Schedule/Workshop Descriptions

2014 (2015 Info Will Be Coming This Fall)

Descriptions of the workshops follow the schedule chart below.

Not sure of your skill level?  See how the instructors define them HERE.

DULCIMER MAINTENANCE:  Need dulcimer repairs?  Strings?  Adjustments?  Meet with Ben Seymour to schedule a time with him.  He will be in his workshop at the times below to help you.

Thursday Evening, May 22

New This Year! Dulcimer Orchestra (All Levels, 5:45 – 6:45), led by Ken Bloom.  No need to sign up for this one–everyone is already enrolled.

Friday, May 23

Instructor

9:00 – 10:15

10:45 – Noon

1:45 – 3:00

3:30 – 4:45

Maddie

Mountain Dulcimer for Beginners Part 1

Mountain Dulcimer for Beginners Part 2

Performing Ideas

 (All Levels)

Christmas in May

(Novice and Up)
Dave

Hooked on Classics

(Novice – Intermediate)

Past Beginner Part 1

(Novice)

Chords, Chords & More Chords

Friday Only!
(Novice and Up)

Master Your Fretboard

(Intermediate)
Mary

Shape-Note Hymns

(All Levels)

Fingerpicking

(Novice and Up)

Variations on a Theme: Parallel Chords & Harmony

 (All Levels)
Marsha

Embellishments for the Mountain Dulcimer

(Novice)

Assisting Students / Staff

Rhythm Exploration with Marsha & Ken

(All Levels)

Assisting Students / Staff

Ralph

History of the Dulcimer

(All Levels)

Girls Who Want To Get Married

(All Levels)

Beautiful Mixolydian Songs

(All Levels)
Ben

In His Shop for Dulcimer Repair &  Maintenance

Fingerpicking O’Carolan

(Intermediate – Advanced)

In His Shop for Dulcimer Repair & Maintenance

Antecedents of the Dulcimer

(All Levels)
Ken
 

Bowed Dulcimer

 (All Levels)

Rhythm Exploration With Marsha & Ken

(All Levels)
Becky

 

 

Introduction to Playing Bones

(All Levels; Loaner Bones Available)
Phyllis

Galax Dulcimer Uptempo!  Part 1

(Intermediate and Up)

C Fiddle Tunes

Friday Only
(Intermediate – Advanced)

Galax Dulcimer

(Beginner – Novice)

 Waltzes

(Beginner – Novice)

Friday Evening, May 23

Dulcimer Orchestra (All Levels, 5:45 – 6:45).  No need to sign up for this one–everyone is already enrolled.

Saturday, May 24

Instructor

9:00 – 10:15

10:45 – Noon

1:45 – 3:00

3:30 – 4:45

Maddie

Mountain Dulcimer for Beginners Part 3

Mountain Dulcimer for Beginners Part 4

 Performing Ideas

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)

Christmas in May

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(Novice and Up)
Dave

Master Your Fretboard

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(Intermediate)

Past Beginner  Part 2

(Novice)

Hooked on Classics

Repeat of Friday’s Class
(Novice – Intermediate)

Hymns of Faith

Saturday Only!
(Novice and Up)
Mary

Shape-Note Hymns

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)

Fingerpicking

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(Novice and Up)

Variations on a Theme: Parallel Chords & Harmony

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)
Marsha

Rhythm Exploration With Ken & Marsha

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)

Assisting Students / Staff

Embellishments for the Mountain Dulcimer

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(Novice)

Assisting Students / Staff

Ralph

Beautiful Mixolydian Songs

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)

 

 Girls Who Want To Get Married

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)

History of the Dulcimer

 A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)
Ben

In His Shop for Dulcimer Repair and Maintenance

Antecedents of the Dulcimer

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)

In His Shop for Dulcimer Repair and  Maintenance

Fingerpicking O’Carolan

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(Intermediate – Advanced)
Ken

Rhythm Exploration With Ken & Marsha

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)
 
 

Bowed Dulcimer

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)
Becky

Introduction to Playing Bones

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
(All Levels)
Phyllis

Galax Dulcimer Uptempo! Part 2

(Intermediate and up)

Old-Time Band Rhythms

Saturday Only!
  (Intermediate – Advanced)

Waltzes

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
 (Beginner – Novice)

Galax Dulcimer

A Repeat of Friday’s Class
 (Beginner – Novice)

Saturday Evening, May 24

Dulcimer Orchestra (All Levels, 5:45 – 6:45).  No need to sign up for this one–everyone is already enrolled.

