Linda Ratcliff
Linda Ratcliff
Linda has been teaching all of her life. Her degree is in music education, and she taught piano for many years as well as working in elementary and middle school classrooms. Later, she moved into the arena of online teaching, and her first job was teaching English in Japan via the Internet for three years.

Becoming more excited about the possibility of teaching her first love - music - online, she founded Dulcimer Crossing, and Steve soon partnered with her with the vision of bringing these detailed lessons to dulcimer players right in their own homes.

Linda has prepared a video, telling more about herself.

Level 2 America the Beautiful
The poem for "America the Beautiful" was written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 while on a trip to Colorado to see Pike’s Peak. Bates wrote, "When I saw the view ... all the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse." This flowing arrangement is played in the key of C.
Level 2 Arpeggios in 3/4 Time
In this lesson, Linda teaches both downward and upward arpeggios.
Level 2 Blackberry Blossom
Blackberry Blossom is an old-time bluegrass fiddle tune. It is classified as a "breakdown" and is popular in old time, bluegrass and Celtic traditional circles.
Level 1 Golden Slippers
For hammered dulcimer players, Linda teaches the two versions of the tune in key of D, adding a drone accompaniment.
Level 3 Grace Notes
Linda teaches us how to play grace notes - first with the right hammer, then with the left hammer, and finally with alternating hammers.
Level 3 Holy, Holy, Holy
"Holy, Holy, Holy" was written around 1850 for use on Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost. After teaching rolled chords and arpeggios, Linda incorporates the technique in this flowing arrangement in the key of D.
Level 2 I'll Fly Away
Hammered dulcimer players will learn this in the key of G, using grace notes that are taught in both single and double hammer patterns.
Level 2 Jesus Loves Me
After almost 150 years, "Jesus Loves Me" is still the #1 spiritual song in the hearts of children around the world. The most fun aspect of this lesson is that it comes with a calypso back-up track for practicing - with marimbas, flutes, and steel drums.
Level 2 Jingle Bells
James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) wrote Jingle Bells in 1857. The song was originally published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh." Hammered dulcimer players will learn the tune in the key of G.
Level 2 Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Hammered dulcimer players will enjoy drills on syncopation to help create the rhythmic variations in Linda's arrangement.
Level 3 Joy to the World
Linda introduces the hammered dulcimer version of this wonderful Christmas carol with a multiple-bounce roll, follwed by a simple 4-note descending scale that brings to mind the sound of Christmas bells calling people to come worship the newborn King.
Level 2 Little Drummer Boy
The song tells the story of a young shepherd boy who decided to give Jesus a gift using his own talents. Although modern art depicts the little drummer boy making his well-known rhythm pattern with drumsticks, the fact is - drumsticks didn't exist in the days of Augustus. He would have played on a skin drum, similar to our bodhran today.
Level 3 Long-Reaching Drones
This is an exercise to get you comfortable playing a drone - on the bass and treble bridge. This is a muscle memory skill, so practice will definitely make you better.
Level 3 Multiple Bounce Roll
A multiple bounce stroke occurs when a hammer is allowed to bounce several times before the other hammer strikes. In this exercise, we practice using the right hammer, the left hammer, and finally both hammers.
Level 2 Octave Drones
This is another exercise that, once mastered and inserted in a tune, will add interest to your playing. Since often there isn't time to look for the right string to strike, muscle memory is imperative.
Level 2 Old Joe Clark
This tune is a treasured chestnut and an excellent example of the Mixolydian mode. In Linda's arrangement for hammered dulcimer players, she utilizes both a right and left-hand drone and some noodling.
Level 2 Playing 3rds, 4ths, 6ths
This exercise focuses on learning to play hammers together in a parallel motion - first playing 6ths, then playing 3rds and 4ths.
Level 2 Rakes of Mallow
This song is about the rakes who came to visit the town of Mallow, a town in County Cork, and became a well-known Irish drinking song. Apparently, when they weren't drinking the water from the Spa House for its curative properties, some of the young men were guzzling, in vast quantity, other substances that had exactly the opposite effect.
Level 2 Repeated Drones
Using the drone tone is a common variation used by both mountain and hammered dulcimer players. You can't practice this technique too much.
Level 2 Repeated Notes
It's not as easy as it looks. Striking the same string over and over accurately requires muscle memory and focus.
Level 2 Rocky Top
"Rocky Top" was written by married songwriting duo Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant in 1967. The Bryants were staying at the historic Gatlinburg Inn, in Gatlinburg, Tennesse, when the idea of writing a song about the mountains came to them. Several years have passed since then, but Rocky Top is still a crowd pleaser.
Level 3 Rolled Chords
In this lesson, we learn to roll chords across the valley, over the treble bridge from right to left and finally across the valley and the treble bridge.
Level 3 Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The character Rudolph was created by Robert L. May in 1939 in response to Montgomery Ward's request for a new Christmas coloring book. Almost a century later, Rudolph is still loved by millions, we're still singing Rudolph's song, and children are still reading Rudolph's story and coloring his nose bright red.
Level 2 Southwind
Southwind is an Irish waltz played in the characteristic “OOM pah pah” style, taught by Steve for MD players and Linda for HD players. Hammered dulcimer players will enjoy using arpeggios and an answering left hand bounce in the right hand lead style. This tune is always a favorite at jam sessions.
Level 3 Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from a poem written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in the Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.
Level 3 Syncopation
Syncopation occurs when a normally unstressed beat is stressed. For example, most tunes stress the first and third beat. When we use a syncopated rhythm pattern, we may emphasize the second and fourth beats.
Level 2 Up on the Housetop
This popular tune was written by Benjamin R. Hanby in 1864 in the town of New Paris, Ohio. This may be the first actual song that mentions Santa Claus by that name, and is probably the first secular Christmas song in American history.
Level 3 We Three Kings
Hammered dulcimer students will play in E minor, and learn how to add drones to the melody on both the treble and bass bridges.

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