When I began playing stringed instruments, it seemed so natural. Music was all around me as a child. Mom always sang while she did the dishes; dad’s radio was a continual source of symphonies and show tunes. And the piano was there for all of us.
But I recognize that not everyone is at home learning to play an instrument. An instructor’s comfort zone is never the same as her students’. A good teacher understands that and adapts instruction accordingly so anyone willing to try can be successful.
This point was driven home as I took on the role of tentative student: I built a dulcimer from a kit. If I could do this, I reasoned, I could have students do it with me, combining dulcimer instruction with the creation of an instrument.
Tentatively, I followed the steps included with the kit. When I was unsure, I tried different approaches until one worked. And, voila! I built a dulcimer. More importantly, I gained first hand knowledge of what it feels like to go from trepidation to pride when learning something new.