Learn the Basics of Hammered Dulcimer with Timothy Seaman

We’re very excited to host new instructor, Timothy Seaman, at the Folk School coming up March 17-23, 2024 to teach the “Beginning Hammered Dulcimer” class.  Timothy is a native of West Virginia, has been a full time musician since 1994, and has recorded over 15 albums on hammered dulcimer and a variety of other instruments.

Read more about Timothy Seaman and his class in our interview below! Interested in his class? Register today to secure your spot.

JCCFS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in your medium. How did you get started? 

TS: Music’s been my passion since childhood. I started off with piano, then explored flute, ukulele, guitar, and pennywhistle. Around 35 years ago, the hammered dulcimer took center stage in my solo performances. My 26-year teaching journey spans 5th grade, high school English, and K-12 music. I’ve crafted 15 CDs with Pine Wind Music and collaborating with parks for unique store offerings. Rooted in practical music theory, I believe in the accessible magic of scales and chords. Music, for me, is an expressive tapestry—nature, spirituality (as a Christian), emotions, narratives, and individuality. The hammered dulcimer’s versatility, whether in a group or solo setting, resonates as a profound musical expression.

JCCFS: What can students expect to leave your class with?

TS: A ‘comfort zone’ of actual playing that includes some great tunes, some simple arrangements, some piano-like arranging patterns, some good ‘body language’ practices, some new personal dreams for music-making, and a solid foundation of knowledge of how music works on the dulcimer.

Timothy with all his instruments!

Learning in the Folk School Music studio!

JCCFS: Tell us more about your class’s specific technique or process.

TS: I build a beginner-friendly foundation using visually intuitive shapes for scales and chords. My method employs a separated-hands technique, transitioning from single notes to harmonies effortlessly. I teach creating engaging patterns with hammers, encouraging playful exploration. Familiar tunes enhance musical enjoyment throughout the learning journey.

JCCFS: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

TS: To see someone light up with a realization that they’ve crossed a threshold into a new accomplishment, especially in the areas of technique and expression that thrills their own soul!

JCCFS: What attracted you to the Folk School? What are you most excited about for your first time teaching here? 

TS: I’d heard wonderful things about the school for several decades and had planned to contact people about coming, but never got around to it until they contacted me last year.

JCCFS: Where do you draw inspiration from for your work? 

TS: Nature, the Appalachians, old shape-note hymns, Classical music, the feeling I get when something I play actually thrills my own soul in one way or another, and I hope that others can receive that same thrill in some way.

JCCFS: What’s one thing you’ve made recently that you are proud of, and why? 

TS: Recorded tracks in my studio or at Spruce Knob, WV, that can be shared with others.

JCCFS: What tips would you give an aspiring dulcimer player? Anything you wish you knew as a student? 

TS: On the dulcimer, find the shapes and patterns and how they relate to the combinations of sounds.

JCCFS: Where can folks find you if they want to stay up to date on your work?

TS: timothyseaman.com; Youtube @timothyseaman; Facebook timothy.seaman.9 

JCCFS: Anything else we should know about your, your class, or your practice? 

TS: I’m comfortable with noise, reveling in dynamic play and urging students to explore it. I highlight two playing styles: performing for a group or creating within a personal space that others can share in.

Timothy drawing inspiration from his surroundings!

Practicing the hammered dulcimer

Upcoming Class with Timothy Seaman

Beginning Hammered Dulcimer

March 17-23, 2024

Learn the basics of the hammered dulcimer like tuning, scale shapes (they’re boxes!), chord shapes (they’re triangles!), note names, and left-right hammering. Discover the shapes and sounds of several common, simple tunes and some tricks for making them sound great by themselves or with harmony. Try some separated-hand techniques and amazingly easy ways to concoct neat music without even thinking. Develop beautiful tone and timing and learn how to play solo and with a guitarist.

About Timothy Seaman

Timothy Seaman holds an English degree from William & Mary and has taught in private schools for 26 years: 5th grade, high school English, and all levels of music. His music business has produced 19 albums of instrumental music, with 258 audio tracks on streaming sites like Spotify, often developed in collaboration with National and State Parks, and focusing on Virginia’s nature and heritage, Christmas, and Celtic themes. For decades, he has performed over 200 times a year, including about 50 theme-based concerts. Tim is equally at home as a soloist as in creative ensemble groupings. Albums include Sycamore Rapids, Virginia Wildlife, Here On This Ridge, and Profound Joy. He has been to ODPC Funfest, Augusta Heritage, Dulci-More, Cranberry, Buckeye, Nutmeg, QuaranTUNE, New Mexico, Kentucky, Waterford, Winston-Salem, Upper Potomac, and other festivals.

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