I am most interested in bringing each student to self-sufficiency as a complete musician. However, there is much to learn so it is important to look at lessons as a journey and not a race! And most important, learning to play should be fun. I do not care how fast or slow you go, but only that you enjoy the journey and, hopefully, are satisfied with your progress. I do like to push things along and keep you moving! I try to teach all the techniques of playing the dulcimer in a context that emphasizes musicality. By the time that you are done with me, you should have a wide variety of technical skills and arranging ideas in your tool chest, as well as a solid understanding of music theory. Don’t let any of this scare you. I take it slowly (well, at least at first). I also very much emphasize learning to play music with others, focusing on accompaniment skills. For fiddle, my prefered style is old-time. While we work on proper technique with both the left and right hands, I focus on a variety bowing systems and ideas (3-1 bowing, Nashville shuffle, bow rocks, ghost bows, anticipations and many other ideas.)
I primarily offer group lessons but also a limited number of private lessons for those not able to participate in group-lessons. Absolutely, no music background is necessary to learn to play. If you already play the dulcimer or fiddle, I almost always like to have a first lesson to evaluate your level prior to group placement.
I have about 40-50 fiddle students along with 40-50 hammered dulcimer students and try to encourage playing with others. My son Brad and I host the Baltimore Old-Time Jam every other Tuesday beginning with a slow jam from 7 until 8:15 and a fast jam for the balance of the night (until 11:00 p.m. or so) at Liam Flynn's Ale House (22 W. North Avenue). See http://www.kenandbrad.com/old-time-jam.html or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/445722452176784/ Brad and I also host "guided jams" for both our adult and youth students about every 4-6 weeks.
Private Lessons Cost and Frequency
Private lessons cost $65 for an hour lesson ($35 for half hour). We schedule private lessons as frequently or infrequently as your budget, our mutual schedules and your learning rate will permit. I completely understand that group lessons do not work for everyone but I do encourage all to try it at some point.
Group Lessons Cost and Frequency
Group Fiddle and Hammered Dulcimer Lessons meet approximately every two to three weeks at a regular time (e.g. every other Tuesday at 6:30). I live in the Guilford section of Baltimore near the undergraduate Hopkins campus. We arrange four classes at a time based on everyone’s impossible schedule! Somehow, it generally works out very well! Classes last a minimum of 1 hour but sometimes go over if needed. Classes are usually available for all levels from beginners to advanced to performance level. Students are responsible for contacting other students to obtain music or other details in case they miss a class (i.e., not me!!) However, I often will send out a note as to what to practice, the music needed and so on. Students should call me if you know you are going to miss a class. (If possible, we can sometimes re-arrange the schedule.) And students are always welcome to email or call me if you do not understand something. Cost is $20 per session for groups of six (six is my limit). For a 5 person group, $25 per; 4 person group - $30 per; for 3 persons, $35 per; and $40 for a two-person lesson.
Students pay for four sessions at a time and you are responsible for paying for a session even if you know you will miss it. After a session of four classes, you are welcome to bail out of the group. We usually suspend sessions or meet only once a month during the summer and around major holidays. I periodically shift individuals in and out of groups based on learning rates. There are always groups of all levels running.
Depends on my performance schedule but in general, here is what I offer. Weekdays: Monday - Thursday 8:00 am until 9:30 pm; Friday 8:00 am until 6:00 pm Weekends: Saturday & Sunday, 8-10, 1-3.
I am a believer in doing whatever it takes to get you going. Typically we use a combination of written music (for fiddle, complete with bowings, and for the HD, detailed examples of arranging ideas), demonstration and recording parts of the lesson. A must: Please bring some sort of recording device--smart phones and IPads to record video are best; digital voice recorders are fine as well. I much prefer video.
Rental instruments (fiddle and hammered dulcimer) are available at $30 per month. You may rent for as long as it is necessary. A portion of the rent ($20 per month) may be applied to the purchase of any instrument that I can get for you (not just the one you are renting). My hammered dulcimers include the full line of Master Works, Dusty Strings, and Songbird instruments. I also have a variety of other instruments including used ones, such the Rick Thum professional.
48 hours notice except for emergencies; students will pay for missed lessons unless cancellation was due to an emergency.