August Dulcimer Daze Workshops

Dulcimers, Dulcimers, Dulcimers!
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2017 Workshops


** Several workshops are now full - see below!

Beginner New player, no previous playing experience required.
Novice Familiar with tuning, knows some basic strumming, can play several songs with ease.
After Novice After Novice player but not quite Intermediate.
Intermediate Knows basic chording, has a growing repertoire in a variety of styles, jams some.
Advanced The accomplished musician, transcribes music, perhaps writes own.

- By featured and guest artists on their playing and singing styles and techniques. All levels of instruction will be provided from beginning to advanced.


See the schedule page for workshop times.

Beginner Workshops

#1   Three Easy Tunes (BEGINNER) - George Haggerty: No experience necessary! George will teach you three easy tunes to get you on your way to a great dulcimer festival weekend. Even if you've never touched a dulcimer before, George will give you the skills to begin playing some exciting pieces. Come tuned to DAA, but if you don't know how, this class will get you tuned up, too. Friday 3:30-4:30

#2 - Let's Get Started I (BEGINNER) - George Haggerty: This class is intended for beginner players who have never played, or have just started playing. George will start you off with all the basics. You will learn how to hold your dulcimer, hold the pick, understand dulcimer tab, and begin playing. DAA Saturday 9:45 - 10:45

#3 - Let's Get Started II (BEGINNER) - Bonnie Leigh: Bonnie will continue where George left off to give beginners the solid foundation of skills they need to continue to grow as musicians. You will take the next step with strumming, working on 3 strumming patterns with 3 different songs. DAA Saturday 11:00 - 12:00

#4 - I'm Beginning to Play (BEGINNER) - Bonnie Leigh: Let's take some familiar tunes and just play. This is a chance to take what you've learned so far and have fun with it. Bonnie will also teach you how to retune to DAD. DAA to DAD Saturday 3:00 - 4:00

#5 - Basic Chords for Beginners (BEGINNER) - Lori Keddell: Learn simple chords for accompanying tunes in DAD tuning, and strum along with some old favorites. Saturday 4:15 - 5:15

#6 - Using a Capo for the First Time (BEGINNER) - George Haggerty: Did you know that a capo can be used for more than changing the key you are playing in? George will go over how to use a capo for several applications. Beginner and up Sunday 10:30 - 11:30

#7 - Modes for Dulcimer (ADVANCED BEGINNER & UP) - Lori Keddell: Have you heard dulcimer players mention modes, but you have no idea what they are talking about? Well, here is a workshop that will explain what a mode is, and introduce you to the modes you are likely to encounter in dulcimer music. You will learn where you can find them on your dulcimer, how tunings are related to modes, and how to recognize what mode a song is in (most of the time). Four tunes will help to demonstrate the differences. Start in DAD. Sunday 11:45 -12:45

Novice Workshops

#8 - Play Without Tab?!?! (NOVICE) - Norm Williams: Learn how to break down a tune/song in its component parts in order to play it "by ear" without the aid of tab or sheet music. We'll take some common tunes and learn to play them by ear and then, well...we'll jam! Come tuned in DAD. Friday 3:30-4:30

#9 - DGD Songs (NOVICE) - Ellen Pratt: Are you interested in trying out a different key on the dulcimer? This class will have you tuning into the key of G (and back to DAD at the end) for some fun Old Timey Appalachian type songs. Some possible songs will be Pigs in the Pen, Crows in the Corn; Squirrel Got Away Again; Up in the Woods Where the Stream Runs Clear; Hayfork in the Field; Tom Doolah; Angeline the Baker. Come tuned to DGD (or DAD and I'll get you there). Saturday 9:45 - 10:45

#10 - Wayfaring Waltzes (NOVICE) - Norm Williams: In this workshop we'll learn some of my favorite waltzes that my band, Wayfarers & Company play including Maiden Creek Waltz, My Own House, and Shepherd's Wife's Waltz. Come tuned to DAD and bring a Capo (re-tuning to DGD may also occur). Saturday 3:00 - 4:00

#11 - Dancing Fingers (NOVICE) - Kristin Gitler: Let's get those fingers dancing! We'll learn how to do hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides, and where and when to add them to a tune. Come tuned to DAD. Sunday 11:45 -12:45

