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2022  Spring Music Weekend Classes

All classes are held on Zoom this year!


Students in intermediate and advanced classes should have a familiarity with their instruments and be able to learn tunes either from sheet music or by ear.

* Classes in white are approximately 90 minutes of instruction.  Mini-classes are 45 minutes. Classes in yellow are available for mixed instruments with permission of the instructor.

Class 1: Saturday Morning Classes  10am-12Noon EST

Hammered Dulcimer Bootcamp  (Tina Bergmann)  Beg./Adv. Beg.

Everything you need to know to get the most out of workshops and private lessons, play with healthy technique that will give you solid musical results, and be more easy with your beautiful instrument! 

Intros, Interludes, and Outros  (Karen Alley) Intermediate

As you start to get comfortable adding chords and embellishments to melodies, it’s a good time to think about putting together longer arrangements. We often give the listener a teaser of an arrangement with an intro, use an interlude to transition between repeats, and end with an outro. We’ll discuss strategies for writing coherent intros, interludes, and outros, and we’ll use example tunes to create a few of these building blocks together.   

Swedish Tunes (Brenda Hunter) Int.-Adv.

Catch the “Scandibug”! Swedish tunes sound great on HD! Both a traditional and a contemporary slangpolska will be taught. (These are NOT the typical duple meter polkas their name seems to suggest.)


The Joy of Odd Meter (Mark Alan Wade) Advanced

Feel and experience the exciting & irregular pulse of 7/8 time with this fun class! It’s easier than you think! We will explore the how the beats are grouped and how to thrive in odd meters using the familiar song, “Ode to Joy” as our anchor. Having a tune that we all know will keep us grounded and make applying this new groove (almost) easy! 

Class 2: Saturday Afternoon Classes  2:15-4:00PM EST

Solid Hammer Technique for Both Hands (Karen Alley) Beg.-Adv. Beg

When you’re new to the dulcimer, it’s easy to get lost in all the notes and chords and melodies and shapes and embellishments while forgetting one of the most important parts: the hammers. We’ll talk about the fundamentals of a strong hammer technique and how to approach hammer technique in your practice time. In particular, we’ll focus on strategies for helping your non-dominant hand keep up. You’ll leave with lots of ideas and exercises to help you reach the next level.

Distilling Appalachian Style (Mark Alan Wade)  Adv. Beg.-Int. 

There’s a fine line between having no style and having the wrong style in Appalachian music. And there’s a finer line still between Appalachian style and sounding like country and bluegrass. Let’s walk that line together in this class using the tune Coleman’s March. I’ll show you some signature Appalachian style traits and ornaments to use in your playing.


Medieval and Renaissance Music on the Hammered Dulcimer (Tina Bergmann) Int.-Adv.

We’ll learn and explore two wonderful pieces, O Mistress Mine from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and a perennial favorite in the classical guitar community, Packington’s Pound.  O Mistress Mine offers interesting rhythms in 2 and 3 with plenty of room to dress it up, and Packington’s Pound is an interesting three-part tune that begs for variation on the repeats! We’ll learn these tunes and explore how to create variation. 

Reel Fun! (Brenda Hunter) Advanced

Three great Irish reels in a set. One of these employs a horizontal hammering pattern that makes it super fun and easy to play! We’ll discuss how to best combine tunes into dynamic sets.

Mini Classes: Saturday Afternoon 4:30-5:30PM EST


Filling, Not Killing, Time (Brenda Hunter) Intermediate

Learn a fun arranging technique, using drone notes (plus the occasional chord or scale passage) to fill out a slow, simple melody. (The Southwind)

Learn the quirky and fabulous “Henry Reed’s Breakdown” (Tina Bergmann) Int-Adv.

We’ll tackle this unusual tune that is mostly modal but has wonderful lifts with G#s at the phrase ends, plus syncopation and drive.

Master the “Slide” Ornament on Pennywhistle (Mark Alan Wade) 

Whistles are so very easy to play expressively because we can control the vibrato, dynamics, and pitch all while it is sounding. After you strum a note or hit it on a dulcimer, there is not anything you can do to change its volume. On whistle, not only can you do that with ease, but we can also sound like the human voice and bend up and down between notes. This is called sliding. In this class, we will explore a slow air and learn how and where to add this tasty ornament. 


