Absolute Beginner Series
Absolute Beginner Series for Mountain Dulcimer


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VideoAbout the Lessons

1. Parts of the Dulcimer We'll learn the names of the parts of the dulcimer in order to better understand how to play it.
2. Strings and Notes We look at the strings and notes on the dulcimer in preparation for playing music on it. 
3. The Left Hand The placement of the fingers of the left hand is crucial for good tone and ease of playing.
4. The Right Hand The lesson demonstrates strumming positions and directions with the right hand, with and without using a pick.
5. Learning a Song
(Twinkle, Twinkle)
Using a popular childhood tune we explore both out- and in- strum patterns to play the rhythm of the melody.
6. Keeping the Dulcimer on Your Lap How to hold the dulcimer and keep it on your lap is something we all must experiment with and find the solutions that work for us. Steve offers and demonstrates several possibilities
7. Strumming Both Ways We get our first chance to try strumming in both directions, which is a step beyond playing just the rhythm of the song. This takes us in the direction of playing back-up with even strumming! 
8. Left Hand: Which Finger? Which finger should you use to play with your Left Hand? Why not try them all? Tips for getting good placement and tone are shared in this lesson. 
9. Left Hand: Using a Noter Playing with a stick (called a "noter") is the traditional way of changing the notes with the left hand. Different methods of holding and user the noter are demonstrated. 
10. Right Hand: No Pick Who needs picks and noters? You can play the dulcimer just fine with only fingers! 
11. What Do I Do With Those Extra Frets? The 6-1/2 Fret Many dulcimers have extra frets these days. We'll look at understanding and making use of the 6-1/2 fret in this lesson. 
12. What Do I Do With Those Extra Frets? The 13-1/2 Fret In this lesson we'll explore some strategies for navigating the extra frets and take note of the 13-1/2 fret (which is included in some, but not all, dulcimers.)  
13. What Do I Do With Those Extra Frets? The 1-1/2 Fret The next fret that is often added is the 1-1/2 or 1+ or 1.5 fret. This fret adds to the possibilities for melodic playing and chord positions in the first position, and for some players introduce more confusion! Let's sort it out. 
14 What Do I Do With Those Extra Frets? The 8-1/2 Fret The other extra fret that is sometimes added is the 8-1/2 fret, an octave of the 1-1/2 fret. 
15. Choosing Your Tuning In order to play with others we must play "in tune." D has become the tuning standard, and different people prefer different variations of D tunings that, nonetheless, still work together. In this lesson we'll take note of the "zero fret" and explore two popular tunings: DAA and DAd and take notice of their similarities and differences as we move to choosing a "home" tuning for our playing. We'll also take the Dulcimer Player's Pledge! 
16. Noodling in D-A-A Everyone should "noodle" with their dulcimer, and this lesson explores some predictable ways to noodle around and find harmonies in the DAA tuning. 
17. Noodling in D-A-d In this lesson we learn the three (3) primary places to play moveable shapes and noodle arround for harmonies in the DAd tuning. We also begin to discuss 3rd, 6th and 10th harmonies. 
18. Mary Had a Little Lamb in D-A-A tuning
Using a well-known tune that we've known for nearly as long as we can remember is a good way to get more comfortable on any instrument. Using the DAA tuning, we'll learn the tune and pay attention to repeated phrases as a way to prepare ourselves to learn more new tunes! 
19. Mary Had a Little Lamb in D-A-d tuning
Using a familiar tune like Mary Had a Little Lamb, we discover how we can play both the version learned in the DAA lesson on a dulcimer tuned to DAd, but we also find two MORE position to play the melody! 
20. Noodling for Harmonies-1, Mary Had A Little Lamb in D-A-A
Now it is time to apply what we learned in lesson #16 about noodling for harmonies to the tune, Mary Had A Little Lamb, that we learned in Lesson #18. In this lesson, we'll look at the first noodling position: the middle string.
21. Noodling for Harmonies-2: Mary Had a Little Lamb in D-A-A tuning.
In this lesson, we'll use the 2nd noodling position to find a nice harmony for this familiar song: on the bass string. 
22. Noodling for Harmonies: Mary and her Little Lamb -3, in D-A-A Tuning Before we turn our attention to DAd tuning, we explore the 3rd noodling position for harmonies to accompany Mary Had A Little Lamb. 
23. Noodling for Harmonies: Mary Had a Little Lamb -1, in D-A-d Tuning Now we'll use what we learned about noodling for harmonies in Lesson #17 to find a harmony for Mary Had A Little Lamb
24. Noodling for Harmonies 2 & 3: Mary and her Lamb in D-A-d tuning This lesson explores noodling positions 2 and 3 (on the bass string) to find harmonies for Mary Had a Little Lamb.
25. D-A-A Linear Let's use the fretboard to help us learn the intervals that are present on the dulcimer.
26. Playing Intervals Across Strings In this episode we'll explore the intervals that one can play across the strings in both DAA and DAd tunings.
27. Picking Across Strings in D-A-A Tuning We turn our attention to the skill of accurately picking individual notes across the strings on the fretboard, but use the chord patterns familiar to our Left hand. The right hand develops accuracy by use of alternate picking and using both in and out movements.
28. Picking Across the Strings in D-A-d tuning In a similar way to the previous segment, we develop our right hand accuracy picking across the strings in D-A-d tuning.
29. Portable Chord Shapes in D-A-A Tuning In this segment we explore several "portable" chord shapes in the DAA tuning that move up and down the fretboard.
30. Portable Chord Shapes in D-A-d Tuning In this episode we explore moveable chord shapes in the D-A-d tuning.
31. Conclusion & Congratulations In this segment we'll talk about rehearsal strategies and what to do next, now that you are no longer a Beginning Player!

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