Afternoon electives are a chance to expand your dulcimer horizons by exploring new styles, techniques and musical genres. Participants will choose 1 of 10 offerings each day. Please note the appropriate skill levels for each course.
Review & Reinforce New Players for Monday - Level I players only (Marsha Harris) If you are signed up for Jantia Baker's Level I Morning Skills Class, this should be your choice of an elective for Monday afternoon. Marsha Harris will meet with Janita's class to review and reinforce what you have learned during the first morning session. This will also be an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions of Marsha if there was something you did not understand during the morning class.
Music Theory for the Mountain Dulcimer - All Skill Levels (Jim Miller) This class deals with the basic principles of music theory as it applies to the mountain dulcimer. Jim will address such subjects as modes, scales, intervals, chords, the circle of fifths and more. This class is one of the elective requirements needed to complete the Teacher Certification Program at Dulcimer U. Everyone is welcome to attend this class regardless of skill level.
Here We Go 'Round Again - Level II (Dave Haas) There are many interesting rounds that can be played on the mountain dulcimer. Learn to play in a group with others and enjoy the wonderful harmonies that are produced in playing rounds. Many of these would be fun to play with your club or with others. Suitable for advancing beginners and beyond. DAD tuning.
Creative Arranging for an Ensemble of 2 to 20 Players - Level II and Up (Peggy Broussard & Helen Bankston) You asked for more ensemble offerings and we listened! This 90 minute elective will take simple tunes and explore ways to make them into full ensemble pieces by using some of these methods: changing keys, changing meters, changing moods, styles, etc. Explore your creative side while having fun doing so! Bring a playing partner or come by yourself. Everyone is welcome.
Hymns of the Shaped Note Tradition - Level II (Anne Lough) Powerful expressions from our rural congregational singing heritage, singing schools and camp meeting revivals, these tunes are expressed so beautifully on the mountain dulcimer. DAD, DGD, and DAC tuning. Bring a capo.
Repertoire For An Aging Population - Level III (Lorinda Jones) This class will discuss program planning to include appropriate music for specific age groups and samples of tunes from the "Golden Oldies." This is the perfect elective for those enrolled in Lorinda's "Caregiving & Comfort" morning class. All others are welcome and invited to attend.
The Wonderful World of Waltzes - Level III and Up (Jeff Furman) The mountain dulcimer makes a perfect dance partner for beautiful waltzes. In this workshop, you will learn several waltzes, review the history and key elements of waltzes, and explore techniques to enhance the feeling of these beautiful melodies. Please bring a capo to this class.
Rounds & Canons - Level IV & V (Janita Baker) This class is an experience to be heard! The more the better, as we'll divide up into three or four part groups to play a variety of canons and rounds (some familiar, some obscure) on the dulcimer. This workshop is always a musical treat and a marvelous experience; the pieces are simple to play and the results are astonishing! (Singers welcome.)
Arrange and Transpose a New Song - Level IV & V (Linda Brockinton) This class will transpose a song from its original key to the "dulcimer friendly" key of D. You will learn many transposing tips along the way as well as the tools needed to arrange a song so that it flows well, has intros and endings, is played in at least three places on the dulcimer fretboard and how to change keys. The class will also address polishing tips to avoid choppiness, the key to clean hammer ons and pull offs, and where to add embellishments.
Honing Your Lesson Plan - Level IV & V (Judy House) The goal of this class is to learn how to develop effective lesson plans and materials for presenting dulcimer skills to a group. We will be discussing the parts of a complete and successful lesson plan - 1. Stating your goals and objectives correctly and clearly. 2. Various ways to include a focus and review. 3. Planning an awesome teacher input. 4-5. Designing students' guided and independent practice. 6. Ending your perfect lesson with a great closure. While anyone is welcome to attend this class, it is mandatory for those in the second year of the Teacher Certification Program at Dulcimer U.
Review & Reinforce New Players for Tuesday - Level I players only (Marsha Harris) If you are signed up for Jantia Baker's Level I Morning Skills Class, this should be your choice of an elective for Tuesday afternoon. Marsha Harris will meet with Janita's class to review and reinforce what you have learned during Tuesday's morning session. This will also be an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions. On Wednesday, you will be free to choose any elective you wish to attend.
Tab Reading & Writing - All Skill Levels (Larry Conger) This Powerpoint presentation addresses the basic elements of good tablature from note values to embellishments. The class will explore what goes into creating a good, easy to read tab and the pitfalls to avoid when putting your newest creation on paper. The session will conclude with an interactive exercise where the class will be asked to identify missing or incorrect elements of various tabs provided by Larry. This class is one of the elective requirements needed to complete the Teacher Certification Program at Dulcimer U. Everyone is invited to attend.
