Hammered Dulcimer Workshops for 2018

A Zillion Songs, Easily - Sam Edelston (BEG) - Sat 3:15

You don’t need to master fancy melodies in order to play along with songs. You’ll learn easy things you can do with most kinds of songs, so you can participate with others or have fun by yourself – since the more you play, the better you’ll get.


Adding Ornaments - Deb Justice (MID) - Sat 3:15

Can you play the melody line of tunes you like, but are stuck taking them farther? Come learn some fun ornaments and practice putting them into tunes that you already know. Trills, rolls … Woohoo!!


Advanced Tunes - Marina Albero (ADV) - Sat 11:30

Our focus here will be on rhythm. We'll explore the richness of the popular music with uneven melodies (odd meters) that sound organic around Europe and the Mediterranean Coast. For example, perhaps a 9/8 tune that would be counted as 2-2-2-3 (rather than a 3-3-3 slip jig). And some chord progressions (minor Blues) as improvisation practice with different grooves.


African Music for Hammered Dulcimer - Bill Ruyle (MID-ADV) - Fri 3:30

We will be learning some basic parts and variations for the Zimbabwean mbira piece "Nhemamusasa." Easy, soothing, beautiful.


Chord Progressions - Deb Justice (MID) - Sat 11:30

The basics of chord progressions are so easy on the dulcimer! Learn these basic patterns and a few connector moves. By the end of class, we'll apply what we've learned to have you playing some old classics like Blue Moon and This Land Is my Land.


Classical Tune Transcription - Marya Katz (ADV) - Sat 1:45

While it is not possible (or practical) to transcribe orchestral music to the hammered dulcimer, it IS permissible to take some of the other genres of the music of the masters and perform it with grace and beauty.  Participants will learn what types of music to look for, and how to adapt it to their hammered dulcimer repertoire.


Fit for the Fiddler - Jon Weinberg (BEG) - Sat 1:45

An easy to learn and use set of chord patterns that will have you playing chord backup without having to first learn chord theory. Is especially useful for playing backup with other instruments at dances and jams, these chord patterns can also be used for arranging slower pieces.


Fundamentals - Marina Albero (MID) - Sat 1:45

We’ll talk about four basic elements: (1) Tuning. (2) Hammering technique -- percussion rudiments adapted to the practical playing to Identifying the melodies we can find in them. Bouncing, hand-to-hand, flam, roll, etc. (3) Melody and harmony (interpretation) – utilizing the natural setup of the instrument to play the melodies, arpeggios, ornamentation and harmonization in a tune. (4) Improvisation and creation – repeating and experimenting with exercises that will lead to variations, and eventually to improvise or create a melody out of them.


Hammered Dulcimer 101 - Marya Katz (BEG) - Sat 10:00

Welcome to the hammered dulcimer! We’ll learn our way around by playing rhythms and nursery rhymes, explore the mysteries of tuning all those strings, find how it feels to produce a clear tone, and learn a simple tune. It would be helpful to be able to read music, but is not necessary. A recording device is also recommended. All handouts will be supplied.


Hammered Dulcimer 102 - Cliff Cole (BEG) - Sat 11:30

We will build on some of the concepts learned in HD 101. We’ll explore different ways of playing scales and chords using some common patterns inherent to the hammered dulcimer’s layout. You’ll learn how to better utilize notes that occur in multiple places on the instrument, to make hammering patterns easier and smoother to play.


 Hand Separation for Advanced Players - Deb Justice (ADV) 

Rub tummy, pat head...your dulcimer playing can become more complex and nuanced the better you can use you hands independently. We'll start with a few basic drills you can take home to practice and then work on an arrangement of Simon and Garfunkle's Scarborough Fair. - Sat 10:00


Improvisation - Marina Albero (ADV) - Sat 3:15

Discover how to make a path from a piece’s written melody to your own improvised variations. We’ll work with assorted musical tools and techniques, and we’ll improvise over different chord progressions and grooves.


Learning Tunes Faster - Jon Weinberg  (MID) - Sat 10:00

Techniques to improve learning new tunes on the Hammered Dulcimer, primarily from written music. Includes how to read written music, how to determine which hand to use for which notes, and shortcuts for translating notes from the musical staff to the dulcimer. Helpful for players who don't read music well or at all, and players who feel they have difficulty learning new tunes from written music.


