Sunday, September 17, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

[Check back, as this list will be updated as new favorites come in!]

Q. What is Expedition Dulcimer?

A. Expedition Dulcimer, presented by Bing & Jae Futch, is a national workshop series for mountain dulcimer players at the intermediate and advanced skill levels. Explore extraordinary venues across the country, enjoy specially curated workshops, and enjoy on-site accommodations and delectable meals. Immerse in classes covering technical exercises, repertoire-building, and improvisation. Embrace unique themes in each location, blending education, adventure, and personal growth. The next Expedition Dulcimer event will take place at Stone Mountain Manor from March 28, 2024 through March 31, 2024, in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Q. What are your definitions of intermediate and advanced?

A. For Expedition Dulcimer, we classify participants into two skill levels: intermediate and advanced.

Intermediate Level Participants:

Intermediate players have established a strong foundation in music fundamentals. They feel confident while strumming, utilizing chords, and reading tablature. Whether playing from memory or sheet music, they're prepared to delve into more intricate rhythmic patterns, diverse chord progressions, and embellishments like hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides. Intermediate players are also ready to tackle the challenge of playing in various keys and arranging songs creatively.

Advanced Level Participants:

Advanced players have progressed beyond the basics. They possess a solid grasp of note and chord names, allowing them to navigate complex musical arrangements with expressive flair. Beyond mastering traditional techniques, advanced players are adept at using tools like capos and exploring alternative tunings to achieve distinctive results in their performances. Their comfort level enables them to approach musical pieces with an elevated level of sophistication and creativity.

In our workshop series, we maintain smaller class sizes to ensure that each student receives focused attention. This approach maximizes knowledge retention and provides a conducive environment for both intermediate and advanced participants to flourish in their musical journey.

Q. What's included with my registration?

A. Your registration includes on-site lodging, all meals, and all workshop sessions, performances, jams, and special programs.

Q. Can I pick my room?

A. Certainly!  Room assignments are first-come, first-served.  Each location will be different.

Q. If I just pay the deposit, when is the balance due?

A. The balance should be paid in full by March 1st, 2024.

Q. Can you accommodate special dietary requests?

A. Yes! We will survey all registrants prior to curating the menu.

Q. Will there be free time to explore and relax?

A. Absolutely, in fact it's built right into the schedule.

Q. What is your Covid policy?

AAt Expedition Dulcimer, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are committed to following all local, state, and federal guidelines and recommendations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

We strongly encourage all eligible attendees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before attending the event. Masks will not be required.

Q. Can I get a private room?

A. Yes! Using the drop-down menu for registration, you can select Private room or Shared room (with another registrant or partner.)

Q. Where/When is the next Expedition Dulcimer going to be?

A. We are currently exploring sites (and finding some wild places) and looking at many different parts of the country. Subscribe to this page to get updates as they are made available. The plan is to do five expeditions each year in distinctly different regions of the United States.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The Origins of Expedition Dulcimer

Greetings, everyone!

I am thrilled to introduce Expedition Dulcimer, a concept that I have been passionately developing over the past few years. This unique endeavor is born out of my love for both music and travel.

My extensive experience as a mountain dulcimer instructor at various festivals has inspired me to create a workshop series tailored to intermediate and advanced players of the instrument. While intermediate-level instruction is usually well-represented at these events, there is rarely enough time for everything to truly sink in and get practiced. I also noticed that options for advanced players are limited.

Having co-founded the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat, I have had the pleasure of contributing to a small event in a stunning location that fosters an ideal environment for teaching and learning. Over the years, I've been inspired by our guests' discoveries, both in the workshops and during their sightseeing adventures. This is the inspiration behind Expedition Dulcimer.

What to Expect on Expedition

Each Expedition will be hosted in a different location. During four days of immersive learning, each group of intermediate and advanced students (limited to 15 per retreat) will enjoy workshops, meals, and accommodations at breathtaking estates, inns, and residences across the United States. Beautiful, serene settings for focused learning and ample meditative downtime to reflect, practice, or simply relax.

