Classes (2020)

There will be four sessions each day (plus an Early Bird Special). The classes you select will be the classes you attend every day (Sun.-Wed.) at that time. The exception are the Early Bird Specials which are different each day, and Tuesday we have a bonus class. 

7-8 AM (Before Breakfast)


Aaron O'Rourke

Sunday - Travis-style Fingerpicking for Mountain Dulcimer (Nov./Int. & up)

Don't know what Travis-style fingerpicking is? You've probably heard it many times before without realizing. It's a style of playing which involves playing alternating bass notes while playing a melody at the same time. If you didn't know any better, you might hear it and think you're listening to two separate musicians playing a duet. Chet Atkins, Tommy Emmanuel, and countless other fingerstyle guitar players use this technique as the foundation of their sound. In this class, we're going to take this technique and apply it to the mountain dulcimer with a few simple exercises and eventually a fun arrangement of a common dulcimer tune. Bring your dulcimer tuned DAd and a willingness to learn a new fingerpicking technique.

Richard Ash

Monday - Metronome Fun

Practicing with a metronome doesn’t have to be boring. Richard will bring a metronome and amp, so we can all play along, and use the metronome as a group. He’ll point out common tempo mistakes, and show how to use a metronome to unlearn bad habits, and to make you into a more consistent (rhythmically) player.

Jim Miller

Tuesday - Beyond D (Mountain Dulcimer)

This class covers the “whys and ways” of how to play in A and G. Bring a capo and learn “Benton’s Dream” and “Sandy Boys” in A and “Nail That Catfish” and “Shove the Pig’s Foot” in G. Capo required.

Gary Sager

Wednesday - Old-Time Tunes You May Have Heard Of

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Sessions 1 and 2


This is an option for beginner players to focus on developing their technique as beginners, or for other specialized topics. 

See the Bootcamps page for more information.

Laurie Alsobrook


Welcome to the world of the Mountain Dulcimer! You have chosen to begin the exciting journey of learning how to play this lovely instrument... or perhaps you are dusting off the dulcimer that you have not played in years. New or almost new to the dulcimer, this is your class!


Goals for the week are for you to be able to play several simple and familiar dulcimer tunes and to come away with basic mountain dulcimer playing skills that will allow you continue to play, expand on what you have learned, and add to your repertoire for the mountain dulcimer.


Come enjoy learning to play the mountain dulcimer in a relaxed and encouraging environment… enjoy the music and enjoy the fellowship with other dulcimer players!

Mary Lynn van Deventer


This class is designed to launch your playing! We will start from the very beginning and cover everything you need to know as a new player. Nothing is too basic to ask. We will cover hammers, tuning, hammering technique, a review of systems of hammering, various ways to playing scales and arpeggios, "mapping" the instrument to reveal the many patterns that are so integral to playing, an introduction to and application of chord theory, an introduction to backup, an overview of arranging techniques such as two and three note chords, valley rolls and arpeggio fills. We will use a few simple tunes to introduce and apply the concepts. Musicality and phrasing will be emphasized.

Lorinda Jones


“The smallest, cheapest instrument with the biggest impact in your ensemble.” The class you’ve been dreaming about! Take that whistle out of your pocket or bag and start playing! We will start from the beginning (which end goes in your mouth!) and proceed to scales and tunes. In the boot camp you will have the luxury of taking your time, learning to play the notes by music, or by ear, and explore the many ways a whistle can add depth to an ensemble. Whether playing alone, or with others, learn how to adapt melodies, harmonies, drones and variations for the whistle. Some tunes will be presented with optional dulcimer tab so we can practice in an ensemble setting if desired. Come join the band!

Butch Ross & Danny Shepherd


No previous musical knowledge necessary. Learn your first song in 3 minutes or less. You’ll learn to hold, tune, play chords - C, F, C7, Am, G, G7, D7, and others. We’ll spend time working on changing chords smoothly, developing good left-hand technique, playing musically, learn a variety of useful strum patterns, and play lots of songs. You will also learn to read TAB, play in a simple Hawaiian style, and have a lot of fun at the same time.

