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2020 Winter Weekend Class Descriptions

Class options are listed below and grouped according to day and session.
Please choose your classes wisely and carefully; there will be no allowances for switching classes at the event.

MD = mountain dulcimer
HD = hammered dulcimer

Level 1 - New Players
Level 2 - Advancing Beginners
Level 3 - Lower Intermediate
Level 4 - Upper Intermediate
Level 5 - Beyond Intermediate


FRIDAY: SESSION one- 8:30-10:00 am

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

New Mountain Dulcimer Players- Judy House (MD 1)
This class will meet as a continuous series of workshops throughout the weekend. Choose this class for every session in order to develop the skills needed to progress through the Beginner level. Topics covered in this class will be a brief history of the dulcimer, how to hold, strum, fret, tune, and care for your instrument. We will learn how to read tab in different keys and explore backup chords, time and rhythm, and how to play by ear!  You will learn how to practice your dulcimer and you will receive a variety of tunes to perfect the skills taught over the weekend.  You may even learn how to survive in a jam! Come and join us. We would love to include you in this enjoyable experience as a mountain dulcimer player! (Be sure to request one of our loaner dulcimers if you don’t own one.)
 
Advancing Beginner Track:  Lorinda Jones (MD 2) 
“Conquering the Strum” -- It really is “all about that strum.”  We will first talk about types of picks, ways to hold the pick for less pick and more string sound and then incorporate that into both individual string picking and strumming across all the strings. Integrate the “bum diddy” into your tunes and understand how to adapt your strumming in songs and backup as well as compound and triple meters.
 
Carter Family Tunes – Anne Lough (MD 3)
The mountains of SW Virginia gave us the music of AP, Sara and Mother Maybelle Carter, the original Carter Family, giving this region the title of “The Birthplace of Country Music.” Enjoy playing and singing some of the classic songs that created a whole new genre of American popular music.
 
“October in the Smokies”– Elaine Conger (MD 4)
My answer to Larry’s September on the Mississippi!  This original chord melody style tune will give you another pretty ballad to add to your repertoire while also giving you a means to review and reinforce playing chord shapes smoothly and efficiently and hone your skills at “maintaining your sustain.”  This class will also give you a good opportunity at practicing your tab reading skills since this will not be a familiar song.
 
HAMMER DULCIMER

Hammer Dulcimer Road Map for New Players- Jim Miller (HD 1)
This class will meet as a continuous series of workshops throughout the weekend for beginners on the hammered dulcimer. The series of classes serve as a “road map” for navigating the hammer dulcimer.  Part 1 for this first sessioncovers the scales, both major and minor, that can be played on the instrument. (WCU has one loaner hammer dulcimer; request in advance; first come, first served.)
 
Advancing Beginner Techniques--- Katie Waldren (HD 2)
Get familiar with the names for the parts of the hammer dulcimer and the written music terms that we will use in class. Our focus will be on hammer technique & ways to improve it by directing more power to each strike. Familiar tunes will be given to practice as a class with large easy to read handouts.
 
Dulcimer Duo’s– Matthew Dickerson (HD 3-4)
The most fun I have playing music is in a duet with another dulcimer. Come join the fun as we split the class into two and learn to play two parts together.
 
CLAWHAMMER BANJO I – Keith Watson
We will learn the basics of the “clawhammer” stroke, amazingly simple yet so awkward to learn. We will begin slowly, stay slow, and advance slowly through the very “basics” of clawhammer style. Depending on the aptitude of the class, we may begin learning chords and more advanced techniques.  Students must provide their own banjo, and they must be strung and playable and tuned to the key of G for the class. There are a couple of loaners available from the instructor, but they must be requested in advance, first come, first served.

Friday: session 2- 10:30 am-12:00 pm

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

New Mountain Dulcimer Players (cont.) - Judy House
 
Advancing Beginner Track (cont.) – Lorinda Jones
“The Low Down (and higher up!) about Chords” -- We will first look at how to build chords from the bass string up as we accompany songs with just fretting one string on the bass.  From there we build chords using the middle and treble strings and practice the chords as accompaniment so we can focus on changing chords smoothly and in time. Chord charts will be provided to show chords in more than one position up and down the fretboard and how to more quickly identify the shape and sound of the chord.
 
Lullabies from Around the World– Anne Lough (MD 3)
Sweet, soothing and universal in nature, these lovely tunes will bring back memories and soothe your soul as well as calm the crying baby or grandchild!
 
Embellishing a Basic Arrangement –Larry Conger (MD 4-5)
This workshop will discuss and demonstrate how you can take basic arrangements and add your own personal touch by applying elements such as grace notes, harmonics, muted strings, color chords, melodic alterations, etc. The goal will be to take your playing to the next level.  Two to three arrangements will be used to demonstrate the various embellishments.  DAD tuning.
 
