2021 Dulcimer Chautauqua on the Wabash Workshop Descriptions & Schedule
Mark your first class choice for each session by putting a "1" in the space for that class. Please also choose an alternate class for each session by placing a "2" in the space for that class. We will make every effort to get you into your first choice!
*Refer to the Workshop Description page for details about the class content, materials, & level.
Friday, October 15th early morning workshops (8:30 - 9:45 a.m.)
______ 1A Joe Collins: MD/Intermediate "Combining Picking & Strumming" - This workshop will focus on picking out the melody in between & in combination with strumming to give body to arrangements. We'll use exercises to develop effective strum/flatpicking technique & 2 tunes to incorporate the technique (an original waltz & challenging O'Carolan piece: "Lord Inchiquin").
______ 1B Judy House: MD/Novice & Up "Improving your Fingering" - All hands are different, so when you find a fingering system that works, you should stick to it! Developing a fingering system often feels awkward at first, because you aren't used to it, but with time and practice, it will become a habit. Come take a look at various fingering ideas and start developing your personal system.
______ 1C Kirk House: BD/Beginner "Introduction to Bass Dulcimer" - Designed for students new to playing the bass dulcimer (but with some dulcimer playing experience): also appropriate for those thinking about learning bass dulcimer or otherwise interested. We will explore the basic fundamentals of playing "as a bass", common rhythms, some ear training exercises, & how the bass line is built upon chord structure (root/fifth), and how to find those notes on the dulcimer fretboard. All exercises can be done on a standard tuner tuned to D-A-D, so it isn't necessary to bring a bass dulcimer to class if you don't have one.
______ 1D DeeDee Tibbits: HD/Beginner "How do I start this adventure?" - Hammering/Scales/Arpeggios, and a simple tune or two.
______ 1E Mark Alan Wade: MD/Beginner "Mountain Dulcimer from "A" to "J" - A little structure is good for us & can guide you into the next level of playing by reinforcing good habits and avoiding bad ones. In this hands-on workshop , Mark will give you a fun warm-up routine that is easy to learn and fun to play! These simple little exercises are designed to target key technique areas, such as, strumming direction, aim, left hand dexterity, tone quality, common chords, and more!
FRIDAY, October 15th late morning workshops (10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.)
______ 2A Joe Collins: MD/Beginner/Novice & Up "Finger-Pickin' Good" - A workshop to help you develop good finger-picking technique on the mountain dulcimer. We'll start with some basic picking patterns and then use them in combination with each other in simple songs.
______ 2B Judy House: MD/Adv Beginner & Up "Playing A-Round" - Rounds began to show up during the 12th century in England. They are fun to participate in, and a wonderful way to introduce you to playing harmony with a group. This workshop will use the fun of playing rounds as a way to improve your group playing skills and help you learn to listen to what others are playing.
______ 2C Kirk House: BD/Novice "Useful Techniques for advancing beginner in Bass Dulcimer" - We will explore additional rhythms beyond playing the basic 1st & 3rd beats in 4/4 time. In particular we will look at how to play bass in 3/4 time (waltzes) and 6/8 time. We will examine the role of the bass player as "time-keeper" in the group & how to develop your time-keeping ability, and we will introduce the basics of how to write your own bass lines (for songs you don't have tab for). If time permits we will also touch upon playing blues rhythms on the bass.
______ 2D DeeDee Tibbits: HD/Intermediate "What's next?" - In this class we will learn some fun ornaments like flams, bell tones, and drones, and put them into our tunes.
______ 2E Mark Alan Wade: MD/Intermediate "Mountain Dulcimer Fun from "K" to "T" - For this session we're focusing on pull-offs in a fantastic jig called "Calliope House." This relatively simple tune allows us to practice smoothing out of the pu---offs and passing the melody cleanly between the three strings. It's a hoot to play and learn!
Friday, October 15th early afternoon workshops (2:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
______ 3A Joe Collins: MD/Beginner "Appalachian Mountain Songs for Beginners" - Relatively easy songs from Appalachia that gave birth to the mountain dulcimer, full of joy and heartache.
______ 3B Judy House: MD/Beginner & Up "Introduction to Jamming" - If you are new to playing the dulcimer or new to jamming, come join in the fun! We will be learning what it means to "jam", jam etiquette, basic songs you should know in order to join others in a jam, and have loads of fun and laughs!
______ 3C Kirk House: BD/All Levels "Why YOU should be a bass dulcimer player!" - This workshop is based on 2 fundamental principles that I stress to my bass dulcimer students; but ware skills that any musician should have ( and can probably improve upon). Maintaining a good sense of rhythm & developing and improving your "ear" skills (hearing chord changes, identifying intervals between pitches). We will discuss techniques and practice tips that will help you improve these skills.
