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Afternoon Electives

Several morning classes don’t have the option of selecting afternoon electives. An *asterisk indicates a required course for Teaching Class Candidates.


DU SUMMER 2019 Carol Crocker’s Level I Morning class will have the opportunity to continue with Carol each afternoon in a review session of the skills presented that morning. Beginners, please note that there will be no other electives offered with the beginning dulcimer player in mind; however, there are several electives offered that do not require a dulcimer to participate. For the adventurous, you’re welcome to participate in a Level 2 elective with the understanding that the instructor will and should only be focused on Level 2 skills within the scope of each elective session.

MONDAY 1:00 - 2:30 PM

BEGINNER REVIEW OF MORNING SKILLS (Exclusively for Carol Crocker’s Level I class) - A continuation/review of the beginning morning skills class. This will give the participants time to ask those questions they thought of over lunch or get extra help.

CAUGHT IN A JAM??? (Laurie Alsobrook, Level 2) - Consider this session your guide for jam it will be fun!

EASY MELODIES WITH A DRONE ACCOMPANIMENT (Lorinda Jones, Level 2) - No chords. Noters optional and arrangements for solo, duo and trio parts.

TIMING AND RHYTHM FOR MOUNTAIN DULCIMER (Sarah Morgan, Level 2) - We will cover the essential topic of timing and rhythm. This topic can confuse many from all levels of playing, so, we will break it down so it specifically applies to the mountain dulcimer. We’ll learn several tunes to apply our new knowledge.

IMPROVING YOUR FINGERING (Jeff Furman, Level 2-3) - This class will explore the how, why, where, and when of left-hand fingering position. Emphasis will be on choosing fingering to help you with the smoothness of your playing and the quality of the sound you produce. We will also discuss comfort and physical issues to help you improve your fingering and playing.

OLD & OLDER TUNES: MEDIEVAL & RENAISSANCE MUSIC (D.J. Hamouris, Level 3) - The real old-time music from Europe and the British Isles. Timeless tunes - fun, exotic, and danceable! Tunes include “Lauda di Maria Maddalena,” “Shall I Sue,” “Goddesses,” and “Lilliburlero.” Different tunings will be explored: DAD, DAC, DGD.

DEALING WITH PERFORMANCE ANXIETY and TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE YOUR PLAYING (Janita Baker, Level 3 & up) - This workshop will explore two issues that most, if not all players deal with; how to cope with “stage fright” and how to sound more musical. The class will learn ways to listen and to recognize and fix "bad notes" using techniques that improve the sustain and flow of the performance. We'll also look at the physiological and psychological effects of performance anxiety and explore methods to enable players to approach performance (be it on stage or in front of your teacher, dulcimer club members or best friend) with more confidence and less trepidation. Please bring one or two pieces of tablature you love to play but wish could sound better!

PLAYING FOR CONTRA DANCES (Jim Miller, Level 3 & up) - Learn the ins and outs of accompanying this popular form of dance. We'll cover important topics such as keeping steady rhythm, following the caller's cues, and listening to other players. Learn what to do (and not do) as well l as common contra dance tunes. Participants will have the option of “being the band” for the dance during one of the evenings of DU!

REVERSE TUNINGS (Aubrey Atwater, Level 3 & up) - What is a reverse dulcimer tuning and why use one? Come find out! Aubrey will present songs in Reverse Ionian, Aeolian, Mixolydian, and Dorian. You’ll be surprised at how interesting, great- sounding, and easy it is!

CONTINUING BASS DULCIMER SKILLS 1 (Elaine Conger, Level 3 & up) - This class is specifically designed for the participants who were in the bass dulcimer morning skills class in the summer of 2018. You asked for it, class of 2018, so here it is! We’ll pick up where we left off during our week together last summer with a thread of three elective offerings - Mon, Tues, & Wed – to further your skills and get your questions answered.

AWESOME “A” TUNES IN EAA TUNING (Karen Mueller, Level 4 - 5) - Learn great new fiddle tunes in the key of A.
TABLEDIT 4 DAY CLASS - This series of four classes is designed for sequenced learning of the Tabledit program (tablature notation software). Each successive class builds on skills and knowledge from the previous class. Students with some previous experience should read though the descriptions for each class and attend the class(es) best targeted to their level and needs. Tabledit is a terrific and reasonably priced (about $60) music notation program that produces clear, professional -looking tablature for all stringed instruments. It is an excellent tool for those who teach, compose or arrange for the mountain dulcimer. Each class will be taught with the instructor’s PC projected so that all can see actions in real time and will include detailed “how-to” handouts to serve as references. Classroom instruction and handouts will include MAC-specific instruction where there are differences between the PC and MAC platforms. *IMPORTANT* Please go to and download the latest version of the product for your computer. Bring to class, your laptop PC or Mac with Tabledit loaded. Registrants will be emailed specific instructions prior to Dulcimer U, and the instructor will be available on Sunday evening prior to classes starting to assist those with download issues or specific questions.

