11th Annual Festival Class Descriptions

Mae, Songe, Thum & Garrett Class Descriptions

Erin Mae – Mountain Dulcimer

  1. Ear Training for the Tone Deaf This class is designed for the people who don’t think they can play by ear. I will present a step-by-step formula for picking out tunes by ear that anyone can follow. We will send lots of time doing it in class, plus I will give you methods for training your ear at home. (Beginner-Intermediate)
  2. Bluegrass Jam Skills Learn to  completely play with other musicians and other instruments. You will learn to chord, play rhythm, improvise a solo, and play in the keys of D G & A. (Intermediate, but should know the chords for the keys of D-G-A )
  3. Fiddle Tunes This is a repertoire building class to help you learn more tunes. We’ll also discuss how to memorize and internalize tunes so you don’t forget them at the end of the week! (Novice–you understand the fretboard and chords)

Wendy Songe – Mountain Dulcimer

  1. Dynamic Mountain Dulcimer Bring new life to your music by adding dynamic expression, explore the touch and techniques that add emphasis and emotional depth to your music, and discover ideas for determining when and where to put dynamics in your song. Address dynamics for solo and group playing and learn easy dynamic notation and how to write your dynamics properly on your music.(Adv Beginner Up)
  2. Right Hand Workout Fingerpicking and Flatpicking –learn Wendy’s method for right hand fingerpicking, pinches, rolls, finger strumming, dynamics, finger style patterns and more. Then switch over to flatpicking (bring several different picks to try) and discover the similarities and differences between finger style and flat picking. Take home exercise worksheets for both! (All Skill Levels) 
  3. Tips, Tricks, and Techniques Take a simple song and learn how to spice it up with some fun and expressive techniques such as: slides, hammer-on, pull-off, trill, vibrato, bends, harmonics, chops,and more! (Adv Beg Up)

Rick Thum – Hammer Dulcimer

  1. Knowing What Chord To use And When We will learn what chords make up a song and how to know what fancy chords might fit. We will also learn how to play all of the chords within a given key. This class has the added benefit of making you a better jammer.
  2. Learn Some Celtic Tunes We will learn “Ten Penny Bit” and “100 Pipers”. As time permits we will look at ways to make the songs stretch so that they are not just the same thing over and over and over…………
  3.  Ways to Embellish We will look at the several ways to add embellishments and will learn how to apply these techniques to two different styles of music. We will use “Soldiers Joy” and “Ode to Joy” to try out several embellishment styles. This will be a fun class with lots of playing.


Tom Garrett – Banjo, Jaw Harp, Mandolin

  1. BanjoYou will learn Virginia Drop Thumb banjo picking. It is a two finger thumb lead style from then Blue Ride Mountains of Southwest Virginia. It is different from the two finger style of Kentucky. It has elements of both three finger picking, and the rhythmic syncopation of clawhammer style, It’s not difficult and yes, it will be by ear.
  2. Jaw Harp The jaw harp is an ancient and exotic sounding background and rhythm instrument. It lends a wonderful and fun sound to any tune. Bring one if you have one, Whitlow Harps are made in Madison, by Robbie Clement and are among the best made. I “may” have and extra one or two. If you can’t find one (do not purchase the Snoopy Harp) Cheap, but unplayable. From the introductory basics to advanced techniques, you will leave making great sounds on your harp.
  3. Mandolin “Mandolin by Ear” tips, secrets & techniques for playing great mandolin out of your head, not off the sheet.




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