______ 3D DeeDee Tibbits: HD /Advanced "Now What???" - Arranging our tunes, using vamps to change keys... playing duets... plus two-handed separation on a familiar tune is our "lofty" goal for this class!
______ 3E Mark Alan Wade: MD/Advanced "Mountain Dulcimer from "U" to "Z" - This workshop is going to use a Swedish tune called "Stenselepolskan", to work on using a three finger, movable barre chord. This is a technique used often in advanced playing and this tune is a great way to add to your repertoire and improve on this skill. Bonus! The tune is amazingly catchy!
Friday, October 15th late afternoon workshops (4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)
______ 4A Joe Collins: MD/Adv Intermediate & Up "Accidental Instrumentals" - How to handle those pesky accidentals (sharps & flats that are not part of the key), especially when there are no frets on your dulcimer to play them. Workshop will include a few popular songs that force you to play them,
______ 4B Judy House: MD/All Levels "Multi-Part Arrangements" - Playing with a group requires additional skills along with those used when we play alone. Playing in a group where there are several different parts can even be more nerve-racking, but fun at the same time, not to mention more full and beautiful. In this workshop we will talk about how to accomplish this and what skills we need to implement it. We will work on 2 or 3 songs with 3 to 6 parts. Bring your standard instrument as well as bass, baritone and/or Ginger to join in!
______ 4C Kirk House: All Musicians/All Levels "How to play with others if you have a hearing impairment" - This class grew out of my own personal experience, having a pretty severe hearing loss. I will share tips and techniques that I have learned, in how to keep time with other players (whether playing in a duet, small ensemble, or an orchestra). Some of these tips may be obvious: some, not so much. I hope this workshop will become a 'forum' for sharing ideas by members of the class. (I assume that if you are interested in this topic it is because you too have a hearing loss, or perhaps play with someone who does.) So all of us can learn from everyone else's experiences. Come prepared to share, if you will: if not, then just to *LISTEN* (pun intended).
______ 4D DeeDee Tibbits: HD/All Levels "Playing Together" - Everyone can have a part to match their level as we play beautiful tunes in our "Dulcimer Orchestra"!
______ 4E Mark Alan Wade: MD/Intermediate -Advanced "Over the Waterfall Fingerstyle" - I add my own chords and feel to this common fiddle tune to transform it in an "Indie" sounding ballad. You'll enjoy giving this tune a facelift with a slower tempo and cool syncopated chords, all while working on your finger-picking technique. (You can hear a sample of this on my YouTube video demoing my new New Harmony Baritone dulcimer on my channel.)
Saturday, October 16th early morning workshops (8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.)
______ 5A Joe Collins: MD/Novice & Above "When Irish Eyes Are Weeping" - For centuries, tragedy was a way of life for the Irish. Some would argue it may still be. This is a Celtic repertoire workshop of sad, sad songs from the emerald isle. Learn to play Irish songs that will make people cry in their Guinness!
______ 5B Judy House: MD/Adv Beginner & Up "Christmas is A-Comin" - No matter what time of year, there's one thing for sure - Christmas is a-comin'! So, start getting ready now to dazzle your friends and family or your congregation with some of the most beautiful songs ever written! Come learn some old favorites in parts, some in unison, and maybe some you've never heard before!
______ 5C Kirk House: BD/Intermediate "Common riffs and where to use them" - this workshop will focus on "walking bass" patterns - both simple and longer. Put these into your toolbox and know when to pull them out.
______ 5D DeeDee Tibbits: Whistle/Beginner "Which End Do I Blow Into?" - We'll learn the fundamentals of the whistle... fingering position, holding, breath control... while playing a simple tune.
______ 5E Mark Alan Wade: HD/Beginner "Fun to Play Exercises for Technique" - A little structure is good for us and can guide you into the next level of playing by reinforcing good habits and avoiding bad ones. In this hands-on workshop, Mark will give you a fun warm-up routine that is easy to learn and fun to play! These simple little exercises are designed to target key technique area, such as, grip, aim, dexterity, and tone quality.
Saturday, October 16th late morning workshops (10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.)
______ 6A Joe Collins: MD/Novice & Up "Playing in DGd: A Worthwhile Adventure" - Spice up your dulcimer life by introducing yourself to a new tuning. This workshop provides basic strategies for playing in the DGd tuning. It can also make you a better player in DAd tuning.
______ 6B Judy House: MD/All Levels "Hand Exercises for Musicians' Fingers. Thumbs, and Hands" - As we age , we often begin to have issues with our hands and fingers! I often get asked what one can do to help with hand problems. In this workshop I have several warm-up exercises to strengthen fingers, increase range of motion, improve flexibility, help with pain and/or stiffness, and help for the thumb. Another problem I often encounter especially with beginners is small hands and dulcimers that are too large, so I am offering an exercise to help stretch your fingers.