From Major to Minor - Cliff Cole MID - Fri 4:45

It’s fun to take a common song that is in a major key and change it to a minor key. For example, turning is the reel, "Whiskey Before Breakfast," into "Whiskey Sour." This is by popular request – several attendees asked for this workshop after the tune was performed last year. We’ll start with “Whiskey” and move on to other good stuff. (It would be helpful to know “Whiskey Before Breakfast” in advance.)


Persian Pop Music - Bill Ruyle (ADV) - Fri 4:45

We will be learning the melody of a Persian song called "Mehr Va Vafa." Rhythmically interesting, and in what we would call the Phrygian mode, which isn’t often used in western music.


Questions, Answers & Extra Help - Rich Carty - Sat 4:30

If you have questions about anything you learned at the festival, or just want some extra enrichment, come on in. No appointment necessary.


Setup, Tuning, and Other Essentials - Cliff Cole ALL - Fri 3:30

We will explore all the things you need to know for proper care and feeding of your hammered dulcimer. We’ll start with tuning, tips on how to keep it in tune; discuss hammers and other ways to make sounds; discuss controversial topics like the angle of play, sitting versus standing, etc. We’ll also talk about practicing better; and if there is interest, we’ll even go over changing a string.


Where's That Note? - Marya Katz (BEG) - Fri 4:45

Time to throw away those "cheater strips" of letter-names beside your HD bridges, and play some note-finding games to really learn where the notes are located on your instrument. Your previously-crossed eyes will thank you!  


Yang Qin and Chinese Music - Shirley Wong (MID-ADV) - Sat 4:30

The yang qin is a hammered dulcimer that branched into China hundreds of years ago via the Silk Road. If you’ve seen a yang qin, you’ve probably noticed that it has more bridges than an American hammered dulcimer, but how do you make sense out of its layout? What different techniques and sounds that are possible with the long, thin bamboo hammers? What is Chinese music, and what are the stories behind the songs, the rhythms, and even the notes? All this, plus we’ll play some Chinese music.


Mountain Dulcimer Workshops for 2018

1-3-5 Tuning - Rob Brereton (ADV) - Sat 10:00

Rob has been a pioneer in the world of alternate dulcimer tunings since the 1980’s. The 1-3-5 tuning is a fully chromatic dulcimer tuning on a standard dulcimer. Learn how this tuning works as we arrange a chromatic piece during this class. You must have a working knowledge of reading music.


Bread & Butter Jam Tunes - Ellen Pratt (BEG) - Sat 3:15

Are you a beginning dulcimer player who would love to join in a jam with others but you don’t know any songs? If so, this class is for you. Ellen will teach you several common jam tunes (the “bread and butter” of jams) using basic tab and easy chords. You will learn to play each song using whichever method suits you, and then you can join in a jam!


Chord Basics - Rudy Gabrielson (BEG) - Fri 4:45

Basic Chords will show you three or four chords that will let you play literally dozens of songs, with little or no experience, and no tablature required.  If you are new to Dulcimer, this workshop is a great way to jump the learning curve and start playing and singing songs.  Song sheets provided.


Chord-Melody Style - Carol Walker (ADV) - Sat 3:15

Overcome the challenges of playing both the melody and accompaniment on a 3-string, diatonically-fretted dulcimer!  We’ll explore some unusual chord shapes, alternate tunings, arduous chord progressions, capo placement, RH fretting, and string bending!  (We’ll also discuss the use of “extra” frets -- the 0½ and 1½, but you do not need to have these extra frets for this workshop.)  (DAD tuning & others, capo.)


Ensembles with Classical Music - Ellen Pratt (ADV) - Sat 1:45

Have you ever wanted to play in an ensemble group? Are you already experienced at it? This class will provide the experience of playing multiple parts, listening to others while you also play, and putting it together to create a beautiful piece. We will try out pieces from Grosjean, Bach and Dowland (maybe others if time permits).


Demystifying Frets - Dwain Wilder (ALL) - Sat 3:15

Useful information and helpful advice for people who build, fix, or play mountain dulcimers. A fret is much more than just a piece of metal stuck into a piece of wood.


