October 18, 2019

Workshop Descriptions – 2020

One of the most exciting parts of the Colorado Dulcimer Festival is the opportunity to participate in workshops with local and nationally renowned Dulcimer players and experts, teaching both Hammered Dulcimer (HD) and Mountain Dulcimer (MD) as well as a variety of other instruments and skills. This page provides descriptions of the workshops being offered at the 2020 Festival.

Workshops will take place during the workshop times shown on the Festival Schedule.

Following the workshop descriptions are definitions of the skill levels to which each workshop is geared so attendees can choose according to their level, including Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

2020 Workshop Descriptions

Tina Bergman (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)

Tina Bergmann

Novice-Intermediate (HD): HD Bootcamp
Learn the relationships between marked courses, half steps, repeated notes, chords and scales that will unlock a deeper understanding of your instrument, help you to feel more free when learning tunes and help you get your money’s worth in lessons, workshops and camps!

Intermediate (HD):  Mastering Rolls
Rolling well is a technique that can elevate your playing.  We’ll look at how rolls function, when to use them, learn exercises to help us gain facility in rolling in either hand, and experiment with using rolls in different ways to enhance music making.

Intermediate (HD): Hand Separation
We’ll learn Goddesses, a medieval tune arranged to have a right hand Ostinato while the left hand takes the lead, plus some exercises to strengthen your skills and familiarize you with the experience of moving your hands in opposite directions.  Time permitting, we’ll explore a great variety of variations.

Advanced (HD): Ornaments & Performance Techniques for Playing O’Carolan (and Beyond!)
We’ll take a more challenging O’Carolan piece and learn techniques to  appropriately dress it up.  A variety of ornaments, both rhythmic and melodic will be taught, discussed and put into practice.

Advanced (HD): La Partida
We’ll learn this passionate, up-tempo Venezuelan waltz and discuss the roles of dynamics and phrasing in performance.  Time permitting, variations in melodic and rhythmic material will be taught.

Sam Edelston (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Guitar)

Sam Edelston

Absolute Beginners 1 (MD): Lets Start at the Very Beginning
A very good place to start is some dulcimer fundamentals: How to hold the instrument, tune it, use a pick, etc.  You’ll learn how to play basic melodies and basic chords.

Absolute Beginners 2 (MD): We’ve Only Just Begun
More chords and more about how to play melodies.  You’ll get a chord chart, and you’ll also learn how to read tablature.  The goal of this workshop is to give you the tools you need to start learning songs or tunes that you love.

Intermediate (MD): Rock & Roll Dulcimer
The dulcimer isn’t just for folk songs and fiddle tunes.  It’s a natural rock & roll instrument, too!  Power chords, classic rock riffs, and other things that sound like they came off a record.  Impress your friends!  Astonish your kids (or grandkids)!

Guitdar: Make it More Interesting
You’re playing along with some dulcimers and maybe assorted other instruments, and several other guitars.  Rather than just strumming in unison with all the rest, how can you add a unique contribution to the group? I’ve got a little list. (PS: Bring a capo)

Bob Elieson  (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer)

Workshop Descriptions to be updated soon.

Steve Eulberg (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer, Song Writing, and a Pre-Festival Hammered Dulcimer workshop)

Steve Eulberg

Workshop Descriptions to be updated soon.

Steve is also teaching a Pre-Festival Hammered Dulcimer Workshop on Thursday February 6, 2020 from 1:00-4:00pm.  

Using Beethoven’s familiar Ode to Joy tune, we’ll explore many variations for better acquaintance with the instrument and for playing skill development, hand independence and exploring arranging possibilities for performance.

Registration for this Pre-Festival Workshop is done through Steve’s website:


Tina Gugeler (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Bodhran)

Tina Gugeler

Bodhran:  Learning how to hold this Irish frame drum and how to hold the “tipper”
We will practice playing jigs and reels along with recorded music.  We will learn to skip beats and maybe make up your own rhythm.  We’ll talk about different drums and pricing.  I will have practice drums for class use.

