held at Recreation Unlimited
Ashley, Ohio

NOW ... #29    August 19-23, 2020 
#29 - APRIL 22 - 26, 2020    

#30 ...  APRIL 14 - 18, 2021






 Extended THURSDAY & FRIDAY (5 Hours each day)


1)  Mini Workshop Schedule featuring four timeslots (90 minutes) covering 4 levels
of hammered dulcimer, 4 levels of mountain dulcimer, autoharp, and additional instruments 

2)  On Saturday, there will also be longer term sessions for the following:

     Beginners ... Mountain dulcimer, Hammered dulcimer, Autoharp, and Harp (NEW THIS YEAR)

 Extended THURSDAY & FRIDAY (5 Hours each day)



Instructor:  TBA

The past few years there has been very little interest in coming for the EXTENDED SESSION to learn the mountain dulcimer.  

If you know of any folks that would like to get a solid start on the mountain dulcimer, bring them along.  

If interest picks up and we have 5, we'll give the class.

Please email us, before registering if you are interested in the BEGINNER Mountain Dulcimer - Extended Session



Instructor:  TBA

The past few years there has been very little interest in coming for the EXTENDED SESSION to learn the hammered dulcimer.  

If you know of any folks that would like to get a solid start on the hammred  dulcimer, bring them along.  

If interest picks up and we have 5 registered, we'll give the class.

Please email us, before registering if you are interested in the BEGINNER Hammered Dulcimer - Extended Session

Past Beginners/Early Intermediate

DIANE HOCHSTETLER (Millersburg, Ohio)

Extended Course Description (10 hours):

Diane has taught beginners here at Buckeye as well as giving private lessons for many years.

This year she will, once again, take those basic skills and step them up a notch into the past beginner/early intermediate skill level.

You'll be learning more tunes, working with chords in several positions, working with strum hand techniques, and working with fret hand techniques .  We'll take these skills to the Thursday night jam which is designed to use these skills at a slower speed. 

If you took this class last year and would like to take it again, there will be a blend of new and old tunes to build skills and be able to play in a beginner's or slow jam.


Past Beginners/Early Intermediate

Extended Course Description (10 hours):

In this class, we will have a little refresher of what you learned as a beginner to make sure we are all on the same page, and then we will build on that.  We will learn a few new tunes by learning to recognize and memorize patterns.  You don’t need to know how to read music in this class… we will play a lot by “follow the leader”. 

You will learn how to embellish those simple tunes by using block chords, arpeggios, and drones and experiment with coming up with your own embellishments. Because the secret to embellishment is chords, we will work a lot with chords – learning a very simple pattern that will give you beautiful major and minor chord arpeggios in any key. 

With every tune, we will learn to identify the chords behind the notes so that we can play appropriate embellishments and take turns playing a chord backup as accompaniment.  By the end of the last class, you will have memorized a few new tunes, know how to embellish tunes that you already know, and be able to play in jams even if you don’t know the tunes by using chord backup.



Extended Course Description (5 hours)



Extended Course Description (5 hours):

As an intermediate player we will begin with a review of using the elements of music to play, add expression, and musicality to our playing (dynamics, rhythm, phrasing, etc).

Song material will review both major and minor chords in various positions, especially practicing three finger chords in beautiful melodies.

Tunes will be presented in keys OTHER than the key of D, using both the capo, and chord melodies without the capo. An intermediate player should be able to play a variety of styles including the traditional noter style, fingerpicking, flatpicking, and traditional strumming patterns.

We will also learn a song by ear/note to stretch our memory skills and practice playing independently in an ensemble with multiple parts.

• Elements of music review
• 3 finger chords in various positions
• Working the strumming/rhythm hand to create beautiful arpeggios
• Different keys and modes (capo required)
• Various styles (noter, fingerpicking, flatpicking, strumming)
• Rounds, Duos and Ensemble parts




Extended Course Description (5 hours)

Applying arranging techniques to O’Carolan’s Quarrel with the Landlady, a tune for 3 dulcimers.

