Jon Kay

Jon Kay has played the mountain dulcimer for over thirty years and is known for his distinctive finger-style approach and driving rhythms.  He founded the Suwannee Dulcimer Retreat (now known as the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat), while working as the folklorist for the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center.  Today, he is a professor of folklore at Indiana University, where he directs a statewide folk arts program, Traditional Arts Indiana.

He serves as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology.  Kay has been at IU since 2004, directing Traditional Arts Indiana.  He is the author of Folk Art and Aging: Life-Story Objects and Their Makers and the edited volume The Expressive Lives of Elders: Folklore, Art, and Aging.  Kay also creates exhibitions, public programs, and documentaries about the traditional arts in Indiana.

John Kay’s classes are no longer offered. David and Laurie received a notification from Jon Kay to learn that he needs to withdraw from the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat.  Family issues have come to a point where he needs to focus on his aging and infirmed parents who are recently in need of constant care.  Thank you for understanding!



Mountain Dulcimer Fingerstyle  Intermediate
Learn to play across the strings in a free-style method of fingerpicking. Rather than playing patterns this fingerstyle approach follows the melody and fills in the accompanying rhythm. From Celtic harp melodies and dance melodies to fiddle tunes and original compositions, this workshop may change the way you approach your instrument.

Just Say No to Capos with Finger-Style  Intermediate and above
With the dulcimer tuned DAD, this fingerstyle approach to playing the dulcimer focuses on tunes in keys other than D. Students will learn to play tunes in both Em, Bm, and G, and discuss how this method and approach is useful in crafting new arrangements.

The Shape of Things: Chords for Beginners  Beginners
Aimed to introduce students to playing chords on a dulcimer tuned DAD. Students learn some simple chord shapes to help them play up and down the fingerboard. In addition to learning the chords, the class will cover several simple arrangements using them.

Five Fiddle Tunes  Intermediate
From fun versions of familiar tunes such as Arkansas Traveler to artful arrangements of beautiful melodies such as Spokane Waltz, this workshop teaches both cross-picking, and finger-style approaches to fast favorites and beautiful tunes.