"Just got back from the Laurel Highlands Hammered Dulcimer Workshop held at Benner's Meadow Run Campground in Farmington, PA. What a fabulous weekend. The weather, campground, and workshop were so much fun my whole family is looking forward to going again next year.
"The instructor for the workshop was Brett Ridgeway and I can tell you this is one workshop where you will not have to hunt for him or race to catch him. He was available for questions and more for nearly EVERY waking hour. We learned some tunes, techniques, embellishments, and so much more. It was definitely NOT hard to learn how to play with Bretts' method of instruction. We even participated in a mini concert for the other campers at the campground. In fact, his style is so straight forward that my wife saw how easy the dulcimer is to play and now she has enrolled too. We also had an 'absolute' beginner who did just fine. The truth is, she picked it up faster than I did. (Great job MaryLou!)
"Our whole family went since the campground has plenty of other activities for all ages to enjoy while I was enjoying the workshop. So don't leave others in your family behind, take them too. Plans are already being laid out for next year, so watch for more information and mark your calendar. I know we are going back." -- Dave Willis, Indiana
"Just got back from Brett Ridgeway's workshop at Benner's Campground in Pennsylvania. It was a delightful and very educational weekend. Even though I've been playing for 6 years (sort of), I came away with a lot of very helpful information as well as learning five new tunes. Even though Brett doesn't read music, he has a very good ear and a special knack for teaching that anyone can understand & follow and not, so to speak, get left in the dust. If anyone gets an opportunity to take one of Brett's workshops, I highly recommend it."
-- Mike Reese, Ohio
"I have to say the 6 hour drive was well worth it . This workshop was one of the best that I have taken . The camp ground was great & Brett made you feel right at home . If anyone has had trouble learning the HD his workshops are for you . I have been to Evert twice, great time, but lots of people. It was nice to have the close attention to work out the problem parts without making you feel stupid . Looking forward to his September workshop!" --- Dave Zarnstorf, New York
"Brett, I took note of your emphasis stroking at the (Laurel Highland's) workshop when you were playing Morrison's Jig and using that technique has helped me with my RDD. Got it down pretty good now and up to speed. Wow! Me? Still working on the other jigs and hornpipes. I'm doing pretty well. Thanks more than you could know." --- Lynn Cox, FL
August 7-8th, 2009
8th Annual Laurel Highlands
Hammered/Mountain Dulcimer Workshop
Benner's Meadow Campground, 315 Nelson Road, Farmington, PA 15437-9507
Contact, Scheduling, & Reservations:
Marylou Rohlf, 724-329-4097
*8th Annual* Laurel Highlands Hammered/Mountain Dulcimer Workshop. Two days of workshops for beginner/intermediate and intermediate advanced. Saturday evening will include a traditional Appalachian Music concert. Brett and Serenity Ridgeway will perform featuring the hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, acoustic guitar, mandolin, bluegrass and Clawhammer banjo, and marimbula.
The Laurel Highlands Hammered Dulcimer Workshop
Taught by Brett Ridgeway
Friday 7-9 P.M.
Saturday 9 A.M. - 4 P.M.
This workshop will include approximately 8 hours of hands-on instruction in a very enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere. You can actually RELAX AND HAVE FUN while learning! Topics covered: Chord progressions, rhythm techniques, nifty rag licks, and hammering techniques such as rolls, triplets, flams, arranging and developing your own songs using harmony, grace notes, and arpeggios, scales, using chromatics to add flair to your playing as well as learning a few tunes. Stop memorizing tunes and learn to play them differently with every verse! There are a very limited number of hammered dulcimers available to rent with prior notice for those wanting to try the hammered dulcimer, but may not have their own. Below are just three of several workshops that will be taught.
"Diddling, Noodling, &Jigging-Learning to Play by Ear"
Using traditional and ancient Celtic techniques, almost anyone can learn to play any instrument by ear, they just don't know it and are often surprised at their ability to do so! noodling and diddling, also called jigging, litlting, dowdling are excellent tools in learn to play the hammered dulcimer...or any instrument for that matter! Using simple ear training exercises, playing a simple D scale and you will be picking out tunes by the end of this workshop! I have used these techniques severeal times in my workshops and one on one teaching and the most often exclaimed phrase is, "I can't believe I can do this!!!" Whether you read music or not, learning to play by ear is a helpful skill and yes, can be learned in this workshop! (Other instruments welcome)
"A Very Cool Devil's Dream"
Learn this well known fiddle tune with a new twist! No chromatic bridges needed, we will teach this roller-coaster ride of a tune using chromatic scales found on your instrument! This workshop will also open up new opportunities and ideas in using chromatic embellishments. We will teach both a standard version and a very cool chromatic version. This is a great embellishment tool! No need to read standard notation!
"The 8 Note Miracle Cure!"
Fancify your playing with this simple eight-note lick that will cure the doldrums of dull playing! This little trick can be easily adapted to almost any tune, fast or slow, and it will change the way you play hammered dulcimer. Easily incorporated into tunes you already know (we'll teach you how) or a great embellishment, fill-in or back-up technique. This one is FUN!
