2020  Spring Music Weekend Classes


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.

Friday Afternoon HD Classes

Tools of the Trade (Colin Beasley) Beg.-Adv. Beg
This is a fairly broad class where we will cover different skills, concepts, and techniques that will
begin to move you from a beginner to an intermediate level hammered dulcimer player. We will
work on things like hammer technique and posture to help you play efficiently, and then learn
things like chord shapes and repeated notes to get you moving around and familiar with the
dulcimer layout. There will also be some tips and tricks that you can use to get past those
hammered dulcimer road blocks we all encounter!

Mastering and Using Multiple Bounce Strokes (Mark Alan Wade) (Intermediate)

Multiple bounce strokes are a key component of having complete hammer control and are usedextensively in percussion. In this class, we’ll learn how to do it efficiently and, moreimportantly, how and when you can add it into your own playing style.


Hands That Cooperate (Ruth Smith) (Advanced)
Let's get our brains and hands cooperating better so we're not intimidated by hands "separation" or "independence." We'll work to strengthen and gain more control over both dominant and non-dominant hands, practice helpful hand independence exercises, and learn some nice tunes to put these skills into practice with the ultimate goal of incorporating these techniques to make more interesting 

Saturday HD  Classes

Making Sense of All Those Strings  (Ruth Smith)  (Beginner/Adv. Beg.) 
Are you intimidated by the “sea of strings” on your hammered dulcimer? In this class we’ll cover everything you would like to know as a newer player, including how brilliantly simple the layout is on the dulcimer. Besides instrument layout, we'll cover hammers, technique, tuning, chords, and lots more, plus we’ll learn some great Celtic tunes!  

Hammered Dulcimer Percussion Technique (Colin Beasley) Intermediate
This class will cover a percussion-based approach to everything hammered dulcimer. We will
learn how to make our hands work better so that they aren’t a hindrance to our musical
creativity through things like percussion technique, rudiments and their uses on the hammered
dulcimer, and hand independence.

Adding Layers to your Playing (Mark Alan Wade)  (Advanced)

This class will show you how to play your melodies with layers. One layer is the melody. What
can you add? Mark will show you how to add a second bass line layer and maybe even a 3 rd
harmony layer. All this with only 2 hands! Your songs will sound richer and fuller in no time!

Sunday Hammered Dulcimer Classes


Teachin’ Tunes (Mark Alan Wade) (Beginning-Adv. Beg.)

The best way to learn to play the dulcimer is to play the dulcimer! In this hands-on class, we’ll learn tunes that teach US musical concepts. Mark has selected tunes that will teach youhammer techniques, pattern recognition, chords, basic embellishments, note names and more.

Duets for Fun! (Ruth Smith(Intermediate)
Playing hammered dulcimers together is fun and makes such beautiful music! We'll learn duets that you can take home to play with your friends and club members. These duet arrangements can work well for two people, or you and another chording instrument, as well as for a larger group.

What can we Learn from Brazil? (Colin Beasley) Advanced
A LOT. Brazil has a rich musical culture where we can find a myriad of styles and rhythms, and
many of them, when applied to hammered dulcimer, can teach us some really useful concepts
and techniques. We’re going to take a few Brazilian tunes and use them to learn many things
including: reading a lead sheet, transposing, playing chromatic chords, using different chord
voicings, syncopated rhythms, odd time signatures, and more!

Classes for Other Instruments

Healing Music  (Karen Ashbrook)  (Int. Level class) (Saturday and Sunday)

We will work on ways to convert existing repertoire and styles of playing into music that can be used for relaxation and meditative purposes.  Ideas for working with chord progressions, tempo and phrasing, as well as simple improv to create moods will be covered.  Feel free to bring a tune to class you would like to convert!  Beautiful, simple melodies will be taught.  Musicality will be emphasized.  This class has been approved for CEU's for therapeutic musicians (MHTP), contact Karen for details.

NOTE: This is not a class in how to use music therapeutically, but a class in the skills needed to pursue a certification as a therapeutic musician and to develop skills in improvisation and lyrical playing appropriate for relaxation and meditative purposes.    

Geared for Hammered Dulcimer and Harp, open to other instruments with permission of the Instructor.

Waltz Around the World  (Paul Oorts) (Int.-Adv.) (Mixed Instruments) (Saturday and Sunday)

This class will work on building repertoire and building skill at playing Couple Dance music in ensemble, with a public dance event on Sunday afternoon as the place where both students and faculty will combine to provide an exceptional experience for dancers and musicians alike! ​

Students attending this class should have good sight reading skills and reasonable facility on their instruments. 

Ukulele Fun and Technique  (Steve Smith) (Saturday Only) (Beginners Welcome)
The ukulele is a fun and simple instrument to play while singing along. Learn the variety and styles of music that can be played on the ukulele with an assortment of chords, strums, and finger picking patterns. In the morning, you’ll learn to use these techniques on several familiar popular songs.  The ukulele is most associated with Hawaii and its Pacific island music, and in the afternoon we'll start learning to play the Hawaiian way on ukulele. You’ll learn several Hawaiian “Hapa Haole” (mixing Hawaiian and English lyrics) songs including Israel 'Iz' Kamakawiwo'ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Learn the ukulele with Steve, who lived in Hawaii and played music professionally there for 15 years. 

Student Led Activities.... 

Late Afternoon 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.  It can be anything from a music class (tune, technique, session, etc), to craft, to a hike, history talk, yoga class or more.   Take ownership in the weekend by sharing something that you do!

Saturday Evening Activities

 We offer an Open Mike for players wishing to share their latest projects, followed by teacher led jam sessions. 

Cancelled due to low enrollment!

Getting the most out of your classes:

Late Afternoon Mini Classes: Students offering to teach a useful one hour mini-class may receive a $50 tuition discount. Call or email us by February 15, if you would like to teach a class for this discount.


Don’t forget to bring a recording device with batteries or music paper to the fest. You’ll want to get down things to work on long after the fest is over. It’s a great opportunity to get down pieces during jams and classes.

It is not permissible to
record concerts.

Upper Potomac Music Weekends

PO Box 1474, Shepherdstown, WV  25443

(304) 263-2531   upperpotomac@gmail.com

©2019 by Upper Potomac Music Weekends. Proudly created with Wix.com