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Workshop Days and Times

Here's a list of all 31 workshops being offered at the 2nd Annual Key West Dulcimer Fest. There's a little biography of each instructor and descriptions of the workshops including the day and time that they are taking place. This list is subject to change - please use as an aid to assist you in planning out your festival experience. Workshops are pay as you go, with fees doing directly to the instructors. Costs per workshop will vary depending on material costs, but will be around $15 to $20 apiece.

Rob Brereton

Bio: Rob Brereton is considered one of the pioneers in contemporary mountain dulcimer playing. His years of studying classical guitar have polished his playing style while his degree in music theory and composition has given him a fresh approach to arranging.

Rob was one of the first dulcimer players to arrange extensively in the chromatic 1-3-5, and other alternate tunings. Although he specializes in the standards and early jazz tunes of D


Smoothing Out Your Playing (intermediate through advanced, but all are welcome)

What makes a great dulcimer player great? This workshop may answer that question. We'll go over a few of the most common mistakes in dulcimer playing technique as well as the dulcimer "big secret" to smoothing out your playing. We'll then apply this to an Irish tuning arranged in chord/melody style. Let's finally make the dulcimer sound the way YOU want it to sound. Tune D-A-d.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Capos and Tunings. (all levels above beginner)

This class will show you not only how to use a capo but also why capos work. We'll also unravel all the mysteries of tunings and modes. Rob is known for being able to break down difficult musical concepts into easy to understand and usable information. We'll take one modal tune and play it in two tunings and two capo positions and, more importantly, we'll actually see why it all works. Starting tuning: D-A-d
Friday 9-10:30 a.m.

Fancy Strums and Chords (beginner-intermediate, but all are welcome)
Thursday 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Let's learn about playing chords. We'll discover chord shapes and then find your own unique strumming patterns, We'll also go over some good right hand techniques. Repertoire pieces will include songs with a Caribbean flair.

Arranging Chromatic Music on the Mountain Dulcimer (Advanced)

Rob is considered a contemporary dulcimer pioneer and a trail blazer in contemporary dulcimer arranging. He has been arranging chromatic music and stretching the boundaries of dulcimer repertoire for over 20 years. This class, one of Rob's signature classes, will show how to arrange chromatic music in the 1-3-5 (D-F#-A) tuning as well as a discussion on other chromatic tunings, and lots of arranging tips you can apply to any tuning. It's not for the faint of heart, but well worth the effort. You must know how to read music for this class.
Sunday 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Steve Eulberg

Bio: An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Beginning Hammered Dulcimer: Driver's Ed
Thursday 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Hammered Dulcimer: Learning To Use Those Other Tools On Your Belt (Intermediate - Advanced)
Friday 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Mountain Dulcimer: Another Jig Will Do (Intermediate - Advanced)
Sunday 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Mountain Dulcimer: Tae Bo For The Left Hand (Intermediate)
Saturday 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Bruce Ford

Bio: He founded in January of 2002 and is still active with the site. He is a strong advocate for children’s involvement with dulcimers and always stands eager to expose folks to them. Bruce has performed at festivals and concerts in the Southeast using dulcimers and other instruments. He mixes the many sides of the dulcimer with engaging, pleasing vocals for memorable performances of old time, folks and Gospel music. In late 2008, Bruce released his first CD entitled “Gator Clubbin’ Society” garnering very favorable reviews.

Bruce resides in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife and family.


It’s Hard to Sing in a Bad Mood!

The mountain dulcimer was MADE to accompany our voices and it does it beautifully! Don’t our voices make a fine accompaniment to our island setting? This workshop is designed to have you singing quickly, confidently and without stress. Learn what chords to play and when, how to simplify your playing so you can sing, placing the song you want to sing into your vocal range, and transposing tunes into a dulcimer-friendly key. Lots of singing examples are provided in this participatory class! You’ll leave singing with some great songs to add to your repertoire. (All levels!)
Friday 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

The Break-through Machine

Have you plateau-ed? Do you need to supercharge your practice sessions so you can blast off to the next level? Bruce will walk you through tried and proven methods for breaking through. You’ll leave this workshop having practice these methods, lots to work on in the coming weeks, and well on your way to the next level (Intermediate)
Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Jam Survival

What If I Don’t Know That Song? – Are you one of those folks who stop playing at a jam when you don’t know the song? That robs you of potential enjoyment! This workshop teaches you the background…the “secret” to playing ALL the songs. The information passed along here will open the floodgates of your enjoyment of the mountain dulcimer. (Note from Bruce: “This is one of my favorite workshops to teach because with a few simple concepts, I see the light come on with folks. That’s what it’s all about for me.” (Beg/Intermediate)
Thursday 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Gospel in the Tropics

Bruce will pick out 5 less well-known, easy to play Gospel songs for us to play and sing. The emphasis will be on playing while singing in a relaxed way. Each of these songs will be structure in a way that it will be easy to take these tunes back to your group, church or clubs. You’ll get chords and lyrics for each. If time permits, this workshop will break into a Gospel jam that’ll include the favorites that everyone knows (e.g., I’ll Fly Away, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, etc.)
Friday 9 - 10:30 a.m.

