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)
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)
Absolute Beginners 1 (MD): Let’s 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)!
Chort Bootcamp (MD)
Spend an hour becoming more comfortable and fluent at playing chords. Especially directed at Absolute Beginners, but suitable for others who want to get better with basic chords.
Guitar: 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)
Absolute Beginner (MD)
I will demonstrate how to tune to DAD, and assist participants in getting their instruments in tune. We will practice some basic strum techniques and discuss basic rhythm. We will discuss the D major scale and relate that to tablature. We will play a few easy tunes. We will talk about choosing an instrument and what to look for when picking one out. I’ll share some online resources available to learn more about the mountain dulcimer.
Steve Eulberg (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer, Song Writing, and a Pre-Festival Hammered Dulcimer workshop)
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: www.owlmountainmusic.com
Intermediate (MD): Old-Time Tunes in their Old-Time Keys
We don’t want to miss the fun of playing our favorite Old-Time tunes in the Old-Time world and in order to do so, we’ll prepare to play them in their original keys (going BEYOND the key of D). Capo and Re-tuning encouraged, but not required.
Beginning (MD): Right Hand Strumming BOOT CAMP
Many people identify a challenge and express the desire to have better rhythm when playing dulcimer. In this workshop we’ll focus on the strumming hand while playing reels, jigs and waltzes.
Intermediate (MD): Ode to Joy, either fingerpick or flatpick
Using Beethoven’s familiar melody, we’ll explore several exercises designed to help us develop accuracy, facility and confidence with both our right and left hands, while also preparing some arranging ideas for performance.
Advanced (MD): All that Jazz
Using an open chord tuning to play Girl from Ipanema, we’ll explore all the possibilities we have for rich chords and chromatic melodies on a diatonic dulcimer.
All levels: Songwriting that Evokes Emotions
Rather than just describing feelings in an expository way, we’ll delve into composing songs (music & lyrics) that evoke the emotions we are feeling and sharing to build connections with an audience.
Tina Gugeler (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Bodhran)
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)
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.
Beginner (MD): Beginning Jamming
You will learn Jam Etiquette and how to participate in a Jam Session. Overcome your fear by mastering a few basic chords. You will see that watching a guitar player is a simple way to recognize chord changes in a tune. You can have fun at a jam even when you haven’t memorized any tunes. Come, join in and enjoy your time jammin’!
Judy Jones (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)
Absolute Beginner (HD): Part 1
Which end is up and how do you play it? We’ll answer both of those questions in this very basic class, covering the parts of the instrument, the layout of scales, how to use the hammers and my demo of tuning it. We’ll have some warmup hammering and play several easy tunes.
Absolute Beginner (HD): Part 2
Continuing where we left off, we’ll try to even out our hammering, working on strengthening the non-dominant hand, alternating hands, accents, rolling chords and arpeggios. Learn to really listen to a tune and pick it out on the dulcimer!
Beginning Jam (HD)
What is a jam? This is a class in learning how to jam and jam etiquette. You can play along even if you don’t know the tune. Using a guitar player, we’ll sample various types of jam music so you’ll be ready to sit in at the next jam opportunity!
Erin Mae (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer)
Beginner (MD): Memorize & Internalize
Erin will teach you a popular jam tune, while also teaching you how to leave the paper at home. She’ll incorporate ear training, memorization techniques, and even tools for remembering the title of the tune! This is a foundational skill for joining jams, even as a beginner!
Beginner (MD): Strum, Strum, Strum
Using mnemonic devices like “strawberry”, “watermelon”, and “ice cream”, Erin will get your right hand strumming smoothly and in-time in no-time. We’ll also talk about tone, dynamics, pick choice, and where to add extra strums in your music.
Intermediate (MD): To Re-tune or to Capo
Erin will help you understand how to decide whether to re-tune your dulcimer or use a capo. We’ll do a study of a G major tune, but also discuss other keys and modes.
Absolute (MD): Create Your Own Hymn Arrangement
Erin will give you tools and individual feedback to help you create your own mountain dulcimer arrangement. She’ll bring a couple of simple hymns, but you’re also welcome to bring one of your own that you would like to arrange.
Absolute (MD): Beyond Basic Chords
Learn how to build suspended, augmented, and diminished chords, plus 7s, 9s, 11s, and 13s — all the “fancy” chords we never talk about. All in DAD with a diatonic dulcimer.
Butch Ross (Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Ukulele)
Beginning (MD): It’s all Cabbage Really
The first song most people learn (and get sick of) is actually a Rosetta Stone of information. Learn how much harmonic information is contained in this simple song and how you can use it to learn new songs quickly or play along in jams, even if you don’t know the tune.
Intermediate (MD): Get Right with Rhythm
Rhythm is more than just a really great word for playing hangman, it’s the key to solid and engaging playing. In this class, we will learn basic strumming techniques that will give you a solid rhythmic foundation. With these techniques even the simples tunes will sound better!
Advanced Beginner & Up (MD): Take a Sad Song and Make It Better
In this two part series we learn tricks and techniques to breathe new life into tunes you’ve grown tired of.
Part 1: Rhythm and Variation
Part 2: Extra Notes and Embellishments
All Levels (Ukulele): Insanely Useful Chord Progressions
These chord progressions (or variations on them) show up in a lot of popular music. Learn them and use them to learn songs faster.
Intermediate & Up (Ukulele): Three Hard Chords that will Change Your Life
Yes, the dreaded Bb is in here. But learn how these three Barre chords can open up a whole new world to your playing.
Kendra Tunnicliff (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)
Getting to Know the Dulcimer (HD): Beyond the Absolute Beginner Class
Not quite ready to move up from absolute beginner workshops to beginner classes? This is a worksop for former absolute beginners who would like to continue their learning without jumping into a regular beginner’s class. Kendra will work with you on any questions or challenges that have come up for you, and accompany you as you progress along your musical journey. We will practice tuning and hammering, learn about the dulcimer world, and discuss resources for continued learning after the festival. As time allows, we will also learn a tune or two.
Randy Zombola (Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)
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.