The curriculum is rooted in my 17 years of teaching experience and encompasses skill-defining exercises, repertoire-building, and improvisational study. I take a dynamic approach to each session, tailoring it based on student feedback to address areas that need attention, reinforcing strengths, and presenting challenges in effective chapters.

While the core structure of study remains consistent for each retreat, the selected songs and styles draw inspiration from the lore and traditions of the surrounding region. Likewise, the meals we prepare and present are influenced by the rich culinary cultures of the locals. The schedule allows plenty of time to immerse ourselves in the dulcimer, take time for self-reflection, explore the sights, and even catch a rejuvenating nap.

I owe a great deal of gratitude to my wife, Jae, whose exceptional organizational and planning skills have been instrumental behind the scenes of our events. From venue selection to gift baskets and menu planning, she always strives to delight our participants. You'll be amazed to see what she has in store for this series!

I am eagerly looking forward to the joy and wonder that each new retreat will bring. Thank you for your interest, and I sincerely hope you'll join us for Expedition Dulcimer, "where learning is an adventure!"


Bing, Jae, & Roscoe

Sunday, July 30, 2023

13 Spots Remaining!


Word has gotten out - these 13 spots won't last long!

14 Spots Remaining!

Registration opened yesterday, and we're down to 14 spots remaining for Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor!

Don't miss out on our premiere event - book your registration today!

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Stone Mountain Manor Schedule

Wednesday Evening - Arrival/Check-In/Welcome

Thursday, March 28th - Day 1:

7:30 am - Kitchen Demo - Breakfast Prep

8:00 am - Breakfast 

8:30 am - Exercises: Building the Musical Toolkit (MD 2 hrs)

10:30 am - Reflection (breakouts)

12:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Lunch Prep

12:30 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm - Exploration (free time)

3:00 pm - Chord Progressions for Improvisation (MD 1 hr)

4:30 pm - Repertoire - Quickly Learn a Fiddle Tune (MD 1 hr)


6:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Dinner Prep

6:30 pm - Dinner

8:00 pm - Jam

Friday, March 29th - Day 2:

7:30 am - Kitchen Demo - Breakfast Prep

8:00 am - Breakfast 

8:30 am - Repertoire: Modern Music on Mountain Dulcimer (MD 2 hrs)

10:30 am - Reflection (breakouts)

12:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Lunch Prep

12:30 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm - Exploration (free time)

3:00 pm - Melodic Improv (MD 1 hr)

4:30 pm - Exercises - Focus on the Right Hand  (MD 1 hr)


6:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Dinner Prep

6:30 pm - Dinner

8:00 pm - Open Stage

Saturday, March 30th - Day 3:

7:30 am - Kitchen Demo - Breakfast Prep

8:00 am - Breakfast 

8:30 am - Improvisation: The Secret to Flying By the Seat of Your Pants (MD 2 hrs)

10:30 am - Reflection (breakouts)

12:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Lunch Prep

12:30 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm - Exploration (free time)

3:00 pm - Discovery Jam (MD and other instruments 1 hr)

4:30 pm - Repertoire - Working With Lead Sheets to Create Arrangements  (MD 1 hr)


6:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Dinner Prep

6:30 pm - Dinner

8:00 pm - Concert

Sunday, March 31st - Day 4:

7:30 am - Kitchen Demo - Breakfast Prep

8:00 am - Breakfast 

8:30 am - The Art of Practice: Getting the Most Out of Your Time (MD 2 hrs)

10:30 am - Reflection (breakouts)

12:00 pm - Kitchen Demo - Lunch Prep

12:30 pm - Lunch

1:30 pm - Sunday Afternoon, Coming Down - Your Lingering Questions Answered

2:30 pm - Exploration (free time for the remainder of your stay)

There will be some planned activities during the wind-down on Sunday, including an Easter supper.

Introducing Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor! March 28th to 31st, 2024

Experience the magic of Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor - Stone Mountain, Georgia - March 28th to 31st, 2024

Are you an intermediate or advanced dulcimer player looking to take your skills to new heights? Join Expedition Dulcimer, an extraordinary music education workshop series led by Bing Futch. Explore enchanting venues across the United States.  Engage in tailor-made masterclasses to refine your abilities through technical exercises, repertoire-building, and improvisation techniques. Delight in on-site accommodations and delectable meals prepared by Bing himself, leaving ample free time to unwind in picturesque surroundings. Embrace the unique themes of each location, integrating local culture, natural beauty, and historical significance. This captivating experience begins with Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor!