Bing Futch

Bio: As a solo performer, Bing's high-energy, crowd pleasing shows and unique approach to the mountain dulcimer combined have made him a much-sought national act from California to Connecticut. Named 2006 "Songwriter of the Year" by the Songwriters Showcases of America (with a 2007 "Song of the Year" award for "Crazy Feels Like"), Bing has become a regularly featured artist at festivals, house concerts, Irish and British pubs and other venues across the country. He's opened for Grammy-award nominated artists Sam & Ruby, bluesman Scott Ainslie, singer/songwriter Larry Mangum, shared the stage with Zydeco king Chubby Carrier, Tom Constanten (The Grateful Dead), national fingerstyle guitar champion Michael Chapdelaine, produced numerous recordings and has published several songbooks.

Alongside his performing career, Bing has become a popular instructor of the mountain dulcimer and Native American flute and his video podcast, "Dulcimerica", has been seen and downloaded by over half a million unique viewers. He is the founder of the Key West Dulcimer Fest.


How One Little Fret Will Change Your Life

More and more players are adding the 1+ and 8+ frets to their dulcimers and loving it. In this workshop, I'll show you how these frets can be useful for not only playing tunes, but also understanding the basics of music theory. If you don't have a 1+ fret on your dulcimer, we'll help you put a temporary one in using our materials.
All Levels
Saturday 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Exploring An Aeolian World

We'll get warm and cuddly with the dark and mysterious Aeolian mode, both by tuning (DAC) and via capo (1st fret.) We'll learn scales, chords and popular traditional tunes written in this mode, including "Shady Grove", "Road To Lisdoonvarna" and "Cluck Old Hen."
Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

I Got Those Mountain Dulcimer Blues

A big hit and well-attended workshop at the first annual KWDF, this class digs into the meat and potatoes behind playing authentic Delta blues on the mountain dulcimer. Working from scales and chord-building towards song form and solo improvisation, you *will* leave this workshop able to play the blues!
Intermediate to Advanced.
Friday 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Native American Flute 101

The haunting tones of the Native American flute have captivated folks for thousands of years and now, you too can learn how to play this extraordinary instrument. Get in tune with the basics of creating tone easily, incorporating technique and reading tablature. Finally, you'll be shown the way to create your own music. Must have a Native American flute in the key of "B" (which works well with mountain dulcimers.) If you don't have one, there will be some available for sale before the workshop or you can pick one up before the festival at
Saturday 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Guy George

Bio: Guy George is a multi-faceted instrumentalist with jazz influenced roots. He has made his mark in the dulcimer world as a performer, instructor, author/publisher and recording artist. His diverse playing style adds a different twist to the sounds of the hammered dulcimer, steel drum, pennywhistle and saxophone, all of which he incorporates into his performances and teaching.

A professional musician most of his life, Guy studied jazz performance, arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. He travels throughout the United States and Canada performing and teaching at various types of venues and festivals.


Beginning Pennywhistle

Learn to play the easiest instrument to carry around. You will be playing a tune quickly! We will cover the basics - how to hold and finger the notes and sound good! Learn techniques for breathing, tonguing, and the scales to play in the key of “D” and “G” - all on one whistle! Great sounding, inexpensive whistles will be available before the class.
Thursday 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Intermediate Pennywhistle

Note:(Please schedule AFTER Beginning Pennywhistle class)
We will spend more time on playing in different keys, and how to control breathing while we learn a few “Island” tunes from the Caribbean islands as well as a few from the ʻIrishʼ island. Weʼll learn harmonies for some if time permits.
Friday 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Beginning Steel Drum

Play an authentic steel drum, professionally tuned, and learn the basics in one class! This fun and easy to learn instrument will add that Caribbean flavor to any music group. We will learn a few tunes and harmonies, how to play a chord back-up, along with a little chord theory on the steel drum. Take your steel drum home with you! (Drum is easy to transport home) Cost of class - $215.00 - includes steel drum.
Friday 1:30 - 3 p.m.

Intermediate Steel Drum

Take your steel drum playing to the next level - even for the newer players. This class will emphasize chording and calypso rhythms in the keys of “D” and “G”. Calypso tunes will be taught with melody, harmony, chord back-up, and bass lines. This class will get you playing right away with your ʻgroupʼ - adding that great calypso flavor! Wear your Hawaiian shirt!
Saturday 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Hammered Dulcimers on the Islands

Take a trip to the islands! Learn what it takes to create that “Island Feel” on your hammered dulcimer. Learn some new tunes from the islands. Musicality will be emphasized as we learn back-up parts and harmonies to use in your dulcimer or other music group.As time permits, we will also focus on calypso rhythms and embellishments, improvising with a calypso feel, “vamping” and creating your own interludes for tunes.
Sunday 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Sharrie Bulzan

Mrs. Guy George, as she's sometimes known, is a great performer and instructor in her own right. Here, she'll be offering workshops on some of the other stringed instruments that you'll find hanging around dulcimer festivals.

