How to Find the Minor 2 (ii) Chord in a Major Scale – Video Lesson

During this challenging time of life I’ve been inspired by the Marquette Makers’ Project to keep busy with some creative work.

I’ve made a lot of lessons like this, but this is the first one where I used a virtual whiteboard and recorded my voice along with the drawings I made on the whiteboard.  It turned out pretty well and I learned a lot!

In the video I mention two songs that use the minor 2 chord.  Here are lyric and chord sheet for those to songs

Old Devil Time by Pete Seeger

Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen

Here is the weekly schedule for Marquette Makers’ Projects during the physical separation from our communities.  Cool stuff.  I’m excited to see what people are working on.

Recap: Family Harmonica at Winter Roots Festival

Wow! What great musicianship at the packed house for Family Harmonica Workshop at Saturday’s 2020 Winter Roots Folk Festival! Most of the attendees had never played the harmonica before and they plowed through ALL of my teaching material for the day. Three of the songs were the classics – Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Boil ’em Cabbage Down. The last was an original song by me called Juice Box (which you can learn to play here.) We even had some juice boxes at the end to celebrate our music.
Looking forward to another opportunity to play together!

Photos and video by Susan Rutter Divine, Katy Divine and Sue Demel.


Snowy Day – A Song for Young Musicians – Video and Zine

Recently, it was a very snowy morning here in Marquette, MI.  I was waiting for some of my students to have their lesson and I wrote this song.

I made a video of me playing the song, and there is a .pdf of a zine that you can print out to help you learn it.  Print it double-sided and then follow the instructions to make the zine!

The zine contains the lyrics, standard music notation, and specialized notation for harmonica, guitar and ‘ukulele. 

I was wondering, what would happen if we changed the lyrics from “snowy day” to “cloudy day” or “sunny day”.  What changes would you make in the rest of the lyrics so that the song is about your day?

Download the Snowy Day Zine here. Be sure to print it double sided and then watch the short video below to learn how to fold your zine.

Thanks to Ore Dock Brewing Company for letting me use their beautiful community space to make some music.

Watch this short video to learn how to fold your zine.

Tackling Marquette Mountain – First Snowboarding Lesson

Life has been so full of upheaval that I feel like I haven’t really been able to take advantage of the natural wonders I’m living among. I made an “artist date” with myself today to go snowboarding at Marquette Mountain. I’m REALLY missing skateboarding, and I figured that this might quench some of that thirst. It didn’t 🤷🏼‍♂️, but I still enjoyed the experience.

I am super sore! The first pic is from the top of Tyro, the “bunny hill”, which kicked my butt all day. The clouds are the beautiful scenery you see when your backside smashes into snow that a moderate speed. It’s just that the snow is harder than it appears. Ouch! I’m going to feel that one for at least a week.

Snowboarding is a more “all-around” physical activity than I had anticipated. It’s different than skiing because there are no poles to aid with keeping still and standing up after getting strapped into the board. My arms are exhausted from picking myself up from the ground, and my neck is sore from the two times I fell trying to figure out how to use the tow-rope. Hilarious!

The video is at the end of a lesson that I took. It’s supposed to be an “S” curve, but dang, that is difficult to do. I did it earlier, I just need to practice.

Then, I went to the bar for an après-snowboard of Two-Hearted Ale, which is on tap everywhere here. You could say I was relaxing, but really I was so exhausted I could barely get the money out of my wallet to pay for the beer. I could not move at all. You’ll notice . . . no coaster (why?).

No photo of the bottle of ibuprofen I bought, or the salt water bath I took the second I got home.


Stuff I Keep Track Of – Totals for 2019

I keep track of several things during the year.  Here are the final numbers.  A brief description of what these numbers mean and their relationship to last year follows.

The Chalkboards

I keep track of this stuff on a chalkboard.  In the past, I’ve used a HUGE chalkboard which took up most of one of the walls in my apartment.  Now, I’m couch surfing for the foreseeable future, so I’m using a much, much smaller chalkboard.

About 50% of what is on the board is inspired by Being Boss and they’re Chalk Board Method and podcast.  Check it out.

