Thank you for your excellent instruction and enthusiasm for the autoharp, and mastery, which is profound. –autoharpist Kerry Hirth, Missouri

(See more comments from workshop attendees here.)


I will do anything to help my students get the point, including levitation, as you can see at left! (Photo by Nadine White, with a little help from the wonders of computer imagery manipulation.)

Workshops last anywhere from one hour at a festival to two hours or more on location for your regional dulcimer or autoharp club.

If you are part of a small group who wants study specific topics that will take you to the next level of proficiency, any of the workshop topics on this page can be expanded into a class lasting 3-5 days.

To arrange for a workshop where you live or in the days prior to your favorite festivals, contact me.

Hammered Dulcimer Workshops

Beginner Advanced Beginner and up Intermediate and Up


Autoharp Workshops

Chromatic and diatonic autoharp diatonic autoharp Only


For Everyone!

Comments From Workshop Attendees

Lucille Reilly is in a class by herself when it comes to playing and teaching the dulcimer. I always look forward to her workshops because they have more to them than just learning a tune and puppetting it back….She emphasizes playing with feeling, and she puts her whole self into her playing. I really liked her Amazing Grace workshop…. I look forward to what she has up her sleeve…. — hammered dulcimer player Norine Humm, Michigan

My students who took your dulcimer workshop positively raved over how wonderful it was for them. It was great seeing how revved up and enthused they were all week long. –hammered dulcimer player and teacher Robin Loeffler, Kentucky

Hammered Dulcimer Workshops


About this level: If you know which way your dulcimer goes on the stand and on which end you hold your hammers, then these workshops are for you! Any of these workshops can be transformed into an all-day workshop.

Thinking about a workshop topic not listed here? Let me know what you have in mind!. I’m always interested in developing new topics, especially those beyond beginner level.

Beginning to Play the Hammered Dulcimer (two hours recommended)No experience necessary! (And I mean NONE!) This class includes: setting up, hammers, those all-important first strikes, a basic “geography” lesson, playing simple arpeggios, answering your questions, etc., that will lead to…
Where in the World Are my Hammers Going?Hammering out tunes with a strong-hand lead is an easy and effective to finding your way around the dulcimer, letting you move to the "fun stuff", like creating variations, with ease. You'll learn a tune alongside the concept. Bring a non-video recording device if you need aural assistance.

Back to workshop categories

Advanced Beginner and Up

About this level: You know about a dozen tunes and can find your way around the dulcimer fairly well. These workshops will help you solidify current technical skills.

Thinking about a workshop not listed here? I’m game. Contact me.

How to Strike Out and Win!Maybe you’ve worked with Lucille’s book, maybe you haven’t, but what’s she talking about? See it, hear it, and try it out now. Using a tune as a backdrop, you will discover how to play with a strong-hand lead, strike the strings with magical resonance, try out a resonant hammer hold and more. Be prepared to be amazed!
Joyous JigsMaster the two basic jig rhythms and play the most famous jig of all! Handout supplied.
A Tune in an AfternuneAdd a new tune to your play list while picking up some great time-saving shortcuts! Bring a non-video recording device if you need aural assistance.
How to chord Songs by EarPlay a I-IV-V chord progression to some simple songs, doing it all by ear.
Chordless JammingWhy play chords when a fiddle tune's notes fly by so fast? Here is an easier way. We’ll create harmonies, and strong rhythm back-up, for two tunes.
Dance-Tune "choreographyWhere to strike what with which hand in a way that opens you up to variations, self-chorded tunes, etc. We’ll choreograph 1-2 reels. Handouts supplied. Bring your dulcimer, a pencil and an eraser.
Love Your Dulcimer, Love Its SustainThe dulcimer's magical sustain is what attracted us to the instrument in the first place, yet sometimes it seems to “get in the way” of our playing. It doesn’t have to. Make sustain your best friend and a usable tool as we explore “Amazing Grace” in D major. Bring a non-video recording device, if you like; just be sure to participate, too!. Handout supplied. Note: This workshop needs at least 18 participants; the more the merrier! Click here to read more about this workshop.
How to Play Waltzes MusicallyWhat's the best way to strike out a waltz so it sounds musical? It depends on the waltz's rhythm, which is less predictable than tunes with lots of short notes. All will be revealed. Handouts supplied.
Brain Teasers for Hammered DulcimerHow well do you know your way around the dulcimer? We will play many short musical phrases/dulcimer patterns, all inspired by tunes, on the supplied handout. Some of the visual patterns you will find on your strings will surprise you! Great for both right- and left-handed players.
Happy Endings!Ruffles and flourishes to dress up most tunes. Handout supplied.

