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Beginner's duet for Banjo and Dulcimer?

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Oct 22, 2019 - 7:44:53 PM

Movark

USA

14 posts since 3/1/2019

I got a spare dulcimer I don't really use, and my brother's wife wants me to help get their kid into music. I'll surely graduate him into banjo someday, but as he's fairly young (only coming up onto 2), I think a dulcimer would be a good place to start. Now obviously I don't expect for him to be playing competently anytime soon, but my other brother who's really well educated on music said having a piece to work up towards could help. Any suggestions for an easy piece that involves dulcimer and banjo? Something as simple as a chord chart would be fine too.
I'm still a beginner on banjo, but I think this would be a cute way to introduce music to him at an early age.

Oct 22, 2019 - 9:25:47 PM

raybob

USA

13408 posts since 12/11/2003

Simple Gifts is nice and simple. Can also be expanded. I backed up a singer, who played dulcimer on this tune once at a wedding. I played guitar. It was lovely.

Oct 23, 2019 - 3:40:30 AM
like this

maxmax

Sweden

1358 posts since 8/1/2005

So he's not even two? I don't mean to sound unencouraging, but this seems overly optimistic. I don't know much about dulcimers, but I'm guessing like most other stringed instruments you need to fret very specific notes with one hand while simultaneously getting the strings to vibrate with your other hand. That's not going to happen anytime soon (unless he's absolutely exceptional or you're forcing him to practice like crazy). Just getting him to sit still and strum the open strings for more than 20 seconds will be a good start.

I think the best thing you can do now is to play your instruments for him every time you see him and let him play around with them. Most kids love to see and hear instruments being played up close!

My two older kids (my third is just a year old) were given ukuleles at three and four years of age. I keep them in tune and play them myself in front of them every once in a while to get their attention, rather than telling them to practice. Eventually I showed them how to play a C chord (one fretted string) and an F chord (two fretted strings).

My eldest daughter who is now eight has taken violin lessons since she was six. She's still only playing very simple pieces, but she seems to be really enjoying it. I play along with her homework on my banjo each week and she loves that. I think her always being around live music has probably helped her get into it more than anything. My son who is five is going to start taking music lessons next year and he's already excited about it, but he hasen't chosen what instrument to take lessons on yet.

Good luck though, it's a nice thing you doing for your nephew!

Oct 23, 2019 - 7:54:44 AM

334 posts since 5/30/2016

I agree with Max 100 percent. About the only thing I would expect out of a two -year-old, is a broken dulcimer. LOL. But....to each his own. Good luck

Oct 23, 2019 - 8:26:25 AM

1941 posts since 5/2/2012

To spare your spare dulcimer, you might think of one of those cardboard dulcimer kits, like the ones you can find here dulcimer kit .A bit more kid-proof than a nice wood dulcimer.    You may know about this site dulcimer tab where you can find lots of different titles.  I'm thinking something familiar to a preschooler (like "Bingo", or when he gets a bit older "The Alphabet Song"), might be be the way to go.  

Edited by - thisoldman on 10/23/2019 08:27:04

Oct 23, 2019 - 8:51:13 AM

Jim Yates

Canada

6582 posts since 2/21/2007

I think instilling a love of music is a great idea. I gave my kids instruments at a very early age and tuned them to an open chord. A dulcimer is often tuned to an open chord or a "power chord" (DAA or DAD) so it sounds musical if it's strummed open. My kids spent a lot of time strumming along with simple songs, but were about 7 before they actually started playing chords.

Here are Darc and Clay 40 years ago with their banjolin and tenor guitar tuned to an open chord and jammin' away.
Darcy's son, Mickey, 4, likes to play the ukulele when he comes to visit. He has one at home too.
Clay bought his daughter Lila, 8, a Stratocaster clone. She has been taking lessons for about a year now.

Introducing kids at a very young age to an instrument will teach them to respect instruments and develop a love of music, but I wouldn't expect him to be able to play any real songs at this age.


Oct 23, 2019 - 1:41:08 PM
Players Union Member

dbrooks

USA

3673 posts since 3/11/2004

Give it a try. I'd suggest a song that he is likely to encounter in school, such as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Wheels on the Bus," etc. I used to play and sing songs from Sesame Street 30 years ago to my kids. They weren't enamored, but my wife liked it.

David

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