Workshop Descriptions


Bing Futch
Bing Futch Workshops:

Beginning Blues Mountain Dulcimer - Novice/Beginner

If you've never played a mountain dulcimer before, or are just beginning your journey down that road, this workshop will quickly get you up to speed with the basics.  We'll cover strumming rhythms, playing melody, reading tablature, forming simple chords and we'll learn the basic blues form.

North & South Mississippi Styles (Delta and Hill Country) - All Skill Levels

2016 International Blues Challenge Finalist Bing Futch offers up this fun and fascinating class on playing authentic Mississippi Delta Blues as well as North Mississippi Hill Country Blues on the mountain dulcimer.  Chords and heartbeat rhythms lead to us adding layer upon layer of new elements, all while strumming and playing the blues! Bing won the "Best Guitarist" award in the solo-duo category at the International Blues Challenge while playing the mountain dulcimer!  (All Skill Levels)

Texas Blues - Intermediate/Advanced

We'll get into the swing of things with the original Bing Futch tune "Red-Headed Lover" from the album "Unresolved Blues."  Bing'll show you how to "trade off" between playing chord rhythms, bass lines and lead licks to create a Texas-style blues.  Must have a 1 1/2 fret to get the most out of sweet 7th and augmented chords for color and sass!

Sam Edelston
Sam Edelston Workshops:

Led Zeppelin: Blues With A Stack Of Marshalls
Jimmy Page & company had a big blues streak. In fact, they borrowed a number of songs from Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and others – sometimes giving credit, and sometimes not. We’ll look at some of the songs they borrowed from, what they did with them, and how you can adapt them to the dulcimer. We’ll be playing unplugged, but bring a capo.

The Blue 1 1/2 Fret
The 1½ fret is invaluable for anybody who wants to play along with guitarists while tuned DAD, because it lets you play in the keys of G and C at the base of the fretboard. For the blues, it gives you additional, special musical gifts, such as chords beyond 7ths and suspended 4ths. We’ll look at chords and riffs that this fret makes possible.

John Lee Hooker
Clarksdale-area native John Lee Hooker learned his style of guitar from his stepfather, who was a blues musician. His elemental fingerstyle playing translates well to the dulcimer, and we’ll do some.  (Bring a capo, and fingerpicks might be helpful.)

Gary Gallier Workshops:

7th chords and Inversions, dAD, Intermediate, Needs 1.5 – Almost all Blues rooted music, such as Blues, Jazz, and Rock, makes frequent use of 7th chords for color, transitions, and drama. The 1.5 gives you a great variety of these 7th chords, and learning to invert them adds double the voicing of the same chord to great benefit. A chord method will be covered to include inversions in general as a skill that can be used in all music.

Shortenin’ Bread Boogie, dAD, Novice and Up - Taking a very simple and familiar traditional 2 part song we will transform it into at least 5 parts all with the syncopated shuffle groove of a Boogie. All parts can be overlayed with multiple players for a group piece, or is great stand alone solo. You will learn a standard Boogie Woogie progression that fits great and is fun to throw between parts when you get the urge.

Saint Louis Blues – dAD, Intermediate and Up, Needs 1.5 – Dating back to the early 1900s, we’ll learn this true classic Blues song that has a little twist in the middle. In the process we will also work on the shuffle rhythm and some basic improvisation. The 8.5 is useful for improvisational variety, but not necessary to do a nice rendition.

Robert Force
Robert Force Workshops:



Singers! Meet the Dulcimer!

Are you a vocalist wanting to learn how to accompany yourself with dulcimer? This is an introduction to you who's more comfortable singing, over playing a stringed instrument such as the Dulcimer. Learn Sofie's simple interpretation of a Ma Rainey and Thelma Davis song to get a feel for playing while you sing, and you are on your way! Bring your stomping shoes too!

Singing and Playing

Sofie is a powerhouse vocalist as well as blues mountain dulcimer player. Get tips, tricks and secrets on singing and playing in performance. If you are just starting to sing while playing, this workshop introduces how to organize and balance the various tasks so the delivery of the song does not interfere with the performance. 

Write Your Own Blues

Join Sofie for an inside look at writing your own blues tunes! Perhaps you already have words written (not required) that you would like to put into a melody with an accompanying dulcimer groove, to deliver your story in a blues song? Sofie will introduce fundamental tools of crafting blues tunes: mood phrasing, rhythm as well as lyric writing.

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