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Dulcimer U Winter Weekend

winter scene with dulcimer


Thursday-Sunday, January 6-9, 2022
Lambuth Inn, Lake Junaluska, NC


Registration and Costs

  • The $175 early registration fee has been extended to Jan. 3. Take advantage of this early Christmas present and save $24. Makes a great gift! 
  • $20 for non-participant guests.
  • All classes will be in the Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska.

    Lake Junaluska room packages include all meals. Participants must make these reservations separately by calling 800.222.4930 or MAKE YOUR RESERVATION ONLINE

Lake Junaluska Health & Safety Protocols

A Message from our Directors:

We are excited that you are considering joining us for a weekend of dulcimer music, fun and fellowship. Winter Weekend is always a great way to decompress from the stress of the holidays and take in some great music.

Again this year, we have put together a first class instructional staff, all of whom are veterans of Winter Weekend.  Their experience in the classroom as an instructor as well as on stage as a performer make them the very best at what they do!

The goal of all Dulcimer U events is to provide you the finest educational experience you can find at any dulcimer gathering, while still maintaining a relaxed, fun-filled atmosphere - offering something for everyone, no matter what the experience level. To top it off, the beautiful Lake Junaluska setting provides the perfect backdrop for your learning experience.

While we are extremely proud of our instructional staff, Dulcimer U events are not about showcasing them. Rather, it is about U, the participant. We work hard to make this weekend the very best that it can be for each individual, whether you are a new player or a seasoned veteran.

This is a personal invitation to check out what we have to offer in the way of instruction and to join us for this very special weekend of learning more about the mountain dulcimer. We look forward to making music with you in January!

Elaine & Larry Conger





MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 8:30 - 10:00 am

LEVEL 1 - New Players with Jim Miller Participants registering for this class should plan to stay in this class throughout the weekend, as one concept will build on the ones before.  Jim will be starting with the very basics of playing the mountain dulcimer, then slowly progressing at a pace that he deems comfortable for the class.  Session 1 – Intro to the mountain dulcimer (tuning, strums, fingering, picks, chords, scales)

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners, “The Ins and Outs of It!”( Anne Lough) Put rhyme and reason into your strum as you focus on building the foundational right hand technique that is key to smooth, accurate and expressive playing. Using a couple familiar tunes in different meters, explore variations of right hand technique including a bit of flat picking.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate “Improving Your Fingering” (Jeff Furman) This class will explore the how, why, where, and when of left hand fingering positions.  Emphasis will be on choosing fingering to help you with the clarity and smoothness of your playing and the quality of the sound you produce.  There is no right or wrong way in fingering, but there may be ways that are better for you for a variety of reasons.  We will explore these reasons and also consider comfort and physical issues.  Please BRING A CAPO!

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate “Pachelbel wasn’t such a 1-hit wonder after all!” (Elaine Conger)  This workshop, which utilizes a partner arrangement of Canon in D, is the perfect opportunity for you to utilize and reinforce your study of chord shapes or simply learn a beautiful Baroque period song that has a harmonic progression found in numerous tunes of today. You’ll end up with an arrangement that becomes a medley of popular tunes – in almost “name that tune” fashion -- set against the greatest hit of the 1700’s.

LEVEL 4/5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced, “Dulcimer Blues” (Larry Conger) This workshop will explore several blues tunes that are sure to be fun and challenging.  A 1+ fret will be needed to play these tunes.  DAD tuning.

GUITAR - Guitar from the Beginning (Ruth Barber)  We will begin by learning the strings and how to tune them. Once we have that down, we will learn finger placement  for the most commonly used chords in the key of D and how they look in chord charts.  We will then explore basic strumming patterns. Bring your own guitar with strings on it, an electronic tuner, and a few picks of various hardness so you can pick which suits your style of play. 

CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Clawhammer Banjo I (Keith Watson) First we will learn how to tune your banjo to the key of D, so bring a well built banjo to the session.  Most banjos are tuned in open G so we will have to stretch those strings. After tuning we will learn the scale of D on the lower part of the neck where most clawhammer is played. Then, we will learn the basic right hand technique of the clawhammer style banjo. If you can master the right hand, you will be on your way to good clawhammer.  This is always the first thing to learn and learn it well.  We’ll spend the entire session learning the basic bum-ditty clawhammer stroke until everyone has it, then learn the basic finger placements for the most used chords in the key of D. We’ll learn a simple D tune with our new banjo technique.

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. (Jim Miller)  Session 2 –Simple melodies

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners, “A-Chording We Will Go” (Anne Lough) Become comfortable with using chords up and down the fretboard for playing chord melody and for finding harmonies. Get ready for the jam by practicing back up chords to some familiar tunes.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate, “Improving Your Flatpicking” (Jeff Furman) Flatpicking is a great way to emphasize melody or harmony notes and to provide contrast to just strumming. It is not about speed! In this 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 play some great tunes along the way!    Please BRING A CAPO!

