Stephen Seifert

Mountain Dulcimer Player

Homepage of Mountain Dulcimer performer and teacher Stephen Seifert.

July 13-15, 2020, Evart, MI, Mountain Dulcimer A to Z Class


July 13-15, 2020, Evart, MI, Mountain Dulcimer A to Z Class


[The workshop fee is $195. The $97.50 you pay to register is a non-refundable deposit. The remaining $97.50 is due in person at the beginning of your first day in class.]


This three-day event runs July 13-15.


United Methodist Church-Evart
619 N Cherry St
Evart, MI

Class Description:

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!

In response to student feedback as well as my own ideas about what would make this class better, I’ve made some changes for 2020.

I now teach for four days but students will typically only take three. First-time students take the first three days. Alumni take the last three days. Any student is welcome to attend all four days, but please keep in mind, the fourth day is specifically for upper-intermediate to advanced players. We’ll move fast and I’ll stay focused accordingly. [This is not true for Evart, MI, where the festival schedule only allows me to teach three days. To be clear, the vast majority of students at the other locations will only take three of the four days.]

Mornings are now for technique. Afternoons are for repertoire. I’m also adding a short assisted jam to the end of the first three days.

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.

These intensives are always evolving. You can expect refinements to my teaching methods, new topics, and new music. I’m always blending the old with the new. It keeps me excited but it also means you can get something new out of this class every time you take it. (I’m always open to new ideas. Shoot me an email at and I’ll see what I can do.)

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 class are adventurous. They have great attitudes. They focus on the obvious and the easy. When things get over their head, they do their best as they wait for the easy to return. You must understand, while beginners are absolutely welcome, this is not a beginner class. 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 welcome to close your eyes, go for a walk, or better yet, just hang on and give it all you’ve got. You won’t be judged. 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.

Note taking and audio/video recording are highly encouraged. When necessary, I’ll shoot short summary videos of what we're working on. There’s already over 50 summary videos from past events. On the last day, I’ll send you links to the videos via email. I can also make these videos available via usb thumb drive. Also, bring a music stand and a capo.

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.

Topics include: (We cover more or less than this depending on the needs and desires of the group.)

  • 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.

  • Arranging.

  • Jamming.

  • Performing.

  • Teaching.

  • How to create tablature using Tabledit.

  • 12-bar blues.

Genres might include:

  • American and Irish fiddle tunes

  • Hymns

  • Old-Time Songs

  • Bluegrass

  • Blues

  • Irish


8:30 a.m. - Doors open.

9:00 a.m. to Noon - Morning session where we mostly work on technique.

Noon to 1:30 p.m. - Lunch

1:30 p.m. to 3:30 - Afternoon session where we mostly work on tunes and songs.

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Organized jamming where we use what we’ve learned to play with others.

5:00 p.m. - Doors lock.


Meals aren't included in the price but we often eat together.


The workshop fee is $195 for the three days you attend. A non-refundable deposit of $97.50 is required up front to register and reserve a seat in the class. The remaining $97.50 is due in person on your first day.

Contact Information:

Have any questions? Ask away! Email Stephen at

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This video goes over much of what the class covers, but I didn't put every topic in this preview. For all the details and to sign up, visit and click on MOUNTAIN DULCIMER A to Z CLASSES in the main menu.