Workshop Descriptions

Instructor:  Ken Bloom

  • Dulcimer Orchestra (All Levels) – Come join the orchestra Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings!  (No need to sign up; everyone is invited.)  We will have parts for beginners, intermediate, advanced and bowed players.  The more participants we have, the better it sounds, so we would like to have as many players as possible.  The tune will be “Golden Slippers.”
  • Bowed Dulcimer (All Levels) – Calling all bowed dulcimer players AND those interested in finding out more about this fascinating method of playing the dulcimer.  All versions of the bowed dulcimer are welcome.  We will concentrate on bowing technique and how to switch positions easily.  The music for the orchestra will be included as part of the focus of the class. Listeners are welcome.
  • Rhythm Exploration (All Levels) – Explore rhythm playing in terms of weak beats, strong beats, and how to combine the two to make interesting textures.  Any rhythmic pattern can be done with in and out strokes, and we will work on this technique to produce both familiar and unfamiliar rhythms.  We will employ techniques from East and West to accomplish this.  You will also learn how to make up your own.

Instructor:  Phyllis Gaskins

  • Galax Dulcimer (Level: Beginner & Up) – Experience hands-on the unique sound of this old style of Virginia dulcimer made by the Melton family from the 1850s into the 1990s.  Phyllis will have nine historic dulcimers (with all strings tuned to D) available for playing, and the tunes offered have never been taught by Phyllis at workshops before – two in “D” and two in “G”.  Your dulcimer, tuned to DAD, may also be used for learning the tunes.  We’ll then tune to DGD for some G tunes.
  • Up-tempo Galax Dulcimer! Part 1 and Part 2 (Level: Intermediate & Up) – If you already love (or just want a new experience) in strumming, rhythm, “learning tunes on the fly,” and the use of the half-nut (false nut), come join in!  Loaner Galax dulcimers will be provided or bring your own. A dulcimer tuned to DAD/DGD will also work.  Phyllis comes with four new “old fiddle tunes” especially worked up for this year’s workshop.  Be sure to sign up for both Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Waltzes (Level: Beginner – Novice) – Did you know that the Galax dulcimer can also have a beautiful simple sound?  In these 3 waltzes we will focus on basic melody and rhythm as an experience of quiet beauty.  Our starting tuning will be Galax tuning—all Ds, DAD, or DGD.  Have a capo handy.
  • Old-Time Band Rhythms (All Levels) – Explore with the dulcimer the old-time rhythms of traditional dance string bands. We will focus on guitar and bass rhythms, fiddle shuffles, and how to use the unique rhythmic flow of individual fiddle tunes to enhance your dulcimer playing.  Jim Gaskins (fiddle) and Pat & Mike Harrison (bass & guitar) will join us for this workshop. Tuning: all Ds or DAD. (Saturday only.)
  • ‘C’ Fiddle Tunes (Level: Intermediate – Advanced) – The key of C is home to some most-wonderful old fiddle tunes.  Three will be presented in this workshop: “East Tennessee Blues,”  “Indian Ate the Woodchuck,”  and  “Iberia Breakdown.” Tuning: Galax—all middle Cs or CGC w/6+ fret. (Friday only.)

Instructor:  David Haas

  • Past Beginner – Part 1 and Part 2 (Level: Novice) – This workshop is a continuation of Maddie’s class from last year’s CRDF.  Learn (1) how to improve your strum to make your tunes more musical, (2) how to improve your left hand fingering to make your playing smoother and more fluid while playing both fast and slow tunes, and (3) how to use a capo and play embellishments such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and harmonics.  Tuning will be DAD.  Be sure to sign up for both Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Hooked on the Classics (Level: Novice – Intermediate) – Play classical music on the mountain dulcimer to build your repertoire while improving left and right hand play.  You have heard many of these classical pieces played at weddings.  DAD
  • Master Your Fretboard (Level: Intermediate) – Add variation to your playing by moving the melody to the bass and octave regions of the dulcimer.  It’s easier than you think!  Learn left and right hand techniques that allow for smooth play.   DAD
  • Hymns of Faith (Level: Novice – Intermediate) – Saturday only!  Praise God with these prayerful and popular hymns.  Learn left and right hand techniques to improve your playing of both slow and fast songs.  Incorporate slow arpeggios as a way to backup hymns that are played or sung and build your repertoire of popular hymns—Dave will be teaching different hymns than last year.  DAD
  • Chords, Chords, and More Chords! (Level: Novice – Intermediate) – Friday only!  Learn the names, shapes, and positions of chords along the entire length of the fretboard and how to use this information to add variation to your playing.  Explore fingerings that make it easy to slide from one chord position to another.  DAD

