Past Beginners -- Louise
Don't be afraid--you
will learn to play your dulcimer with ease. We will take a familiar song
and work on making you a less stressful player. We will explore
fingering, and different positions of the fretboard and some strumming. We
will do some chord work also.
We'll be building songs by using left hand technique to improve your playing,
exploring your fret board, and learning different hand positions, and
chord fingering by using all five fingers (well...you know). We'll
explore how to learn a song by memory and without tab.
PS - If you were in this class last year, I am working on some new tunes for
has been the director of Buckeye
Dulcimer Festival for the last 20 years and has passed the leadership baton to
Shari and Joyce.
She had a great time in accomplishing her 20-year goal.
as Director Emeritus,
Louise is ready to return to her true
love of teaching the mountain
dulcimer. She has been playing the mountain dulcimer since the early
80's. She is a well-known workshop instructor and has seized every
opportunity to take her dulcimer to all types of people. She has
taught all levels of mountain dulcimer all over the mid west.
She deals with technique and
repertoire for the Mountain Dulcimer at many levels and is known as a very
She has been a staunch supporter of Recreation Unlimited (see below) since
its inception. Participating in this gathering is a beautiful blend of
these two loves.
Louise will be helping players to build skills on the past beginner level
by blending technique and repertoire.
Past Beginners --
Karen McCurdy (Medina, OH)
Do you know
how to tune your instrument? Can you play a few tunes on your hammered
dulcimer? If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you’re ready to take
the next step!! In this class you’ll learn to appreciate the importance of
the duplicate notes on our hammered dulcimer. Using these convenient notes,
we’ll learn to work up smooth hammer patterns for your tunes. It’s
also common for HD players to want to “embellish” the tunes. So, we’re also
going to investigate the use of the “triad” in our playing. There’s a wealth
of information within that simple triangle hammer pattern! Within the
“triad” we’ll find 3 note chords, drone notes, harmony notes, 3 note
arpeggios, etc….. all of them used to embellish your tunes a bit. We’ll have
plenty of fun learning tunes that will reinforce all of this new
information. Yes, the sheet
music will be available!
.... Almost everyone in her
family plays an instrument and
since early childhood, frequent family "jam sessions" were common. So,
it's no surprise that Karen now keeps folk music alive in her
performances of folk, Celtic, and original music on the Hammered
Dulcimer. "I fell in love with the hammered dulcimer the very first time
I played it. That was in 1994. The instrument can be light, lively, and
even a bit rowdy or, incredibly peaceful and gracious."
She often performs throughout Ohio
in solo as well as duet performances under the Celtic duet name of
along with her Celtic harper partner,
released our "MacKaren" CD in the fall of 2007.
The CD project was a long time coming!! I'm very proud of it. It
presented the opportunity to record two of my original compositions".For more information on MacKaren, and their CD, go to CDBaby and read their bios.
Karen enjoys teaching privately as well as at local Ohio
dulcimer festivals including the long running Buckeye Dulcimer Festival
in Ashley, Ohio. She
says, “It’s really great fun to help new students begin their dulcimer
career.” Karen also helped organize the folk group that is now playing
together in Richfield,
Ohio called “The Village
Musicians”. She eagerly states, “The greatest joy of traditional folk
music is in the friendship and music sharing that happens when we get
Along with her multi instrumental and vocal interests, Karen has written
many of her own tunes and songs, all of which are dedicated to special
people and events in her life. “I love being able to express feelings
and memories, or to tell a life story through my music. It’s a very
personal way of sharing a little of myself with the folks around me. I
honestly feel music is a gift and it’s also a gift to be able to share
it with others. It’s really true, we can make this world a better place
Intermediate 1 -- Jan
Hammond (Wadsworth, OH)
will teach ways to smooth out your playing in regards to both right and left
hand techniques. We’ll build repertoire and skills at the same time while
exploring alternative strumming patterns and finger picking basics. Some
tunes will take the melody to the middle and bass strings. We’ll play songs
in parts and explore the process of playing chord back up in a group
situation or to accompany vocals. If there’s enough time and interest, we
may visit some different modes and a more traditional drone sound. It’ll be
a work-out, but a lot of fun! (2013)
Jan Hammond is a lifetime
resident of Ohio and one of the premier performers on the mountain
dulcimer in the United States today. She is
an accomplished composer, lyricist and vocalist with four solo CDs and
one duet CD with guitar master Tom Conner.
