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 exceptions are the Early Bird Specials, which are different each day.
7-8 AM (before breakfast)
Early Bird Specials
Sunday Morning Hymn Sing
Sing your favorites together.
Jam Before Breakfast
Join an early-morning jam.
Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer, and Teacher bootcamps are all day, sessions 1 to 4. Ukulele bootcamp is sessions 1 and 2 only.
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.
MOUNTAIN DULCIMER BOOTCAMP - sessions 1-4
Linda Weber Collins
Welcome to dulcimer Boot Camp! First, don't let that name scare you; this will be fun! We are going to start at the very beginning with this new to you, easy to learn instrument. We'll have periods of teaching and time for supervised practice in small groups. You'll begin your journey of exploration and meet new friends along the way.
What will we be covering? Holding the instrument, tuning, strumming, learning simple tunes from the very first day. Reading tab, counting, and simple rhythms. We'll be learning lots but not forgetting that this process is for enjoyment. Laughter is a given!
See you in Black Mountain!
HAMMERED DULCIMER BOOTCAMP - sessions 1-4
Join us for a fun introduction to playing the hammered dulcimer! In this relaxed and encouraging class, nothing is “too dumb” to ask and no prior skills are required. We will start at the very beginning so you can learn the basics skills needed to get started playing music right away, including how to choose and use your hammers, tuning, technique, basic chords and scales, and lots more. Don’t let all of those strings intimidate you because the layout is very logical and visual, with shapes being your best friends in playing the hammered dulcimer.
Begin your next adventure by learning how to play this captivating instrument!
UKULELE BOOTCAMP - sessions 1-2 only
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 BOOTCAMP - 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
No, You Don’t Need More Notes - Advanced
Let's put to rest once and for all this idea that our "simple" instrument is "limited" because of its "missing" frets. Almost all of the notes you'd ever want are in there already, and there are myriad ways to get the few remaining ones. We will explore string bending, retuning, temporary frets and more. We won't just learn how to do these techniques. We'll learn how and when to use them, and most importantly, why.
Just a Matter of Time (Signatures) - Intermediate
From the rolling feeling that comes from 3/4, 6/8 and 12/8 meter to the off-kilter vibe of 5/4 and 7/8, you’ll discover how easy it is to switch up your strum with a variety of time signatures. Explore how to incorporate them into your daily practice and experience exercises that will free and empower you to be a master of your groove.
FULL - Irish Tunes For Session Playing - Intermediate
Want to join the next dulcimer-based Irish session? This course will focus on some of the more common Irish tunes played in a jam session as well as some new tunes that will give you confidence in leading a tune or playing backup.
FULL - Slow and Beautiful -Intermediate
Improve your play of slow songs in a smooth and melodic style. Learn left and right hand techniques which facilitate smooth play. Learn finger exercises to improve your play. Build your repertoire by incorporating these techniques to popular melodies you already know. All new material for 2022. DAD
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. Erin will also have tab available for several tunes that you can work from.
FULL - Experienced Beginners
Welcome to JAM SCHOOL. We’re going to do a lot of playing in these sessions. I’m going to help you get better at learning tunes faster, strumming, fingering, and all kinds of important beginner techniques. The main focus and drive will be getting down barebones versions of tunes people are playing all over the country. We’ll start each session with techniques, but we’ll quickly move to the tunes. I believe some of you are going about all this the hard way, and I want to give you hope. Time to JOIN THE JAM!
Five More Fabulous (and Unusual!) Jam Tunes!
Every day we'll learn an unusual and catchy tune from my Grooving and Growing Book. You'll leave each day with a sound file of each tune plus the sheet music and learning tips. Let's make these great tunes happen at the jam (and play the ones we learned last year!) Maybe this year we'll learn some crooked tunes as well!!
FULL - Ear Training for Jamming and Backup - All Levels
Backup skills, hearing chord changes, and picking up tunes on the fly.
We will begin with hearing I, IV, V chord changes. We will explore backup ideas to include some very simple but effective approaches along with some not so simple ideas such as vamps, rhythmic drones, bass lines, chromatic lines, chord substitutions, harmony, the “universal backup,” “the compact pattern” and more. We will dive into the many tools for picking up tunes on the fly using concepts such as target notes, identifying the skeleton of a piece and more.
FULL - Simple Hymns for Hammered Dulcimer
Mary Lynn Michal
We will learn simple arrangements written by Mary Lynn Michal and Ken Kolodner for well-loved hymns such as: For the Beauty of the Earth, Come Thou Font of Every Blessing and It is Well with My Soul. Students frequently ask me for simple arrangements to play in church and/or nursing homes. You will learn arranging concepts that you can apply to other hymns to make your own arrangements.
Embellishing My Favorite Irish Waltz - Beg./Int.
Mark Alan Wade
One of the best ways to begin using ornaments like rolls and cuts is on slow tunes. Why make things harder than they need to be? Right? Using this beautiful waltz, we will begin by learning the tune itself and learn to apply a few of these standard Irish ornaments in a few places. Less is best, so with a few cuts, a roll, and a strike, you will be ready to play Carnegie Hall! Not really- but you will be really good at these 3 ornaments and learn a fantastic new tune!