Developing Confidence In Playing - All Skill Levels (Judy House) If you struggle with musical performance anxiety or just want to take your performances to the next level, this class is for you! It is designed to help boost your confidence and get your eye off what's missing in your performance and onto the attributes you already possess for success. Join us for a discussion on confidence and find ways to develop yours. We will construct your "musical confidence resume" and talk about how to use it to take control of your confidence. This elective is designed for the Teacher Certification Program at Dulcimer U but everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Understanding Modes & Scales - Level II (Lorinda Jones) This class will help to take the mystery out of the various modes and scales such as Ionian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Dorian, etc., that are used in music. Learn how each of these modes and scales are used and what gives them their own unique sound.
Expanding Your Old Time Repertoire - Level II (Jeff Furman) Old time tunes are fun and widely played in dulcimer circles. Speed isn't what makes old time tunes fun (dulcimer players often try to play them too fast!) ... rather, it's often the frolicking melodies and rhythmic energy that give life to these tunes. This class will cover principles and techniques for playing old time tunes, play some tunes in their traditional keys (not everything is in D!) and offer some awesome tunes that you may not know yet. Please bring a capo to this class.
The Plaintive DAC Tuning - Level III (Anne Lough) This is a wonderful traditional minor tuning with a haunting, plaintive sound. Learn some great repertoire, including Appalachian tunes, folk hymns and Celtic airs.
Bass Dulcimer - Level III and Up (Janita Baker) This class will look at how to use the bass dulcimer as a solo lead, ensemble voice and/or back up instrument, and ways to create effective backup and harmony. No bass experience necessary; bring your bass and a standard dulcimer to class.
Master Your Fretboard - Level III (Dave Haas) 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. Perfect for the intermediate level player and beyond. DAD tuning.
Christmas Variations for Dulcimer Ensemble - Level IV & V and Up (Peggy Broussard & Helen Bankston) Get a jump start on next year's holiday performances for your group. Peggy and Helen will explore different "voicings" using the mountain dulcimer and other instruments. Peggy says, "We'll use "Partner songs" and a lullaby as we try different rhythms and a minor key. We'll have a special rendition of Jingle Bells and other favorites." (Bring your Bass, Baritones and Ginger dulcimers.)
Irish Tunes in Minor Keys With No Capo - Level IV & V (Linda Brockinton) This class will feature two beautiful Irish airs, one in Em and one in Bm without a capo. The songs will be taught in DAD tuning. No capo required. Chord melody style of playing reduces the need for a capo unless you are doing a piece that needs drones.
Tabledit Notation Software Part I - All Skill Levels (Denise Borens) This class will address the basics of Tabledit, a popular software program for tabbing dulcimer music. It is a two part class with Part I being taught on Wednesday and Part II on Thursday. Participants are encouraged to sign up for both sessions. You should bring a laptop with the latest version of Tabledit loaded. Please note that this class will address the Windows version of Tabledit. Apple products are welcome with the understanding that some elements of the Mac version may be a bit different from Windows. Questions about this class? Contact Denise at email@example.com.
Singing With The Mountain Dulcimer - All Levels (Anne Lough) Enjoy the beautiful blend of voice and dulcimer as we learn how to compliment with chord accompaniments and harmonies. Bring your dulcimer and singing voice. DAD tuning. All skill levels are invited to attend.
Galax Dulcimer - All Skill Levels (Marsha Harris) This dulcimer comes from the Galax, Virginia area. It has a larger shape and size and has four strings tuned to the same note. It is traditionally played with a noter in a "strum and drone" style. You do not have to have a Galax style dulcimer to attend this class. Your dulcimer can be retuned to accommodate this style. No chord shapes are required. Perfect for all skill levels. Come and learn more about this wonderful instrument
Developing Comfort In Rhythm - All Skill Levels (Judy House) This fun elective will concentrate on learning to play different rhythms. We'll start with clapping and chanting and build up to using five (5) different types of rhythm instruments; then we'll observe different time signatures and hear how different parts fit together. This is great for anyone wishing to brush up on their rhythm, play multiple parts in a group, or just learn about percussion instruments. Come and explore how to make your own instruments just for the fun of it! This is a great way to introduce many skills needed for playing the dulcimer or any instrument. This elective is designed for the Teacher Certification Program at Dulcimer U. However, everyone is invited and encouraged to participate.
Chords, Chords, and more Chords - Level II (Dave Haas) Learn the names, shapes, and positions of chords along the entire length of the fretboard. Learn how to use this information to add variation to your play. Learn fingerings that make it easy to slide from one chord position to another. This knowledge is essential to eventually becoming an intermediate level player. DAD tuning.
