Join me, Stephen Seifert, for a comprehensive guided tour of mountain dulcimer playing philosophy, technique, and music for ALL LEVELS. Regardless of your level of musicianship, I want to give you the big picture, A to Z!
For close to ten years, I've been giving three and four-day intensive workshops around the country. Not too long ago, I decided to move the lessons online. This website contains over 18 hours of sessions recorded over a four-day period in Townsend, Tennessee. Everything is arranged by topic. There's also around 65 short summary videos that serve as a kind of technique library for when you just need a quick summary of a skill or concept.
No matter what you’re new to or already good at, my method of playing and learning to play can help you be a better musician. This hands-on, pick-moving approach will include plenty of tunes and playing exercises designed to challenge and encourage. There ARE wrong ways to play the dulcimer. Let me help you find what’s right for you.
I want to show you how to thrill both you and your listener with an approach to playing music that’s all about passionate creation and not just about reciting the same thing over and over. I want to give you the truth about how many of your favorite musicians do what they do. These concepts work regardless of how experienced you are or how simple or complex your music is. My goal is to surprise you with what you’re really capable of.
Worried you’re too much of a beginner or too advanced? I’ve designed these exercises to allow different levels to play together successfully. While I ask one level to do one thing, I’ll ask another level to do something different but compatible.
Beginners, much of what I’m covering is essential information that will help you immediately. Some of it will seriously challenge you. Beginners that enjoy this material are adventurous. They have great attitudes. They focus on the obvious and the easy. For each topic, I start with the basics and gradually progress through intermediate skills on the way to the more advanced ideas. I do this for each topic. It’s a great opportunity for you to strengthen your foundation as well as be inspired by the higher level activities. Again, everything is designed to work together, regardless of your level. If you get tired, you’re encouraged to close your eyes, go for a walk, or better yet, just hang on and give it all you’ve got. Come as you are, but come ready to work and pace yourself as needed.
Intermediate to advanced players, we’re going to cover many concepts from the ground to the clouds. Reviewing the foundational principles is essential to getting the harder stuff. I want to help you strengthen your weak spots as we work towards higher level playing.
I believe good musicians care less about WHAT they’re playing and a whole lot more about the act of playing itself. The point isn’t to play MUSIC. The point is to PLAY. Think I sound nuts? Take this class and find out how you can be nuts, too. I’m going to show you EXACTLY how to do it.
- Different ways to hold the instrument and pick.
- Tuning with a tuner and by ear.
- Reading hands.
- Reading sheet music and tablature.
- Playing by ear.
- Left-hand fingering
- Strumming, flat-picking, cross-picking, and finger-picking.
- Right and left-hand dampening and muting.
- Hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides.
- Using a capo to play in different keys.
- Exactly how to play with rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic variety.
- How to make fancy music simpler, as well as, how to make simple music fancier.
- Playing in different octaves.
- Playing harmonies.
- Chording for instrumental or vocal backup.
- Playing melody and chords at the same time.
- Adding licks, riffs, intros, and endings to your playing.
- How to practice.
- 12-bar blues.
Genres might include:
- American and Irish fiddle tunes
- Old-Time Songs
MountainDulcimerAtoZ.COM Subscriber-Only Jams
These live online jams are for MountainDulcimerAtoZ.COM monthly subscribers. I usually do beginner tunes the first 15 minutes, intermediate for about 30 minutes, and upper intermediate to advanced the last 15 minutes. Attending a regular jam can be one of the best ways to get better at an instrument. Unlike in-person jams, these online jams don’t require driving and no one can hear you play. BYOS (Bring your own snacks!)
MountainDulcimerAtoZ.COM Subscriber-Only Hangouts
These hangouts are for MountainDulcimerAtoZ.COM monthly subscribers. It’s an opportunity to ask or talk about anything dulcimer related. I take requests, too. Come hangout where we all can learn something and have some fun.
Subscribers Get 20% off My Events
Current MountainDulcimerAtoZ.COM subscribers save 20% on my live events, online and in-person. Information and registration for these events is typically over at my main website, StephenSeifert.com. Log in to get your coupon code.
"Stephen Seifert's online Dulcimer A-Z class was the best! As you know, he is a fabulous musician and that does not always translate into being a good teacher; but in this case it does. He's charismatic, interesting, and tells great stories. He presents the information in the lessons logically and sequentially with many reviews of the material along the way, so that you do not feel lost. I really like online learning!"
"I’ve logged into the Mountain Dulcimer A to Z website and I am amazed at how much work/effort has gone into all the materials and videos that you have provided. I would highly recommend this course for anyone wanting to learn how to play the dulcimer in the comfort of their own home."
"Steve opens up a new world to the player who feels that the only way to play at first is by the book."
"Love this series. You have done music theory without calling it music theory. I also love that you teach more for enjoyment of simple playing. That is the spirit of a great teacher."
"I am so excited to have such valuable lessons online. I have done extensive searching and have not found anything close to anyone else offering the quality of your methods of teaching. As a former teacher and trainer of teachers, I can say you are a natural teacher."
“Just wanted to let you know how much I am loving this. It is like getting private lessons. I am really progressing and having a great time with it. Best money I have spent in a long time.”
How to sign up:
How to use the site:
When this site launched right around the beginning of the pandemic, it featured the following collections of lessons:
- Main Lessons - Start Here
- Review Videos
- Join the Jam Play Along Videos
Over the last 12 months, the following collections have been added:
- Subscriber Jams
- QuaranTune #1 Workshops
- Steve Fest #1 Workshops
- QuaranTune #2 Workshops
- Tabledit (Installing, Configuring, Entering Tunes, and Making Books)
- Traditional Styles
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Stephen Seifert and Aaron O'Rourke Show
- Practical Music Theory Review
- Banjo Dulcimer
- Chromatic Mountain Dulcimer
- Essential Techniques
- Beginners! (Reading, Thumb-Style, and Flat on the Lap)
Each of these contain many lessons. As time goes by, I will continually be adding archived and new lessons to these collections. There really is a tremendous amount of content on this site. If there's something you think is missing, please let me know.