Judy House


Where Do I Go From Here? (Intermediate and Advanced Levels – Any Folk Instrument)


You’ve taken all the classes, you can play almost anything, and people are always asking you to show them how to play or do something. So, have you thought about taking the next step into the realm of teaching or leading a group?  Perhaps you already do this but have a desire to be better.  If you are curious about how to be an effective teacher with successful students, then this class is waiting for you, no matter what folk instrument you play!


In this week-long comprehensive class, we will cover:

  • The foundations of teaching and learning that all effective teachers know and use

  • The importance of sequential skills and the advantage of organized thoughts

  • How to build up a collection of lessons and materials for success

  • Practice teaching others how you do what you do so well

  • Ideas to promote yourself

This will be a new experience with lots of creativity and fun thrown in. You may want to bring your laptop or tablet along! 

Hope to see you there!

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Sessions 1-4



Don Pedi

Old-Time Songs, Tunes & Playing Techniques (Intermediate)

Old-Time Songs, and Fiddle Tunes for dulcimer. Develop an economy of motion for strumming and noting, while increasing your repertory of traditional mountain music.

Dave Haas

The Art of Playing Slow (Intermediate)

Improve your play of slow songs in a smooth and melodic style. Learn left and right hand techniques which facilitate smooth playing. Learn finger exercises to improve your play. Build your repertoire by incorporating these techniques to popular melodies you already know. DAD

Bing Futch

Key Changes Made Easy! (Intermediate)

Key changes are an exciting element of music and you don’t need a chromatic instrument to make them happen! Taking a simple tune in one key and then switching keys somewhere in the song is a fabulous way of adding depth, complexity and emotion to your playing. We’ll look at the so-called “truck-driver modulation” and the “parallel modulation”, but will focus mainly on the stealthy “pivot chord modulation” for changing keys mid-song. You will need a 1+ fret for this workshop and a capo! 

Sarah Morgan

Playing Melodies All Over the Fretboard (Intermediate-Advanced)

One of the most important and interesting thing you can do to advance your playing and understanding of the dulcimer is to instantly be able to transfer melodies to multiple different locations on the fretboard. We’ll start by mapping out multiple melodic “zones” on the fretboard. Then we’ll take a simple tunes on the melody string and translate it to many other locations. DAD tuning.


TIna Bergmann

Mastering Rolls (Intermediate/Advanced)

Rolling well is a technique that can elevate your playing. We'll look at how rolls function, when to use them, learn exercises to help us gain facility in rolling in either hand, and experiment with using rolls in different ways to enhance music making.

Ruth Smith

Hands That Cooperate (Intermediate)

You don't have to be an advanced player to get your brain and hands working together better and it doesn't have to be a scary skill. We'll work on music that helps us strengthen and gain more control over both dominant and non-dominant hands. We’ll practice hand cooperation exercises and learn some nice tunes to put these skills into practice with the ultimate goal of incorporating these techniques to make more interesting arrangements. 

Matthew Dickerson

Expression Through Chord Selection

Plainly put, if you desire more tension and release in your accompaniment expression, then come learn how to apply the world beyond the 1, 4, and 5 chords.


Jim Miller

Beginning Autoharp

Covers tuning, chords, strum patterns and scales. Several simple tunes are taught as well.



Dave Haas

Past Beginner

Learn how to improve your strum to make your tunes more musical. Learn how to improve your left hand fingering to more your play more smooth and fluid. Learn how to improve your play of both fast and slow tunes. Learn how to use a capo and play embellishments such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and harmonics. DAD.

Don Pedi

Old-Time Songs That Tickle Me (Intermediate)

So many of the old songs have a sense of humor. Enjoy a selection of these songs arranged for dulcimer.

Stephen Seifert

Easy American Pre-Bluegrass Southern Rural Fiddle Tunes (Experienced Beginner)

Improve fundamental dulcimer skills using a bunch of fun and easy fiddle tunes.