We’ll learn all three parts (1st dulcimer, 2nd dulcimer and 3rd dulcimer) and how to play them appropriately together in terms of lead instrument, countermelody and bass line, then dive into ways to ornament and vary each part in satisfying and complimentary ways.

You’ll learn a new tune (with 3 distinct parts in two sections!), but more importantly, you’ll learn a bunch of satisfying techniques to apply to your other repertoire. Along the way we’ll discuss and put into practice ways to mark music in effective ways without junking it up, methods for figuring out tricky counting and techniques to memorize and recognize ledger lines above and below the staff. 


Extended Course Description (5 hours)



Extended Course Description (5 hours)



Extended Course Description (5 hours)

As an advanced dulcimer player, it is time to think about creating your own arrangements, song medleys, modulating to different keys, understanding chord substitution, ornamentation (slides, hammer-ons, and pull-offs), and becoming an independent player both as a solo performer as well as part of an ensemble.

Repertoire will cover songs from American and Celtic roots music for solo, duo, trio and ensemble playing. Time to "dig in" and stretch yourself as a player while expanding your knowledge and tune collection.

• Chord Substitution (major and minor chord function)
• Creating Medleys
• Irish session tune sets
• Rounds, Duos and Ensemble pieces
• Ornaments
• Basic arranging ideas




Extended Course Description (5 hours)

Unusual Minor Waltzes

I play several gorgeous and unusual minor waltzes that are a pleasure to learn and ornament. The three I'm thinking of are Slavic Waltz (3 parts in 2 keys,) First Frost (recently composed by French Canadian musician Nicholas Williams, also in 2 keys) and La Partida (uptempo Venezuelan waltz by Carlos Bonnet.)

We'll learn and apply all manner of ornamentation to create a fluid, fun and interesting arrangement that changes each time it's played. The tunes make arresting solo pieces and are equally gorgeous with other instruments.

Along the way we'll implement ways of marking your music so it has the most information possible without being junked up, look at chord patterns and inversions up and across your instrument, and learn relevant exercises that teach several techniques at once.


Extended Course Description (5 hours)



Extended Session:  Additional Instruments

AUTOHARP (Past Beginner/Early Intermediate and Above)       MICHAEL POOLE

The goal of this course is to develop the understanding of and the skills for accurate melody playing through the stepwise process of mastering rhythm patterns, background playing with foundation chords, and approximating the melody by playing within the arpeggio.  It will begin with a brief assessment of the students’ playing techniques to identify any form problems lingering from the beginner phase and offer long-term practice strategies for correction.

The course will blend melody playing with arrangement development with the use of musical variations, minor chord substitutions, and alternative chords.  This course and your continuing practice will help you to develop your skills and confidence for personal performances and jam sessions.  All exercises and tunes will be in the key of D or G for both chromatic and diatonic instruments.


CLAWHAMMER BANJO (Past Beginner and above)       JOE STEINER

Tailored to folks who have a little experience with the banjo or are comfortable with another musical instrument, this class will focus on the old timey sound. We’ll play various old-time tunes and songs, using them to build and refine a good clawhammer stroke. We’ll also analyze how to use various rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic embellishments, and study the effects they have on the sound.


BAND ~ IT! (multi-instrument class)  --  SHARI WOLF 

What is this Band-it! class all about?  

This workshop is like trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together.  The goal is to take players of various playing levels beyond the beginner level, playing a variety of acoustic instruments, familiar with a wide variety of music and blend and mold all of us into a BAND.  

GOAL #1:  We'll start with common songs and tunes that are familiar to all and work on arranging them with the following
in mind. 
The goal is to take several familiar 'club' tunes/songs and create an arrangement that makes them sound a bit different each time through.

1)  Discover different ways to start and end a song/tune.
2)  Look at different ways to vary the song/tune each time through.
3)  Working with bringing out the different voices of the instruments.
4)  Working on vocals and balancing the sound between singing and instrument backup.
5)  Discovering backup techniques for all instruments through chords and rhythms.

GOAL #2:  Take a piece of tablature which includes dulcimer tab, music notation, and chords to create a complete arrangement involving all instruments in the band.

