How to form a local dulcimer group
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
I agree with Dusty. Good ideas! We started our group in Gold Canyon AZ using 4 core players who met at a LaCrosee WI workshop. We posted a notice in our RV park in AZ and got a couple of others. We circulated at the New Mexico dulcimer festival and picked a couple of others. Very usefully, we posted our group on Everyhing Dulcimer and we got several members that way. We still get regular inquiries from that posting.
We meet every week in our RV Park facilities for two hours. As Dusty said it is vital to play music at both beginner and advanced levels. My wife and I will often show up early to provide instructions for beginners. We play a set of core tunes that we all know but we often introduce at least one new tune. Members are prompted to bring in new material and teach it over several sessions until most members are comfortable playing it. If most of us really like a new tune it gets added to the core set. So the meetings usually include both a sort of jam and a sort of workshop.
The hardest part is keeping the early beginners and the very advanced players both interested. Too hard and the beginners stop coming and too easy and the really good players stop coming. We have had both happen to us so you need to keep trying to reach a good balance of stuff.
You also need a reasonably sized group. Our core group is 8 to 10 with as many as 16. My ideal group would be 12 to 16 or so players. It's also nice to have another instrument or two. We have a hammered dulcimer player who comes regularly. She is a good player and has good timing. Her instrument sounds enough different from the mountain dulcimers that beginners can use her to keep on beat. We also have an occasional guitar player but they seem to get tired of playing in D.
We do play music in other keys, with and without capos, which is great for learning stuff you can play with other instruments and expanding repertoire.
Hope this helps.