Absolute Beginner (HD):  Learn the layout and map of the Hammered Dulcimer
Learn how to find scales.  Learn about holding the hammers, tuning, string replacement.  We will learn a simple tune by ear.

Beginner (HD): Repertoire Tunes
We’ll learn to look for patterns and repetition in tunes to help memorize them quicker (tune possibilities, Blackberry Blossom, Liberry, Arkansas Traveler, Dancing Bear, Caribou Reel, depends what the class may already know.

Intermediate (HD): Repertoire Tunes
We will play a tune in Dm (Belo Horizonte) and learn where you Bb note can be found.  If time allows, we’ll learn a Bm Scottish tune (Maggie’s Pancakes) that has some nice syncopation.

Advanced (HD): Adding Harmonies
When tunes are played slower, we have more chances to add harmonies to the melodies.  We will add harmonies to a slowed down Reel (Hut on Staffin Island), which makes this a beautiful tune.

Stephen Humphries (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)

Stephen Humphries

Intermediate (HD):  Two Hands, One Mind – Hand Interdependence

This class will explore various ways to play a melody with one hand and an accompaniment pattern with the other while using familiar songs.  Exercises and handouts from Stephen’s book on this topic will be provided.

Advanced (HD):  Learn St. Basil’s Hymn

Learn this timeless melody that incorporates hand separation and some beautiful harmonies.  We will also learn more about the concept of transposing a melody into different keys.  Handouts with music & practice exercises will be provided.

Beginner (HD):  Beginning Rhythm & Rudiments

Find the path of least resistance on your instrument by using some fundamental rhythms, scales, and chords to develop effective hammer motion and practice good technique.  We will explore basic rhythmic patterns that will make playing your instrument easier, no matter what style of music you want to play.  Handouts from Stephen’s book on this topic will be provided.

Any Level (HD):  Put a Damper on It

Expand your dulcimer sound palette by learning different techniques for using dampers on the hammered dulcimer.  Don’t have dampers?  No problem!  We’ll also look at different ways to dampen and create special effects without dampers.  Handouts will be provided.

Advanced (HD):  Rhythm & Rudiments

This workshop will focus on exercises for developing your rhythmic ability, creativity, independence, and hammer control using time-tested methods from the Percussive Arts Society.  As your comfort level with these exercises progresses, we will work on applying these elements to songs.  Exercises, tunes, and handouts from Stephen’s book on this topic will be provided.

Dianne Jeffries (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer)

Beginner (MD):  Tips & Tunes
This timely beginning class will cover valuable tips for taking care of your mountain dulcimer.  We’ll also learn a couple of fun tunes.  It should improve your enjoyment of this fun instrument.

Judy Jones  (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)


ABSOLUTE BEGINNER (HD): Curious About the Trapezoid? 
This is the instrument that folks will always ask, “What is that?”  This Beginning class will introduce you to our lovable dulcimer—it’s history as a 5,000 year old instrument, the parts and their location, and how different scales are positioned across the soundboard.  I’ll demo how to tune and we’ll play a simple tune or two.

Erin Mae  (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer)

Erin Mae

Workshop Descriptions to be updated soon.

Butch Ross  (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Ukulele)

Butch Ross

Workshop Descriptions to be updated soon.

Kendra Tunnicliff  (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)

Kendra Tunnicliff

Workshop Descriptions to be updated soon.

Randy Zombola  (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)

Randy Zombola

Beginner (HD):  Hammering, Finding Notes & Chords
In this workshop we will cover hammering techniques, string layout, and the all-important chord layouts for a few common key signatures.  To improve hammer control, we’ll learn several exercises and drills to improve hamer control.  Using this information to make music, we’ll apply it to the old-time tune “Old Joe Clark”.

Beginner (HD): Adding Chord Notes & Apreggios
As a follow-on to the Beginner 1 class, we’ll review chord layouts and learn how to add drones, arpeggios, and harmony notes to make arrangements more musical and interesting.  We’ll apply these techniques to a slow tune.