TABLEDIT I: LET’S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING (Melanie Johnston, Level 2 and up) - In this class we will start with a brief overview of the program and its usefulness for dulcimer tablature. We will discuss and set up choices for the General, Display, Preferences, Screen, Advanced and Multitrack sections of the program. We will move from there to set up instrument voice, time signature, key signature, title, tuning, pick-up measures, clef, and number of strings. Along the way we will discuss sources for music to tab, how to determine the string tuning to use for tunes written in common dulcimer-friendly keys and the challenge of accidentals. 

TUESDAY 1:00-2:30 PM

BEGINNER REVIEW OF MORNING SKILLS (Exclusively for Carol Crocker’s Level I class) - A continuation/review of the beginning morning skills class. This will give the participants time to ask those questions they thought of over lunch or get extra help.

IMPROVING YOUR FLATPICKING (Jeff Furman, Level 2) - Flatpicking is a great way to emphasize melody or harmony notes and provide contrast to strumming. In this technique and repertoire workshop you will be given exercises for practicing the techniques, explore how and when you might choose to incorporate flatpicking into your playing for additional variety and mood, and learn some new tunes which allow you to use your new flatpicking skills! The goal of this class is accuracy and clarity, and not speed!

LIVING AND DYING IN THREE QUARTER TIME (Laurie Alsobrook, Level 2) – Name that Jimmy Buffet tune! This workshop has nothing to do with Margaritaville...rather we’ll look at tunes in three-quarter time. You’ll enjoy tunes like “Planxty Fannie Powers,” “The Blackest Crow,” “Skye Boat Song,” and “Si Beag Si Mor” in this class.

LET’S GET IN SHAPE! (Elaine Conger, Level 2-3) - Learning the chord shapes on the mountain dulcimer will add “light bulbs” to your playing. In fact, you may see a light or two come on over a few participants’ heads! Find out what the “dulcimer salute” is and play some fun tunes in the process.

TRADITIONAL & HOLIDAY DUETS (D.J. Hamouris, Level 3) - Making sweet music with a friend is always delightful. These duets will challenge both players, with chord/melody and bass-leading parts, as well as simple harmonics & playing the lead on the middle string. Includes “Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine,” “Ashokan Farewell,” “Good King Wenceslas,” and “Silent Night.”

LEARN THE OLD TIME TUNE, "STUMP TAILED DOG" (Sarah Morgan, Level 3) - Come and learn one of my favorite old-time tunes! It is an infectious and fun tune with lots of impressive and interesting passages. We'll learn this tune, by ear, phrase by phrase but I'll hand out tablature at the end of class. Be ready to explore the DGD tuning.

SONGS OF THE SEA (Aubrey Atwater, Level 3 & up) - Aubrey, an Ocean State native, will present traditional seafaring songs each in its own way beautiful, playful, tragic, or joyous. You will need a capo for one of the songs.
CONTINUING BASS DULCIMER SKILLS 2: PLAYING AS A SOLO INSTRUMENT (Janita Baker, Level 3 and up) - This class is specifically designed for the participants who were in the bass dulcimer morning skills class in the summer of 2018. Although the bass dulcimer’s primary and most practical use is supporting the standard by mimicking the techniques used by the upright or electric bass player, it, of course, can also stand alone as a solo instrument. The bass dulcimer’s unique voice and tonal presence lends itself especially well to flat picking and fingerpicking, and its resonance and sustain can actually make it easier to play more complex pieces if properly arranged for this instrument. We will explore ways to modify standard dulcimer arrangements to better suit the bass as well as add to your bass repertoire with a variety of tunes.

LEARN HOW TO MODULATE (Lorinda Jones, Level 4-5) – Learn how to modulate (change keys) by use of chord melodies, rather than using the capo. Song samples included.

IRISH DANCE STYLES (Karen Mueller, Level 4-5) - Learn the difference between a jig, reel, polka and hornpipe, and how to play authentic accompaniment. DAD.

MUSIC THEORY FOR THE MOUNTAIN DULCIMER PLAYER (Jim Miller, all levels) - This class will cover the basics of music theory as it applies to the mountain dulcimer. Learn about scales, chords, modes, intervals, etc., and how to apply this knowledge to the dulcimer fretboard.

