Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival
Tentative 2017 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.  

First Birds of Morning - Jerry Rockwell - This is an original tune in DAD tuning. We will learn the very simple chord strums that form the basis for this tune, and then we'll try the melody. This works well as a duet or trio, and beginners can do the simple chord strums throughout the entire piece, just to get the hang of playing in rhythm. MD - All Levels

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

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 Levels)

Saturday 10:00 - 10:50

Next Steps - Linda Sigismondi - So you just had a getting started workshop. What do you do next? Linda will show additional techniques and some simple songs.

Rhythm Methods for Mountain Dulcimer - Bill Locke - This workshop is designed to get the player to be able to play a structured strum adapted to have a "bum-a-ching-a" old-time style for fiddle or blues tunes. We will play both forward and back on the strings with a flat pick. This is similar to the effect obtained with some finger picking styles. Emphasis is placed on being able to obtain a lilting sound. The instructor will pick an easy tune and play it with varying and successively more complex strums. The idea is to get the student to get a "free and easy" right-hand style which can vary as a tune goes along. MD - AB, 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

Beginning Melody Autoharp - Bill Schilling - The purpose of this workshop is to let participants understand how to find melodies for playing leads on the autoharp. Participants will be encouraged and instructed on playing by ear and on playing by finding the notes from written music as we understand how our chord bars are related to the notes of the scale.  

Saturday 11:00 - 11:50

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 - AB

O'Carolan for the Courageous - Steven K. Smith - 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. MD - I

The Stuff of Fluff - Welcome to the Chord Buffet! - Phyllis Woods Brown - Chords. One little word. Sometimes we are scared of them. Sometimes we just don't want to take the time to learn them...but: Chords are one of the most, if not THE most important aspects of a tune. They are the mood of the tune. They are the feelings. They're where all those harmony and embellishment notes come from. They are easy to learn, and I'll show you ow to both learn the notes and the shapes of the most-used chords in our music and how to apply the. You will learn ways to get the chords "in your hands" as well as in your head. HD - All, especially beneficial to I

Play Bowed Psaltery in Jam – Tish Westman – Learn to use the Bowed Psaltery in a jam. Bowed Psaltery - AB

Saturday 1:00 - 1:50

Understanding Your Fingerboard - Tish Westman - Learn where the notes and chords are on your fingerboard. MD - AB

Cross Picking with Chords - Bill Locke - This workshop is designed to build on the previous workshop with cross picking for use with cords. This adds a more advanced rhythmic triplet figure that may be used to build variety into a tune beyond the methods taught in the first workshop. This workshop will also cover basic chord melody. A review of the basics of chord theory will also be provided. As with the previous workshop, simple tunes will be used and successively elaborated to help the student learn these methods.

Canoodling Your Noodle!  - Brett Ridgeway - It's time to quit relying on other people's musical compositions and, instead, simply learn to play the instrument right in front of you. In this workshop, you will understand how to play without relying on what is written on a musically-prescribed piece of paper! This is not a "tune" workshop, but takes learning much farther. In this workshop, you will learn to "mix it up",  learning to improvise and embellish on the fly. If you play any tune ten times through, you will learn the techniques and skills to play it ten different ways, never having to play the tune the same way twice. This will change how you play and give you a new-found freedom and joy in your playing. Quit playing with your eyes, and start using your noodle. All instruments, All levels

Early Acoustic Songs of Bob Dylan - Bill Schilling - The purpose of this workshop is to share some of the early acoustic songs written by Bob Dylan (who won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature). Many of Dylan's songs have made their way into the common folk repertoire and have been covered by others in many genres over the years. Come prepared to sing and play along on old favorites and less familiar early Dylan songs (handouts provided), or choose to lead one of your favorites of Dylan's from any time period with the group.

Saturday 2:00 - 2:50

Stephen Foster the Easy Way - Steven K. Smith - 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.

Rounds - Jerry Rockwell - Ah Poor Bird, Rose Red, Hey Ho Nobody Home: Three great rounds that have a similar ground and underlying structure. These are fun to play together as a group, and it is so easy to get more ideas for new parts once you get it going! DAD tuning - E minor (6-tone or hexatonic scale). MD - I

The Tunes of North Central West Virginia - 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 - I

Learn Native American Flute - Linda Sigismondi - Linda will tell one of the legends of the Native American flute and demonstrate how to play the instrument for traditional tunes as well as its use in western music and 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 3:00 - 3:50