LEVEL 3-4 – Intermediate, “You Raise Me Up” (Elaine Conger) This 3-part arrangement of the classic hit by Josh Groban will require additional purchases through Sheet Music Plus since it is a copyrighted tune. The complete arrangement is for two standards and bass dulcimer all tuned DAD.  Click these links to purchase the music:  You Raise Me Up duet and You Raise Me Up bass part.  After your purchases, you’ll need to forward your email receipts to prior to the event.

LEVEL 4-5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced, “Hornpipes for the Dulcimer” (Larry Conger) The hornpipe is a dance tune that has its origins in the British Isles and dates back to the 16th century.  The Scotch-Irish settlers brought the hornpipe to southern Appalachia where it thrived on the fiddle.  This workshop will explore several hornpipes. The primary challenge will be playing the tunes up to speed.  Players will be given the option of picking each note or applying a series of hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides to create the melody.  DAD tuning.

GUITAR - Beginning Guitar 2 (Ruth Barber) We will refresh our strum patterns, reading the chords, and possibly learn a couple of basic bass runs in the key of D. Next, we will learn some simple D tunes to start your repertoire. We will practice a few tunes so that we can join in on the Jams.

CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Clawhammer Banjo II (Keith Watson) In session two, we will review the basic clawhammer stroke and then learn to expand our playing to additional strings and some modifications of the basic stroke such as double thumbing and drop thumbing, and brushing. Once we have good working concept of this, we’ll learn the basic left hand techniques that accompanies the right hand stroke.  Techniques we will learn are hammer-on, pull-off, pluck, slide, etc. By session end we should be able to play a simple melody and tune with many of these techniques.  

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 2:30 - 4:00 pm

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. (Jim Miller)  Session 3 – Chord melody style

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners, “Two Stephen Foster Tunes” (Anne Lough) Continue to explore the functional use of chords and discuss the concept of finger placement as you dig into a medley of two fun Stephen Foster tunes in chord melody style.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate, “Enhancing Celtic Airs” (Jeff Furman) Celtic Airs are beautiful melodies and the mountain dulcimer is an excellent instrument for expressing that beauty.  In this workshop we will explore some concepts and techniques to enhance the feeling of these simple, yet beautiful and enchanting, melodies on your dulcimer.  And, of course, we will play some wonderful tunes!  Please BRING A CAPO!

LEVEL 3-4 – Intermediate, “Little Bitty Pretty One” (Elaine Conger) This was a 1957 rock-n-roll song originally written and recorded by Bobby Day (Robert Byrd) but popularized by Thurston Harris in the same year. Thankfully, the publisher never renewed the copyright, so the song fell into the public domain. It is an extremely fun 4-part arrangement for 3 standards and a bass all tuned DAD.

LEVEL 4-5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced, “Playing Hymns in Two Different Keys” (Larry Conger) This class will present several familiar hymn tunes that are played in two different keys, thereby adding interest to the arrangements. A 1+ fret will be needed to play these arrangements. A perfect addition to your worship service repertoire. DAD tuning.

GUITAR / BANJO - Banjo and Guitar Jam Session (Keith Watson & Ruth Barber) With our recent knowledge of guitar and banjo, we will all come together and play some simple, common D tunes very slowly, gradually increasing tempo. 

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 8:30 - 10:00 am

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. (Jim Miller)  Session 4 – simple fiddle tunes

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners, “Tune Up the Ear” (Anne Lough) Yes! You can learn to train your ear! Learn and memorize tunes much faster and enjoy the music at a much deeper level by getting away from the paper. We’ll focus on how to listen “intelligently” and recognize common intervals and melodic patterns. Be pleasantly surprised as we play some simple, familiar tunes by ear.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate, “The Art of the Jig” (Larry Conger) Jigs are surprisingly easy to play on the dulcimer.  The challenge is playing them up to speed.  This class will explain 6/8 time, establish a feel for the jig rhythm, then apply that knowledge to some fun jig tunes. DAD tuning.

LEVEL 3-4 – Intermediate, “Hallelujah” (Elaine Conger) This 3-part arrangement of the classic Leonard Cohen song will require additional purchases through Sheet Music Plus since it is a copyrighted tune. The complete arrangement is for two standards and bass dulcimer all tuned DAD.  Click these links to purchase the music:  Hallelujah solo and Hallelujah harmony and bass part.  After your purchases, you’ll need to forward your email receipts to prior to the event.

LEVEL 4-5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced, “Improving Your Ear: Hearing & Listening” (Jeff Furman) If you want to improve your ability to play by ear, hear chord changes, hear melodies and harmonies, and apply these skills to jamming or playing backup, this class is for you!  We will explore and practice all these aspects of hearing and listening and playing music.  Yes, you can develop or improve these skills with concepts, techniques, guidelines, and practice! Please BRING A CAPO!