1)  We'll explore different places to play the melody.
2)  Where to play chords to get different voices.
3)  Develop simple harmonies by using chords.
4)  Vary the arrangement.

My plan is to work with 4/4, 3/4, and maybe 6/8 timing. 

My hope is to introduce and apply just enough of the 'dreaded theory'  to create a platform for all BAND members to be able to take these principles back to their home club or small groups and HAVE FUN!

If you have any questions, email Shari .

We'll just let classes from 2016 and 2017 give you an idea of where we're headed.  

This video is part of their time on open stage.       BDF Band-it! Class - 2016

From Open Stage - BDF 2016, the Band-It! class performing a medley of
Johnny Armstrong
and Whiskey Before Breakfast.

  BDF Band-it! Class (2017)


In 2017, we did not offer 'autoharp' as a class for the extended session.  We did have a number of autoharps come into
the 'Band-it' class.  Phyllis Davis joined Shari as an instructor to work specifically with the autoharps in
melody picking and back-up techniques.

This video from 2017 BDF Open Stage features the
Band-it! class' arrangement of Skye Boat Song



1)   There will be a FULL festival schedule featuring a wide variety of 75 minutes- Mini Sessions for ...

Mountain Dulcimer - past beginner, intermediate, and advanced;

Hammered Dulcimer - past beginner, intermediate, and advanced;

Other instruments ...

The weekend schedule will be continually evolving through the winter. 


2)  The BDF Saturday schedule also focuses on New Players and those that have played just a little. 

Whether you're a 'newbie' or have played just a little, these classes will give a good of idea of the basics of the instrument. 

Instructor:  Ricki Spicer

Instructor:  Jill Nichols
Instructor:  Phyllis Davis

Instructor:  Phyllis Howard 

The Saturday beginner class will be led by Ricki Spicer. 

Ricki was introduced to the mountain dulcimer when she took on building cardboard dulcimers with her high school developmentally delayed students.  During the mid 1980's they built 1300 dulcimers.  Ricki has been playing for about 25 years or so. 

She uses simple tunes to help provide immediate success in playing. 

This class is for people who are really new to the mountain dulcimer.  You will learn some very basic music terms, how to tune, hold, finger and strum your dulcimer and leave with a number of simple songs to play.  You will be able to play at least 3 chords. 

It will make you want to know more!

  We will begin with putting on picks, end with playing a few simple melodies and touch on many topics between. 

Autoharps are chording instruments so we will learn chording patterns and how to accompany someone else who is playing melody. 

You do not have to read music to play an autoharp, however we will look at how to "cheat" read and apply it to your playing.

Basic maintenance and tuning will be another topic. 

I will bring 4 loaner autoharps.  If you have always wanted to try playing one, this is an opportunity for you to do so. 

Come spend the day with me. It will be fun!  I promise! 

Have you ever thought about trying out a folk harp?  

Then this class is for you!  Playing a harp has its challenges, but is easier than you might imagine.  

We’ll start with the essentials:  parts of the harp, tuning, basic hand positions and some simple note phrases.  

We’ll play together by forming a structured jam using our phrases, and if time allows work on a few simple tunes in ensemble format.  

A list of beginner resources will be provided in case this class convinces you that a harp is in your future!

(There may several Harps to loan will be available to borrow/rent.)


SATURDAY - Long-term Sessions

3)   There will be several double mini sessions on Saturday(150 minutes)

*Saturday Beginners, please make some notes on your registration form ...

1)  Please note if your are interested in one of these Saturday "Beginner Sessions." 

2)  Please let us know which beginner session (mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer or autoharp) that you will be attending. 

3)  If you need a loaner instrument, let us know on the registration form.  

Plan on coming to registration early (opens at 8:00 am) and get checked in so that you can get help in tuning to be ready for classes to begin at 9 am.


Come to the Buckeye Dulcimer Festival ... learn from some of the best instructors in the country,
play lots of music, make life-long friends, and ... have a great time!   




Look for frequent updates to this page.  
Last updated:   March 21, 2020

Webmatician: Shari Wolf