Kirk House has been playing the dulcimer for 15+ years; for the last eight years he has specialized in the bass dulcimer. He is a certificated dulcimer teacher, through Western Carolina University (Dulcimer U program).
Kirk plays several different styles and designs of bass dulcimer, including 3-string, 4-string, and double-bass. He performs as part of a duo with his wife Judy House, as well as a member of the trio ‘Cantabile-Jubilee’, and the quartet string section, ‘SASSy’.
Kirk hosts a Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/557965447999065/
MOUNTAIN DULCIMER WORKSHOPS
Bass Dulcimer 101 – Introduction to Bass Dulcimer
For students who are new at playing the bass dulcimer (but who are comfortable playing a standard dulcimer). It is also for anyone just thinking about learning the bass dulcimer. It is not necessary to bring a bass dulcimer to class; all the exercises can be done on a standard dulcimer.We will look at common rhythms used, how to play a fundamental ‘bass line’ in those songs, and other topics essential to playing bass.
Bass Dulcimer 102 – Techniques for the Advancing Beginner Bass Dulcimer
This class will dovetail nicely into the first Bass Dulcimer class in the series I teach (Bass Dulcimer 101); but each class is complete in itself. We will explore additional rhythms, beyond playing the basic “1st and 3rd” beats in 4/4 time. In particular we will look at how to play bass in 3/4 time (waltzes) and 6/8 time. We will also talk more about the importance of keeping a steady rhythm when playing bass.
Bass Dulcimer 201 – Keeping the Rhythm
Performance Tips and Practice Techniques to improve your time-keeping.
Since, in some groups, the bass player is considered the “rhythm keeper,” we will focus on specific things you can do to help keep a steady beat when performing. We will also examine methods you can incorporate into your practice time, including technologies now available (more than just metronomes).(Note: Although this class is aimed as bass players, there is a lot of information that would be useful to any dulcimer player, standard or bass.)
Bass Dulcimer 202 – LISTEN to what’s happening in a song.
We will do some listening exercises in this class, focusing on learning to hear when the chords change (which is a cue for the bass player). We will also talk about some resources you can use, back home, to improve your “hearing” ability. (Note: Although this class is aimed at the bass player, there is information here that any musician should find useful.)
Bass Dulcimer 203 – Common riffs that I use when playing bass, and where to use them.
This workshop will focus on “walking bass” patterns – both short/simple and longer. Put these into your toolbox and know when to pull them out.
Bass Dulcimer 204: Writing your own bass lines.
Tab is great, but you’ll find that there is not a lot of tab already written for the bass dulcimer. How can you learn to write your own bass lines? This of course is a lengthy subject, but we will focus on the basic principles involved. This class will give the tools you need to pursue this endless quest. (My mantra: I want to give you *tools* not *tab*)
Why YOU should be a Bass Dulcimer Player (All Levels)
This workshop is based on two foundational principles that I stress to my bass dulcimer students (which are covered in separate workshops for bass dulcimer); but these are skills that any musician should have (and can probably improve on). The first is maintaining a good sense of rhythm; the second is developing and improving your ‘ear’ skills (hearing chord changes). We will discuss techniques and practice tips that will help you improve these skills.