PENNYWHISTLE - Penny Whistle from the Beginning (Ruth Barber) We will begin by learning how to hold the Penny Whistle, followed by breath technique, fingering and the D scale. Then we will begin to learn some D tunes. A Penny Whistle in the Key of D is required and may be purchased ahead of time or at the festival.

CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Clawhammer Banjo, Continued (Keith Watson) After a night of practice (smiley face) we will begin the class with refreshing what we learned on Friday and then learn the art of reading banjo tablature.  Once this concept is understood, you can read any clawhammer banjo tablature book and play along with your friends.  We will select a commonly played D tune and play through it using our recently gained knowledge of tablature. 

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

LEVEL I - New Players, cont. (Jim Miller)  Session 5 – hymns

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners, “What Star is This, With Beams So Bright” (Anne Lough) An early carol for Epiphany from the 15th and 17th centuries. Add some harmony to go along! 

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate, “Bluegrass Gospel for Dulcimer” (Larry Conger) No bluegrass concert would be complete without one or two good old gospel tunes.  This workshop will present songs that make use of the chord-melody style, utilizing two and three finger chords while picking individual strings in a broken or “arpeggiated” fashion.  Along the way, a few hammer-ons and pull-offs will help to smooth out the rough spots.  DAD tuning.

LEVEL 3-4 – Intermediate, “Go Rest High On That Mountain” (Elaine Conger) This 2-part arrangement of the classic Vince Gill song will require an additional purchase through Sheet Music Plus since it is a copyrighted tune. The arrangement is for a standard and bass dulcimer both tuned DAD.  Click this link to purchase the music:  Go Rest High on That Mountain duet. After your purchase, you’ll need to forward your email receipt to prior to the event.

LEVEL 4-5 Upper Intermediate into Advanced, “Creative Jamming” (Jeff Furman) Playing in a music jam can be one of the most fun things to do with your dulcimer.  But it can also be challenging or even intimidating at times.  This workshop will cover a wide variety of concepts and techniques to allow you to enjoy and contribute to music jams, even if you don’t know all the tunes or don’t have tab in front of you. Come join the fun!  Please BRING A CAPO!

NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE - Native American Flute from the Beginning (Ruth Barber)  We will begin with a brief history of this indigenous instrument. Then we will learn how to hold it and how to place the fingers. This lesson will include breathing, rhythm and improvisation.  It is a beautiful instrument that anyone can play.  Please provide your own Native American Flute in the Key of A minor.

CLAWHAMMER BANJO - Clawhammer Banjo, Continued (Keith Watson) We will expand our repertoire of D tunes to include some commonly played dulcimer tunes and /or tunes from the mid 19th century. 

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 2:30 - 4:00 pm

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. (Jim Miller)  Session 6  – Carter Family tunes in the public domain.

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners, “Samanthra” (Anne Lough) Learn this lovely folk hymn in e minor with a capo, focusing on the expressive qualities of the dulcimer. We’ll add a harmony part to create the authentic sound of the early shaped note tradition.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate, “Applying Chords to Melodies” (Larry Conger) Do you need to improve your knowledge and ability to quickly build and play chords as part of a basic song?  This workshop will explore several tunes that use numerous two and three finger chords as part of the arrangement.  You will learn to think of the chords as shapes rather than individual fingers.  DAD tuning.

LEVEL 3-4 – Intermediate, “Jamaica Farewell” (Elaine Conger) This is a traditional Jamaican-style folk song, also called a "mento."  It was made popular by Harry Belafonte in 1958.  The arrangement is for two standard mountain dulcimers, baritone, and bass. The baritone is the only instrument not tuned DAD; instead, bring your baritones tuned ADA.

LEVEL 4-5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced, “Songs of Stephen Foster” (Jeff Furman) Stephen Foster remains one of the most beloved and prolific American songwriters.  His timeless melodies are still widely played and sung, almost 150 years after his death.  In this workshop we will learn several Stephen Foster tunes that are not commonly played, and explore the power of his compositions, which are a significant thread in the fabric of our American cultural heritage. Please BRING A CAPO!

SPOONS & WASHTUB BASS - Learn to Play the Musical Spoons and Washtub Bass (Ruth Barber & Keith Watson) We will begin with a brief history of these fabulous instruments.  First, we will learn step by step easy moves for the washtub bass with some improvisation. Next, we will learn step by step easy to more difficult moves on the spoons.  All participants will have the opportunity to learn both instruments.  You will be quite proficient and able to play at the Jam by the end of this class. Instruments will be provided and will also be available for purchase, as well as an instructional DVD for spoons.


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