Monthly Archives: December 2007

Virtually Meeting Up With Dulcimer Players Around the World

[Previously posted in December 2007 on , copied and reposted here on 4/11/2009.]

Last night I enjoyed talking to my fantastic friend, Marc Mathieu, via Skype’s internet chat and online phone service.

Marc Mathieu is a good friend of mine. I met him in 2002* at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Dulcimer Week in Cullowhee, North Carolina. When I met Marc, he had been playing his mountain dulcimer for several years and had decided to register for a week long mountain dulcimer class. That year, we ended up in the same class; because I had also registered for Leo Kretzner’s Intermediate Mountain Dulcimer Class as my choice for my second annual week-long mountain dulcimer class in North Carolina.
Marc lives in Hearst, Ontario. From the time we first introduced ourselves to each other at “Cullowhee,” Marc and I have enjoyed sharing music and friendship as well as lots of “eh?” and “ya’ll” sentences. We have shared stories of our respective musical journeys, our insights regarding workshops and travel, and our desire to learn and teach others about the sweet music of the mountain dulcimer.
Although I’m a little embarrassed to mention the “g” word on Memphis-Dulcimer’s front page, and I am a little afraid to get sidetracked from the most sweetest music known, I have a story to tell about Marc, the guitar, the internet, and me. Read on, if you’re keen to read up on learning how to learn a musical instrument via the internet.
Two years ago, I began to pick up my daughter’s g u i t a r, just to see where it would take me. I found out right away, that I wasn’t going anywhere with it….at least not very quickly. So, I put it back down…out of courtesy to my family…and to lessen the stressin’ that under-achievement inevitably brings to Virgoes…if yaknowwhatImean.
I picked up the guitar again a little over a year ago, and found help from a family member, then an Australian blues playery kinda friend, a Memphis blues playery kinda friend, and my dulcimer-playin-classically-Canadian-guitarist-friend, Marc Mathieu. Thank goodness!
Marc has drawn chord diagrams, scanned them into his computer, and emailed them to me with detailed instructions on fingering etc. And he has researched lyrics and tab when I mentioned my interest in learning songs. He has been an excellent, international, music teacher….the kind I needed! One who can teach late night dulcimer and/or guitar lessons, one who is a quick draw with a chord, and one who is a computer whiz who can scan up all that biz, apparently at the click of a mouse button…..he has been good for me. And I have learned all the way up to a confidentish beginner level! I am excited about that!!
Last night, I enjoyed a nice Skyped up conversation with Marc. With my Logitech headset, and Marc with his new microphone, we enjoyed a clear conversation about the happenings in the dulcimer world….East Coast, West Coast, and Memphis, too!
This already-pretty-long narrative of virtually meeting up with dulcimer players around the world is probably not the best place to describe the process of using the computer to make a free long international phone call, but I would love to share the knowledge with friends and family….anyone who is interested! It’s really just a matter of a computer with an internet connection, a click of a download button, a microphone/speaker thingy that is properly plugged in, and a friend with the same equipment and a kindred spirit…THAT’S ALL, and I imagine that a dream at Epcot Center during a family vacation years ago was notsomuch a fantasy, but truly an inspiration to learn, learn and share, learn and share and be happy.
Carla……*correction (after reflection) made 12/13/07