Fancy Strums – Rob Brereton (NOV) - Sat 11:30

Learn how to develop strums beyond the typical strums of the dulcimer. This class will focus on strumming chords for traditional tunes from the Caribbean, including reggae. We will also review the common chord shapes in DAd tuning.


How to Play Smoothly - Nina Zanetti (NOV-INT) - Fri 3:30

Smooth, connected fingering is key to playing slow tunes beautifully and expressively.  We will use learn some lovely tunes to provide examples for learning how to make your dulcimer “sing” in a smooth, lyrical style.  We’ll work on tools that promote smooth playing, such as use of slides, playing melody across the strings, chord fingerings, and avoiding the “hiccup pickup”.


Intro to Fingerpicking - Thomasina Levy (NOV) - Sat 10:00

Put down that pick and let your fingers do the walking. Some basic finger placement and easy, basic finger picking songs will be introduced. Come tuned to DAd.


Let's Be the Band - Rudy Gabrielson (All Inst, All levels) - Fri 3:30

Be part of a pickup Band! First, we'll learn a couple of songs. Then come up with an arrangement to make things interesting … looking for possibilities for solos, harmonies instrumentals, etc.  


Let's Play Some Duets - Nina Zanetti (NOV-ADV) - Sat 4:30

While some of the other people at the festival are jamming ferociously, let’s do our communal playing more quietly, with a sense of order, and some nice counterpoint and harmony.


Melody in the Middle - Jeff Berman (INT) - Sat 11:30

Using the middle string for playing melodies allows you to lead with your index finger, instead of thumb, as an option for adding expression to your lines through the use of vibrato and string bending, as well as hammer-ons and pull-offs. This also creates additional options for chord voicings and harmonizing melodic lines with double-stops.


Modes & Tunings - Sally Rogers (NOV-ADV) - Fri 4:45

Especially on an instrument that’s based on diatonic scales (do-re-mi, etc.), the mode that a song is in makes a big difference in how you play it. In this hour, you’ll gain an understanding of dulcimer music theory and relate it to the songs you play.


Mountain Dulcimer 101 - Carol Walker - Sat 10:00

Even if you've never played a dulcimer before, you'll be playing a tune after just five -- yes, that's 5! -- minutes of instruction.  We'll start with all the basic elements (comfortable playing position, tuning the instrument, playing simple chords, reading tablature, and simple strumming techniques) to get you off to a flying start! DAD tuning.


Mountain Dulcimer 102 - Brett Ridgeway - Sat 11:30

A continuation of the previous session, helping you to learn your way around the instrument, become more comfortable it, and develop more basic skills for both your right and left hands. DAD tuning.

Nothing to See Here, Folks! - Brett Ridgeway (ALL) - Sat 10:00

As we learn to play an instrument, we tend to overly rely on our eyes and essentially “get in our own way” as we struggle to improve our playing. Throughout this unconventional (and fun!) workshop, completely blindfolded, you will learn an entirely different method of visualizing and playing your instrument strictly through tactile experiences and sensations. This novel approach to playing will help you understand the relationship between your body and the “feel” of the instrument – helping you build your muscle memory and your ability to play instinctively.


Pick & Noter - George Haggerty (BEG) - Sat 1:45

Learn the traditional way of playing Appalachian dulcimer tunes, using a noter stick. (After learning this, you may want to stick with the dulcimer forever.)


Pizzazz for Accompanying Singing - Sally Rogers (NOV-ADV) - Fri 3:30

Suggestions on how your dulcimer can make your songs shine. Techniques such as ostinatos, and harmonies across the strings.


Playing Four Equidistant Strings - Thomasina Levy (INT-ADV) - Sat 1:45

In this workshop, students will be introduced to playing and chording a 4-string mountain dulcimer. Come tuned to DAdd and bring a capo.


Practical Practicing - Nina Zanetti (INT) - Sat 3:15

Ever wish you could master that challenging tune or just progress to a more advanced level of playing, but practicing seems boring and ineffective? We’ll explore some effective ways of practicing, including strategies for working through tricky passages, tips on smoothing out rough transitions, approaches for increasing speed, and more.  We can also spend some time discussing the difference between good and not-so-good practice habits.


