Classes (2021) - Registration opens May 17th at 10 am!
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)
Early Bird Specials
Sunday Morning Hymn Sing
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.
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.
Get the day started right! Have some fun and wake-up with a jam!
Sessions 1 and 2. (Sessions 1-4 for the Teacher's Boot Camp)
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.
MD BEGINNER BOOT CAMP
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!
HAMMERED DULCIMER BOOT CAMP
Mary Lynn Michal
This class is designed to launch your playing! We will assume no prior knowledge of the instrument and cover everything you need to know to begin playing tunes right away. Included will be demonstration of hammering systems and discovering the primary shapes and patterns that make it easy to get started. Hammered Dulcimer Boot Camp is guaranteed to stretch your brain in a FUN way. Invest a week to discover if this instrument is for you. I bet you will love it!
TIN WHISTLE BOOT CAMP
“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!!
UKULELE BOOT CAMP
Butch Ross and 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.
TEACHER’S BOOT CAMP (Sessions 1-4)
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! THIS CLASS IS SESSIONS 1-4.
Hope to see you there!
Sessions 1 through 4
If you're in a bootcamp, that will take up sessions 1 and 2. (Except Teacher's Boot Camp takes sessions 1-4.
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.
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
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!
Create Your Own Arrangements (Advanced)
Erin Mae will give you lots of ideas about how to add variety to your playing and develop your own dulcimer arrangements. We'll look at both slow and fast tunes. By the end of the class, you'll have at least the outline for your own arrangement of a piece -- if you've got a song you've been wanting to play/arrange, bring it to class. There will also be tab for several basic tunes that you can work from.
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.
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.
Expression Through Chord Selection (Intermediate/Advanced)
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.
Covers tuning, chords, strum patterns and scales. Several simple tunes are taught as well.
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.
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.
Memorize & Internalize Fiddle Tunes (Intermediate)
Learn a fun fiddle tune every day, plus lots of tips and tricks for remembering that tune later. We'll learn common jam tunes, variations for different speeds/levels, and chords too.
NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE
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)
Embellishing and Arranging Beautiful Tunes (Advanced Beginner and above)
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.
Original Music (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.
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.
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.
Rhythm Guitar (Beginner/Intermediate)
Covers chords, strums, alternating bass, bass runs and capos. Practical application of rhythm accompaniment is provided.
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’!
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.
Playing the Mountain Dulcimer for the Elderly in a Residential Setting
This class will focus on the recommended repertoire and protocol expected when taking your dulcimer into a nursing home, or other long term facility, as an individual player, or within a group setting. Each day will focus on playing different types of music, as well other skills helpful for success including: singing with the dulcimer (capo required), relaxing chord progressions, and beginning improvisational skills. Gain comfort and confidence in sharing your music with others!
Old-Time Fiddle Tunes (Intermediate - Advanced)
Less-known tunes from authentic sources. Tab will be passed out at the end of class.
Accompaniment and backup, jamming skills, and hearing chord changes
We will explore a wide range of backup ideas to include some very simple but effective approaches to back-up along with some not so simple ideas such as grooves or vamps, rhythmic drones, bass lines, chromatic lines, chord substitutions, the “universal backup,” “the compact pattern” and more. We will work on ear training focusing on how to hear I, IV, V and tips for picking up tunes on the fly
A Tune A Day: Learn a New Fiddle Tune Each Day (Advanced Beginner and up)
I will come prepared to teach the first day's tune. We will pick the tunes for the rest of the week. We will start each day playing the tunes we learned and will then learn a new tune each day. I will make sure these tunes are requested at the jam in the evening. This has been a fun and popular class each year. Hope to see you in it.
Sharing Your Music (Intermediate and Advanced)
Sharing music with others is one of the best parts of playing music, and you don’t have to be a seasoned player or professional to share your love of music! Whether you simply want to be more comfortable playing with friends or you perform regularly, this class is designed to help you gain confidence in playing for others. Bring several tunes to play for each other to this fun and "judgment-free" class where we’ll play for each other – offering friendly support and advice. You'll leave with tips of how to rehearse and perform along with gaining more confidence!
Learn to Play Bach's Cello Suite on the Hammered Dulcimer
Would have Bach played a dulcimer in his time? ...I think so. Most definitely!
Flat Pick Guitar (Intermediate/Advanced)
Covers picking technique, scales and chords. Several well-known and not so familiar fiddle tunes are taught.
Make the Most of Your Practice Time
On the first day we will explore the peculiarities of the human brain and how to more effectively harness it. Then we will practice methods to more quickly and effectively learn a tune, identify and correct weaknesses in technique, and improve learning by ear skills.
BODHRAN (Irish Drum)
Bodhran (Irish Drum)
This class covers the basics of playing the Bodhran. You'll learn how to hold the tipper (stick), strike the drum, and play reels and jigs. We will also cover changing tone, triplet roll, session etiquette, and more. Rental Bodhrans can be reserved by contacting Danny Shepherd at .
Master Your Fretboard (Intermediate-Advanced)
Learn how to add variation to your slow and fast melodies by moving the melody to the bass and octave regions of the dulcimer. This keeps your music more interesting by not playing the same thing over and over and over again. DAD
Evolutionary Exercises That Will Boost Your Playing (Intermediate)
If you’re looking to break out of your rut with the mountain dulcimer, come to this workshop and fill your skill-level toolbox with some brand-new gems! We’ll use selective strumming for ultimate melodic control, work with inversions for variety and sizzle, and apply cross-picking for rhythmic punch. All exercises will be put to use on a really good tune! (Intermediate)
Drills for Right and Left Hands (Beginner)
In this class, Erin Mae will give you lots of exercises for each hand, one at a time. Right hand strum patterns, picking variations, and dynamics; left hand scales, chords, and fingerings. Then, we'll gradually put the exercises together and apply them to simple songs. This class is designed to help you know how to practice when you get back home after the festival!
The Art of Droning (Advanced Beginner and up)
Droning is not as easy as you might think. This class will teach you several ways to use the drone to make your music come to life. The drone can actually change the style of the song you are playing. What is it and how to do it? It can really make your playing more interesting and fuller. This is one of the fundamental techniques that can really be expanded to give you some great embellishments. Lots of playing and fun.
Learning Tunes While in a Jam Session
We've all been there, we want to jam but can't cause we don't know the tunes. This class will teach you how to jump in and pick up a melody quick enough to have a foot-stomping good time.
Repertoire & Technique (Advanced Beginner)
We’ll learn Argeers and possibly Packington's Pound, and use them to apply and learn a number of techniques that add variety and give you a solid base to play musically, as well as create fluid and interesting arrangements.
Theory and patterns are your friends (Beginner - Advanced Beginner)
Much like guitar players, we can combine a multitude of shapes with basic chord theory to play most of the chords (including inversions) you will ever need. We will explore harmonizing a scale and the many patterns that hold the keys to the kingdom. Using a few tunes, we will explore how to process tunes by "seeing" the chord progression and how to use patterns and chords to create some simple but effective arrangements.