Free Lessons
  1. Practice Smarter, Not Harder ALL INSTRUMENTS
    Have you ever practiced and practiced and felt like you were just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere? Can’t memorize your music? Can’t get through those musical tough spots? Well, guess what—you can practice until your fingers fall off and never make the progress you desire because the secret to playing successfully is NOT just practicing, but knowing HOW to practice. Many people waste HOURS of time and effort practicing their instrument, and don’t realize their practice methods often serve as a roadblock toward reaching the end-result they desire. This workshop will teach you some proven techniques, tested guidelines, and provide some hands-on practice experience teaching you exactly HOW to practice for the most efficient and effective results! Why waste hours practicing harder when you can productively practice smarter?
  2. Canoodling Your Noodle
    It’s time to quit relying on other people’s musical compositions and, instead, simply learn to play the instrument right in front of you. In this workshop, you will understand how to play without relying on what is written on a musically-prescribed piece of paper! This is not a “tune” workshop, but takes learning much farther.In this workshop, you will learn to “mix it up” learning to improvise and embellish on the fly. If you play any tune ten times through, you will learn the techniques and skills to play it ten different ways, never having to play the tune the same way twice. This will change how you play and give you a new-found freedom and joy in your playing. Quit playing with your eyes, and start using your noodle!
  3. Let Those Fingers Fly
    Tired of playing fiddle tunes like a funeral dirge? Not able to keep up? Playing fast is not a matter of talent, but a method of practice. I have taught these techniques to all ages and all skill levels on many instruments…AND THEY WORK! One of my students after learning these simple practice skills said in amazement, "It’s almost like your fingers play by themselves!" This workshop will teach you to play smoothly, quickly, accurately and Yes…like your fingers are playing all by themselves!
  4. Fingerpicking So Simple
    Fingerpicking is EASY to learn.and provides a gentle undulating rhythmic flow to a tune. Using simple picking patterns you will learn how to arpeggiate tunes and chords with a smooth rising and falling turning a simple melody line into a beautiful, expressive, purely acoustic and interesting piece. Put your pick aside and let your fingers feel the music!
  5. Nothing to See Here Folks
    When an accomplished musician plays his or her instrument expertly, their instrument becomes a natural extension of his or her hands —the movements and connection with the instrument are seemingly instinctual. As we learn to play an instrument, we tend to overly rely on our eyes and essentially ‘get in our own way’ as we struggle to improve our playing. Throughout this unconventional (and fun!) workshop, completely blindfolded, you will learn an entirely different method of visualizing and playing your instrument strictly through tactile experiences and sensations. You will explore a new approach toward playing your instrument, understand the importance of the relationship between your body and the “feel” of the instrument, change your perspective, perception, and level of awareness, and “see” your instrument solely through your fingers and hands, while strengthening your “muscle memory” and building confidence in your abilities. This workshop not only teaches you play without relying on your eyes, but will ultimately improve your capacity to play instinctively—without visual reliance that can impede your progress.
  6. Learn to Play by Ear
    "Does anyone have the music for..." (cringe) FREE YOURSELF and your dependency of reading music, standard notation or tab to learn a tune! This is definitely our largest and most requested workshop! Using traditional Celtic techniques, virtually anyone can learn to play any instrument by ear, they just don't know it, or know how to do it, and are often surprised at their ability to do so! Noodling and diddling, also called jigging, lilting, dowdling are excellent tools in learning to play the hammered dulcimer, Appalachian dulcimer, banjo, fiddle, guitar...or any instrument for that matter! This is a HANDS-ON workshop for all instruments and will help you to learn and understand your instrument from the inside out! Using simple ear training exercises, playing a simple scale and you will be picking out tunes-by ear- by the end of this workshop! You will surprise yourself! I have used these techniques several times in my workshops and one-on- one teaching and the most often exclaimed phrase is, "I can't believe I can do this!!!" Whether you read music or not, learning to play by ear is a helpful skill and yes, can be learned in this workshop!
  1. Surviving A Jam
    Has there ever been a time that you wanted to join in on a jam, but found the idea of making it through one too intimidating? Have you ever joined a jam, only to find yourself lost and not able to keep up? Come learn tips that are so simple yet valuable techniques that will help you maneuver through the next jam with ease and enjoyment. Learn to anticipate chord changes, understanding chords and key changes, keeping time, jam etiquette and how to "mess up well"! It only takes a few tips and a little practice and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient jammer! This is a hands-on workshop so bring your instrument! Level: All levels and instruments.
  2. A Twisted Devil's Dream
    Learn this well-known fiddle tune with a new twist! No chromatic bridges needed, we will teach this roller-coaster ride of a tune using chromatic scales and runs found on your instrument! This workshop will also open up new opportunities and ideas in using chromatic embellishments that can be applied to any tune and we will be using the entire instrument…way out of the box. We will teach both a standard version and then a very cool ‘all over the place’ chromatic version of Devil’s Dream (and even break some “rules”) as well as teach you how to apply those same techniques to a few other tunes. This is a great embellishment tool! No need to read standard notation!
  3. Way Laid Back HD Workshop
    This is a no stress workshop that will help you understand the layout of your instrument, locating octaves, duplicated notes, harmony and grace notes, basic chords, and in the process, changing “all those strings” into something that makes sense! Plus, we will teach a performance ready tune for that little boost of encouragement!
  4. The Five Note Hymn
    This is note a "tune" workshop, but rather the tune is the tool by which we will learn embellishment ideas and techniques. The hymn is made of only five notes, and quickly learned so the focus and attention can be directed to the embellishments! As a plus, by the end of the workshop you will have a performance ready piece with several ways to play it!
  5. Christmas Carol Embellishment
    Beginning with a simple melody line of a well known Christmas Carol, we will step by step add embellishment ideas and techniques to develope it into a performance ready tune. Using this process, and learning these ideas will allow you to apply them to other tunes as well!
  6. Way Laid Back MD Intro
  1. FlatPicking the Mountain Dulcimer
  2. Moveable Chord MD Workshop
  3. Wooing With the Dulcimer
    This workshop will briefly cover the emotions of the mountain dulcimer as we learn "Plaisir 'D Amour" a 18th Century piece translated "The Pleasure of Love" and the melody used by Elvis Presley's, "Fools Rush In." But the tune is merely the tool to learn smooth chord progressions, picking techniques, and putting feeling and emotion into your playing!
  4. Christmas Carol Embellishment
    Beginning with a simple melody line of a well known Christmas Carol, we will step by step add embellishment ideas and techniques to develop it into a performance ready tune. Using this process, and learning these ideas will allow you to apply them to other tunes as well!
  5. Clawhammer Basics
  6. The Elusive Drop Thumb
  1. Double C Tuning
  2. Sawmill Tuning
  3. Syncopation & Hesitation
  4. Slow & Pretty Clawhammer
  5. Playing W/ Emotion & Feeling
  6. Overcoming Fear in Performance