The Numbers

Drawing Days* = 303 days = 83% of possible days (a 32% increase from last year)

Workouts** = 170 days = 47% of possible days (4% decrease from last year)

Skateboarding Days*** = 56 = 15% of possible days (First year of data collection)

Some Background

Drawing Days – This was a HUGE increase over last year.  The feels great.  In particular, I was pushed forward in the last quarter of the month by a former student who had a concert when he reached 1,000 straight days of practicing his violin.  I’m currently on 74 straight days of drawing.

Workouts – This is the first thing I ever kept track of my workouts since November of 2014.  This year was really tough for two reasons; 1) I quit my job and moved out of state and 2) I broke my elbow in a skateboard accident.

The job quitting and moving things threw me off my gameplan in a major way that I was not expecting.  I just didn’t have the mental energy to get myself to the gym.  There was one month were I didn’t go to the gym almost at all.  But, I needed to find a way to steady my mind.  So, I started counting meditation sessions as “workouts.”  This is not a solution that I want to maintain for the long-term, but in the short term, I’m satisfied with this solution.

Another thing that made the workouts category interesting is that I broke my elbow on July 31.  My workouts, which we already in trouble, took a big hit with that.  I did go to physical therapy three times a week and I had about 12 exercises that I needed to do six times a day, so I did count each physical therapy day as a workout and each day I did my elbow exercises as a workout.  That really saved my totals in the fall.

Skateboarding Days – I was already well behind in my skateboarding goals for the year, but the broken elbow REALLY destroyed my yearly total.  I’m only been back on the board 3 times since it happened.

Now that I’ve moved to a part of the country with so much snow (Marquette, MI) I wonder how I can get those numbers back up.  There is a skate park here, but it’s covered by a 1 1/2 feet of snow at the moment and my understanding is that it will stay that way for the next three to four months.  I had an advantage in Chicago in that, while it may have been cold, in February I could usually find a tennis court or stretch of blacktop in Winnemac Park that didn’t have snow or ice on it.  In that way I could skate most of the winter.

Goals for 2020

Drawing Days – I will be very disappointed if I don’t make it 365 days this year.  I have expanded the range of “drawing” a little bit.  I’ve decided to include painting and what I’m going to call “intentional photography”.  That is photos that I take during an intentional trip to make art.  Not photography that I happen to take while I am doing something else.  Those can be art, too, but I want to make a discussion between the two so I don’t get lazy.

Goal – 365 days

Worksout Days – I’m not sure what to do about this yet.  I no longer belong to a gym, which is disappointing, but I’m still too unsettled by this move.  Hoping to get back to a gym, soon.  I don’t NEED a gym, but I find it very helpful to stay motivated.

Goal – 365 workouts with 100 of them needing me to go to a gym or some similar place

Stakeboarding Days – this is trashed right now.  My board is in storage and there is no indoor skateboard less that an 6-hour drive away.  I’m not sure what to do about that.

Goal – 24 days?  That’s one day a week, every week during the warm months.  I think that’s a good goal.  


* Drawing day = any day that I draw.  It can be for as little as 30 seconds.

** Workout day = any day that I workout.  It can include meditation, physical therapy or yoga.  As little as 30 counts

***Skateboarding = any day that I get on the board.  Time at the gym working specifically on balance, on a balance board or the flat part of a half-Bosu Ball counts as a skateboarding day.  In that way, a workout day and a skateboarding day can be the result of the same activity.

Learn to Play Auld Lang Syne for the New Year!

Here is a copy of my newest zine, How to Play Auld Lang Syne on Your Harmonica!  Auld Lang Syne is one of my very favorite songs.  I actually wish that it was socially acceptable to play it all year long.

If you’d like to play it with me, I sure would love that. Print it double-sided so you can make this little booklet.

And, here’s a video I made this morning during a snowstorm here in my new home, Marquette, MI.  That’s the ore dock that I recently wrote about on my instagram.

I love Auld Lang Syne for many reasons, including it’s about spending time with friends, raising a glass to our good health, looking back on the year gone by, and it’s Scottish origin always makes me think of my grandpa, who was born in Scotland.

If you learn to play it, please let me know!  And, drop me a note if you have any questions.

Auld Lang Syne is a great song to share with friend and family.  I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I do.

Happy new year!