TABLEDIT II: EASY ENTRY (Melanie Johnston, Level 2 and up - see Monday listing for complete class description) - Automatic rests, Reading Guides, Auto-Advance, Note Duration Quick Entry...... what’s it all about? Which ones should you use and why? Come find out in this class as we enter a tune from standard notation and one from handwritten tab. As we enter the music, we will put into practice and see the effects of the set-up choices we made in class 1. Additionally, we will use two methods to copy and paste measures, and use the “Reading List” feature to create repeats, 1st and 2nd endings etc. After all that, we will proof the piece by listening to it and evaluating the choices made by Tabledit for frets and strings. We will fix and adjust as needed.

WEDNESDAY 1:00-2:30 PM

BEGINNER REVIEW OF MORNING SKILLS (Exclusively for Carol Crocker’s Level I class) - A continuation/review of the beginning morning skills class. This will give the participants time to ask those questions they thought of over lunch or get extra help.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME! (Laurie Alsobrook, Level 2) Ah, Dorothy, you can say that again! Let’s learn a few “no place like home” songs like “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Going Home,” “Safe Home,” and, of course, “Home Sweet Home.”

DUETS YOU'VE NEVER PLAYED (D.J. Hamouris, Level 2 & up) - It’s always fun to learn something you may never have heard before! Includes my original tune, “Fantasia on ‘A’ String” and a traditional English Country Dance, “Alice” (both instrumentals). Plus, more intricate accompaniments to my songs “Fountain” & “Indian Summer.” Lots of finger-picking!

CONTINUING BASS DULCIMER SKILLS 3 (Janita Baker & Elaine Conger, Level 3 & up) - This class is specifically designed for the participants who were in the bass dulcimer skills class in the summer of 2018. This is the third in a series of electives designed to fill and feed the needs and requests of last summer's Bass Dulcimer Skills class. The class will be led as a panel discussion/master class with the two instructors, so please come with your questions and songs where you could use some advice or help.

USE OF THE CAPO (Larry Conger, Level 3) - In this class, Larry will present 5 short songs, all of which use the capo, to demonstrate the various places a capo can be used on the dulcimer. The presentation will also help guide you through the process of properly seating the capo as well as what sort of capos are available in today’s market. DAD tuning.

PLAYING FOR CONTRA DANCES (Jim Miller, Level 3 & up) - Learn the ins and outs of accompanying this popular form of dance. We'll cover important topics such as keeping steady rhythm, following the caller's cues, and listening to other players. Learn what to do (and not do) as well as common contra dance tunes. This is a repeat of Monday’s class, but you’re welcome to take it again as a rehearsal for the evening’s dance!

RELIGIOUS SONGS (Aubrey Atwater, Level 3 & up) - Drawing from a variety of sources in American folk music, Aubrey will present two Shaker Hymns, a minstrel-era song called “Angel Gabriel,” the exquisite “Resignation” based on Psalm 23, and the well-known “Angel Band.” You’ll need a capo for one of the songs.

THE BEAUTY OF LULLABIES (Jeff Furman, Level 3 & up) - In this class you will learn several beautiful lullabies to add to your repertoire. These soft and tender tunes/songs are always a crowd favorite and are very pleasing to play. We will focus on playing these beautiful melodies with accuracy and sweetness. Please bring a CAPO.

OLD-TIME FIDDLE TUNES FROM EASTERN KENTUCKY (Sarah Morgan, Level 4) - Come learn some unique and fun old-time tunes that are from the eastern mountains of Kentucky. We’ll be discussing the mountain dulcimer’s role in old-time music and how to add rhythmic drive and variation to these tunes. Be ready to explore other tunings beside DAD.

ORNAMENTATION APPLIED TO CELTIC MUSIC REPERTOIRE (Lorinda Jones, Level 5) - Review the hammer-on, pull-off and slide and apply to selected song material to enhance the melody.

SING AND STRUM SONGS: FOLK FAVORITES (Karen Mueller, all levels) - Have fun using chords to accompany singing. DAD.

TABLEDIT III: HARMONY, TEXT AND SPECIAL EFFECTS (Melanie Johnston, Level 2 and up - see Monday listing for complete class description) - Ready for a little harmony or to create a variation of an arrangement you tabbed earlier? Then you want to learn how to use the Module function. In this class we will create a module, talk about the “rules” for modules and look at Line Mode vs. Page Mode. We will then listen to the modules separately and together. We will learn how to enter chord symbols and adjust their position. I have a couple of helpful tricks and cautions to show you here! We will also talk about using the text function to enter lyrics. Lastly, we will enter a couple of special effects, e.g. hammer-on, pull-off, slide, triplet.