Beginning Guitar
Always wanted to strum a few chords and back-up another instrument? You can be playing some simple jam tunes in days with the information and practice youʼll have from this class. We will learn how to form some basic chords, a few simple strums, and how to tune your guitar. Weʼll even try to play an easy jam tune!
Friday 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Beginning Ukulele
Learn the basics; tuning, chords and strumming patterns. Weʼll learn back-up for some island tunes as well as a few jam tunes! Time permitting, we can try backing up singers (ourselves!) while playing. We will have ukuleles for sale at the vending area before the class.
Thursday 1:30 p.m - 3 p.m.

Butch Ross

Bio: Ross had been a touring singer/songwriter when he was given a mountain dulcimer as a birthday present. At first, the instrument was a curiosity but before too long it became his instrument of choice. A chance meeting with musician, author and producer Robert Force (himself a dulcimer iconoclast) led to the 2005 release "The Moonshiner's Atlas" and a complete change of focus.

Since then Ross has become an in-demand performer at folk and dulcimer festivals through the US and Europe. He's performed at such festivals as the Central Ohio Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Lancaster (UK) Music Fest and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.


Dead Simple Tunes

Get your playing off to a running start with a handful of fun, yet really easy tunes. (Beginner)
Saturday 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

I Don't Improvise, I Just Make Stuff Up

You don't need to be Steve Seifert or Jerry Rockwell to be a great improviser. In this class we'll learn the tips and techniques (and a couple tricks) you need to make your playing fun and interesting whether you're by yourself or in a group. (Intermediate/Advanced)
Thursday 9-10:30 a.m.

Keys to the Kingdom.

Brand new dulcimer? Been playing for years and still feel like you're just a beginner? well in this "bootcamp" for beginning dulcimerist we'll learn the fundamentals of strumming, chords, fingering, and even a little theory (but nothin' too scary). In short, everything you need for a solid foundation as a dulcimer player. (Beginner/Intermediate)
Friday 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Syncopation and the 16th Note

Fear not the dreaded 16th note. we'll learn how to use this tiny increment of time to unlock expressive playing and make complicated rhythms easy and fun. (Advanced)
Sunday 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Gary Sager

Bio: Known as the “dulcimer doctor” at many festivals across the country, Gary Sager is a fine luthier of mountain dulcimers. His instruments are hand made of quality solid wood and are known for their rich tone and playability. Gary's dulcimers carry the Prussia Valley Dulcimer name.

He is also a fine performer and arranger of tunes, usually along with his wife, Toni. They have one album to their credit entitled “Rats In The Fence Corner” and are also instructors at many national festivals.


Other Fiddle Tunes-Intermediate
Sunday 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Some Easy Waltzes- Nov/Int
Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Flat Picking a Tune or Two-Intermediate
Saturday 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.


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Great Times!

We had a BLAST at this year's Gathering and are already making plans for 2014!  Thanks to everyone who joined us - we hope you think back on these few days and smile at the memories.  Plan on joining us again next January!

2013 Key West Dulcimer Gathering - 1/24 - 1/27

The 2013 Key West Dulcimer Gathering will take place January 24th - 27th at Casa Cabanas (2510 Harris Ave.) in Key West, Florida!  The low-key nature (pun fully intended) of the 2012 event worked so well that we've decided to stick with that formula; whoever shows up, shows up and will be welcomed with music, fun, great food and the beauty of wintertime in the sub-tropics of the United States.

No registration fee is required and with the workshops on mountain dulcimer, Native American flute and ukulele (perhaps even guitar), you simply pay as you go.  Or nap on the deck.  Or go snorkeling - it's all your call.

The dynamic duo of Butch Ross and Bing Futch will be on staff and ready to help you learn as you have fun - or is that have fun as you learn?  Either way, it's going to be a good time as we enjoy lots of jamming, an honest-to-goodness Cuban cookout, some sightseeing and whatever else may come into play;  this is Key West after all.

Get the best room rates and informatio…
The Key West Dulcimer Gathering is just around the corner and we're starting to get excited about spending four lovely days in the place that you see in the picture above.  (That's Smathers Beach, by the way, and we'll head over there at least once.)

There's no registration fee - merely point your GPS to 2510 Harris Ave in Key West and plan on showing up sometime on Thursday, January 24th.  Nothing is planned yet - that's completely up to those who arrive!  Butch Ross and myself will be on hand to lead jams, offer private lessons and see who's interested in what.  Once we have a consensus, we'll know what kinds of workshops to put together and when to offer them.

Now, if you don't have a place to stay yet, contact Sheri Cabanas at Conch Republic Concierge (305) 294-6019.

Other than that - prepare to have a blast in the tropics!  If you're joining us later than the 24th, text or call me at (407) 342-1447 and I'll let you know where we're at if …