Dulcimer Lessons for Lemont, PA
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Explore the beauty of the hammered dulcimer. Everything is right about this instrument: it sounds great on first try; it's way easier than it looks; it's laid out so that the wrong notes are tucked away from the right notes; people are mesmerized when they see and hear it; you can use it for melody, harmony, or chords; it's a good instrument to sing with, but also good for just instrumentals; and you'll fall in love with it once you've started! Let me help you find joy in the hammered dulcimer! If you have questions, please scroll back to the top and click "Ask", next to my photo.
We are going to HAVE FUN! I will be customizing your lessons to your needs, your skill level, your age, and most importantly, what you would like to learn on the Dulcimer. I give lessons on the traditional 3 string dulcimer, although you may see I have double strings on each of the three. This will not interfere in my ability to instruct you. In fact, you may already own or possibly purchase a dulcimer with a double string on the first string, or all three, which is common. It is still considered to be a "3 stringed instrument. Regardless if you have 3 single strings, or double on one or all three, it will still work fine. I will be including the basic fundamentals such as scales and chords, keeping them fun, not grueling or boring. You will learn how to strum and finger-pick the dulcimer. To do this, we will begin right away using a pick designed specifically for the dulcimer, although a guitar pick will work just as well. (Dulcimer picks are slightly larger than guitar picks). When fingerpicking songs, there is no need for picks, you will just use your fingers. I will help you sight read music (new songs) which is extremely useful should you join a group or accompany others and they suddenly place a piece of music in front of you and would like you to play it. Sight reading helps you to play songs you've never seen or had a chance to practice ahead of time. Of course, the most important is learning the genre of music (songs) you like. I am fairly versed in most music genres and we can discuss the areas you are most interested in before signing up to see if we are a good fit in this area. Before moving on to Lesson Details, should you sign up for dulcimer lessons, I want you to know that the above-mentioned is not concrete. I will never force a student of mine to do something they absolutely do not want to do. I will encourage you to try it, but once you've come to the conclusion you have no desire for certain areas, we will focus on what it is you desire to learn and feel most comfortable at learning. NEW! Starting on 9/1/2021: I have decided to offer all new students an "indefinite discount" for not only back-to-school students but for all ages. To be a bit of financial help, I've lowered my current prices to give a long-term discount. A 30-minute lesson is usually $28.00. With the discount, it will be $23. A 45-minute lesson is usually $39, with the discount, it will be $34. A 60-minute lesson is usually $50, with the discount, it will be $45. *** Lesson Details *** Listed here are the basics you will need to get off to a great start at your first lesson and future lessons. These are required items to learn properly, as well as for me to teach you adequately. Without these tools, we will struggle as both teacher and student, which is not what either of us would want. Please be sure to order these items as soon as possible once you've committed to lessons. If these items have not arrived before the lesson, I do have plenty of material we can and will use, so again, don't fret over this. As you will see, I am flexible and want this to be fun, not frustrating for you. 1. 3 String Dulcimer My only recommendation here is to make sure there is little to no difficulty when pressing down on the strings with the left hand. If you find it extremely difficult to press down, you may have a dulcimer that has been damaged. Options are to take it to a shop where it can be fixed, or at best, get an honest opinion as to whether or not it can be refurbished to work well for you. Be cautious when ordering a used instrument online. If you are not familiar with purchasing used instruments in this manner, have someone who is experienced in buying online help you make your purchase. My suggestion, is go to a music store where you can try out the instrument to see if it's a good fit for you or your child. This way you will know what you are getting. 2. Dulcimer Tuner. This is the one I recommend: Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip On Tuner (Current Model) (any stringed tuner will work, but this is one I recommend) 3. Dulcimer pick. I recommend purchasing a "large triangle pick" that is on the softer side (more flexible). Music stores will be able to assist. If you need help ordering, we can discuss this once you are signed up and I can give you some suggestions. 