Basic Blues | English County Dance Tunes | Chord Building | Embellishments | One Plus | Stephen Foster | Tabbing it Out | Basic Dulcimer Clinic | O’Carolan for the Courageous]

Here is a list of some workshops I have given for various festivals and clubs in the past. I am also willing to develop other topics if there is a desire for a particular subject, there is enough time to develop it, and it’s something I think I can do. Write me with your proposals well in advance of the event’s date. I am based in the central Ohio area, but I will do some travel out of state for festivals, workshops, and concert appearances.

Basic Blues

Yes, you really can play the blues on the mountain dulcimer. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it sounds GREAT! In this class we’ll go over the basics of the instrumental 12 bar blues pattern in several keys, all while tuned to DAd. We’ll introduce a few different styles of “turnarounds” and rhythm patterns. Rather than teach a couple of individual songs, I’ll show you the basics of a popular blues pattern so you can improvise your own music. By the end of the session we’ll all be jammin’ hot on some cool sounds. Capo required. A limited number of extra capos will be available.

Back to top

English County Dance Tunes

From Elizabethan England to modern times, English Country Dance has been practiced in the British Isles and throughout the colonies. Here is some of the music that accompanies this venerable folk art. Several English Country Dance tunes will be presented in this repertoire building workshop, Depending on the time available, from historical periods ranging from the 16th through the 19th century. This workshop looks at the English Country Dance tune genre more as source of tunes for the instrumentalist, than as preparation for you to sit in with the dance band. But who knows? If the opportunity comes up, you’ll be ready. Capo required. A limited number of extra capos will be available.

Back to top

Basic Chord Building for the Mountain Dulcimer

Ever wonder what those letters you sometimes see printed above a line of music or tablature mean? Come to this workshop and find out! We’ll learn the basics of “What is a Chord?” and “Where are they?” as applied to the mountain dulcimer. Then we’ll go over a couple of common chord progressions and talk a little about chord substitutions. The emphasis here is not on memorizing a lot of chord diagrams, but on giving you the skills to figure them out yourself. The examples will be in DAd tuning, but the techniques work for any tuning. “Just Past Beginner” level.

Back to top


Add interest and variety to your playing with various types of embellishments. In this work shop we’ll go over how, when and why to add various types of embellishments to your playing. Topics covered will include hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides,runs, arpeggios, harmonics, and more. Practical examples will be given for how you might use these techniques in your own playing. This class is pitched to the “Advanced Beginner” level. Some limited knowledge of chords is helpful, but not required.

Back to top

One Plus

Some uses of the “one and a half” (1+) fret on a mountain dulcimer tuned DAd will be presented. This session is aimed at those who are thinking about adding the 1+ (or even the 8+) fret, or have actually done it, and want to know some things it can be used for. Capo and 6+ fret required. A limited number of extra capos will be available.

Back to top

Stephen Foster the Easy Way

This repertoire-building workshop will present several Stephen Foster songs with easy arrangements, suitable for beginners. The majority of the arrangements are drone style, but there are some with a few simple chords as well.

Back to top

Tabbing it Out

In this workshop we’ll go over how to make your own arrangement of a piece of music given either a line of standard musical notation, or just a melody running through your head. We’ll cover the process from deciding on chords or dronal accompaniment, to rhythm notation, to writing the tablature. We’ll cover topics such as playability of the tablature, considerations for choice of chord fingerings, and we’ll discuss several styles of tablature. This is an intermediate level workshop.

Back to top

Basic Dulcimer Clinic

This is an extended workshop that covers everything from “string side up” to some relatively advanced playing techniques. I have done this in about a four-hour-plus-breaks time period, but this can be tailored somewhat depending on the level of coverage and detail desired. The intent is to introduce the mountain dulcimer to new players, get them started, and demonstrate, if not teach, some of the more advanced directions one can go with the instrument.

Back to top

O’Carolan for the Courageous

Here I’ll present a couple of Irish harp tunes by Turloch O’Carolan arranged for those not faint of heart. This workshop is intended for intermediate to advanced players, so I’ll “take no prisoners.” Be prepared to work. The tunes will be presented in arrangements for a solo instrumentalist, with class discussion for ensemble arrangement or multi-track studio recording. A capo may be necessary.

Back to top