suggestions for new beginner

Nina Zanetti
04/30/12 04:13:49PM

Hello, dulcimer teachers,

I've taught many dulcimer workshops, but not very many private lessons, and not yet any beginner students. Until now. I have just been asked to teach a beginning lesson to a woman who already has considerable musical background, violin and choral singing. She may, in fact, be taking only this one lesson, so she would like me to give her as much foundation in dulcimer playing as possible, so that she can continue on her own. I'm pretty sure she'll be most interested in chord-melody style (altho' at this point, she doesn't know what different styles exist). She has heard me play, fingerpicking style, and wants to learn to sound like that, and her musical interests are more classical and quiet music than anything else.

Any suggestions as to how I might approach this one-time-only lesson? The lady reads standard musical notation and has no interest in playing by ear, nor of using dulcimer as an accompaniment to singing. So far, I thought I'd go over:

  • how to hold the instrument
  • how frets work, how they relate to notes of the scale, notes on a piano, etc
  • how to read tab, and how that relates to standard notation and reading music as she has known it
  • use tab to show her how to play a couple of easy songs, perhaps with each one tabbed to show what it be like (1) with just single notes on melody string; (2) played with droning lower two strings; (3) with simple chords
  • maybe BRIEFLY show her basics of fingerpicking
  • maybe show her a few chords

Any thoughts? I had the same kind of background and interests when I took up dulcimer, and pretty much taught myself to play , at least initially, by learning tunes that I liked from tab books. So, I do think that this lady can teach herself that way, and I just want to use the lesson time to give her what she might need to get started.

Would welcome suggestions, especially of critical things that I may have left out.