HAMMER DULCIMER

Hammer Dulcimer Road Map: Part 2- Jim Miller (HD 1)
This class is continued from session 1 and covers simple melodies and common tunes.

Adding Percussive Embellishments--- Katie Waldren (HD 2)
We will focus more in-depth on percussive embellishments such as single & double string rolls & how to integrate them into songs.
 
“Edisto Waltz”– Matthew Dickerson (HD 3-4)
Push your skills and come learn to play the lovely southern “Edisto Waltz.”
 
LEARN TO PLAY THE MUSICAL SPOONS & WASHTUB BASS – Ruth Barber & Keith Watson
Join Boogertown Gap, Keith and Ruth, “The Spoon Lady of Tennessee,” for a fun time learning the history and various techniques of playing these two Old-Time instruments. All instruments will be provided.

FRIDAY: SESSION THREE- 2:30-4:00 pm

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

New Mountain Dulcimer Players (cont.) - Judy House
 
Advancing Beginner Track (cont.) – Lorinda Jones
“Combining Melodies and Chords for a Lush Sound” -- Rather than just “reading tab” to play chord melodies, we will take a simple melody and add the chords that we use as an accompaniment so it is much easier to understand and memorize because the player “knows” what the tab numbers mean.  A great way to take a step in learning how to create your own arrangements known as “playing from a lead sheet.”
 
Scottish Tunes from Robert Burns– Anne Lough (MD 3)
The wonderful Scottish poet Robert Burns took great care to select just the right traditional melody to set his poetry to. Enjoy learning some of these beautiful and sometimes whimsical tunes.
 
Same Song – Three Different Keys – Larry Conger (MD 4-5)
In this workshop, we will work on learning tunes that can be played in three different keys, thereby making the arrangements more fun to play and more interesting for the listener.  The goal will be to help you think outside the key of D without the use of a capo.  DAD tuning.
 
HAMMER DULCIMER

Hammer Dulcimer Road Map: Beginning Fiddle Tunes - Jim Miller (HD 1)
Several common fiddle tunes will be taught.


Chord Patterns - Katie Waldren (HD 2)
Learn how to find and play convenient chord patterns to accompany another instrument or voice. It's an easy & fun way to learn chords & become more visually friendly with the hammer dulcimer.
 
Learn How to Play Accompaniment – Matthew Dickerson (HD 3-4)
So you can play some tunes, but can you play backup? It may sound daunting at first, but I'll show you how easy and simple it is using guitar chords listed on the sheet music.
 
LEARN TO PLAY THE MUSICAL SPOONS & WASHTUB BASS– Ruth Barber & Keith Watson
Join Boogertown Gap, Keith and Ruth, “The Spoon Lady of Tennessee,” for a fun time learning the history and various techniques of playing these two Old-Time instruments. All instruments will be provided.

SATURDAY: SESSION ONE- 8:30-10:00 am

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

New Mountain Dulcimer Players (cont.) - Judy House
 
Advancing Beginner Track(cont.) – Lorinda Jones
“The Capo is the Key!” -- Learn the basic functioning of the capo, how to use this “piece of wood with a screw” to change keys (both major and minor) on songs you already know, as well as how to play tunes that indicate capo per instructions for playing.  The capo adds a lot of flexibility if you sing with the dulcimer or play with other musicians in other settings. 
 
Arranging Music from Standard Notation – Larry Conger (MD 3)
We will start by learning how to identify a song’s key based on the number of sharps and flats in the key signature.  From there, we will establish the tonal center of those keys and discuss how the various notes of each scale transfers to the dulcimer fretboard.  We will then proceed to taking short, familiar melodies, written in standard notation, and convert them into simple tabs.  The goal will be to give you enough information so that you can tab any basic melody you may find in a music book.  DAD tuning will be used.
 
Beautiful Celtic Airs -- Anne Lough (MD 4-5)
Experience the expressive and haunting beauty of these timeless Celtic Airs. The creative use of left and right hand technique give voice to the plaintive soul of these treasures.  Capo needed
 
 
HAMMER DULCIMER

Hammer Dulcimer Road Map: Harmonies - Jim Miller (HD 1)
Learn how to harmonize a major scale and use those harmonies to play several simple hymn tunes.

“Texas”– Matthew Dickerson (HD 2)
Texas is a common jam tune played by many dulcimer players. If you want to get in on the action come join us to learn an exciting fun tune to play!
 
3-Note Harmonies – Katie Waldren (HD 3)
Learn how 3-note harmonies can be created on your hammer dulcimer as well as how and when to include them within a song.

CLAWHAMMER BANJO II – Keith Watson
We will take up where we left off in the Friday session and begin to apply our clawhammer stroke to a tune.  Once on our way with this, we will change tunings (without a capo) and learn the sounds of other songs and other tunings, concentrating G, Gm, and Double C. Students must provide their own banjo, and they must be strung and playable and tuned to the key of G for the class. There are a couple of loaners available from the instructor, but they must be requested in advance, first come, first served.