Questions, Answers, & Extra Help - Ron Ewing - Sat 4:30

If you have questions about anything you learned at the festival, or just want some extra enrichment, come on in. No appointment necessary.


Songs You Already Know - Carol Walker (BEG) - Fri 3:30

We'll take a journey back through those timeless "Americana" folk songs that you still remember from many years ago -- the songs that became a part of your musical DNA.  In this workshop, by reading tabbed music and also playing by ear, you'll learn how to play many of those familiar favorites on your dulcimer.   


Stealing the Covers - Dian Killian (INT-ADV) - Fri 4:45

Covers aren't just for guitarists!  Come learn different ways of learning covers for mountain dulcimer, arranging, navigating missing notes (if you're playing diatonic), and how to find the best key (important if you're singing and want to sound your best). We'll also learn one or two covers during the workshop. Genres addressed will include Americana/country, folk, Irish traditional and punk/rock.


The Melody of Rhythm - Jeff Berman (NOV-INT) - Sat 1:45

What distinguishes one good player from another? RHYTHM!!! It’s their clear sense of phrasing, timing, articulation, interpretation, and “groove” that helps us to express the Melody of Rhythm. We will explore how these elements contribute to creating a strong and confident rhythmic concept, and how we can develop these skills for individual and group application.


To DAA and Beyond! - Jeff Berman (NOV-INT) - Sat 3:15

We will explore the possibilities for playing major and minor chords, in several different inversions, as accompaniment to melodic playing or vocals. We will dig into harmony (the structure of chords), voice leading (moving from one chord to another) and applying these ideas to familiar songs and tunes. It will be helpful to have your instrument strung to accommodate these pitches. Bring a capo for additional chord possibilities.


Understanding the Capo - Thomasina (INT-ADV) - Fri 4:45

Learning how to use a capo with expand your playing in quantum leaps. We will play the same song in different keys. Some basic music theory will be discussed. Tune to DAd and bring a capo.   


Vocal Technique for MD Players - Dian Killian (INT-ADV) - Sat 11:30

In this workshop, you’ll learn some basic warm up techniques, ways to strengthen your vocal cords and give them more flexibility, and how to work on your songs to improve your vocal presentation. In addition, we’ll talk about finding the right key for a particular song (for you voice), and using a capo to get the most out of your singing. All voices are welcome here -- even those who believe they can't sing! 

Other Workshops for 2018

Civil War Songs - Nina Zanetti (ALL) - Fri 4:45

Enjoy tunes from the 1800’s that our soldiers in the Civil War wrote or sang, as well as other popular songs of the time.


Clawhammer Banjo - Susan Powers - Sat 11:30

Learn basic clawhammer technique (if you don’t know it already), and how to apply it to different styles of music such as old-timey, Celtic, and even blues.


Fast Jam - Jon Weinberg - Sat 4:30

Hold onto your hats, and let’s have some high-performance musical fun!


Folk/Rock Jam - Rudy Gabrielson - Sat 4:30

Bring your instrument, your voice, your smile. Lyrics and lead sheets provided. Let's jam! Yes, you can.


Intro to Chinese Music - Mimi Jong INT-ADV - Sat 1:45


Bring your instruments, learn a few Chinese tunes by ear, and improvise on them.


Overcoming the Fear - Brett Ridgeway (ALL) - Sat 3:15

Afraid to play in public? Terrified to Jam? Does the thought pf perform in front of people make your heart pound and hands shake?? I am the poster child of fear in public performance. The shakes, nausea, nerves…I get it. But I learned how to break the debilitating, paralyzing grip of fear and I guarantee that if you apply these simple principles and ideas, you can too!


Pentatonics - Mimi Jong - Sat 11:30

We will explore different 5-note (pentatonic) scales, and the thread that connects the music of the east and west, through folk, blues, rock, and popular songs.


Round Robin - Don Moore - Sat 4:30

Bring an instrument, your voice, and a song or two to share, and let’s have fun together.


Stephen Foster Now - Susan Powers (ALL) - Sat 10:00

Come take a fresh look at some of Foster’s most beloved tunes. These enduring melodies and themes of love and loss continue to inspire and to welcome new interpretations. Sue Powers and Jeff Berman have taken their folk-and-jazz approach right to Stephen Foster’s own birthplace, in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, at the annual Doo Dah Days Festival.