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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Rudy Mueller
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:41 am

Any zither players/students in Leavenworth WA?

The last one mentioned on google was the former Emerich Wechselberger. His family ran a hotel there and the net indicates that two of his sons were musicians.

Rudi

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

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Evelyn » Wed Jul 24, 2019 11:31 am

Hi Tom

Nice cyber-speaking with you again.

Regarding your questions - I saw my zither teacher once a week for 50 minutes. Between two lessons, I practised the homework my zither teacher had given me, which commonly was an exercise or a tune, to be played with more confidence and fluency than when first introduced and discussed during the previous lesson. I can't remember how long my daily practise lasted, but I know that I did practise every day. And yes, the blisters hurt.

These days I play about 45 minutes/day (timed myself today), mainly pieces I enjoy playing/hearing, but sometimes I also practise, rather than just play, pieces presenting a challenge to my fingers. I don't think there is a set rule as to how long people should practise, because everyone is different. However, the result of practice is usually some improvement, so, no improvement may indicate not enough practise being done.

First and foremost, the hurdle of blisters/sore fingers must be overcome. This can only be done by regular (daily) practice - despite the blisters. Every zither player, when starting to learn, has to overcome this hurdle. It can be overcome, but it does take determination.

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

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by ritaharris » Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:58 pm

To Tom and Evelyn - A few points of clarification:

- Opa was a zitherist in Bayern. He would have students play for an hour each day. It doesn't surprise me as it is a complicated instrument and you DO need that muscle memory to kick in. I've inherited (I bought from the family's estate), two of his zithers. One is a Meinel of great value.

- I sat down at the table, put lots of pillows under my backside, so that my arms were in a better angle to the zither. I don't have a table at the right height, "yet". I believe I actually have some diagrams for building such a table like you see that is hollow, used by performers on stage. If anyone is interested, email me and I'll go hunt for it. My husband was going to build one for me, but alas, he's dead and it never was started.

- To build calluses, know that I have also played a 12-string guitar. I used to play for church services and we'd rehearse for an hour during the week, briefly before, and then play the whole Catholic service each Sunday. What I realized was that the placement for a 12 string callus, is different than where I seemed to be getting string indentations for a zither. The Z requires more "on the side of the pad" sort of placement, over the on-point that is used for a guitar, or maybe even a violin? Can't say.... I just know that there's no guarantee that one will serve the other for help. lol

- Last night, 07/23/2019, I watched Tomy Temerson play on a cruise ship. Not only was it fascinating to watch his technique, but he explained in a brief moment, WHY his fingers were callused in the manner they were, and, WHAT the index and middle fingers were responsible for, vs ring finger and pinky. That little bit alone, was so enlightening since he compared it to other orchestra instruments and their roles! Wait, I'll find the link. Stand by.....
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pg36K4VM3vY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> and if this link didn't work, try this:
https://youtu.be/pg36K4VM3vY

- I also overheard him say that the calluses were needed to press the strings "against the fret", which is opposite to how a guitar is played. THAT ALONE was a mega nugget for me! I didn't realize the technique of against and had misunderstood. I thought it would be more the position (based on videos and not live demonstrations), of the inbetween position. Talk about "ah-ha moment".

- Spoke at length with Ron Bracklow in San Jose, this morning. He had a health scare a while back. He now has difficulty with his left hand. HIS suggestion for all of us, was to become involved in the Chicago area zither club. I have paid attention to the German Heritage Society in Davenport area. Is that Iowa????

When I am not a real estate agent. I am a historical costumer. Well known, actually, even in historical movies. I go around teaching the younger generation how to sew, why women wore corsets, how to build garments, what hat to wear, etc. It is my way of giving back to the next generation the lost art of sewing and creating, thereby leaving a legacy of young people who are now appreciating Victorian style attire and so forth.

I happen to live smack in the middle of Microsoft-Land of Seattle. I am a highly technical and computer handy. If any of you in our forum who have played for a long time, are willing to demonstrate via computer, "live" how you hold your hands and strike the strings, I can totally show you how that can be done online with no cost to you or anyone else who would participate - totally free. I am willing to help set up that possibility. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a way to also forward YOUR legacy of music and the love of our mutual instrument to us, the next generation. I'm in my 50's and feel like I am waaaaay behind in the learning process. LOL

Looking forward to the next piece on this conversation thread! Rita Harris in Seattle

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

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by ritaharris » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:06 pm

Rudi Mueller - In answer to your question about Leavenworth, WA

- It appears that Emerich passed away out of state a few years ago. Here is the announcement in the Leavenworth Echo
http://www.leavenworthecho.com/obituari ... hselberger

- I'm following up with my friend Kathy Schutt over there to ask if the sons still are in the area. Kathy's husband is a musician and is the bandleader for "Musikkapelle Leavenworth".

