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Learn to play the mountain dulcimer

The mountain dulcimer, a simple stringed instrument, is the focus of Pagosa Spring’s newest free group music class.

Each Wednesday afternoon from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., musician Carla Roberts offers a beginning dulcimer class at the Ross Aragon Community Center.

The dulcimer is an entry folk instrument and very easy for non-musicians to learn. Students receive instruction in tuning the instrument and a number-based system of learning that incorporates familiar melodies.

Simple strumming techniques can bring out a rich sound characterized by the droning of multiple strings. As this ongoing class continues, students are introduced to harmony playing and basic music theory to supplement the “playing by ear” training. No musical previous experience is necessary.

The mountain dulcimer is a folk instrument deeply associated with the early American music of the Appalachian Mountains. Ballads and fiddle tunes arrived with Scots/Irish settlers in successive waves of immigration to the new world from the British Isles. This beautiful music is the underpinning of folk and country music today.

The dulcimer is currently experiencing a renaissance nationwide, with a number of large dulcimer orchestras performing regionally. Because the folk culture of the early Appalachian Mountain region is such a large part of our American Heritage, dulcimer music is regarded as a living link to this history, and ideal as an adjunct to the history/social studies curriculum in schools.

Join Carla Roberts in exploring this musical history next Wednesday, Feb 1, at 2:30 p.m. and ongoing weekly. Bring a dulcimer if you have one, or play an instrument provided in class. Inexpensive student dulcimers are also available.

The Ross Aragon Community Center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd.

 For further information, call 264-4152, or Carla Roberts at 731-3117.

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