Back to Workshop Categories

Intermediate and Up

About this level: You know your way around the dulcimer fairly well. Playing with a dominant-hand lead is desirable (see Striking Out and Winning! for how-to, although I’m happy to teach lead during a workshop), along with a large dose of reels and jigs, plus waltzes and other music. Special effects, like two-stroke rolls, can be helpful to know but are not necessary. For some workshops, other preliminary skills may be required; these are listed with the workshop.

Thinking about a workshop not listed here? I’m game. Contact me.

AccentsThe easy way to dress up reels and raise your fellow jammers’ eyebrows. French-Canadian music is a specialty. Handout supplied. Pre-requisite: Lucille will choose one tune that everyone needs to be able to play before the class meets.
The Anatomy of a Fiddle TuneDo you hear each note of a fiddle tune one note at a time as you play it? Find out how to render it in three or more “voice parts.” (I have been accused of sounding like 40 hammered dulcimers at once. Find out why.) There is a tune to prepare for this class; early registration is advised.
Filling In TunesGive new life to playing songs on the dulcimer. Handout supplied. You need to know how to play two-stroke rolls as described in Striking Out and Winning!
rolled chordsThe central element behind arranging hymn tunes, classical music, and other “self-chorded” melodies, and how to play it beautifully.

Back to Workshop Categories

Autoharp Workshops

Interested in a topic you don’t see? Contact me!

Beginning and up

Thinking about a workshop not listed here? I’m game. Contact me.

Chording by Ear for DummiesJam anywhere by discovering how to listen to the tune for its chord changes. We’ll sing some songs and laugh along the way for some good laughs with every goof (expected!). Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick. Note: This makes a great 6+3-hour class over two days.
How to Learn a Tune in a FlashThe secrets of learning an unknown tune in no time are revealed! You'll be playing a tune in no time during this workshop! Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick.
Strummmm!Several trumming styles applied to two familiar songs. Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick.
Fingerpicking Without Your FingersA fresh look at fingerpicking to send effortless energy into the strings for audible, clear tone. Fingerpicking will be taught from the beginning. Once you know the basics, a little practice and experience will enable you to fingerpick at any speed.
Bring a thumb pick (metal or plastic) and three fingerpicks of the same gauge in any material (no bare fingers, please).
Back to Workshop Categories

Chromatic and diatonic autoharp

Thinking about a workshop not listed here? I’m game. Contact me.

Rapid-Fire FingeringTo play really fast (and, for that matter, really slowly), your string fingers need to be organized. Increase your speed and play a tune to show off your new-found skill! Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick.
What's Down in the Basement?Most autoharpists play in the “attic,” focusing mostly on the melody. Discover what all those strings in “the basement” can do while we play a simple tune. Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick.
That Blooming V7 chordV7 is wonderfully resonant, but it loses impact when played all the time. Find out how to get more out of V7 by playing it less. Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick.
AppoggiaturasAppoggia-whaaat? The appoggiatura sounds more like an Italian gourmet dish than the element of music that flies by unnoticed--until they make a mess of a chord progression. With the simple, four-word definition of the appoggiatura in mind, we will sing and back-up chord the songs on the supplied handout to find all the "apps" in each one. We will also consider some alternative chord choices that satisfy the tune, its harmony, the listening ear and the soul.
Singing with the AutoharpPerformances by you will frame discussion on phrasing, key choice, diction, instrumental interludes, etc.
The Many Faces of the PinchA simple and hopefully familiar tune will help us explore how and where the pinch can be played in order to expand its versatility. We will apply various textures to our pinches to orchestrate the melody and magnify the autoharp’s sound with clarity. Eradicating pick noise will also be addressed. Please bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick, even if you play bare-fingered (a hard surface covering the finger pads is essential). You will also learn how to put your picks on securely so that you barely know they are there.

