Coming July 6-12, 2009 for hammered dulcimer players: A five-day class in breathtaking, northern New Mexico! Click here for details.
Thanks again for the many hours of preparation you spent on our class, for your energy and passion for music, and for your willingness to share your skills and knowledge with us. —Jennifer Cordier for "The Southern Belles" autoharp class, GA
The dulcimer class far exceeded my greatest hopes. It was a wonderful week. My friends and family who've heard my limited repertoire up to this point are fascinated by what I've learned. Thanks for everything! —Alice Williams, AL
These classes are ideal for
summer-school settings, usually lasting five days. If you can't wait until
the next round of summer classes comes around, you can always "roll your
own" class, as The Southern Belles (pictured above) assembled for an unforgettable 3 1/2 day session that fit
into everyone's schedules.
Beginning Hammered Dulcimer—When I say "beginning," I mean from the bottom! You'll get a jumpstart on playing well. Covers the basics of holding hammers, how to strike the strings (there's a little more to it than meets the eye), playing tunes rhythmically, how to get tunes in your head so they stick (forever). If I have five days, I can teach two-stroke rolls as well. Even if you've just begun to play, this workshop will help you fill in some gaps. And your friends will be impressed when they next hear you!
Intro to Jamming (for advanced beginner and up: there's a tune list to prepare in advance, plus I'd like you to bring a few of your favorites)—Jamming is more than playing the tune over and over again. (Other instrumentalists will expect you to play back-up while they play a break.) This class covers a range of back-up and lead techniques: chording by ear, chordless jamming, linear harmonies, and introductions to improvisation and extemporization.
Solo Arranging (intermediate and up)—In this class, you'll arrange 1-2 melodies of your choosing (choose from a waltz, hymn, popular song, etc.; the Beginning Jamming class above addresses reworking jigs and reels) alongside techniques we'll apply to one or two common tunes together. Tune in the dulcimer's natural resonance as your greatest arranging asset, the technique behind rolled chords so they float, playing the tune musically despite the chords, the formula of the various chords and their patterns, where to place chords, when to chord and when not to, when to add alternate and suspended fourth (etc.) chords, assembling the overall arrangement into a meaningful story line, etc.
Or what class ideas have you? .
See the diatonic autoharp class coming in June 2007!
Beginning Diatonic Autoharp—Covers the basics of "pumping felt" (releasing the chord bar to access non-harmonic tones), training your fingers to work independently for smooth playing, finding (and loving) the autoharp's resonance, all while building a repertoire of tunes. Note: While this is a beginning class, it's geared for chromatic autoharpists with some melody-playing experience who are ready to explore diatonic autoharp. This workshop will focus on the keys of G and D major.
The Harmony of Diatonic Autoharp (intermediate diatonic players and up)—Diatonic playing often focuses on the melody, but what about all the great harmony waiting to emerge underneath (or even overhead)? This class explores harmony on two levels: 1) finding the most basic and solid melody-chord progression a tune can possibly have; and 2) finding other chords that slant the harmony in different ways as a vehicle towards creating solo arrangements of tunes. You'll learn how to listen to your autoharp in new ways. Fingering and other basics will be discussed as the need arises. Each participant needs to select two tunes to work on alone in addition to tunes we play and examine together in class.
Solo arranging (for intermediate+ players of either chromatic or diatonic autoharp, or both)—We'll discuss the basic elements of arranging, listen to examples of good (and bad) arrangements of tunes by non-autoharp instrumentalists, assemble arrangements of a few tunes in class, and you'll have adequate private time to arrange a tune you bring along. Want to get started with arranging on your own? Take a look at this monograph!
Or what class ideas have you? .