Jan is a two-time Kentucky
State Mountain Dulcimer Champion, the only four-time winner at the
Mid-Eastern Regional Dulcimer Championships, a Top Five Finalist and a
3rd Place winner at the National Mountain Dulcimer Championships held
each year in Winfield, KS as part of the internationally renowned Walnut
She is also a Certified
Music Practitioner and plays therapeutic music at the bedside of hospice
patients. Jan also teaches, leads workshops and performs at a variety of
venues including, festivals, coffee houses, libraries, healthcare
facilities, house concerts, church services and various events
throughout the country. Jan has presented at the Buckeye Dulcimer
Festival, Dulcimore (OH), the Southeast Ohio Dulcimer Festival, the
Phoenix Folk Festival, the Kent State Folk Festival and The Swannanoa
I can't begin to to express how much the class meant to me. It was truly
a privilege to have you as a teacher. I learned so much and had such a
too!" - Workshop Student
Intermediate 1 -- Chris
Kicking it up a notch is the best
way to describe what we will be doing in Intermediate I this year. You’ve
already learned the basics of chords and a few chord patterns, but what do
you DO with those cool patterns?? This year we will be stressing awareness
of chord progressions throughout the tune or song you are playing, so you
can use those chords and patterns to add embellishments or to provide
back-up to other melody instruments or breaks. We’ll also stress using
correct hammer patterns in order to make your music….well… more musical.
In addition, we will explore a few fun new tunes this year and you
will be amazed at how easy they will be to learn by breaking them down into
bite-sized pieces, finding matching patterns or sections throughout the
song, and mastering one section before we go on. You don’t need to know how
to read sheet music, but it will be provided for every song.
fell in love with the hammered dulcimer in 1997 and has been performing and
teaching ever since.
In addition to private lessons, workshops, and jams, Chris conducts
workshops and performs at several festivals and venues
yearly. Along with assisting with in-school music clubs and programs, she
conducts workshops for school teachers for Bluegrass in the Schools in
conjunction with the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville.
This program promotes old time and bluegrass music as part of a standardized
For the past three years, Chris and Joe Steiner assisted Joyce Harrison
and Shari Wolf with the
DULCIMERS IN THE CORNFIELD Festival in late April. Sadly, that festival
has gone into the history books. This festival had some pretty unique
aspects that just might show up, again, someday.
Chris Cooperrider is one-half (the better half, she
says!) of the Chris and Joe - Old Time Duo. Chris’ instrument of choice is
the hammered dulcimer, but she can also be found playing upright bass for
the Old Peculiar String Band. To go to Chris & Joe's website,
Intermediate 2 and
Advanced -- Doug Berch and
(5 hours with each instructor)
(5 hours with each instructor)
The British are Coming!
Using the musical
style of British bands of the 1960’s, this workshop will focus on
improving your playing style and adding some unique tunes to your
We will concentrate on perfecting embellishments,
playing various rhythms and exploring the chord progressions that
made the music of this era unique.
'All you need is luv' and your
Explore the Possibilities ... Maximizing the Role
Fingerpicking can be applied to any style of
music. In this class you will learn to play jigs, waltzes, old dance
tunes and more. The techniques you learn can be adapted to anything
you want to play.
The techniques covered will include extensive use
of the left hand; hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, plucking
with the left hand and more. Right hand techniques will include
knowing which fingers to use on which strings, strumming without a
pick by using your fingers, clawhammer banjo technique, slapping and
percussive techniques and more.
Tab will be provided. As a prerequisite for this
class you should be comfortable playing melody, chords and other
intermediate level skills.
PLAYING OLD TIME
Learn to play some popular old-time tunes
played regularly at jams in the area. Tab will be provided but
you will learn the techniques that you don't find in tab to make the
tunes sound very old-time!
We will focus on strumming patterns, rhythm,
playing variations on the tune, using chords with the melody and how
to back up others. As a prerequisite for this class you
should have some experience playingtunes and using chords in D-A-D.
'Jazz' Up Your Playing with ...
