It All Started with a Dream
In 2007, my husband and I were living in St. Thomas, preparing to move back to the states.
My plan was, when business was slow, to stand in front of our store and play my hammered dulcimer to entice tourists to enter. Then, they would either fall in love with dulcimers and buy an instrument or at least select a dulcimer CD to take home with them.
I also planned to wall off a space within the store to give dulcimer lessons. But we had a reality check when we started counting the total start-up cost plus living expenses, so we decided to establish an online dulcimer school instead.
Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop in Townsend, TN, kindly bought the t-shirts, Dulcimer Crossing signs, CDs, and instruments that we had already purchased for our own store. And so we began the process of learning how to video-tape lessons and upload them to the web. After only a few months, we had several students enrolled, but it was a lop-sided effort - offering only hammered dulcimer lessons.
To remedy this, I invited Steve Eulberg to join the business as partner, and add the mountain dulcimer element. He took the vision far beyond my wildest dreams, and with the help of an additional 15 teachers, we have expanded the school's offerings to include several related instruments.
Steve was teaching from his private studio in northern Colorado since 1997, but in 2005 was invited, via email inquiry, to consider teaching guitar lessons online.
Because he really wanted to teach dulcimer lessons this way, he agreed to the conversations with that as a goal.
Meetings were held and a demo class was filmed and everyone agreed to move forward, starting with guitar, and later adding dulcimer.
The first lessons for JamPlay were filmed in 2006 with Steve as the initial instructor.
As JamPlay continued to gain traction, the staff felt like they needed to keep the focus on guitar so finally conceded that they would be unable to move forward with providing dulcimer lessons.
Saddened, but not dissuaded, he kept trying to find ways to do this when he received the invitation from Linda Ratcliffe (whom he had met years before at a weekend workshop in Houston, TX) to partner with her on the venture of DulcimerCrossing. "Have you been reading my mind?" is what he thought when her invitation arrived!
Steve and Linda began conversations and moved forward with building an on-line educational platform to provide quality instruction for both kinds of dulcimers over the next couple of years.
When things were ready a year-long soft-launch was held in 2010 for interested students who provided important feedback.
Then, a formal roll-out took place at the beginning of 2011. This new re-organization helps us celebrate our 10th Anniversary.