Discover Stone Mountain, Georgia

Nestled in DeKalb County, Georgia, Stone Mountain is a charming city with a population of 6,703. Named after the geological formation it lies near, Stone Mountain has a rich history dating back to Native American tribes. It once thrived as a major travel center and later became famous for its granite quarrying industry, providing stones for iconic structures. Today, the city offers a blend of arts, culture, and leisure activities, with its historic downtown frequently used as a filming location for movies and TV shows. Stone Mountain is a place where heritage meets modern charm, making it an ideal location for Expedition Dulcimer.

Our home for four days is Stone Mountain Manor, an eight-room boutique bed and breakfast that promises to recharge and indulge. The Manor offers a large open floor plan, allowing guests to relax in the dining room, sun porch, and sitting area upstairs. Enjoy the stunning sunset on the grand front porch or sip wine in the outdoor gazebo.  The pool is a fine reflective meditation space, and there are plenty of hideaways for the purpose of relaxation.

Pricing and Booking Information

Registration pricing is all-inclusive (you pay only travel.)  All lodging, meals, and workshops are included in the price.  Bing will coordinate with guests on dietary needs and restrictions.

• Per Person: $1399 (with a $699 deposit)

With spouse (sharing a room): Add $400

• Share a room with a participant: $999 (with a $499 deposit)

Deposits are non-refundable but can be rolled over to future events.  Balance is due by December 31st, 2023. 

Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor promises to be an invigorating, relaxing, and uniquely educational experience.  Not only will you elevate your dulcimer skills, but you'll also immerse yourself in the charm and history of Stone Mountain.

This journey will refresh your spirit, energize your mind, and empower your musicality. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of the premiere event for this series of workshop retreats created especially for this community of music lovers.  Create cherished memories, set new personal goals, and embrace the joy of playing the dulcimer in beautiful locales. Secure your place now, as space is limited to 15 registrants, and join us for this captivating and unforgettable musical adventure!

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Discover Expedition Dulcimer!

We are excited to present Expedition Dulcimer, an immersive music education workshop series designed exclusively for intermediate-level players. Our workshops take place in a variety of unconventional estates, resorts, getaway villas, and other hidden gems that exude charm and adventure. 

With a curriculum tailored to intermediate players, you'll engage in intensive sessions that cover technical exercises, repertoire-building, and improvisation techniques. Under the guidance of renowned musician and educator Bing Futch, you'll receive expert instruction and unlock new levels of musicality on the Appalachian mountain dulcimer, as well as Native American flute, and ukulele at select gatherings. 

But it's not just about the workshops; it's about the complete experience. Enjoy on-site accommodations, delectable meals prepared by Bing himself, and ample free time to explore the picturesque surroundings or simply relax and absorb the tranquil atmosphere. 

Each Expedition Dulcimer event embraces the unique characteristics of its location, providing an unforgettable theme that integrates the local culture, natural beauty, and historical significance. From scenic landscapes to the rich local musical heritage, you'll experience a blend of education, adventure, and personal growth that will stay with you long after the 4-day weekend concludes. 

Don't miss this opportunity to join a supportive community of music lovers, elevate your dulcimer skills, and create lasting memories.  Come be part of a musical journey that combines education, exploration, and the joy of playing the Appalachian mountain dulcimer.  We are currently planning our first retreat for March 28th - 31st, 2024 in Stone Mountain, Georgia.  Details will be coming soon.  

Subscribe to this page to be notified of updates as they're available, and use the contact form on the right to ask us any questions.

We look forward to welcoming you to Expedition Dulcimer

Introducing Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor! March 28th to 31st, 2024

Experience the magic of Expedition Dulcimer: Stone Mountain Manor - Stone Mountain, Georgia - March 28th to 31st, 2024 Are you an intermedia...