Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Interested in learning how to play the zither and wondering where to start? Use this section to post your questions.

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ritaharris
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:35 am

Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by ritaharris » Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:39 am

Not sure if this is the correct location to do this, so forgive me in advance.

I am the granddaughter of a Zitherist, Karl Schinkel, that taught zither in Bavaria. Opa was a dual income producer. By day, he ran a bookbinding store. Then in the afternoon when school let out, he would teach zither, flute and oboe to the young population. At night and weekends, he played in an orchestra. So in reality, he was a professional musician who had to hold a day job during the depressed time in Germany.

When my mother's estate was cleared in the 2000's, I "bought" Opa's zithers from the estate. I now have a Meinl and another zither. It requires reglueing. I took this one to both Dusty Strings, as well as Bishofsberger Violins here in Seattle, to ask if any of them had the capacity to steam and then reglue. That would be "no."

Several years ago, I bought strings from zitherist Jane (?) to restring the Meinl. I even wrote back and forth with Herr Meinl's daughter who confirmed to me the Feb 12th date just prior to the WWII war that Opa had ordered the zither. It was an interesting process to learn about and the path the zither had taken on its way into my hands!

So, now it's Feb 6, 2017. Short of Sebastian Fichtl up in B.C. Canada, Ron Bracklow located in San Jose, and our mutual friend, Don Tsusaki, I don't know anyone on the west coast who plays or who would be able to provide formal lessons now and then. Does anyone know of an OLD TIMER zither player? How about someone younger who might've learned from one of you in another part of the US? Ideas for me? Is there a step by step video with very close up images of finger positions? Like, it's not available to my understanding, on YouTube. If you know of one done in German or Austrian, I am interested as I speak and understand the dialect.

I've just found the lesson book I bought, to be a little confusing. Has anyone ever put stickies along the fingerboard to help memorize where the different notes are or which string is which? Any tips?

Many thanks for your input!
Rita Harris - Seattle, WA
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Short lady on right, is Elfi Bring, daughter of Karl Schinkel of Prien am Chiemsee.
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velocio
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by velocio » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:50 am

Hi Rita,

West Coast yes, zither player yes, and I am even German (or, rather, Bavarian). But the four(!) of us are in Southern California. This coming weekend we are finally meeting again for some quartet playing. I believe we can answer many of your questions. Send me an email to velocio1@gmail.com, and we can get started.
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Quartett.jpg
The picture is from over three years ago when we were still young ...
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NutmegCT
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Connecticut!
Contact:

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by NutmegCT » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:02 am

Welcome Rita to the Forum! Vielen Dank fuer ihr schoenes Bild - Sehr huebsch die Gesichte und die Kleider!

I'm teaching myself zither also, and certainly understand your wanting a teacher or guide. I'm in Connecticut, and feel the same. I believe the closest zither player I know is over two hours away.

Which brings a good question: where on our Forum can we find a listing of zither players by area, whom we might contact for help?

Sehr angenehm, ihr kennen zu machen!
Tom M.

w6br
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:25 pm

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by w6br » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:53 pm

Hello Rita, your Old Buddy Ron Bracklow here!! I am still willing to help you, but how can we get and stay in touch since you have been fairly ill recently, especially with your sweet Mother passing. Give me a phone call my Dear and let me know how I can help.

I've had some health issues also, two back surgeries, etc, but all seems to be well now. God is good!!

Good to be back on here again, a whole lot of wonderful people, that I'd like to get reacquainted with again.

Fielen Gruzz,

Ron (Rolf) Bracklow
707-360-8982

ritaharris
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:35 am

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by ritaharris » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:55 pm

I have:
- emailed the lady in So Cal just now (7-23-19)
- trying to reach NutmegCT as his personal blog site does NOT contain an email address
- I'll ring Ron Bracklow in San Jose via phone.

