Heidi Muller gives lessons, workshops, and classes in Appalalachian mountain dulcimer, guitar, basic ukulele, and songwriting. She offers artist residencies and music camp instruction focused on playing dulcimer or guitar, or story-based songwriting – whether the topics are personal, family, place or history-related.
Heidi teaches children and adults in her home near Joseph, Oregon and is available to teach over the internet by Skype, Facetime or other platforms. She travels around the country to folk and dulcimer festivals, Road Scholar programs, schools and humanities programs. She teaches all levels and styles and welcomes beginners. Her methods include learning by ear and/or reading from printed music tablature and staff notation. She is a patient teacher who works with students at whatever level they have achieved while challenging them to stretch and refine their skills.
Lessons on guitar and ukulele include song accompaniment using strumming and fingerpicking techniques, and instrumental playing of melodic leads, especially for old-time music on guitar. Heidi also coaches students in songwriting and music business.
Musical Background: Heidi started teaching herself guitar at age 11 and began playing in folk coffeehouses during college. She has been a professional musician for over 30 years. She taught guitar and dulcimer in Seattle from 1986-2000 and worked extensively with at-risk children in both urban and rural settings in southern West Virginia from 2003 to 2011. She and her partner Bob Webb co-founded and taught for the Music Mentors program in Charleston, WV that provides lessons and instruments to after-school students. Heidi has published numerous dulcimer books and recorded many CDs that feature her singing, songwriting, and playing.
To arrange lessons: Please email Heidi.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Classes in the Northwest and Beyond
The mountain dulcimer has steadily become more popular across the Northwest. Heidi Muller and Bob Webb organize an annual adult music camp, Dulcimer Week in the Wallowas, during the first week of July (for info, see www.wallowadulcimer.com). Heidi and Bob also travel to give workshops to dulcimer clubs, libraries, churches, arts centers, and museums. They give concerts in communities both large and small, and often give beginning workshops to help people start their own groups. Over recent years, they have taught in Spokane, Kennewick, Bellingham, and Seattle, WA; Kuna, Lewiston and Orofino, ID; and Portland, Hermiston, Pendleton, Baker City, and Richland, OR.
Heidi and Bob also travel down the West Coast and nationwide to teach at dulcimer and folk festivals such as the Colorado Dulcimer Festival, Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering, Kentucky Music Week, Ohio Valley Gathering, and Dulcimer Chautauqua on the Wabash. In addition to dulcimer, Bob Webb also gives workshops in mandolin, guitar, do-it-yourself recording and CD production.
Residencies, Workshops and Demonstrations for Schools and Community Groups
Heidi and Bob provide folk music school assemblies, workshops and artist residencies for visits of one day to a week or more. Their elementary and/or middle school programs feature Appalachian music, while demonstrating and discussing the history of their instruments (guitar, dulcimer, mandolin and electric cello). Assemblies can also include brief hands-on playing of their special “five-siders,” that are unique five-sided teaching dulcimers.
Schools often choose their one-day hands-on dulcimer workshops. These might be held in music classrooms or other rooms that classes can visit for 30- to 40-minute sessions. The five-siders and additional box dulcimers can accommodate up to 20 students playing at one time. Larger groups can share the dulcimers or take turns.
Make and Play Workshops: Heidi and Bob teach a Make Your Own Box Dulcimer workshop that is ideal for teachers, churches, scout groups or camps. It is a perfect project for grandparents and grandchildren. Participants build their own cardboard box dulcimer and learn to play a few songs. The time requirement for a small-group building workshop is a minimum of six hours. As a school or camp artist residency with a larger number of students, the timeline can be adjusted to fit into a daily schedule over a week’s time. Please contact the artists for details.
Heidi also teaches songwriting about local history, which works well for children in grades 4-6 and meets content standards for history, English and music. She was a six-month artist-in-residence on a local history and arts project at the Big Ugly Community Center in West Virginia, funded by an Artists and Communities grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She and Bob Webb also interview and record community elders for oral history projects.
Heidi and Bob offer 60-90 minute general-interest educational programs for community groups such as libraries, churches and civic organizations on the mountain dulcimer and/or Appalachian music. An hour-long presentation may include recorded music, live music, demonstrations of musical styles, visual aids, examples of books in the field and related history. These are overview programs for all ages and do not involve hands-on participation.
