Strumsticks for Meditation
Christine Stevens demonstrates the use of the Strumstick in a morning meditation chant. Christine is a Music Therapist and Drum Circle Facilitator who has brought her music of spirit all over the world for peace and concilliation and community building.
The Strumstick was designed by Bob McNally. The Strumstick uses a diatonic scale fretting (the notes of a major scale). We call that "No Wrong Notes", because they all sound good together. The strings are tuned in a drone relationship (octaves and fifth). The mountain dulcimer, bagpipes, and Indian sitar are other instruments from around the world that use a drone tuning. The combination of diatonic scale and drone tuning make the strumstick immediately fun, and very easy to play, even for beginners.
The Strumstick is ideal for anybody who wants to learn to play music, even if they think they can't. Beginners make great sounds right from the beginning, because the Strumstick is so easy to play. You can just strum all the strings while fretting one of them and music happens all by itself! We have complete instructions,(Booklet, CD, even a DVD) that show you how. With No Wrong Notes, whatever you play sounds good, whether you are just messing around or playing songs, or even chords and complex melodies. This website has lots ofof support material and songs you can play too.
The Strumstick comes with complete instructions and an instruction CD. With only three strings it is simple to tune (there are tuning notes on the CD to make tuning easy). The instruction book has songs, chords, and how to strum many different rhythms too.
Children find the Strumstick fascinating and easy. The small size of the Strumstick makes it easy for the hands of small children, and a child can make a lot of fun music on the Strumstick with a little adult guidance. Kids as young as three have started the Strumstick, mostly strumming (again, with some adult supervision). By the time kids are 5 or 6, they can play melodies and strum and play songs. Many Strumstick players started as children and then contimued on to guitar, or other instruments. The Strumstick is a wonderful introduction to music for people of all ages.
Retirees, grandparents, and other older players have found the Strumstick a real boon. Some people used to play other instruments, and stopped. Others have come to music through the Strumstick later in life. Elder beginners report that being able to play music on the strumstick (after being convinced for years that they were musically incapable) is a source of great joy and pleasure. The Strumstick is an ideal instrument for Recreational Music players, whether people who are beginning music for the first time, or returning to music after a long lapse.
The Strumstick is a terrific tool for family music. People of many ages can learn and play the Strumstick. Several Strumsticks strumming together make a wonderful sound, and the group does not have to be "tight" to make some great sounds. The Strumstick is very forgiving in ensemble play. Families can pass around the Strumstick, play several Strumsticks, or add Strumstick to guitar and piano and other instruments to give the kids a chance to play along with more advanced players.
The Strumstick is musically a distant cousin of the Appalachian dulcimer (fretted dulcimer). Like the dulcimer, the strings are tuned in a drone relationship (octaves and fifth). Also like the dulcimer, the frets are arranged to give a major scale. What makes the Strumstick different from the dulcimer is that you hold the Strumstick like a guitar or a mandolin (the dulcimer sits on your lap). This position opens many possibilities for playing using guitar techniques for picking, strumming, and fingerpicking, and you can play it standing up (difficult to do with the dulcimer. Because of the similarity, a lot of Dulcimer music (readily found on the web)can be easily adapted to the Strumstick. See Using Dulcimer Music With Strumstick for details.
If the Strumstick sounds like a remarkable tool for learning music, for people of all ages, well, it is!. We designed the Strumstick to sound great, look great, and be really easy to play, right from the start. If beginners have fun, they keep playing, that's just the way it is. The Strumstick is so much fun for beginners to play, it encourages them and frustration is just not an issue.
The Strumstick is also a great beginning guitar trainer. The early months of beginning guitar are spent learning to move your fingers in a coordinated way, and are not fun, they are frustrating, and many people quit guitar at this stage. With the Strumstick, you are learning finger control while having a lot of fun, and no frustration. A few months of Strumstick playing makes learning guitar much easier, and "skips over" much of the frustrating early stages. After playing Strumstick for a while, the beginner at guitar knows how to strum, to move their fingers around a fretboard, and has a lot of confidence that they can make some music, and can progress on an instrument. The Strumstick teaches those things in a fun environment. We have a whole page to help you with learning guitar, with or without a Strumstick.
Experienced musicians find the Strumstick a versatile and inspiring musical instrument. Despite being easy, and less complex than say, guitar, the Strumstick is capable of sophisticated rhythms, funky chords, and melodies and riffs just tumble out of it. There is even an amazing Electric Strumstick too.As a composing tool, a musical sketch pad, it can't be beat. It is like a backdoor into creativity. One minute you are just having a little fun, strumming some little melody on your strumstick, and the next minute, you are working on a song...that catchy melody you are playing was a spark, and now you are thinking about verses, turnarounds, and getting ready to show it to your band to record. The Strumstick is like a treasure trove of musical ideas, readily accesible because of how simple it is to play. It brings you back to the simple, organic heart of music, where a few notes stir emotions and feelings, and joy and sadness and spirit all mingle together. That is what music is about, and that is what the Strumstick is about.
The legendary voice of Yes, and beyond, plays a beautiful song he wrote with the Strumstick, Never Ever. Jon's Website
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"Music is as natural to humans a walking and talking. Making music is important to a happy and healthy life. Because nany people feel that music is not natural to them, I designed an instrument to change how people think about themselves and music.
The Strumstick is a tool that lets people discover that they are a lot more musical than they thought. Anyone can play, music is fun and feels good and is not as hard as you may believe. Please explore our site, and give music one more chance!"