27th Annual ... held at Recreation Unlimited
Ashley, Ohio

March 7 - 11, 2018       


 Extended THURSDAY & FRIDAY (5 Hours each day)

1)  Mini Workshop Schedule featuring four timeslots (90 minutes) covering 4 levels
of hammered dulcimer, 4 levels of mountain dulcimer, autoharp, and additional titles 

2)  On Saturday, there will also be longer term sessions for the following:
     Beginners ... Mountain dulcimer, Hammered dulcimer, Autoharp
Introduction to:   Clawhammer Banjo and Ukulele


 Extended THURSDAY & FRIDAY (5 Hours each day)


Beginners -- Diane Hochstetler (Ashley, OH)


HOORAY!!    You have chosen to unlock the mystery of the Mountain Dulcimer.  I am honored to have  been chosen to share with you the beauty of the instrument. 

We will begin by learning the fret board, how to tune, hold the pick, strum, choose which fingers to use, learn to read tab, and develop good timing.

We will learn some songs, as many as we can fit into our ten hours.

Beginners --  CHRIS (COOPERRIDER) STEINER (Findlay, OH)


"What is that thing?" and "How in the world do you play it?"   How many times have you heard that?  And did you say it when you first saw this amazing instrument?  Well, our class is designed to show you just that.

In our 10-hour session, we'll talk about the layout of the instrument, we'll tune, we will learn to hold hammers, how to strike the strings, play scales, and, most importantly, PLAY TUNES!   We will have music notation, but also learn to play by ear.

We’ll learn just enough about playing chords to survive the Thursday night jam, and we’ll have fun!

Past Beginners/Early Intermediate:  JOE STEINER

DESCRIPTION:  "Where Do I Go from Here"?

We will concentrate on becoming more comfortable with the instrument, especially when playing with others.

We will discuss ways to become more quickly familiar with melodies, and what to do if we don't want to play melody.

Our focus will be on tips and techniques which can be used to get comfortable in any situation.


Past Beginners/Early Intermediate:  JOYCE HARRISON
UPDATED  (2/8/18) 


Okay, you’ve learned the basics – tuning, holding the hammers. striking the strings, and a few tunes.  Great!

Now for the next step.  Let’s learn some more tunes, and explore some chords that we might add to make the melody more fun to play. 

Chords are the basics for any embellishing, for playing back up in jams, arpeggios, etc.  Adding chords is what makes the music come alive with excitement.  We’ll start easy and build, and maybe stretch your comfort zone just a bit. 

As a side note…I even have a secret weapon for surviving your first Thursday night Beginner Jam.

My goal for you as a participant in the Past Beginner/Early Intermediate class is to give you the tools you need to start making your own music more enjoyable, and to encourage you to continue your growth as a player.

I hope to see you in March at the 27th Annual Buckeye Dulcimer Festival.

Intermediate 2:  HEIDI and AARON 

HEIDI MULLER:    Fiddle Tunes and Techniques 

Add some old-time Appalachian music to your repertoire! We’ll play some lesser-known fiddle tunes while building skills in both left and right-hand techniques. Learn how to glide through the melody using hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides, at the same time we practice strumming and flatpicking.  

Tunes will include several from legendary West Virginia fiddlers like Melvin Wine, Ed Haley, and Harvey Sampson, and some tune from other areas. We’ll play in the keys of D, G, and A by using a capo, playing from the chord forms, and perhaps using an alternate tuning.

AARON O'ROURKE:   Making Flatpicking Sound Full 

So often when we play dulcimer we have the full and rich sound of the drones or chords-melody. When we start flatpicking, it can sound kind of empty. In this class, we’ll explore some fancy tricks for making your flatpicked arrangements sound full and interesting. (Intermediate)

Intermediate 2:  ILACE and DEE DEE


Ilace's Intermediate 2 class will seek to answer these questions:

1)  Where do I find new material/jam tunes/ etc.?   We'll explore sources and try a few tunes. If you don't know "Roscoe," you will!

2)  What can I do with this tune?  Building good arrangements begins with a well-equipped toolbox.  We'll add some tools to yours to help you get more mileage out of tunes (like "Moses Hoe Your Corn) and vary them harmonically, rhythmically, and decoratively (like "Southwind").  Most of our time will be spent here.

3)  What is this hand separation thing and why do I need to try it?  It's just another tool!  Train your brain to achieve some independence and free your          hands for new playing adventures.  You may not be able to play a round with yourself right away, but you can make some beautiful music more easily!



After we can say that fast 10 times, we'll discuss, and try different ways of practicing to enhance our playing.


So much can be added to our tunes by using the 5-note scale.  We'll discuss how to find a pentatonic tune, how to us it in our playing, and in our back-up.

I'll share an arrangement of a Celtic tune or two!





Licks and Improvisation  Learn a handful of helpful tools that will help you play off the cuff with confidence.  We'll also discuss ways to incorporate bluesy notes into just about anything.



Dulcimer Duos: Playing and Arranging

This class will learn some interesting tunes in parts with both flatpicking and fingerpicking techniques, while focusing on fluid performance. We’ll consider chord fingerings in standard and inverted chords, look at how to connect them smoothly, use ornaments to create a flow, and work with different picking patterns. (Please bring a capo.)

We’ll also discuss how you can write your own duets and backup parts, while making tasty choices of chords, bass parts, harmonies, and picking patterns. Please feel free to bring along a tune that you’d like some help with.





