Sunday, May 26, 2013

Clayville "academy jam" and Don Pedi workshop

Blast email sent out this afternoon to everybody on the Clayville and Prairieland Strings mailing lists.

Hi everybody --

June is sneaking up on us. Well, it isn't exactly *sneaking* -- it's going to pounce on us! Which means we'll celebrate the occasion with our monthly Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music beginners' jam session from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 1, in the barn at Clayville Historic Site. I'll be there to meet with beginners at 9:30.

Also: Pencil in the date. Don Pedi of Madison County, N.C., who has collected southern Appalachian fiddle tunes for 30 years and plays them up to speed on the mountain dulcimer, will be in town July 15 to give a workshop. More detail below.

* * *

Since we've got several players who have been with us since January, and we're continuing to attract new beginners who need basic instruction, we're going to try a new format:

1. For the first hour, we'll learn a new tune. (Maybe two!) Bev will take the grizzled veterans of our lessons who qualify as "novice" players, and I'll take the beginners. I'll copy and paste below the definitions they use at Ferrum College in southwest Virginia, so you can decide which group you're more comfortable with.

2. For the second hour, we'll get together as one group and jam the rest of the morning. Bev and I think it's important that we all play together as a group at least some of the time. It's more fun that way, and the jam sessions at festivals are always open to people with different skill levels.

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, or if you need a loaner instrument, please don't hesitate to get back to me. Hope to see you all Saturday!

In the meantime, here's more information.


They're posting some very good definitions for this month's Crooked Road Dulcimer Festival at Ferrum College in the mountains between Roanoke, Va., and Greensboro, N.C. Here they are:

Beginner: You have very little or no experience with the dulcimer. You need to learn how to tune and strum the instrument. Perhaps you are thinking, “It’s been a long time since I’ve played the mountain dulcimer.”

Novice: You can play a few tunes by ear and/or by using tablature. You are starting to make chords. You are comfortable playing at a slower pace from notation or tab.

Intermediate: You have mastered the novice skills. You can play tunes/songs with confidence up to speed using melody and chords. You are familiar with chords and scales. You are working on more complex chording and capo use. You are familiar with left hand techniques, hammer-on’s and pull-off’s. You have knowledge of right and left hand techniques such as flatpicking.

Advanced: You know the instrument well. You can play backup for others. You are comfortable playing in different styles and tunings. You are focusing on style, arrangement, and ornamentation. You are ready for more challenging techniques and repertoire.


Don will be in Springfield to conduct a workshop at Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson (Ill. 97-125 just west of Veterans Parkway) the evening of Monday, July 15. Exact time and theme of the workshop to be announced. He got interested in the dulcimer after he heard Mimi and Richard Farina (best known in folk music circles as Joan Baez' sister and brother-in-law) play in Boston and moved to North Carolina, where he has been collecting fiddle tunes since the 1970s. He is also a tai chi master. More information, including a video clip, available on line at

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