Old Time Mandolin - Beg./Int.
Covers techniques and tunes found in Old Time music.
FULL - Ballads and Sacred Songs
Traditional Ballads from a variety of American and British sources. Sacred Songs mostly learned in the Southern Mountains. Join us to play and/or sing along.
FULL - Chords to Propel Your Playing - Beginner
Start learning chords from the very beginning, so you can play more songs more quickly! You'll be able to chord along to songs just like ukulele and guitar players. Start with playing open-string and barre chords. Then, discover three chord shapes in DAD tuning. Finally, use those chords to play [almost] any song!
FULL - Intermediates
We’ll work on improving essential intermediate techniques the first half of each session and cool level-appropriate tunes the second half. Sunday: awesome strumming, backup shortcuts, and learning tunes faster. Monday: playing in different octaves and harmonies. Tuesday: simple but effective fingerpicking. Wednesday: a minimal approach to playing melodies and chords at the same time.
High Performance Dulcimer - Intermediate and up
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.
FULL - Arrangements that Sparkle! - Int./Adv.
Wow! Create performance-ready arrangements of slow and fast songs on the mountain dulcimer. Learn about the process of arranging, introductions and endings, incorporating melody and chords in a second position on the dulcimer, and special touches that will make your arrangements sparkle. Performance tips will also be discussed. Bring a smile and a “we can do it!” attitude. DAD
Arranging for Christmas - Beginning
It is never too early to get ready for Christmas and mid-October is perfect! We will learn a few lovely Christmas tunes. Our focus will be the application of arranging ideas and techniques.
Formula for Finding Embellishments - Intermediate and up
This class is the "Holy Grail" of dulcimer playing. You will learn my system to find your embellishments by just knowing WHERE the melody note is. No names needed. This allows you to embellish songs the first time you play them and allows you to change them up every time you play them. No more memorizing arrangements, make it up as you go. You will now be able to play with more confidence and more creativity. See you in class.
A Renaissance/Medieval Tune a Day
We'll learn a different Renaissance/Medieval tune each day, and explore how to develop and arrange them into little gems. We'll be using chords (block chords plus three & four note broken chords), one and two note flams, various types of rolls, touch notes, and more.
FULL - Hand Independence Without Even Thinking About It - Intermediate
Mark Alan Wade
Using my favorite carol, “Silent Night”, with my favorite chords, we will learn how to play the melody and a walking bass line at the same time! I like to use this tune to teach this concept because it is slow and sparse. That allows us time to think and plan our next hits. The base line is clever, but logical, making it easy to master. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to put this all together and sound like you know what you are doing. (Even if you don’t!)
Covers tuning, scales, and chords. Discusses strums, bass runs, and pick technique.
SHAPE NOTE SINGING
FULL - Shape Note Singing
This will be an a cappella singing class for everyone—from total beginners through experienced shape note singers. We will sing from William Walker’s Christian Harmony book, which the teacher will provide each day in class. We will start with the basics—learning the seven shapes. Shape notes were invented in America around 1802 as a way to teach four-part choral singing to people who had no formal music training. Regardless of your training, if you want to sing ancient four-part harmonies and have a lot of fun doing it, this class is for you!
FULL - The Art of the Jam - Intermediate
This class is all about strategies for not just surviving, but fully enjoying and learning from, jams. We'll talk about dulcimer-specific tools to apply to old-time, bluegrass, folk, and Irish jams. Every day, we'll spend some time on techniques and then jam together to apply them. Bring a capo and a tuner for playing in keys beside D. Jams are MY favorite part of festivals -- come to this class to see why!
Upper Intermediates and Advanced
We’re going to spend our four 75-minute sessions working towards a mastery of major and minor pentatonic scales. Use these techniques to gently spice up tunes you already know, take interesting solos/breaks, or write new pieces of music. We’ll cover single-string and across the string concepts all over the fingerboard. I’ll show you how you can either use one pentatonic to match the key you’re in, or a different pentatonic for each new chord. I’ve been studying blues players a lot lately. I’m also going to get you to bend FOR REAL. Not the big hard bends, but the micro easy bends that make up the bulk of the genre. We’ll do plenty of exercises. We’ll also apply these ideas to real-world tunes and scenarios.
FULL - Paper Training to Ear Training - Novice and up
Are you ready to enjoy playing your dulcimer without a binder of music? This is a systematic stepwise approach to developing your musical ear through identifying keys, intervals, chords and playing by rote. We will also focus on memorizing as you move away from the tab.
Fiddle Tunes for Dulcimer
Fiddle style arrangements of fiddle tunes for dulcimer. Includes stories and folk lore about some tunes and source musicians.
Developing an Arrangement for Beautiful Tunes - Adv. Beginner and up
This class will explore how to develop a chord progression from scratch and how to incorporate a variety of techniques to arrange 1-2 pieces. The intent of this class is to provide students with hands-on techniques such as simple bass lines, “open” and “close” harmony, rolled chords, valley rolls, melodic runs, arpeggio fills and more.