Instructor:  Maddie MacNeil

  • Mountain Dulcimer for Beginners – Parts 1, 2, 3, & 4 (Level: Beginner) – We’ll start at the beginning:  how to hold the dulcimer, read tablature, strum melodies, and play chords to accompany favorite tunes and songs. Written music (tablature with fret numbers) will be provided, but we will also encourage the ear to help us learn.  Maddie has 10 loaner dulcimers available for this four-part workshop.  Be sure to sign up for all four parts.
  • Performing Ideas (All Levels) – Your group or you as a soloist have been asked to perform. We’ll explore ideas for set lists, location setups and general thoughts about performing.
  • Christmas in May (Level: Advanced Beginner & Up) – We’ll play known and lesser-known seasonal carols as solos and duets.

Instructor:  Ben Seymour

  • Fingerpicking O’Carolan (Level: Intermediate to Advanced) – Basic fingerpicking concepts will be explained and taught, and then we will apply them to some lovely O’Carolan harp tunes. Tab is provided. Tuning: DAD
  • Antecedents of the Dulcimer (All Levels) – This eye-opening workshop will include a demonstration of early Scheitholt, Epinette and Hummel playing, and we will explore where these instruments came from and what were their traditional uses.
  • Tune-Ups & Repairs – String replacements, fret leveling and buffing, “tuner tuneups,” small crack repairs (if accessible), fret additions (1-1/2, 6-1/2, etc.), intonation adjustments on floating bridges, and other small repairs are done in-house.  Instruments requiring larger lengthy repairs can be sent home with Ben or sent to him later for repair in his shop.  His festival shop schedule is in the workshop schedule above.  Ask him what time is best for you to come.

Instructor:  Mary Greene

  • Shape-Note Hymns (All Levels) – Learn some great shape-note hymns from the Appalachian tradition. Mary has created multi-level arrangements so that beginners may play an easy version while intermediate and advanced players have a more challenging one. One hymn-tune is a plaintive minor melody dating back to the old tune books of the 1800s. Other hymn tunes date to the early 1900s. One is a lyrical Irish melody that was adopted for a shape-note hymn. Several were handed down in Mary’s shape-note singing family since the late 1800s.
  • Fingerpicking (Level: Advanced Beginner & Up) – Learn more about fingerpicking using arrangements that include special touches such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. This session will feature tunes drawn from the Appalachian and Celtic repertoire. Students will also learn the principles of how to take a simple melody and create their own finger-picking arrangements.
  • Variations on a Theme:  Parallel Chords & Harmony (All Levels) – Two-finger parallel chords can revolutionize your playing. They add color and excitement to the simplest of melodies and easily lead to learning three-finger chords. In this class students will explore both of these dulcimer tools for creating harmony in Ionian and Mixolydian tunings.  Mary will be using Appalachian folk melodies in this session.

Instructor:  Ralph Lee Smith

  • History of the Dulcimer (All Levels) – The dulcimer comes to us from the mists of the 19th Century mountain frontier with little written record.  In this workshop students will see and study a unique selection of rare old dulcimers and scheitholts from the collections of Roddy Moore and the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum.  Come and learn what the old instruments can tell us!
  • Girls Who Want to Get Married (All Levels) – In the mountains, an unmarried young lady of age 16 often saw herself as an old maid. Learn songs about young ladies who want to deal with their problem! In “Billy Grimes,” the young lady’s mother resists her daughter’s pleas until the mother learns that the suitor, Billy Grimes, is rich! In “I’ll Be Sixteen Next Sunday,” the young lady says that her only reason to refuse the man’s offer is her mother’s disapproval. In “I Must and I Will Get Married,” the young lady is not taking no for an answer. All three songs are great for your coffeehouse set!
  • Beautiful Mixolydian Songs (All Levels) – Cecil Sharp’s great work, English Folk Songs From the Southern Appalachians, contains a number of beautiful songs in the Mixolydian mode. Three will be taught in this workshop, “Betty Anne,” “Darling Corie,” and “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair.” All three are wonderful items for your repertoire.

Instructor:  Marsha Harris

  • Embellishments for the Mountain Dulcimer (Level: Novice) – Add interest to your music by utilizing Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, Harmonics, and Vibrato techniques.
  • Rhythm Exploration (All Levels) – Taught with Ken Bloom.  See workshop description under Ken’s listing.

Instructor:  Becky Cleland

  • Introduction to Playing Bones (All Levels) – Explore the history of this simple percussion instrument as well as the method for playing it (which involves positioning and moving the hand in just the right way to swing the bones against each other for a good strike).  We’ll work on playing some triplets, then after the brief training we’ll practice playing bones with live music!

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