Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival
2018 Workshops

MD = mountain dulcimer
HD = hammered dulcimer
B = beginner-no previous playing experience required.
AB = advanced beginner-is familiar with tuning, knows some basic strumming and fingering and can play several songs with ease.
I = intermediate-knows basic chording and harmony playing, can read and learn from tablature, standard music notation, or by ear and has a growing repertoire of songs in a variety of styles.
A = advanced-knows a wide variety of techniques and songs, can read and learn from tablature, standard music notation, or by ear and has experience playing in a variety of situations.
ALL = workshop is open to any instrument and skill level.

Saturday 9:00 - 9:50

Getting Started on the Mountain Dulcimer - Cynthia Brissey - This is a workshop for the very beginner. Participants will be shown how to tune the mountain dulcimer, how to find notes, and how to strum. Participants will also learn how to play several easy melodies.  

Right Hand Techniques - Mike Oliver - This workshop will include instruction and suggestions for techniques to improve strumming and flat-picking on the dulcimer. Includes holding the pick, hand positioning and strum angles, techniques for using dynamics (volume) and other more advanced techniques. MD - AB, I

HD Set-Up/Tuning - The space will be open for folks to set-up and tune instruments prior to the workshops. HD - All

Vocal Styles and Arranging - Rich and Kathy Small - Rich and Kathy will demonstrate how they use different styles for different tunes and come up with arrangements. Several songs will be demonstrated and we will all try composing our own arrangements of some traditional songs. Lots of fun for all ability levels. All

Saturday 10:00 - 10:50

Repertoire for Beginners - Marlene Oliver - Marlene will introduce several simple songs for the mountain dulcimer. Good playing techniques will be taught as well as the songs. Basic chording will be included. MD - B

How to Make an Old Song New - Olivia Walton - Olivia will help players find and use various playing techniques to add life to the old songs from their repertoire as well as hers. MD - I

Absolute Beginner Hammered Dulcimer - Jeff Fedan
- What a wonderful instrument to learn to play!  We will start from rock bottom, talking about note layout and tuning, and throw in a couple of easy, playable tunes. HD - B

Basic Autoharp - Bill Schilling - The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the participants to the autoharp, acquainting them with different harps, playing styles, setups, simple repairs, practice hints, and/or resources. Participants will hear and use different playing styles. Autoharp - B

Saturday 11:00 - 11:50

Beginning to Play Fiddle Tunes in DAD - Marge Diamond - We will work on some fiddle tunes that are likely to be called in a jam. MD - B, AB

American Folk Songs for the Mountain Dulcimer - Linda Sigismondi - This is a repertoire-building workshop for intermediate dulcimer players. Participants will be taught several songs from the American Tradition including: Follow the Drinking Gourd, John B Sails, Old Black Joe, Tom Dooley and Wabash Cannonball. (DAD tuning) MD - I

To Chord or Not to Chord - Mary Ann Spears
- Using the tune, Amazing Grace, we will begin to learn about chords, key signatures, and how to augment playing. Also, we will learn how to use chords to play along in jams with other musicians, even if we are not familiar with the song. HD - B

Tin Whistle - Marlene Oliver - This workshop involves basic instruction in playing the tin whistle including how to hold the whistle and proper fingering techniques. Time permitting, several simple songs may be taught. Tin Whistle - B

Saturday 1:00 - 1:50

Experiment with Styles - Tish Westman - In this workshop, participants will experiment with playing styles including different strumming styles, flat picking and finger picking. MD - AB

Civil War Songs - Mike Oliver - Songs from both sides in the Civil War. Fast and slow paced tunes. MD - I

Harmony in Canaan's Land - Mary Ann Spears - In this workshop, you will work on the tune, "On My Way to Canaan's Land," and learn techniques for the addition of harmony phrases. HD - I

Learn Native American Flute - Linda Sigismondi - Linda will teach you the basics for playing the Native American flute and include some suggestions for playing with other instruments. A few flutes (Am tuning) will be available for participants to use. If you have your own flute, bring it along. If there are experienced players, we will work on some techniques. Native Flute - B, AB

Saturday 2:00 - 2:50

Easy English - Steven K. Smith - In this workshop I'll present some English Country Dance Tunes in easy arrangements. 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. Capo required. A limited number of extra capos will be available. MD - AB