ALL THAT JAZZ
This workshop will explore ways to 'Jazz Up'
your playing by exploring jazz techniques and the world of playing
jazz on the mountain dulcimer.
We will focus on unique timing and chord structure of jazz using
music from the familiar Peanuts cartoons and learning how to “jazz
up” tunes you already play. Even if you are new to the jazz style
of music, you will come away with some new tunes and the ability to
add real pizazz to your
repertoire. 1½ fret will be helpful, but not required.
We'll also Temporary frets c
DOUG BERCH (MI)
Doug Berch is a folk musician, singer-songwriter, luthier and
multi-instrumentalist. His music has an original sound that shows the
influence of Old-Time, Celtic, British, Rock and other styles of music from
around the world. Doug is best known as a
player of both the mountain and hammered dulcimer. He also plays clawhammer
banjo, tinwhistle, harmonium and other instruments, In 1983 Doug took first
place in both The National Mountain Dulcimer Chanpionshop and The National
Hammered Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas.
Through the years Doug has toured and performed as a solo act as well as
with a number of bands. He was a member of the Colorado based Celtic
Ensemble Colcannon for 10 years.
After taking a break from full time performing (during which time he worked
at Elderly Instruments) Doug announced his return with two solo recordings:
“Songs From My Past – Music With Mountain Dulcimer” and “The Sadness of
Common Objects – Hammered Dulcimer Instrumentals”
Doug’ is a dynamic and entertaining performer who can have the audience on
the edge of their seats with a haunting ballad and have them laughing
He has been performing and teaching nationally since the 1970′s.
Doug is also a maker of fine dulcimers. This picture was recently
posted on Facebook.
In talking with Doug, I found his philosphy of teaching dulcimer well worth
sharing. From Doug ... "When I teach I prefer to focus on using the
tunes as vehicles for teaching technique. I have found that if I mention
technique too much, some people are put off so I usually mention it in the
description but focus on the kind of tunes I'll be using. I would like them
to learn skills as easily as possible. I just wouldn't feel right
just handing out tab and running people through it.
DANA & HANK GRUBER (Cincinnati, OH)....
(Sweet Funk) make up this instrumental duo of mountain dulcimer and
acoustic guitar. Their music is a blend of contemporary and traditional
favorites, along with their own original compositions. Their unique
arrangements explore the contemporary side of the mountain dulcimer and add
a new dimension to traditional tunes. Sweet Funk, comes from
the origin of the word dulcimer; “dulci” from the Latin word for
“sweet,” and “funk” from the fact that they enjoy playing music that
is a little
funky and not traditionally played on the mountain dulcimer.
They enjoy teaching and performing as a duo. They have been the featured
performers/instructors at a number of dulcimer festivals and clubs in the
mid-west. They are currently active members of the Hills of Kentucky
Dulcimers, a mountain dulcimer club in the Northern Kentucky/Greater
Dana has been playing the
mountain dulcimer since 1997. Her musical background goes back to playing
the classical piano as a child and on into adulthood. She has always
enjoyed arranging music and is known for her unique arrangements on the
mountain dulcimer. She enjoys teaching all levels and styles of music.
Hank first learned to play
guitar in the Air Force and has been playing ever since. He began with
electric guitar and over the years has studied classical guitar and
eventually transitioned to acoustic style playing. He has made an art of
accompanying other acoustic instruments but can step into the lead with
Their recordings include
Deja New, unique arrangements of traditional tunes; Sweet,
contemporary favorites including Beatles, Van Morrison and Loggins and
Messina; and, Christmas Time, holiday favorites such as Christmas
Time Is Here and Mary, Did You Know.
Tablature books include
Deja New, a companion book to the CD of the same title; Finger-Pick
Style Playing for the Mountain Dulcimer; Waltzes for Mountain
Dulcimer and Guitar; and, Grace, a collection of hymns and
inspirational songs for mountain dulcimer and guitar.