Concerts are available for libraries and other community groups, and can be given on the same day as workshops. Holiday and theme-related programs may be available upon request. Please email Heidi at Heidi.email@example.com for further information.
Recent Programs: Heidi and Bob give programs for all ages, from after-schools to senior centers. Some of their recent activities have included hands-on dulcimer workshops and concerts for the Libraries of Eastern Oregon (Moro, Pendleton, Baker City and Richland, OR), Spokane Folk Festival, and the Portland Folk Music Society; a day-long hands-on dulcimer program at Echo Elementary School; a “Make and Play” workshop for educators in the Baker City School District; school assembly, community concert, and adult workshops in Orofino, ID; and performances and workshops at the National Historic Oregon Trails Interpretive Center.
Dulcimer Workshop Topics for Festivals and Camps
This is a list of topics that Heidi can teach as single workshops of one to two hours in length or include in multi-day workshops for longer events:
“String Side Up” Introduction to Mountain Dulcimer (DAD tuning)
Easy One-Finger Melodies
Easy Toe-Tapping Tunes
Easy Folk Songs from the 60’s
Strum and Pick - Making progress with basic techniques
Simple, Smooth & Steady – Strumming and playing smoothly
Simple, Smooth & Steady (gain confidence in your playing)
Easy Two-Finger Harmonies
Basic Chords and Chord Melodies
Movable Chords Up the Fretboard
Smooth Out Your Playing
Easy Fiddle Tunes
Fiddle Tunes Melody & Backup
Capo Tunes in DAD
Easy Celtic Tunes (Irish & Scottish music)
Playing in ¾ Time
Singing with the Dulcimer
Playing in Different Keys (with and without capo)
Easy Songs in Alternate Tunings (DGD, DAA, DAC, EAA)
Introduction to Fingerpicking
Smooth Out Your Playing
Fiddle Tunes & Techniques
Fiddle Tunes by Ear
Intro to Hammer-ons, Pull-offs & Slides
West Virginia Fiddle Tunes and Songs
Arranging Back-up for Singing
Making a Tune Your Own
Playing in Several Keys Without a Capo
Playing in Minor Modes
The Jig is Up!
Flatpicking Old-Time Tunes that Swing
Singing with the Dulcimer
Songs of Bill Staines
Tunes for the 4th of July
Dulcimer Duos (Playing Together in Parts)
Waltzing with Harmony (playing in parts)
Fingerpicking Beautiful Tunes
Fingerpicked Hymns & Holiday Tunes
Winter Solstice and Holiday Songs
Writing Songs and Tunes on the Dulcimer
Intermediate to Advanced
Fingerpicking with Flow
Fingerpicking Tunes in Parts
Ensemble Pieces with Fingerpicking and Flatpicking
Arranging with Fingerpicking and Arpeggios
Learn Fingerpicked “Leaving the Methow” from Masters II CD
Introduction to 4-Equidistant Strings (DAdd)
Fingerpicking in 4-Equidistant Strings
Singing & Chord Backup with 4-Equidistant Strings
Songwriting (General Interest, Any Instrument)
Write Your Story into Song
Writing Songs of Place
WORKSHOPS TAUGHT BY BOB WEBB
Bob can teach these topics as single workshops or include in multi-day events:
String Side Up – All the Basics at Your Fingertips
String It Up! Care and Feeding of Your Dulcimer
Introduction to Easy Chords
The Zen of Rhythm
Weaving Melodies Into Your Arpeggiation
Chords Up the Fretboard
Capo Tunes in Em, G and A
Intermediate - Advanced
Chord Shapes & Capos (how chord forms relate to capo use)
Learn “Waltz for Susan” – A Dulcimer Duet
Improvising Leads by Ear
Jamming with Other Instruments
Finding Bass Lines and Playing Bass Dulcimer
Pickups, Amps, and Recording Q&A
Dulcimer History – Shrouded in Mystery
Music Theory: What You Need to Know
Introduction to Finger Style Guitar
Accompanying Jam Tunes in D, G and A
Easy Melodies for Beginners
Joining the Jam: Dulcimer Tunes for Mandolin
Developing Melodic Leads for Jams