THURSDAY 1:00-2:30 PM

BEGINNER REVIEW OF MORNING SKILLS (Exclusively for Carol Crocker’s Level I class) - A continuation/review of the beginning morning skills class. This will give the participants time to ask those questions they thought of over lunch or get extra help.

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ (Laurie Alsobrook, Level 2) - Actually, NOT a Grateful Dead tribute workshop...these songs focus on traveling: “Going to Boston,” “Rosin the Beau,” etc.

HYMN TUNE REPERTOIRE (Larry Conger, Level 2) - This class is always a popular one because it provides participants new material to play in worship and/or devotional settings. Come prepared to learn some familiar hymn tunes in a chord melody style with a few interesting twists and turns along the way. DAD

PLAYING THE MOUNTAIN DULCIMER BY EAR (Aubrey Atwater, Level 3) - Learn to work out melodies, harmonies, and simple chords to familiar songs by ear in the oral, folk tradition. Not using instructional tablature or books helps to train the ear as the player takes on a different relationship to the music.

ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE TUNES (D.J. Hamouris, Level 3) - These dances are part of a living tradition worldwide for many musicians and dancers. To join that tradition, it’s important that we play them in the same keys that current English Country Dance players use. Includes “Lilliburlero,” “Gathering Peascods,” “Jenny Pluck Pears,” and “Alice” (duet). DAD & DGD tunings.

PLAYING WITH 1.5 FRET (Lorinda Jones, Level 3-5) - Learn how to take advantage of the 1.5 fret with a focus on paying in the keys of D Major, D Minor, and G.

FIDDLE TUNE SMORGASBORD (Karen Mueller, Level 4-5) - Scandinavian and American dance tunes: have fun with a variety of fiddle tunes from several sources, in several keys. DAD with capo.

IMPROVING YOUR LISTENING, EXPRESSION, AND PERFORMANCE (Jeff Furman, Level 5) - This workshop will emphasize improving your playing by focusing on: a) listening (to yourself and others), b) increasing the personal expression in your playing, and c) improving your performance skills (even if you don’t perform alone). We will discuss issues related to these topics so you can think about and begin your own improvement. We will then use a Master Class structure...students should be prepared to play a tune (any tune, not necessarily a performance or competition piece) and the class will offer feedback on what we heard, saw, and felt so everyone learns from the process. You can play the dulcimer...this class will focus on helping you improve!

MUSIC THEORY FOR THE MOUNTAIN DULCIMER PLAYER (Jim Miller, all levels) – Repeat of Tuesday offering. This class will cover the basics of music theory as it applies to the mountain dulcimer. Learn about scales, chords, modes, intervals, etc., and how to apply this knowledge to the dulcimer fretboard.

UNACCOMPANIED APPALACHIAN BALLAD SINGING (Sarah Morgan, vocal class for any level; no instruments) -- Come and be a part of the rich tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing in the southern mountains. In this class you will learn many fascinating ballads as well as the unique vocal techniques and phrasing styles found in this genre of folk music. All songs will be taught by ear, so a recording device will come in handy. Lyrics will be provided.

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER MECHANICS (Janita Baker, all levels) -- Understanding various aspects of the mountain dulcimer in terms of playability, performance and construction can help prevent and resolve issues that may arise and affect a player’s enjoyment of the instrument.  This workshop will cover topics such as:  what to look for when shopping for a new dulcimer; identification of problems common to dulcimers which affect either the playability or quality of sound; understanding intonation, effects of different scale lengths, string gauges, etc.; simple fixes for common problems such as slipping tuners, buzzes, sympathetic tones, breaking strings; and how to change strings, when and why.

TABLEDIT IV: PRINT AND PLAY (Melanie Johnston, Level 2 and up -- see Monday listing for complete class description) - Surprisingly, printing out your beautifully written tablature so that it looks just the way you envisioned can be a challenge! In this class we will learn how to set fonts, adjust spacing, print size, specify the measures per line then over-ride that for specific lines and force page breaks. We will look at the choices for printing one or more modules and tab only or tab and standard notation. We will learn to circle or color certain tab numbers and hide non-melody notes in the standard notation for a cleaner appearance. Once you have a good Tabledit file (.tef) you can use it as an auditory study aid to help your students. This is especially useful to students who do not read music well and are helped by being able to hear the music. We will learn what you and your students need to know to use this feature. 

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