SATURDAY: SESSION TWO- 10:30 am-12:00 pm

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

New Mountain Dulcimer Players(cont.) - Judy House
 
Advancing Beginner Track(cont.) – Lorinda Jones
“Playing Across the Strings for fill-ins and Beautiful Arpeggios” -- Learn how to play across the strings to create chord arpeggios that stand alone as back-up, or fill-in a long note to create a beautiful, flowing sound on the dulcimer. This style sounds like fingerpicking, but utilizes the pick so strumming and picking can be blended together for a rich sound.
 
Intro to Bass Dulcimer – Kirk House (MD 2-3)
This class is designed for students who are new at playing the bass dulcimer but who have had some experience playing a standard. It is not necessary to bring a bass dulcimer to class if you don’t have one already, because all of the exercises can be done on a standard dulcimer tuned to DAD. A 1.5 fret is not mandatory but is highly recommended. We will cover fundamental principles of playing bass dulcimer “as a bass,” learn how the bass player’s line is built upon chord structure (root / fifth), and how to find those notes on the dulcimer fretboard. We will also do some “ear training” exercises, to help learn to recognize when chord changes occur in a song. If time permits, we will discuss the role of the bass player as “time-keeper” in the band and explore other time signatures other than 4/4.
 
Liturgical Leanings – Elaine Conger (MD 3-4)
The hymns in this workshop come from the Episcopal Hymnal, a rich source of music from our Christian heritage. The tunes are tabbed in a straight chordal style, but then also arranged as jigs making them acceptable solo dulcimer tunes, in or out of a church setting.
 
Show Tunes– Anne Lough (MD 4-5)
Learn some of those nostalgic tunes from the wonderful repertoire of the 40’s and 50’s as well as from the grand era of musical comedy.

HAMMER DULCIMER

Hammer Dulcimer Road Map: Hammer Patterns - Jim Miller (HD 1)
Right/left hand alternation and dominant hand lead will be discussed.
Express Emotion While Playing the Hammer Dulcimer– Matthew Dickerson (HD 2)
Bring your instrument to life by working with dynamics and subtle adjustments to your music. Simplicity with added flare can make any beginner sound experienced.

Express Emotion While Playing the Hammer Dulcimer – Matthew Dickerson (HD 2)
Bring your instrument to life by working with dynamics and subtle adjustments to your music. Simplicity with added flare can make any beginner sound experienced.

Hammer Dulcimer Hand Separation -- Katie Waldren (HD 3)
What is hammer dulcimer hand separation technique?  Learn how to integrate chords and melody with both left and right hammers using a step by step method.

SATURDAY: SESSION THREE- 2:30-4:00 pm

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

Mountain Dulcimer Slow Jam - Judy House (MD 1-2)
If you are new to playing the dulcimer or new to jamming, come join in the fun!  We will be learning what it means to “jam”, jam etiquette, basic songs you should know in order to join others in a jam, and have loads and loads of fun and laughs too! I hope to see you there!
 
Advancing Beginner Track (cont.) – Lorinda Jones
“Easy, but Effective Ensemble Playing” -- Arrangements that are quick to put together with multiple parts for standard dulcimer.  Most all of the arrangements have a simple bass line, melody, harmony and/or chord part so all can participate and sound great together without too much challenge.  
 
Go for Baroque! – Elaine Conger (MD 3-5)
When not strummed, the mountain dulcimer played in ensemble fashion gives the listener an impression of a harpsichord.  Why not capitalize on that feature and play some music from the Baroque period!  These multi-part arrangements will get you all ready for your next classical gig! Bring baritones (tuned ADA) and basses (tuned DAD) if you have them. Standards in DAD tuning. Standards and basses will need a 1.5 fret.
 
Modal Fiddle Tunes– Anne Lough (MD 4-5)
Most of the Appalachian fiddle tunes and melodies came from the Celtic, Scots-Irish tradition and many were modal in nature. Learn some of these lively tunes and focus on left hand technique to smooth out and speed up your playing. Int/Adv  Capo needed
 
HAMMER DULCIMER

Hammered Dulcimer Care & Feeding and Jamming - Jim Miller (HD 1-2)
Covers tuning, changing strings, cleaning, and care of a hammered dulcimer. This session will also cover how to participate in jams.

Playing Fast & Accurately –Matthew Dickerson (HD 2)
Dulcimers have a huge plethora of strings making it difficult for some to move their hammers quickly without getting lost. This class will teach ways to demystify tunes and find familiar patterns so playing will become second nature.
 
Creative Expression Through Arrangement-- Katie Waldren (HD 3)
Let's consider how a traditional melody can be enhanced by first defining its sections, and then creatively re-arrange them. The end result will be a tune that shines!
 
INTRO TO THE BANJAMMER– Mike Clemmer
Learn how to get the most out of the Banjammer in a workshop presented by its inventor!

 

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