Class 3: Sunday Morning Classes  10am-12Noon EST


Hymns and Keys (Brenda Hunter) Beg.-Adv. Beg.

Three familiar hymn melodies will be presented with some very basic harmonies. Each is in a different key to help familiarize key locations on the HD. We’ll apply our knew knowledge by transposing the hymns.

 Setting 2 Birds Free with One Key (Mark Alan Wade) Beg.-Adv. Beg.

We’re not killing birds here– we’re setting them free! Unlock your music with a few easy-to-apply guides that will set you off on the path to success on this fun instrument. We’ll learn how and where to cross the bridge without crossing hammers. We’ll also learn how rhythm will dictate where you play– NOT the note’s proximity on the instrument. I use tunes to teach concepts like these, so as a bonus, you will ALSO leave this hand-on class with some new tunes to share!


Let the Good Times Roll! (Tina Bergmann) Int.-Adv.

Are you aware of all the different ways rolls function?  They can draw your ear to the strong beat, they can thicken up the sound rhythmically and harmonically, they can help you maintain your lead pattern during triplet lead ins that would otherwise throw it off, they can add an elegant gliss with a push or a drag.  Rolls greatly elevate your playing but can be tricky to figure out and insert.  We’ll cover all this and more!

Embellishing Melody Lines: Turlough O’Carolan’s “The Fairy Queen” (Karen Alley) Advanced

“The Fairy Queen” is a beautiful and lively waltz with an engaging chord structure and melody line. We’ll spend some time getting to know an arrangement of the tune. Then we’ll consider in detail what variations we can add to the melody line, including rhythm changes, adding ornaments, and varying the notes. We’ll focus on how these embellishments fit into tunes and why they work where they do. You’ll be able to apply these principles to other tunes in the future.


Class 4:Sunday Afternoon Classes 2:00-4:00PM EST


Chord Magic (Brenda Hunter)  (Adv.-Beg-Intermediate)

This class develops hand independence as we play familiar melody with just the LH while adding chords with the right.

Fun Jam Tunes for Advanced Beginners (Tina Bergmann) Adv. Beg.

We’ll learn two fun jam tunes that you’ll enjoy playing with others.  During class we’ll learn with the call and answer method, but you will be given the music and also an audio file to play along with on your own.

 Learn a Classical Jig (Mark Alan Wade) (Intermediate)

When we think of jigs, we think of Irish music; but jigs are played all over the world. We will learn how to apply 6/8 sticking guidelines to a jig from the Baroque period. This repertoire is great for reinforcing concepts like dominant hand lead/alternate hand lead, when and how to cross the bridge without crossing your hands, baroque style and ornamentation, and more! 

 Embellishing Harmony Lines: Turlough O’Carolan’s “Carolan’s Cup” (Karen Alley) (Intermediate-Advanced)

“Carolan’s Cup” is a gorgeous, flowing melody that invites the arranger to experiment with chord substitutions and varied accompaniment patterns. We’ll start with a relatively simple set of chord choices and voicings and then discuss how chord substitutions, walking bass lines, and chord patterns can be used to change the character and add movement to a piece of music. You’ll be able to use these ideas when you arrange other tunes in the future. You’ll need a 15/14 instrument or larger to make the most out of this arrangement.


Student Led Activities.... 

Student Open Mike 

Students are encouraged to share pieces they are working on at our Student Open Mike on Friday afternoon. This is a chance to share a piece you are working on and develop performing skills in a warm and friendly atmosphere.  A good way to meet other students and to get feedback on your arrangements.

If you would like to host the open mike, let us know!  We can give you a tuition discount, if you would like!

Mini Classes

Students offering to teach a useful one hour mini-class on Friday or Saturday afternoon may receive a $50 tuition discount. Call or email us by February 15, if you would like to teach a class for this discount.  Students not needing the discount are also encouraged to share something during the weekend.  This make it more fun for everyone.  Take ownership in the weekend by sharing something that you do!

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