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This year we're trying something different. We're suggesting a 'Beginner Track' series of classes. You are free to take any classes you wish. But these classes are designed specifically for beginners. You are invited to contact the instructors with any questions/concerns you might have prior to the festival.


If you have never been to a festival before it's important to know that classes are usually filled with people of different proficiency levels. So even though I might be the "Advanced" player in my group at home, in reality I could be more of an "Intermediate" player. All that to say that in each class the objective is learning - NOT performing! The challenges we face are also the tools that move us forward. So, do not be afraid! Enjoy the experience and just have fun!

Mountain Dulcimer Beginners

Session 1 - Classic Hymns for Beginners (Beginner) - JOE COLLINS

Even as beginners, we can play some great, old hymns on the mountain dulcimer. In this class, we’ll play some by Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, and plenty others while talking about effective ways to play these hymns in church and other settings.

Session 2 - Get off on the wrong foot — Beginners - BUTCH ROSS

There are wonderful tried-and-true methods of learning the dulcimer that many great instructors are teaching in person and online… Well, we ain’t gonna do NONE of them. This is a decidedly non-traditional approach to getting started on dulcimer OR a just great way to supplement what you already know.

Session 3 - Basic Fiddle Tunes (Beginner) - JIM MILLER

Easy jam tunes that are commonly played at most jams. Includes TAB and chords.

Session 4 - Americana Music - Songs of Stephen Foster, Appalachian Songs and Hymns (Advanced Beginner) - SUSAN TRUMP

Let's learn a few songs from one of our most famous composers and those anonymous musicians who gave us the wonderful body of music we call American music. DAD tuning.

Hammered Dulcimer Beginners

Session 1 - Unlocking Your Dulcimer (New Beginner) - RICK THUM

You will learn the basics needed to start playing your dulcimer.  You do not need to read music.  I will show you the tricks to make learning a song easier and your first embellishments. You will understand how your instrument works and will be able to make it sound like what made you want to play it. Come get started and more.

Session 2 - Hammered Dulcimer Road Map (Beginner) - JIM MILLER

An introduction to the layout of the hammered dulcimer. Covers major and minor scales and chords. Includes hammer patterns for practicing both scales and chords.

Session 3 - Simple Hymns for Hammered Dulcimer (Advanced Beginner and Up) - MARY LYNN


Students frequently ask me for hymn arrangements to play in church and/or nursing homes. We will learn simple arrangements written by Mary Lynn Michal for well-loved hymns, including many arranging concepts that you can apply to other tunes to make your own arrangements. As promised last year, we will learn "For the Beauty of the Earth" and others. 

Session 4 - Songwriting 101: The Basics. (Novice and above) - JOE COLLINS

Ever wondered how people go about writing wonderful songs? This class will help you write your own and/or improve the ones you have already started. Joe will be sharing tools and processes he uses that you can adapt to your own musical and lyrical creativity. You do not have to be a great dulcimer player to take this workshop, but a proficiency on any instrument would be helpful.

Things to Bring

  • Your instrument

  • A music stand

  • A strap if you use one

  • A tuner

  • Two or three picks (at least one) [Mountain Dulcimer]

  • Hammers [Hammered Dulcimer]

  • A pencil

  • A small notebook if you want

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