For more information, please
go to their website at
Intermediate 2 and
Advanced -- Ruth Smith and
Dee Dee Tibbits
(5 hours with each instructor)
(5 hours with each instructor)
In this class we will be
exploring the ‘art’ of playing together, and adding back-up to
others playing the melody. We’ll study chord progressions, tips on
listening to chord changes, and how to best use them either in a
performance group, or in a jam session. We will use several tunes to
Sharing Your Music
From Heart to Hands
We love to play the hammered dulcimer for more reasons than just
getting to hit something! Now that you have a decent grasp
on how to play notes, let’s learn to play with greater
musicality. By paying close attention to phrasing,
dynamics, accents, and more, we will work on arranging
techniques and playing techniques that will make the music more
Repertoire will be taken from beautiful waltzes and/or airs, and
the arrangements will be designed to accentuate the beauty in
melody lines and emphasize the underlying theme of the music.
Students will learn by ear and repetition, with written
notation also provided.
Use of a recording device is highly recommended.
Included in this
workshop will be tips on improvising on a minor scale melody,
while learning several different parts. We will use a beautiful
Japanese tune to practice these skills. We will also learn
several parts to an original tune~Bryson Hall~ and several
ornaments to add to all of our playing.
RUTH & STEVE SMITH (NC)
Dirty Linen Folk & World Magazine says, “Ruth Smith's
touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical, with exquisite
phrasing, highlighting the range of the instrument especially on her own
pieces.” Ruth is known for bringing
the softer side of the hammered dulcimer to life. Dulcimer Players News says
she is, “very sensitive to the nuances of the music, allowing each tune to
breathe.” Ruth employs hands-on teaching techniques that place a
special emphasis on playing expressively.
A native North Carolinian and musician
from a very young age, Ruth records and performs with her husband, Steve,
specializing in Appalachian Heritage music, rich in
centuries old Appalachian and Celtic musical traditions yet uniquely fresh
and innovative. Ruth’s compositions and arrangements have been
featured in performances this year on the PBS TV
series “Song of the Mountains” and at Merlefest25, as well as in
Dulcimer Players News, on NPR’s All Things Considered, All Songs Considered,
Thistle & Shamrock, XM & Sirius satellite radio, Direct-TV and Dish Network,
and Highlander Radio Network. For more information, go
to their website: www.steveandruth.com
Meet Steve & Ruth Smith:
Steve and Ruth Smith, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North
Carolina, play a special blend of Appalachian Americana music with Celtic roots
featuring hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, guitar, and old time banjo.
Ohio Magazine says Steve and Ruth’s music has "the
soul of mountain music and the gentle grace of mountain air." Their
music combines the richness of centuries old Appalachian and Celtic musical
traditions along with their original music about
mountain life and rural Appalachian values.
and Ruth Smith concerts give an overview of the
musical heritage of the Appalachian Mountains, where the music came from,
and how it lives on in modern times. Steve and Ruth, both of Scots-Irish
heritage, take the audience from the traditional Celtic music of Scotland
and Ireland that migrated with the Scots-Irish into the Appalachian
Mountains, through the early music of the Southern Highlands, and on to
Steve & Ruth's new original music about mountain life and rural Appalachian
Steve and Ruth recently performed on the national PBS TV series “Song of the
Mountains” and perform yearly at Merlefest, one of the nation’s largest
Americana music festivals. They were featured on
NPR’s All Songs Considered and Thistle & Shamrock, in Ohio Magazine, and
Dulcimer Players News. Their music is regularly heard on XM & Sirius
satellite radio, Pandora, Spotify, Highlander Radio Networks, NPR ,and
acoustic music format radio stations around the U.S.
Their recent CDs are Heirlooms, An Appalachian Winter, Dancin’
Cross the Strings, and An Appalachian Aire. They
are also popular music workshop instructors, teaching at festivals
and folk schools nationwide. www.steveandruth.com
DEE DEE TIBBITS (Caro, MI)
... is a professional musician who has a heart for teaching and for sharing
her love for the hammered dulcimer with the world! She hails
from Caro, Michigan, has a bachelors plus in music educaiton, and brings
with her 40 years of teaching and performing experience.
She has performed in many 'genres' including Traditional, Gospel, Celtic,
Classical, and Renaissance music and has recorded Cds in most of those
groups. She has also performed this eclectic mix all over the United
States, Canada, Japan, France and the Caribbean.
Her greatest joy today is working with her 38 private students and traveling
to various dulcimer festivals teaching workshops and performing.
For more information, go to Dee Dee's website,