If any of you zither enthusiasts wish to reach out to me, I will give you my new deets:

SeattleAreaHomes4Sale "at" g mail "dot" com or direct line of 2 "oh" 6- 4 "ate" 4 - 79 "six" 5

Nochmals vielen dank fur die hilfe!!! Rita Harris in Seattle

NutmegCT
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Connecticut!
Contact:

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by NutmegCT » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:23 pm

Hi Rita - my post was back in 2017. What is it you need from me?

Thanks.
Tom M.

ritaharris
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:35 am

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by ritaharris » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:02 pm

Looking to see where you obtained lessons, if you had found other players close to you, what you watched to get going.

I found that when I began the attempt on my own, I found there was no waaaay I could do 1 hr lessons per day. My fingers were so painful it would take me a long time to build up those calluses. lol

Wasn't sure if you had found any helpful advice to pass forward.

NutmegCT
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Connecticut!
Contact:

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by NutmegCT » Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:03 am

Hi Rita - I'm afraid I don't have positive news. If you search for my previous posts and videos, you'll find the story.

Lessons are impossible if you don't have a zither player to work with. I did find one zitherist down near NYC, but weekly lessons would be a logistical nightmare.

I also found that working through a method book is pretty frustrating, as the method books were written by zitherists who didn't learn from method books! So the careful organization of the book's lessons doesn't usually parallel the "fumbling finger technique" of beginners like me. The method books are very logical, and present technical issues in a relatively straightforward way, but even after several days, I find I can't play the exercises smoothly - always stumbling through them instead. I never could develop the muscle memory needed.

Ads I placed in area newspapers and online, asking to contact zitherists, plus personal visits to German/Swiss/Austrian "music clubs", revealed only brass bands or singing groups - but no one with zither skills.

This Zither forum is the only place I found to get help, but I've found it very difficult to make progress. I've been trying for almost five years now, adding videos, asking for help and advice. I did have one member who volunteered to give me video lessons over Skype, but the lessons turned out to be hour long "here's my favorite piece" concerts, where I never got a chance to play more than a few notes.

As a retired teacher myself, I continue my belief that learning "in person" beats "watch the tiny screen" any day.

Say, if you're just starting, where did you hear you should practice one hour a day? Fingertips would be raw and bloody if you do that!

Tom M.

Looking to see where you obtained lessons, if you had found other players close to you, what you watched to get going.

I found that when I began the attempt on my own, I found there was no waaaay I could do 1 hr lessons per day. My fingers were so painful it would take me a long time to build up those calluses. lol

Wasn't sure if you had found any helpful advice to pass forward.

Evelyn
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:23 am

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Evelyn » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:01 am

NutmegCT wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:03 am
... where did you hear you should practice one hour a day? Fingertips would be raw and bloody if you do that!
My zither lessons always lasted about 50 minutes. Most of these 50 minutes were spent playing. I never had raw and bloody fingers. Yes, blisters do develop when starting, and they do hurt, but within a few weeks the blisters are gradually being replaced by calluses. Today, I play about 45 minutes almost every day, sometimes longer. My fingers are fine. One has to, however, keep at it, ie play regularly (daily). Ten minutes a couple of times per week simply won't do. I realise that this is easier said than done, but there really is no other way.

NutmegCT
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Connecticut!
Contact:

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by NutmegCT » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:25 am

Hi Evelyn. Are you saying you were taking lessons which lasted 50 minutes? or that you were practicing alone for 50 minutes? Rita is certainly experiencing problems when she refers to a one hour lesson each day as a beginner.

You were indeed lucky to have a teacher!

Tom M.

Evelyn wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:01 am
NutmegCT wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:03 am
... where did you hear you should practice one hour a day? Fingertips would be raw and bloody if you do that!
My zither lessons always lasted about 50 minutes. Most of these 50 minutes were spent playing. I never had raw and bloody fingers. Yes, blisters do develop when starting, and they do hurt, but within a few weeks the blisters are gradually being replaced by calluses. Today, I play about 45 minutes almost every day, sometimes longer. My fingers are fine. One has to, however, keep at it, ie play regularly (daily). Ten minutes a couple of times per week simply won't do. I realise that this is easier said than done, but there really is no other way.

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