Willie Jaeger

I like lots of harmony, well-crafted lyrics, and bad puns well told. I played guitar for some years before coming across a mountain dulcimer, was charmed by its voice, and never looked back (probably just a stiff neck….). I don’t remember why I started playing hammered dulcimer but it sometimes drives me a little nuts, especially after getting bifocals. I also really enjoy teaching everything I know (we’re talking dulcimers here), with great enthusiasm for the instruments and my students, who, if they stick with it long enough, eventually become my friends.The truth is I wouldn’t have picked up an instrument at all but for the fact that I really like to sing. It seems to be something I have always done, instinctively, for myself, for the sheer joy of it. Somewhere along the line I realized that people were listening, and that it mattered to me that they were listening, and that we all were enjoying the exchange, making it exciting, communal. So while I still sing for myself, I am very aware that I am communicating with others.

I think the voice is the most personal of instruments, perhaps because we all have one and it is so emotionally pliable. I can’t imagine not singing. It is a very special privilege to share this kind of intimacy. It has made all the difference.