Chords for Mountain Dulcimer - Mike Oliver - This workshop includes a description of what chords are and how they can make music more beautiful. We will learn the parts of a chord and how to find them on the dulcimer. Fingering techniques for playing chords more efficiently will be included. MD - AB, I

The Tunes of North Central West Virginia 1 - Jeff Fedan - North Central West Virginia old-time music is heavily influenced by Irish and Scottish heritage. Two or three representative tunes will be offered, with embellishments if there’s time. HD - AB, I

Ukulele Jam - Bill Shilling - Ukuleles are the little big thing these days, and playing and singing with them in a group can be great fun! We will have sopranos to baritones (and maybe bass) with standards, banjo ukes, taropatches, and more (including several loaners for those who have never played before or who don't have their ukes with them). We will start with instruction on a few chords and strumming as needed. Then we will go from simple to more complicated songs that everybody can play (or try to play) and sing including simple songs, folk songs, and ukulele standards. Other instruments are welcome as long as the emphasis stays on the ukes. We will start in the key of C and may go to G, F, D, or others. Rich & Kathy Small (and maybe others) will help Bill Schilling lead this one. Ukulele - B, AB

Saturday 3:00 - 3:50

Minor Melodies for the Mountain Dulcimer - Linda Sigismondi - In this workshop, participants will learn several ways to produce minor tunes on the mountain dulcimer including DAC and DAG tuning and the use of a capo and 1 1/2 fret. This workshop is geared towards novice players. MD - AB

Playing Melody Out of Chord - Tish Westman - Tish will show you how chords and melody can be combined to make a full sounding song. She will use several examples. MD - I

The Tunes of North Central West Virginia 2 - Jeff Fedan - Even more great tunes from the North-central West Virginia area will be taught. Don’t worry about blisters! HD - AB, I

Rounds, Call and Response, and Party Songs - Rich and Kathy Small - A fun sing-a-long workshop where everyone can participate. Sing or play along as we explore these fun and sometimes challenging genres of music. Handouts will be provided. All

Saturday 4:00 - 4:50

How to Jam - Olivia Walton - Olivia will explain how to fit into a jam by playing chords when you don't know the tune. MD - AB

Basic Blues - Steven K. Smith - 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. MD - I

Playing Parts - Bill Schilling - The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the learners to playing parts of a song with other players. Workshop participants will concentrate on listening and working with others as they try different parts of several songs. Since some players can simply play the melody or chords, the workshop can be appropriate for most dulcimer players. Various tunings may be used with DAA as a beginning point for mountain dulcimer players. HD, MD - AB, I

Percussion Jam - Any rhythm instrument, Any Level

Sunday 9:30 - 10:30

Song Circle - Bill Schilling - This is a time to gather on Sunday morning and share some music in an informal session. Each person in the circle will be given a chance to play a song, request a song or to just sit and listen. All

Sunday 10:45 - 11:35

Beginning Mountain Dulcimer - Cynthia Brissey - Cynthia will work at the level of the participants to either help you get started or to learn some simple tunes and techniques. MD - B

Stephen Foster the Intermediate Way - Steven K. Smith - Building on the previous workshops I've done for easy arrangements, this one has some slightly more advanced arrangements of Stephen Foster tunes. Selections will include some that are well known, and a few that are less familiar. MD - I

Spirituals - Rich and Kathy Small - Learn some of the history of the genre of folk songs known as Spirituals. Then be prepared to play and sing along or just listen, as we explore Black, White, Appalachian and 2nd Advent Spirituals. Song sheets with lyrics will be provided. Feel free to sing, play and share a Spiritual we may not have included. All

Sunday 1:00 - 1:50

Playing Without Tab - Marge Diamond - We will work on some easy tunes in DAD. Finger placement and some technique will be shown. MD - B, AB

Beyond Bum Diddy - Olivia Walton
- Learn new strumming patterns and other right hand techniques. MD -AB

Bowed Psaltery - Tish Westman - Participants will be introduced to playing the bowed psaltery. If participants have prior experience, Tish will focus on has to use the bowed psaltery in a jam. Bowed Psaltery - B, AB

Sunday 2:15 - 3:00

Finale - Linda Sigismondi and Bill Schilling - The festival will conclude with an all-participant gathering in which everyone is invited to join in to sing and play as we end the festival in song and perhaps harmony. All


Last Updated: July 31, 2018