Master Arpeggio Fills with "The Water is Wide"
Mary Lynn Michal
Learn Ken Kolodner's beautiful arrangement of "The Water is Wide." This melody is well known and well loved. Kolodner's arpeggio fills are fairly straight-forward once you master the chord progression. Students of mine who have learned this arrangement tell me that it quickly became one of their favorite tunes to play.
Chords, Chords, and More Chords - Beyond Beginner and up
Knowing how to play and use chords can really add power to your music. You will learn how to play chords using the whole dulcimer, without knowing the names of your notes. We will also learn what chords to use in a song. This knowledge is the root of most embellishments. You will be able to get more out of a jam session. Lots of playing and even some ear training. Take your playing to the next level by learning how to use the magic of Chords.
Applying Arranging Techniques to O'Carolan's Quarrel with the Landlady
A tune for three dulcimers.
We’ll learn all three parts to this tune and how to play them appropriately together in terms of lead, countermelody and bass line, then dive into ways to ornament and vary each part in satisfying and complementary ways. You’ll learn a new tune, but more importantly, you’ll learn a bunch of satisfying techniques to apply to your other repertoire! Along the way we’ll discuss and put into practice ways to mark music to make it work for you, and (time permitting) techniques to memorize and recognize ledger lines above and below the staff.
NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE
Learning To Play Native American Flute
You'll be surprised at just how easy it is to play the Native American flute! In this workshop, explore the basics including flute anatomy, how to hold it, breath control, major and minor scales, ornamentation techniques and how to discover your very own spirit song. Use your own flute in any key or contact me about purchasing a flute before the workshop.
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’!
Fiddle Tunes for Guitar - Int./Adv.
Covers pick technique, scales, and chords. Several common fiddle tunes are taught.
FULL - Old-Time Songs with Dulcimer
A variety of traditional songs covering subjects from love, tragedy, humor and creatures.
FULL - Highly-Addictive Fiddle Tunes! - Int.
Learn these wonderful fiddle tunes that are sure to spice up any jam session. Improve your playing of fiddle tunes and faster songs. Learn left and right hand techniques to facilitate smooth playing. Learn how to easily play in the keys of D, G, A, Em, and C. Don’t worry about keeping up. We will learn all tunes slowly and then build speed. A capo and smile are required! DAD
FULL - Mountain Modal Tunes: A La Mode A Day - Novice and up
Learn to play American and Celtic Roots songs and tunes in major, minor and modal keys withOUT retuning from your DAD tuning. Bring a capo and a noter. Scales, chords and tunes and a bit of music theory thrown in to help the player learn how to
recognize a variety of modal keys.
FULL - Fun Alternate Tunings for the Mountain Dulcimer - Intermediate
Gain new skills and discover new colors through the use of alternate tunings for the mountain dulcimer. You’ll unlock the secrets of DGD tuning including cool chords and extra notes. Dive into 1-3-5 tuning with easy barre chords and tunes that expand your musical universe. Enjoy the benefits of modal tuning and level up your musical skill set with this workshop!
FULL - Intro to Chord-Melody Style - Advanced Beginner and up
Learn to take tunes and turn them into full arrangements, with not too much effort. You can sound like a full band. It’s not as hard as you might think, and there’s a secret to being successful at it. Come learn the tricks of the trade.
FULL - Sousa Jig March! - Intermediate
Mark Alan Wade
Not all jigs are Irish! Some are marches, like the Liberty Bell March and the Washington Post March, are in 6/8 too. These catchy tunes offer a lot to work on in our playing and are super rewarding to learn. We will use one of these Sousa marches to work on chromatic licks, stylistic traits for marches, harmonizing on fast tunes with hand independence and more!
FULL - Improving 12 Techniques/Concepts That Will Make You a Better Hammered Dulcimer Player
Mary Lynn Michal
Let’s face it, we could all benefit from working on our fundamentals. This class will be an opportunity to receive individual feedback to improve (or learn how to play) valley rolls, 3 note rolled chords, hammer grip and strike, hand independence, dynamics, keeping our eyes on the bridges while playing in the sweet spot, tuning, rhythm, scales, full range arpeggios, open and closed harmony, and tremolos. Why work on these techniques? You will find that your tunes are easier to play, you will have more fun and you will sound better!
FULL - A Tune a Day - Intermediate and up
This has been a very fun class each year so let's do it again. On day one I will have several jam tunes to pick from. You will go home knowing 4 new tunes and some fancy ways to embellish them. Lots of playing and lots of learning new tricks to help you remember those tunes. We will play these tunes at the nightly jams. Come have fun expanding your repertoire.
FULL - How to Write Your Own Original Songs
Join this week-long class on how to create great original songs, both lyrics and music, from ASCAP award-winning songwriter, Steve Smith. See how to turn your ideas into complete, well-structured songs, including how to rewrite and rewrite until each song is all that it can and should be. Develop writing
skills through many songwriting examples, tips and exercises in this in-depth class that will also allow lots of time for questions and discussion. Plus, if you are interested, Steve will be available to meet with you one-on-one outside of class each day to help you further develop songs ideas you have.
BODHRAN (Irish Drum)
FULL - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.