Pocono Dulcimer Club

HD Workshop Descriptions

PDC Home
H & P
Music & Tab
Contact Us
Stoney Ridge Strings Capo
Favorite Links
PDC Notes (blog)

Click HERE for Printable HD Workshop Descriptions

Hammered Dulcimer Workshop Descriptions
                                  Note:  3 Non-Dulcimer (ND) Classes this year - in MD Descriptions

Rick Thum               

9:00am - H2           Chording Made Easy                              Beginner/Novice, 

We will learn how to play chords on our dulcimers, using the whole dulcimer, without knowing the names of our notes.  Chording does not have   to be hard.  Chords unlock your instrument.  A fun and easy way to start using more of your dulcimer.

10:30am - H7          Free Embellishment                               Intermediate

We will learn what it is and how and when to use it.  This is what makes playing fun and creative.  I will teach all of the technique you need to make it happen and will direct you on free embellishing your first song.  We will take your tunes to the next level.

2:30pm - H12         Embellishing from the Melody Note                                     Advanced

This class is the "Holy Grail" of dulcimer playing.  I have devised a system of finding my embellishments by just knowing WHERE my melody note is.  No names needed.  This allows me to embellish songs on the first time Playing them and allows me to change it up every time I play it.  No more memorizing arrangements, make it up as you go. This allows me to play with more confidence and more creativity.  See you in class.


Cliff Cole                 

9:00am - H4           Independence, rudiments & percussion techniques                            Advanced

In this fun workshop participants are expected to already have a working knowledge of left-hand, right-hand independence. After a review of basic "alternating-base” techniques we will delve into to polyrhythms such a 3:2 and 2:3 cross rhythms (More if time permits). We will explore ways of how syncopation and polyrhythms can find their way into your sticking patterns. We will present a fun and challenging alternating base tune “Fine Spring Day” written by the workshop leader.

2:30pm - H11          Arpeggio Archipelago                             Intermediate:

In this workshop students will learn to play many types of arpeggios, which are groups of notes; usually chords. Arpeggios are more fun to play than scales, and learning them helps the player get around the whole instrument. This is a fun workshop.

4:00pm - H15         Music Theory for the Hammered Dulcimer                          Intermediate-advanced

We will explore basic music theory concepts as they pertain to the hammered dulcimer. Among the topics to be covered are major and minor scales and chord patterns, relative majors and minors, intervals and modes.


George Nixon          

10:30am - H6          Sticking It To Your Dulcimer - Novice

Determining where to hit the notes in a tune and with which hand can be frustrating especially if you want to avoid crossing hammers or having to cover the whole of the dulcimer.  Once you have mastered a two-step process you will be able to play tune much more efficiently and musically. While we will not be playing tunes in this workshop, you will need your dulcimer in front of you for reference and to try out the different hammer patterns.

4:00pm - H14          Simple Embellishments Workshop: Oh What A Drag It Is! - Intermediate

In this workshop we will learn how to use flams, drags, rolls and double stops to spice up a tune to change it from a simple melody to something that sounds pretty cool. After we learn the necessary rudiments we will apply them to a basic version of “The Back Side of Albany” to liven it up.


Paul Mueller          

10:30am – H8         Hand Independence: (Advanced)

Learn how to free up your left and right side so it sounds like two dulcimer players are playing at once.  Drumming for many years has helped me to be able to share ways of achieving body independence while playing the hammered dulcimer. Challenging time signatures will also be enjoyed.

2:30pm - H10         Triplets, Triplets, Triplets, and Rolls: (Novice)

Fun, simple exercises will help you expand upon your capabilities, make your playing sound more interesting, and help improve your hammering skills.  Many different types of rolls and various ways to play triplets will be focused on.

4:00pm - H16         Around the World On A Dulcimer: (Intermediate/Advanced)

Our approach to the versatile dulcimer expands as we explore zither styles using traditional rhythms from different countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.  It’s going to be a fun trip!



Rich Carty               

9:00am - H3           The Slip Jig                              Intermediate

The slip jig is usually not included in a lot of instruction books and you're likely to find out why. Learn the accenting & hammering considerations for it & include one in your repertoire.

4:00pm - H13         Discovery 4 - Wrap up session                               Beginners

Follow up on what you’ve learned reviewing the day PLUS we will be including questions & answers for those things you want to know as a new player.



Russ Rentler            

9:00am - H1           Discovery 1:  The Basics

1st: The "Zen of Hammer Dulcimer:" playing: a philosophical approach to learning and playing the instrument. 2nd: We will go over the "anatomy and physiology" of a dulcimer, including brief discussion of floating vs fixed top, chromatic vs non-chromatic. What kind of dulcimer should I buy?  I’ll include a brief review of most popular makers. 3rd: Hammers - "To have and to hold."  

10:30am – H5         Discovery 2: Tools to learn & play

Without needing to read music the participants will learn a way to visualize patterns across the strings and bridges to unlock simple secrets of playing common chord progressions often played on the HD.

Learning tunes utilizing the latest apps for smart phones/tablets.

2:30pm - H9           Discovery 3: Putting it into practice

An original tune will be taught as a practice tool incorporating some basic principles of beginner HD playing. We’ll have time at the end for questions. Bring any questions or issues that you want to discuss.


Jon Weinberg                          

9, 10:30, 2:30 - HMC              MASTER CLASS – Intermediate into advanced:    classes are sequential

Making Moving Arrangements:  Learn how to add movement to your solo hammered dulcimer arrangements using counter-melodies and travelling bass lines.

   In our First session we'll analyze some common melody and chord patterns that are good candidates for adding these types of embellishments.  Phrases from multiple tunes that illustrate these patterns and embellishments will be demonstrated.

   In the 2nd session Jon will play several arrangements of popular Christmas, Celtic, and O'Carolan tunes that demonstrate ascending and descending bass line embellishments and counter-melodies.  The class will then choose which ones they'd like to learn.  Jon will provide these arrangements as written music with notated double-strike and chord triad patterns that we'll learn together, and which you can take home with you to perform or further modify.

   For our final class each of us will take a tune we already know, enhance it using some of the techniques learned in these classes, and perform it for the rest of the group so we can all learn from each other.



Return to Bio's

Back to Festival Page