Easy Appalachian Tunes - Linda Sigismondi - This is a repertoire-building workshop for novice dulcimer players. Participants will be taught several songs from the Appalachian Mountain Region. Some techniques to enhance your playing will also be included. Tab will be given in both DAA and DAD tuning. MD - AB

Fingerpicking Skills - Tish Westman - Develop finger-picking skills for playing melody out of chords. MD - I

Practice Smarter, Not Harder - Brett Ridgeway - Practice DOES NOT make perfect,  knowing HOW to practice does! Many people waste HOURS of time and effort practicing their instrument, and don’t realize their practice methods often serve as a roadblock toward reaching the end-result they desire. This workshop will teach you some proven techniques, tested guidelines, and provide some hands-on practice experience teaching you exactly HOW to practice for the most efficient and effective results! Why waste hours practicing harder when you can productively practice smarter? All Instrument, All Levels

Folk-Style Songs & Instruments - Bill Shilling - Workshop participants will sing choruses of and/or play rhythm or homemade instruments with various folk-style songs. They will be encouraged to discuss and ask questions about how the folk song process connects broadsides, ballads, traditional songs, old-time songs, and folk songs to religious, seasonal, satiric, blues, country, hillbilly, western, cowboy, political, topical, protest, and contemporary singer/songwriter songs. They will learn about the history, setup, playing techniques, similarities, differences, and scientific sound principles of various folk and homemade instruments. All

Saturday 4:00 - 4:50

Playing Back-Up Chords in New Positions - Olivia Walton - Olivia will explain how to find common chords in various places on the fretboard and how to use them to back up melody when playing with others. MD - AB

Two Parts - Steven K. Smith - Steve will present two fairly familiar tunes with tablature and notation, and we'll work on a two-part (maybe more?) ensemble arrangement. We'll get as far as we can with the time constraint, but you should leave with a couple of easy methods for filling out a group arrangement of a tune.

Won't You Sit Down, Have Another Cup of Coffee? - Phyllis Woods Brown - Make fiddle tunes and old Church songs "danceable!! "  Fiddle tunes should be "danceable"! Straight out of an old player piano, we"ll take "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" from "yawning" to "foot stomping" in just a few easy steps. In the process, you'll learn a few "licks" that you can apply to a lot of other music as well. All it takes are a few techniques to make your audience want to tap their feel.  Filling in the spaces and making sure that rhythm is right are the keys to bringing tunes alive. Resurrect your playing in this workshop. HD - B, AB, I

Ukulele for Singing Accompaniment - Rich and Kathy Small - Beginners will learn basic chording and quickly be playing and singing some old favorites. More advanced players may choose to lead and share one of their favorites with the group. A few loaner instruments will be available. B

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

Hymns – Cynthia Brissey – We will be learning the melody progressing to chord melody on two hymns: Sweet Hour of Prayer and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. MD - B, AB

Fingerpicking So Simple - Brett Ridgeway - Fingerpicking is easy to learn and provides a gentle undulating flow. Using simple picking patterns, you will learn exactly how to arpeggiate tunes and chords with a smooth rising and falling which turns a simple melody line into a beautiful, expressive, and purely acoustical and interesting piece. Put your pick aside and let your fingers feel the music. In addition to simple fingerpicking, you will learn how to make your music reflect emotion and dynamics as well as learn some simple hand exercises to keep your fingers and hands limber and flexible! MD - All

How to Hang on When You're in Over Your Head - Phyllis Woods Brown - It has happened to all of us at one point or another.  We find ourselves in a jam or playgroup where we feel totally inadequate, and we either panic or simply drop out and listen, or even drop out and go home. Sure, we DO need to listen, but also learn to join in. In this "Hammers-on" workshop, you will learn how to play along, even on those tunes that normally make you falter. You will learn the basics of playing chord back-ups, in different keys and different styles of music, even for the tunes that you don't know! HD - AB, I

Vocal Styles - 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 taught. All

Sunday 1:00 - 1:50

Old Time Tunes - Olivia Walton - These are the songs that most people associate with the mountain dulcimer. Learn some with Olivia. MD - B, AB

Introduction to Simple, Circular Chord Progressions -- Jerry Rockwell - In this workshop I will share with you my joy in playing with very simple three or four-chord patterns that repeat over and over, and what you can do to vary your arranging using simple strums or mesmerizing arpeggios. This is for dulcimers in DAD, but other instruments are ESPECIALLY welcome! MD, HD, other - All

Spoons - Jeff Fedan - They are for more than eating with! Though not a lead instrument, they enhance the sound of any old-time ensemble. If you can clap your hands, you can play the spoons. All

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: August 6, 2017