4. Lesson Books. Once you are signed up and paid, I will send you an email with the books you'll need to order. I like to start with lesson books that are great for all ages. They will be relatively easy, thus making learning how to play the dulcimer fun, not grueling. As you progress through the first series of lesson books, I will send you an email with next series of books to be able to continue with lessons, if you so desire. *If you have a particular book you would like to work out of, please send me the name of the book so I can review it (and purchase if need be) so I can help you with it. *** Studio Equipment *** I have a dedicated area of my home where I keep all my instruments as well as having high quality audio equipment, a computer with high speed internet, and excellent lighting. As a side note, this is my home in which I also have a business raising Bernese Mountain Dogs. They may come and go in the background, but I can assure you that if they appear to be a distraction in any manner, especially for younger children, I will make sure they are placed appropriately so as to remove this form of distraction before the lesson begins. *** Students Equipment *** Before starting the first lesson, I do expect the student to have a dulcimer, a tuner, a pick and lesson book(s) as mentioned above in "Lesson Details". You must have access to a computer with a good internet that will not drop or freeze in a Zoom lesson. Having an external microphone is helpful in being able to hear both the instrument and your voice, but not a requirement unless the mic on device does not work properly. When using an external mic, it may require you to use headphones depending on how it is set up. *Note: I do not recommend viewing lessons from a smart phone or iPad. There are multiple reasons they are not conducive for zoom lessons. If this is the only method available when first starting lessons, this is understandable, but try your best to transition to a laptop. An iPad is better than a smartphone, but unless you have a high speed internet, there can be issues at times with iPads as well as with a smart phone. ***Steps to Prepare your Computer*** There are some important steps you as the student (or parent of a child/children) can take to prepare your computer to work efficiently for online lessons. I will list them here for you, as well as send them in an email along with the lesson books you will need to purchase. If you run into problems with any of the steps, try to find someone (friend, family member, neighbor) who may have a good working knowledge of computers to help you. If you have no one, I am willing to talk you through it over the phone, which could be a bit of a challenge, but worth trying! 1. Clear history, cookies, cache prior to each lesson. 2. Download zoom occasionally to ensure you are using the most recent/updated version. 3. Make sure others in the household are not online (on other devices) during your lesson. 4. Close all programs running in the background. 5. Stop or delete any unnecessary apps that may be running in the background. 6. Try to avoid using an iPad or a smartphone for lessons, if at all possible. Thank You for viewing my profile. Please feel free to ask me questions through TakeLessons. I will do my very best to answer each and every one to the best of my abilities. To Your Success ! Rhonda
Lap/Mountain Dulcimer is a super fun instrument to learn and play! It is a very approachable instrument and can be used for solo playing and to accompany others and sing with. Lessons will aim to give the student the musical foundation and tools they need to explore this amazing instrument. Focus on many style of music and an aim to work toward playing the student's favorites songs will be a primary goal in addition to having a lot of fun! :)
Dulcimer: The Appalachian dulcimer is a fretted string instrument of the zither family, typically with three or four strings. Its origins are in the Appalachian region of the United States. The body extends the length of the fingerboard, and its fretting is generally diatonic. It is a beautiful droning instrument to learn and great for accompanying yourself or others. I always start with the basics of hand and finger technique, notes, chords, and songs. As the student progresses, if interested, I will teach theory and soloing.
Learn the Basics: You will Learn the use of fingers and plectrum. Some classic songs are fun and easy to play. Also you learn to understand dulcimer tuning and playing songs and being creative. The Truth: Dulcimer is one of the most satisfying instruments to learn because it's easy to make a pleasant sound right from the beginning. It is part of American culture. You can start at any age, and you can have fun with it even if you don't know any music theory and have never played an instrument before. The Dulicmer is made of beautiful woods such as spruce and mahogony or walnut and is usually hand crafted. The curved body of the Dulcimer extends the length of the fingerboard, and its fretting is generally diatonic with use of 4 strings. Most play it while it is on their lap; but I have seen accomplished players play the dulcimer while standing up. It's real life origins are from the Appalachian Mountains and it is portable and a truly American made invention. So...the Dulcimer first appeared in the early 19th century among Scotch-Irish immigrant communities in the Appalachians. "It has a bright lifting sound that reminds me of the mandolin." ~ Margaret MacArthur.
very good advice and technique i will follow through
Nancy (Dulcimer lessons with Kenton M.)
I'm very happy with the communication and technics I have from Kenton. He makes me feel supported in my progress.
Joyce (Dulcimer lessons with Kenton M.)
Kenton was happy to go at my pace and super encouraging!
Angie (Dulcimer lessons with Kenton M.)
I highly reccommend Kenton! My 10 year old son has been taking lessons online for the past couple of months. My son is an absolute beginner, however, is progressing quickly through the curriculum. Ke
Tiffany Pfenning (Dulcimer lessons with Kenton M.)