After Novice Workshops

#12 - Timing is Everything (AFTER NOVICE) - Pam Weeks: A class to exercise our "rhythm muscles". We'll be clapping, tapping, stomping, strumming, drumming, creating polyrhythm with the whole class, learning how to entrain our bodies with the beat of the music. We will learn to read rhythmic notation, how to count accurately using subdivision, and how to translate that to our dulcimers. A great work-out for your strumming hand! All levels, probably most valuable for Beginning through Intermediate. DAD tuning Saturday 11:00 - 12:00

#13 - Flat Picking Basics (AFTER NOVICE) - Kristin Gitler: Flat-picking is one alternative to strumming and droning, particularly when playing the melody across the strings . We'll go over basic right hand technique, discuss and try out different picks, then practice what we've learned on a few fun fiddle tunes. DAD Saturday 4:15 - 5:15

#14 - Shaker Tunes (AFTER NOVICE) - Bonnie Leigh: Learn some history of the Shakers and their music, while learning 3 beautiful Shaker songs. DAD tuning Sunday 10:30 - 11:30

Intermediate Workshops

#15 - Songs of Margaret McArthur (INTERMEDIATE) - Susan Trump: Margaret was my mentor and the first person I ever heard play fiddle tunes on the dulcimer. She was also a songwriter, collector and all around neat lady. I'd like to keep her music alive by teaching several of her songs. DAD tuning Friday 3:30-4:30

#16 - Chord Cadences (INTERMEDIATE) - Sam Edelston: The most useful thing I got out of 5 years of piano lessons was the concept of chord progressions, or cadences. By the time I started playing guitar (and other instruments), this had taught me to understand the structure of songs. It's a powerful tool for understanding songs on the dulcimer. DAD tuning Saturday 9:45 - 10:45

CLASS FULL! #17 - Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Cry (INTERMEDIATE) - Bing Futch: It takes more than just melody and chords to make a great tune. By playing expressively, filling each strum, pluck, pick and arpeggio with feeling, you can make music with emotional impact; the very best kind. We'll look at things technically, using hammer-ons and pull-offs, vibrato, bends, chops and other tricks to ape the human voice. Then, we'll sing through the instrument. Sound like fun? We have a blast in this workshop! DAD tuning Saturday 11:00 - 12:00

CLASS FULL! #18 - Songs In the Style of Joni and Cyndi (INTERMEDIATE) - Carolyn Brodginski: Joni Mitchell was one of the first "popular" musicians to play the dulcimer live in concerts as early as the late 1960s, and on vinyl with the release of her "Blue" album in 1971, yet her tunings and tabs are still a bit of a mystery. 80's pop star Cindy Lauper is a long time dulcimer player, and former student of David Schnaufer. The old roots songs are great, but here is a chance to update your repertoire with a couple of songs in the style of Joni and Cyndi. DAD tuning, but plan on retuning to DAA or CGG for one song. No capo required. Saturday 3:00 - 4:00

CLASS FULL! #19 - Developing Your Hand Skills (INTERMEDIATE) - Norm Williams: Picking patterns, Arpeggios & triplets — patterns and repetitions for your right and left hands that will make you a better player. DAD tuning Saturday 4:15 - 5:15

CLASS FULL! #20 - Swedish Music (INTERMEDIATE) - Pam Weeks: In this workshop we learn the difference between hambos, schottisches, polskas, and waltzes (and play some!) and discuss a little of the historical background of this enchanting and passionate music. DAD tuning Sunday 10:30 - 11:30

#21 - Early Music and Gorgeous Tunes in E Minor (INTERMEDIATE) - Susan Trump: This tuning is great for lute tunes, international tunes and lovely airs. It gives the dulcimer a wonderful medieval sound. DAD Tuning and a capo. Sunday 11:45 -12:45

#22 - Picking Apart a Difficult Tune (INTERMEDIATE) - Kristin Gitler: You've found a tune that you'd like to learn, but are finding it a little more daunting than you had imagined. We'll learn how to pick apart a tune that seems too difficult, whether it's timing, notes, structure, or something else, and discuss strategies to bring it to a manageable level. We'll have materials to work from, but students are welcome to bring a piece that they are working on that we can discuss. DAD Saturday 3:00 - 4:00

Advanced Workshops

#23 - Cajun Music (ADVANCED) - Pam Weeks: In 1755 French people were expelled from Canada when the English gained control of Quebec and New Brunswick. Those who settled in Louisiana are the source of the vibrant, passionate Cajun music of today. We'll learn Cajun two-step and/or waltz, discuss the music and major players of it, and learn a little about the French culture it came from. DAD tuning Saturday 9:45 - 10:45