- Left a message for Eric here in Seattle. He seems to be a chiropractor in the north end. Brother Roy is also here in the area, can't remember where. I facebooked him for info. We'll see if he responds.

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

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Evelyn » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:33 am

Hi Rita

Thank you very much for the video of Tomy Temerson, which I've watched with fascination and greatly enjoyed. He certainly can play and he knows what he is talking about.

Re instructions - over time I've come across a few 'how to play the zither' videos available online. Not impressed by the ones I've seen, though.

Some members of this group who are trying to teach themselves occasionally post a video of their playing on here, so that other members can comment and make suggestions to (hopefully) further their progress. I realise that learning anything without the help of a teacher is difficult. Perhaps it would be worthwhile considering even a longer journey to meet up with someone who can show, and talk you through the basics at least? I was also going to suggest for you to get in touch with the Chicago Zither Orchestra (and there's a zither club in the area as well, I believe - I am in the UK, btw), but re-reading your post I note that someone else has already mentioned this to you.

NutmegCT
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Location: Connecticut!
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Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by NutmegCT » Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:28 am

You know, with over 100 members here, you'd think that there would be more than a handful of members willing to help the beginners!

I've been suggesting this for years, but there's been no change: When a new topic is started, all the members should get an email notice which includes a link to the new topic. They could "opt out" if they want, but unless the default is to get email updates, we'll continue to have low participation.

If no one is getting email updates, then the only members who see new posts are members who check the forum frequently. And thus, the low participation rate.

The point: it's an easy way to get more participation - or at least see where the members are located!

Just my two groschen.
Tom M.

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

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Evelyn » Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:12 am

NutmegCT wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:28 am
You know, with over 100 members here, you'd think that there would be more than a handful of members willing to help the beginners!
Hmmmm ... I'll hazard a guess and say that maybe most members are not all that interested, and that's presumably the reason for why they do not regularly check what is being posted. I am saying this because if they were that interested, I would have thought that they would. I don't think (but happy to be proved wrong) that email notices would make a difference.

Having said that, there is, however, also the following to consider:
i) how many of the ~100 group members are proficient players and hence in a position to actually offer advice?
ii) some of the said ~100 do read the posts but can't help, or
iii) perhaps do not wish to get involved.
iv) I may be wrong, but there would seem to be quite a few people who register (and are for this reason being counted as members) because they have a question, and who are never heard of again ever after.

Andy
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Location: Austin TX
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Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Andy » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:15 pm

Hello Rita, and welcome back!

I've been at the 'teach yourself' game for about a year and a half now and am still at it. Its possible, it's just slow! I've spent a lot of time reading (and re-reading) posts on this forum and watching (and re-watching... you get the idea) videos of other players, trying to focus on their form, how they hold themselves, their hands. It's tricky because a video misses any opportunity for question and answer. Also a lot of times you can see their hands, but the fingers are hard to make out. The zither is an awkward instrument to record.

Even if there aren't any old hat zither player willing to do group video chats, it may still be good for those of us who are trying to learn ourselves to do so anyway and compare our notes, talk through our problems, or even just re-affirm that there are other people in this country who play can be motivation to keep at it. I'm jealous of all you Washington Zither players, its awfully lonely down here in Texas.

- Andy

Rudy Mueller
Posts: 441
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:33 am

Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by Rudy Mueller » Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:56 am

When I retired, the people in the lab organized a list of "Rudyisms", little folk wisdom ditties, like "none of us is as smart as all of us", or it's always fun 'til somebody loses an eye".

One of the more verbose was "if you want to learn to ride a horse, you can read all the books you want, but eventually you have to get up on the thing and ride". Eventually you have to practice, build those callouses

How did I get started? Kabatek and Silent Night.

Rudi

NutmegCT
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:31 pm
Location: Connecticut!
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Re: Viele grusse aus Seattle!

Post by NutmegCT » Fri Jul 26, 2019 8:14 am

An interesting forum discussion: "How did you get started?"

http://forum.zither.us/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=476

Looks like most folks making progress started with a bit personal instruction, and/or a family member who played zither.

Tom M.

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