Sunday, October 2, 2011

Taking Chances

When Kelly and I moved to Portland we were very pleased to find a vibrant group of people playing the Hammered Dulcimer. For those of you that don’t know the hammered dulcimer, it is a musical instrument with a gazillion strings that you play by striking the strings with really small hammers.

Here is a shot of Kelly and I at our hammered dulcimers a couple of years ago.

We promptly joined a monthly jam session where the focus was on playing fiddle tunes - which are meant to be played fast, and form the basis for a lot of traditional dancing.

Wow - these people can play - so Kelly and I started learning fiddle tunes. But, my real focus with the hammered dulcimer is to play slower, more complex songs. So, with this in mind I proposed that a second session be set up each month - with a focus on playing songs that include harmonies, songs that are just more challenging to play.

We also proposed that the sessions be held at our home. Which was a bit of a challenge because we live north of Portland, and pretty much everyone else lives south or Portland. One lady drives in from Eugene - 130 miles from our home.

And, heck, after being here only 6 months, and really not knowing any of the people in the other group all that well, it really did feel awkward proposing an alternate session - not only had we not been here long, but pretty much everyone else at these sessions have played longer, often 10 years or more, compared to our 3 years. And here we were trying to rock the boat - saying we wanted to focus on more challenging music.

But, none the less, we got these sessions going.

The reason I am focusing on this tonight is because we just finished our fifth session and can now safely say the sessions have a good chance of making it.

There were nine people here earlier - and we had a great time - figuring out variations, comparing different versions of songs, learning to play the various parts of songs, and even working up an arrangement written by one of the ladies at the session.

In the overall scheme of things is all this a big thing. No. But, in my little world, where I had taken a risk by proposing an alternate approach to a session - YES. It is a BIG THING.

In earlier posts I talked about satisfaction, happiness, and doing things. Kelly and I are finding ourselves welcomed into a fantastic group of musicians, gaining from their expertise, learning new music, making friends, and getting a chance to contribute to the group.

Satisfaction - doing something, now I add, taking a small chance. Bottom line, happiness!

And tomorrow - my new gymnastic rings showed up yesterday so Michael and I will be learning to use them tomorrow at the gym!!!

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