then learn to play the dots after I knew their names.  It didn’t work for me at all. My brain is hardwired oddly and I struggle with names. For example: I recognize my friends from the way they move and gesture; I … Continue reading

Mountain Ocarina

I recently gave in to an urge I have had for over a year to purchase an ocarina from Mountain Ocarina.  Finding time to practice is important and I’m having success with five minute sessions. HISTORY The Ocarina is a simple instrument most often made in the shape of a potato with seven or eight holes on top and two on the bottom.  Instruments resembling the ocarina have cropped up in the cultures of South and Central America, ancient China, and India among others.  Generally the native versions are made of clay, which is fragile.  Mountain Ocarinas are not fragile. … Continue reading

Music In My Mind

I’m a person with a very visual memory.  I think in picture which, if I need to speak or write, I translate into words. When I am reading, all the words translate into images and the story unrolls in my mind like a film and surrounds me.  Music is also stored as images rather than directly as sound.  Everything in my brain is visual; it is all translated from the pictures when I communicate. To learn a song I practice it over and over and over again until pictures flow in patterns in my mind. Those images hold the music … Continue reading

Tuning Life

My autoharps need to be tuned.  It isn’t always easy to find the time I need to tune my musical instruments, yet, if I fail to do the tuning, then neither instrument is ready to play when I have time to practice.  If I don’t have them ready to play for practicing then the practicing doesn’t get done, and if there is too little practice then I never learn the songs, and if I never learn the songs then I am unable to go play for anyone because I am unprepared. There is a LOT in my life like tuning … Continue reading

Of Autoharps and Sewing

I woke this morning to a screaming two year old who was just plain GRUMPY and determined that I not be left alone to think and blog.  Coming on the heels of an evening spent with this same child being unwilling to leave me alone to read before bed, I find myself with a head-ache and nothing much of depth to say. Sometimes life just does that to me.  Nobodies fault exactly since two year old children can be difficult simply on principle. Autoharp:  I do like thinking about my autoharps.  I call my smaller instrument FRED.  Fred is a … Continue reading