Soul Soothing Hymns for Dulcimer Ensemble - Level II and Up (Peggy Broussard & Helen Bankston. More ensemble fun with Peggy and Helen! The ladies will introduce some "soul-soothing" hymns and others which have a Gospel-Spiritual component. These are tunes we know as solos, but which can be made new as ensemble pieces. A great opportunity to learn some new arrangements that can be used in worship. (Bring your bass, baritone and Ginger dulcimers).
Using the 1+ Fret - Level III and Up (Lorinda Jones) A game changer! More and more people are adding a 1+ fret to their dulcimers these days. But do you really make use of it? In this class, you will learn to play notes and melodies outside the D scale, songs in the key of G, and songs in the key of D minor, all without retuning! Add a new dimension to your playing by learning how to incorporate this extra fret into the music you play.
The Life and Music of Turlough O'Carolan - Level III and Up (Linda Brockinton) O'Carolan was an Irish Harper from the 1600s who wrote some beautiful harp tunes that have survived through the centuries. Because the harp is diatonic these songs lend themselves to the dulcimer very nicely. Please be aware that this class is intended for the more skilled players. DAD tuning.
Adding Notes & Variations To The Tunes You Play - Level IV & V (Jeff Furman) If you want to add some personal expression to the tunes you play and if you want to improve your ability to improvise and play a tune differently each time through, this workshop is for you! We will learn how to add note, rhythm changes, and other variations to any type of music you play (fiddle tunes, waltzes, airs, etc.) while remaining true to the melody. The result is more interesting music, more freedom and more fun! Please bring a capo.
Classical Repertoire - Levels IV & V (Janita Baker) Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and a host of others, arranged for fingerpicking or strumming on a three string dulcimer! Mildly challenging. Come tuned DAD.
Intro To Fingerpicking - All Skill Levels (Linda Brockinton) Linda, one of the premier fingerstyle dulcimer players, will be offering a beginner fingerpicking class for those interested in this style of playing. She will be teaching counting, picking styles, finger placements, fingerpicking patterns and much more. She will have easy tabs of songs that everyone should know. This class may be a bit challenging for beginner players but will certainly expose everyone to a different style of playing the mountain dulcimer.
Tabledit Notation Software Part II - All Skill Levels (Denise Borens) A continuation of the course taught on Wednesday, this class will address the basics of Tabledit, a popular software program for tabbing dulcimer music. Participants are asked to bring a laptop with the latest version of Tabledit loaded. Please note that this class will address the Windows version of Tabledit. Apple products are welcome with the understanding that some elements of the Mac version may be different from Windows.
Improving Your Strum - All Skill Levels (Jeff Furman) This workshop will focus on improving the fluidity of your strum and developing more rhythmic variation in your strumming hand. We will cover some basic techniques to improve your strum, offer multiple exercises that you can use to practice these techniques, and we will play with some recorded music to experiment with different rhythms. Come prepared to do a lot of strumming. All skill levels are invited to attend.
Banjammer - All Skill Levels (Marsha Harris) Let's play some old time and Irish tunes on this banjo inspired dulcimer. The class will include flat-picking and rhythm techniques. The beginner may be a bit challenged in this class but everyone is welcome to learn more about this unique instrument. Don't have a banjammer. Bring your standard dulcimer and join the fun!
Fun Fiddle Tunes - Level II (Dave Haas) Learn to play fiddle tunes smoothly and up to tempo. Explore how to put the "chop" in your backup playing in order to backup others. Also, find out the secrets that allow you to play quickly and keep up with others. Learn some very useful backup chords in several positions on the dulcimer. A fun challenge. DAD tuning.
Old Time & Mountain Tunes for Dulcimer Ensemble - Level III and Up (Peggy Broussard & Helen Bankston) Let's have fun as we explore old mountain fiddle tunes; and we'll have a "rip-roaring good time"using hammer-ons, pull -offs, and slides. We'll learn bass parts on bass or standard dulcimers. Mildly challenging and a ton of fun! Got a bass? Bring it with you.
Four String Finger-picking Blues & Rags - Level III and Up (Janita Baker) No prior experience with four equidistant strings necessary, but you should be comfortable with fingerpicking techniques. We will work on arrangements of delta and country blues pieces and Scott Joplin's more familiar rags. Come tuned D A Bb d
Celtic Sessions - Level IV & V (Anne Lough) Capture the fun and energy of an Irish pub session with some favorite jigs, reels, hornpipes and airs. Lots of LH technique! DAD tuning, Bring a capo
The Art of Harmonics - Level IV & V (Larry Conger) The term "harmonic" refers to the bell-like tones produced by damping the strings at specific frets on the dulcimer fretboard. The most common is the octave harmonic, which you are probably already familiar with. This class will take the concept of harmonics beyond just the octave and discuss not only natural harmonics on open strings but also fretted (or artificial harmonics) in an effort to produce any note that we desire. Come prepared to be challenged. DAD tuning.