A TASTE OF IRELAND   After I got to visit Ireland and got to jam with three pub bands, I have a new zeal for Irish music.  We'll learn some ornaments to add to some lovely Irish tunes.

USING RHYTHMIS ACCOMPANIMENT IN OUR ARRANGEMENTS  We'll explore some off-beat rhythms while playing beautiful tunes.

DUETING WITH DULCIMERS   Playing with others is so rewarding.  We'll learn two and three part tunes to play solo or with others.



Ilace's Advanced class will focus on honing skills such as:

Playing expressively:  it's not just about dynamics.  We'll explore the components helpful to really communicating through our music.

Adapting tunes for hammered dulcimer:  the cool classical/pop/whatever tunes we want to play aren't always easy to find in dulcimer-friendly form.  We'll walk through the process of how to make it work.

Stagecraft 101: performing like a pro requires more than self-confidence.  We'll discuss how to be a star (more or less) on stage.

Playing together:  We'll explore some three-part harmony arrangements that are triple the fun  and discuss arranging for ensembles.



Extended Session:  Additional Instruments

AUTOHARP (Early Intermediate and Above) -- CHARLES WHITMER

This autoharp class will primarily focus on playing technique through a wide variety of styles and different types of music. Although many of the topics of this class will span a wide variety of musical genres, it will be the teaching of the variety of techniques on how to play those various styles and genres which will be the focus of this class rather than simply teaching tunes.


The topics through which these techniques will be taught will include:

Filler Strokes

Pinch-Pluck Technique

Using Minor Chords

Melodic Accuracy Through Scales

Traditional American Songs

Thumb-Third Finger Technique

Songs In Mixolydian Mode


Old Time Instrumentals

Irish Songs

Songs In The Dorian Mode

Mountain Music

String Band Songs

Scottish Instrumentals


Participants will need to bring either a chromatic autoharp or autoharps capable of playing in the major keys of F, C, G and D. The minor keys and modes in class will be able to be played on an autoharp(s) capable of playing in the aforementioned major keys.


The class text will be written out in both autoharp tablature and standard music notation. The class material will be taught primarily through the use of autoharp tablature and knowledge of reading standard music notation although helpful is not required. Those who have never read or played from autoharp tablature will be taught how to do so.


Students should be able to play both accompaniment and melodies at a basic level. This class will primarily focus on playing melodies with some work on playing effective accompaniment.   



BAND ~ IT! (multi-instrument class)  --  SHARI WOLF

What is this Band-it! class all about?


We'll just let last year's class (2016) show you. This video is part of their time on open

 stage.   (Posted:  2/9/2017)



This workshop is like trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together.  The goal is to take players of various playing levels  beyond the beginner level, playing a variety of acoustic instruments, and familiar with a wide variety of music and blend and mold us into a BAND.  

GOAL #1:

We'll start with common songs and tunes that are familiar to all and work on arranging them with the following in mind: .  

1)  Discover different ways to start and end a song/tune.
2)  Look at different ways to vary the song/tune each time through.
3)  Working with bringing out the different voices of the instruments.
4)  Working on vocals and balancing the sound between singing and instrument backup.
5)  Discovering backup techniques for all instruments through chords and rhythms.

The goal is to take several familiar 'club' tunes/songs and create an arrangement that makes them sound a bit different each time through.

GOAL #2:

Take a piece of tablature which includes dulcimer tab, music notation, and chords to create a complete arrangement involving all instruments in the band.

1)  We'll explore different places to play the melody.
2)  Where to play chords to get different voices.
3)  Develop simple harmonies by using chords.
4)  Vary the arrangement.

My plan is to work with 4/4, 3/4, and maybe 6/8 timing. 

My hope is to introduce and apply just enough of the 'dreaded theory'  to create a platform for all BAND members to be able to take these principles back to their home club or small groups and HAVE FUN!

If you have any questions, email Shari .





1)   There will be a FULL schedule featuring a wide variety of MINI SESSIONS (75 minutes) on Saturday for ...

Mountain Dulcimer - past beginner, intermediate, and advanced;

Hammered Dulcimer - past beginner, intermediate, and advanced;

Autoharp - intermediate

Other instruments ...

The weekend schedule will be available for you during late Fall, 2017.

SATURDAY - Long-term Sessions Beginner Sessions

2)  The BDF Saturday schedule also includes long-term sessions (9:00 am - 2:15 pm) for
for the Mountain Dulcimer (Instructor:  Ricki Spicer),
Hammer Dulcimer (Instructor:  Jill Nichols),
Autoharp (Instructor:  Phyllis Davis). 

See class details below.

SATURDAY - Long-term Sessions

3)   There will be several double mini sessions on Saturday(150 minutes) .. TBA.

*Saturday Beginners, please make some notes on your registration form ...

1)  Please note if your are interested in one of these Saturday "Beginner Sessions." 

2)  Please let us know which beginner session (mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer or autoharp) that you will be attending. 

3)  If you need a loaner instrument, let us know on the registration form.  

Plan on coming to registration early (opens at 8:00 am) and get checked in so that you can get help in tuning to be ready for classes to begin at 9 am.


Come to the Buckeye Dulcimer Festival ... learn from some of the best instructors in the country,
play lots of music, make life-long friends, and ... have a great time!   




Look for frequent updates to this page.  
Last updated:   January 8, 2018

Webmatician: Shari Wolf