Good to be back home, but I sure have enjoyed the last few weeks. Several craft demos and dulcimer festivals later, I am tired, but happy.
The festivals are great fun with loads of music and meeting old and new friends. I learned a lot of new tunes that I can add to my list. I gave a short workshop at the last festival on bowing technique. This seems to be where most folks struggle. I think most that attended went away with some idea of how to improve on that. I notice that the main problems can be too much wasted motion that can rob you of the ability to be expressive or to play smoothly with any speed at all. I also notice a problem with being "heavy handed" with the bow.
I'm seeing a lot of great tips in the recent discussions on use of the bow, all are good and I'll try to throw in some of my thoughts in the forum posts.
I also got to play the other instruments that I am interested in, or have played for years. I have built and played the washtub bass for many years, but am new to the musical saw and clawhammer banjo. There were workshops on all these at the festivals. I'll have to say I am really going to have to devote some time to practice the saw and banjo. Both are said to be fairly easy to play, but not until you develop your technique. I always comment that "earplugs are required" when you are anywhere close to me when practicing these new instruments. I know the neighbors are wondering what those strange sounds are coming out of Rick's workshop now :-)
I'll be slowing down for a while now and concentrating on getting some work done in the workshop. I am going today to look at some thick air dried walnut that an 89 year old dulcimer builder has for sale. He said he's ready to part witrh some of it and hasn't really built instruments for the last four years. I am anxious to meet him. I have seen his dulcimers over the years, but have never met him.