Brett Ridgeway currently teaches private and group lessons on an almost daily basis. He is the longest standing instructor of traditional and Appalachian intruments at the GitterPicker String Factory in Twinsburg, Ohio. Brett is also on faculty at the Willoughby School of Fine Arts, in Willoughby, Ohio. He is founder of the Laurel Highlands Dulcimer Workshop in Farmington, Pennsylvania and also a standing contributor to performances and workshops at Historic Roscoe Village, Coshocton, OH including their Dulcimer Days Festival, the oldest dulcimer festival in the eastern United States. His dedicated love for traditional American music is why he works to educate others about this style of music. Brett's philosophy is simple yet far reaching: "anyone can make music, regardless of age, musical ability or knowledge...or any other excuse someone can come up with"! Brett Ridgeway has been teaching stringed instruments for 30 years and currently has over fifty students. He has produced several HD CD lessons and is consistently receiving requests for more. This is a good opportunity to have an intimate, personal, and fun workshop that will teach you to not just play tunes, but to play and understand your instrument! He has taught students from three years old to folks nearing their nineties!
The Laurel Highlands Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer Workshop
Taught by Kathleen Lockhart
Beginner - Intermediate
Friday 7-9 P.M.
Saturday 9 A.M. - 4 P.M.
Learn to play the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer or learn to play better! In this course, we will cover chords, basic and rhythmic strumming, flat-picking, and fingerpicking, how to play in different octaves and playing "up the neck", back-up and lead, as well as exploring various techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, chokes, and more. You will be playing a tune within the first five minutes of the workshop and will gain the tools and understanding necessary to play proficiently by the end of it! There is no need to read music or have any prior musical ability. Several tunes will be taught, and you will leave with an understanding sufficient enough to continue learning on your own. It is recommend to bring a dulcimer capo (available for purchase with prior notice). There are a very limited number of mountain dulcimers available to rent with prior notice.
Kathleen Lockhart is a well versed student of Brett Ridgeway's and has been specifically trained to teach this workshop. She is a standing member of Homestead Creek, and performs regularly with Brett and Serenity.
The Laurel Highlands Fiddle Workshops
"Bunny Slope for Fiddle"
taught by Serenity Ridgeway
This is an absolute beginner fiddle workshop for those who may have an interest in playing but find learning to play dumbfounding or even scary! If you are not sure where to start or if you are on the right track then come learn everything from how to care for and tune your fiddle to how to begin playing real (recognizable) songs that you enjoy! This class will be informative and purposefully unintimidating…so come in your pajamas and fuzzy bunny slippers if you want, but just come and have some fun while learning how to "fiddle around” (pun intended)! (Attendees are encouraged to bring a fiddle (violin) if available but are also welcome to sit in even without an instrument. Extra instruments WILL NOT be provided.)
Level: Beginner Saturday: 10:00-11:15 A.M.
taught by Serenity Ridgeway
No, it's not a real word so please don't look it up...but it is a wonderful idea! In this fiddle workshop you'll learn several different techniques to bring simple melodies to life and give them that old timey fiddle sound. Just to wet your appetite here are a few things we'll cover while using the song "Old Joe Clark": droning, double stops, rhythm, shuffles, triplets, harmony, back-up and more! Beginners and on will find that these tools will give you the ability and inspiration to take any song and really make it your own!
Level: Beginner - Intermediate Saturday: 12:30-1:45 P.M. P.M.
Serenity Ridgeway currently teaches fiddle, keyboard, and Appalachian Dulcimer in both private and group lessons. She is an instructor at the GitterPicker String Factory in Twinsburg, Ohio as well as a faculty member/instructor at the Willoughby Hills School of Fine Arts in Willoughy Hills, Ohio. She also teaches various groups lessons and workshops in the N.E. Ohio area with her husband.
Workshops run simutaneously and the schedule leaves plenty of time for personal help and attention, without running from one workshop to another. Campground activities, swimming, bike trails, etc., available to other family members. Campground & Scheduling Info: www.bennersmeadowrun.com, 724-329-4097. Laurel Highlands 2-day workshop is $75 for individuals staying at Benner's Meadow Run and $85 for those commuting. Fiddle Workshops are priced seperately at $15 each. Discounts offered to families with two or more workshop participants. Accommodations available at Benner's Meadow Run and in the area.
A special workshop is opened to all instruments entitled "Diddling, Noodling, &Jigging-Learning to Play by Ear"
Using traditional and ancient Celtic techniques, almost anyone can learn to play any instrument by ear, they just don't know it and are often surprised at their ability to do so! noodling and diddling, also called jigging, litlting, dowdling are excellent tools in learn to play the hammered dulcimer...or any instrument for that matter! Using simple ear training exercises, playing a simple scale and you will be picking out tunes by the end of this workshop! I have used these techniques severeal times in my workshops and one on one teaching and the most often exclaimed phrase is, "I can't believe I can do this!!!" Whether you read music or not, learning to play by ear is a helpful skill and yes, can be learned in this workshop! This is included in both dulcimer workshops and is available to all instruments, fiddle, banjo, guitar, etc. for $15. The workshop runs approximately 1 1/2 hours.