______ 6C Kirk House: BD/Novice & Up "Playing IN the box on the bass dulcimer - How to improvise using the pentatonic scale" - This workshp will explore a technique known to guitarists as 'playing in the box': it was used almost exclusively by the great bluesman B.B. King. as well as many others. We will learn what the pentatonic scale is and where it lies on the dulcimer fretboard.
______ 6D DeeDee Tibbits: Whistle/Intermediate "I Know the Fingerings and Scale... Now What?" - This class will focus on better breath control, bends, vibrato, and put employ them in some beautiful Irish tunes.
______ 6E Mark Alan Wade: HD/Intermediate "Learn Jig Hammering Patterns" - We'll use the tune "Calliope House Jig" to figure out the best hammering solutions in 6/8 time. Sure, this tune is super fun, but you'll learn skills to apply to playing your own jigs long after this fun workshop
Saturday Early Afternoon workshops (2:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
______ 7A Joe Collins: MD/Intermediate-Advanced "Old Hymns with New Tunes" - A repertoire workshop in which Joe shares some of his favorite musical endeavors - taking old hymns and setting them to new, original tunes appropriate for a folk mass or worship.
______ 7B Judy House: MD/Adv Beginner & Up "Use Your Pick for Something Besides Strumming!- Intro to Flatpicking"- When we begin to learn how to play the dulcimer most of us learn to strum across all strings by fretting one string and letting the other strings drone. Once you have learned to play by fretting all 3 strings there is another beautiful way to play those slower songs. This is what we call playing arpeggios (also known as flatpicking). In this workshop I will teach you how to do this in an easy sequence to help with your timing. After we've practiced a bit, we will take some well-known chord-melody tunes and learn how to convert them painlessly into beautiful arpeggiated music. After that, the sky is the limit!
_____ 7C Kirk House: BD/Intermediate & Up "Writing your own bass line" - Tab is great, but you'll find that there is not a lot of tab already written for the bass dulcimer. How can you learn to write your own bass lines? This of course is a lengthy subject, but we will focus on the basic principles involved. This workshop will give you the tools you need to pursue this endless quest. (My mantra: I want to give you *tools* not *tab*)
______ 7D DeeDee Tibbits: Whistle/Advanced "Putting the Magic in Your Whistle" - We'll learn a couple of Irish tunes... and mark where bends, trills, and vibrato would be best used.
______ 7E Mark Alan Wade: HD/Intermediate "Walking Bass Lines" - Nothing pulls together a tune like a walking bass line. These chords that move by step have a way of connecting the melody to the chords, so our ears have two interesting lines to follow. Using the tune "Plaisir d'amour" (the classical aria on which Elvis based his "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You") we'll learn the melody AND how to anchor it to an easy moving bass line.
Saturday, October 16th late afternoon workshops (4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)
______ 8A Joe Collins: MD/Intermediate & Above "Irish Waltzes Vol. 1" - A repertoire workshop of Irish Waltzes. Although Ireland is associated more with it's jigs and reels, it has also produced waltzes worthy of note. In this workshop we'll explore some of those tunes like "My Own Dear Galway Bay," Inisheer," and a couple others.
______ 8B Judy House: MD/Adv Beginner & Up "Lending Support by Playing Backup" - Learning to play back-up chord is great fun. It adds another dimension to the sound of your group. It is also handy to help you participate in a group when you don't know the song! Plus, if you ever want to sings with your dulcimer, you will want to know how to do this. Come learn some great backup techniques for supporting your group or yourself!
______ 8C Kirk House: All Musicians "How to Match a Chord with a Melody Note" - Are you trying to 'play along' with others by just strumming chords, but your tab doen't have the chords written in? (Breaking one of the main rules for good trab composition!) Maybe you're trying to arrange a piece yourself and you've worked out a simple melody line by ear, but now you want to add chords in? How do you know what chords go with a particular note? This workshop will show you haow to figure that out - WITHOUT having to be a music geek. You don't know music theory? No problem: you've come to the right place.
______ 8D DeeDee Tibbits: Whistle/All Levels "Playing Together" - Let's make an Irish Whistle Orchestra with everyone playing at their own level!
______ 8E Mark Alan Wade: HD/Intermediate-Advanced "La Virgen de la Macarena" - This traditional bullfighting song is a favorite of mine as a trumpeter, and it works great on hammered dulcimer too! This tune is in "E" and uses the Spanish Phrygian scale in a catchy call-and response section that comes back several times so learning it is fun and easy!