#24 - Advanced Waltzes and Other Beauties (ADVANCED) - Susan Trump: Ready to play some melt your heart tunes to challenge and soothe you? These could be your new "favorites." DAD tuning Saturday 11:00 - 12:00

(#25, 26 and 28 are described in the Master Class section, below)

#27 - Fifty Shades of Play (ADVANCED) - Sam Edelston: This workshop is about how you can put more variety and interest into your playing. There are so many ways to do that — and as the saying goes, "I've got a little list." We won't attempt to cover all 50, of course. (Actually, I've got just under 70.) But we'll hit some of the highlights and address any questions you may have. DAD tuning Saturday 3:00 - 4:00

#29 - Three Irish Ballads (ADVANCED) - Bing Futch: Learn three lovely Irish ballads while incorporating playing techniques such as slides, turnarounds, hammer-ons, pull-offs and vibrato. We'll also get into the dynamics of rhythm and volume to bring tremendous emotional power to tunes like "Danny Boy." DAD tuning Sunday 11:45 -12:45

#32 - 50 Shades Deeper (ADVANCED) - Sam Edelston: Some of the techniques, or "shades of play," that we didn't have time for in the previous hour. Neither session depends on the other, so you don't need the first class to understand the second. DAD tuning Saturday 4:15 - 5:15

Master Class taught by Nina Zanetti

The three sessions (class numbers 25, 26, 28) in this Master Class will focus on helping Advanced Players refine their skills and personalize their playing. Although each session will emphasize a different aspect of advanced musicianship, participants are encouraged to attend all three sessions to get the most benefit.

#25 - Making Your Dulcimer Sing (part 1 of a 3-part Master Class; limited enrollment- choose classes #25, 26, 28) - Nina Zanetti: Evoking a connected (legato), lyrical "voice" from our fretted, plucked instrument is actually quite challenging. We'll work on advanced techniques that promote smooth playing, such as use of slides, playing melody across the strings, chord fingerings, finger substitutions, and avoiding the "hiccup pickup". We'll also explore the concept of "phrasing": how to intuitively determine where to "breathe" within a tune, and how to create both smooth phrases and "breathing points" in our playing. DAD tuning Saturday 9:45 - 10:45

#26 - Adding Pizzaz to Your Playing (Part 2 of a 3-part Master Class; limited enrollment - choose classes #25, 26, 28) - Nina Zanetti: This session will emphasize both right-hand and left-hand techniques that can add a bit of sparkle, both to fast and slow pieces. Techniques will include bends, harmonics ("natural" and "artificial"), vibrato, tremolo, and muting. We'll explore practice techniques for smoothing out tricky passages, building speed, or navigating the complexities of arrangements with moving inner parts. Examples will be provided, but feel free to bring along your own pieces, too, if you'd like to discuss specific types of technical problems. DAD tuning Saturday 11:00 - 12:00

#28 - Making a Tune Your Own (Part 3 of a 3-part Master Class; limited enrollment - choose classes #25, 26, 28) - Nina Zanetti: Advanced players need not be bound to the numbers or notes of a tabbed arrangement, but should feel confident about altering arrangements to incorporate their own personal touch. We'll explore ways of doing this by using what's already there (and adding dynamics, phrasing, and varying playing style); by adding embellishments; and by creating variations. Examples will be provided, but participants will also get to try their hand at putting their own personal stamp on a simple arrangement. DAD tuning Sunday 10:30 - 11:30

All Levels/Other Workshops

CLASS FULL! #30 - Mountain Dulcimer Delta Blues (ALL LEVELS) - Bing Futch: 2016 International Blues Challenge Finalist Bing Futch offers up this fun and fascinating class on playing authentic Mississippi Delta Blues on the mountain dulcimer. Three chords and heartbeat rhythms lead to us adding layer upon layer of new elements, all while strumming and playing the blues! Bing won the "Best Guitarist" award in the solo-duo category at the International Blues Challenge while playing the mountain dulcimer! (All Skill Levels) DAD tuning Friday 3:30 - 4:30

#31 - Beginning Banjo (BEGINNER BANJO) - Ellen Pratt: If you have never picked up a banjo before, or if you have one but really haven't played it, this class is for you. We will learn the basic clawhammer frailing technique that is so popular for Old Time songs, chords in the key of D (so you can play with your dulcimer buddies), and learn a few easy songs, and some left hand techniques if we have time. Double C tuning (gCGCD) with a banjo capo, or tune to Double D (aDADE) no capo needed. Saturday 4:15 - 5:15