Sarah Morgan

Master Class and Sharing Circle All Levels

Interested in a different type of workshop? A master class is a refreshing change of pace. Here’s how it works: come prepared to play one song or tune per day. You’ll each take turns sharing your music and I’ll critique your playing and give my best advice on how to improve the tune or technique. Think about it as lots of mini-private lessons in the same room. If you are new to playing in front of people, this is an encouraging and gentle environment to help shake those nerves. All levels welcome. Limited to 12 students.


Bing Futch

Learning to Play Native American Flute (Beginner-Intermediate)

This beautiful, haunting and expressive instrument dates back 4000 years on the North American continent. Originally used in courtship and later in ceremonies and, more recently, ensemble performance, the Native American flute now enjoys great popularity in all types of music. You'll be surprised at just how easy it is to play! In this workshop, you'll learn basics: flute anatomy, how to hold it, breath control, major and minor scales, ornamentation techniques and how to discover your very own spirit song. If you don't have a flute, I will have a limited supply of loaners that are also available for purchase. Key does not matter if you wish to bring your own. (Beginner to Intermediate)


Ken Kolodner

Embellishing and Arranging Beautiful Tunes (Advanced Beginner)

This class will explore how to incorporate a variety of techniques to arrange some lovely tunes. We will incorporate techniques such as simple bass lines, rolled chords, valley rolls, melodic runs, fills, tremolos, hand separation, and chord substitutions.

Ruth Smith

Original Music of Ruth Smith (Advanced)

Learn some of Ruth's compositions while learning how to approach writing and arranging your own music. In this interactive workshop, we'll focus on how to begin writing, writing intros/outros/interludes, fill/runs and other techniques to make your music more expressive. We'll be learning plenty of music, but if you have some song ideas of your own please bring them to share.

Tina Bergmann

An Unusual Jam Tune A Day (Intermediate)

Are you tired of playing the same tunes at jams? We will learn some of my favorite tunes that are sure to become jam favorites when you share them with all your friends! Along the way we’ll address hammering patterns, rhythmic pulse, phrase endings and dynamics.

Rick Thum

Horizontal Chords as Embellishments (Intermediate and up)

We will start by learning some simple to play horizontal chord patterns. Then we will learn how to use them to embellish our music. This is great for all styles of music. Make your fiddle tunes change. Spice up your gospel hymns. Fill in those long holds in your slow pretty pieces. You will be able to do this even when you do not know what chord should be used. This should be a fun and enlightening class.  


Jim Miller

Rhythm Guitar (Beginner/Intermediate)

Covers chords, strums, alternating bass, bass runs and capos. Practical application of rhythm accompaniment is provided.



Kirk House

Fundamentals of Bass Dulcimer Playing

This class will provide a solid grounding in the fundamentals of playing bass dulcimer.  The course is designed for folks just beginning to play bass dulcimer; for “advancing learners” on bass; and for anyone who is just curious about bass, as well. (However, students are expected to be beyond “rank beginner” level on standard dulcimer; they should be comfortable fretting, strumming, playing simple melodies and basic chords.)  You are not required to bring a bass dulcimer to class; so if you wish to take the course before investing in a new instrument, you can bring a standard dulcimer (tuned to DAD) to class. (You will find it very useful, by the way, to have a 1.5 fret.) We will cover common rhythm patterns used in playing bass, how an understanding of chords provides the framework for standard bass lines, and even how to develop your own bass lines.  Students will be exposed to a variety of bass "styles" including Old Time, Waltzes, and Boogie Woogie.  We will use a variety of instructional resources to accomplish these objectives. Note for my previous students, who are looking for more advanced instruction:  Please see me during the festival and we will schedule some ‘jam time’!


Butch Ross

High Performance Dulcimer

Everything you need to be a smooth, solid, tuneful and (if you want) fast player. Learn new approaches to strumming, fingering, chords and even how to hold the instrument. Learn tips and tricks for making cool, weird sounds and most importantly when to use them.

Stephen Seifert

A System for Memorizing and Using Chords in DAD