Back to Workshop Categories

diatonic autoharp

About this category: This list describes workshops that involve what I call the “chord-and-release” method of pumping the chord-bar buttons. To me, this is the most fun way to play a diatonic autoharp!

Thinking about a workshop not listed here? I’m game. Contact me.

Expand the Keys You Jam InYou play a GD diatonic autoharp, and the jamming key just changed to C, or F, or A, or.... Here are some work-arounds so that you can continue to play along. Handout supplied.
How to chord Fiddle TunesA 2-3-hour workshop based on the process detailed in my monograph, The Flowers of Edinburgh, but using a different tune. We'll also look at string-hand fingering for a completely playable tune by the end of the session. You'll need the second edition of the monograph (available for purchase when you come if you don't already have a copy) plus your diatonic autoharp (key TBD), three fingerpicks and a thumb pick, a pencil and a good eraser. Tune handout supplied.
Intro to the chord-and-release Method of Diatonic Autoharping (for diatonic owners and the curious, die-hard chromatic autoharpist)Find out all about the rage behind diatonic autoharp. We'll take five minutes to look at how the diatonic autoharp differs from its chromatic cousin in tuning and chords, and then use the rest of the time to focus on chord-and-release playing that makes the diatonic autoharp sing. Lucille will also play for you.
Jigs (intermediate level)Jigs feel great to play, once each hand learns how to dance. Bring three fingerpicks and one thumb pick.
Play an English Country Dance TuneThe chord-and-release method of diatonic autoharping lends itself well to playing these old tunes replete with lots of little notes. The chords needed are already in place on the supplied handout, so we will process our way through learning how the tune goes in record time and then go over strategies for the button and string hands, developing a bass line, etc. Go home playing a dance tune with fabulous resonance. Key TBD; bring a thumb pick and three fingerpicks, and a folding music stand.
Suspended ChordsSuspended chords, one of many "color chords" autoharpists talk about, create harmonic tension. Using a simple, well-known tune, we’ll explore a few ways to sound suspended chords. Handout supplied. Owners of autoharps without suspended chords are welcome to come and listen. (I have to get you hooked somehow!)

Back to Workshop Categories

For Everyone

Thinking about a workshop not listed here? I’m game. Contact me.

Arranging from the GutWhat makes a solo instrument arrangement sound simply pleasant, absolutely fabulous, truly boring or downright uncomfortable? We’ll listen to several recordings in different genres and discuss “how they make us feel.” Go home a renewed picker/hammerer and listener after this workshop. No playing involved. Expect lively discussion and bring something on which to write notes. No recording devices of any kind, please. Because of the high contest focus among autoharpists, this workshop can be offered solely for the autoharp, too.
Facial MediaThe audience's strongest connection to your music may be your face more than what you play. A hearty look at face-on techniques, with hearty laughter. Handout supplied.
How to Make Music Without Playing in PainWhen we move well, our music increases its resonance, and we play more easily. In this workshop, we’ll focus on the arm structure’s infinite possibilities and play some music to try out what we’ve learned. If you suffer from CTS, RSI, tingling in the hands, even mild discomfort in the wrists, shoulders, back or neck, this workshop is a must.
Intro to VariationsNo matter what the instrument, creating variations is a combination of head/ear skill plus knowing very well the technical aspects of playing your instrument. (Lucille should know: she improvises on recorder, hammered dulcimer, autoharp, voice and pitch-sounding instrument tuner, all radically different in scope.) We will use eyes to help voice and ear give interesting slants to common, simple tunes, and then move to simple, less-common tunes. Finally, on whatever your instrument is, you will have time on your own to move your creation(s) to that instrument and wow us all. If you play more than one instrument well, please choose just one to bring to this workshop to ensure a clear focus.
The PUB ExperienceCalling players of all instruments (dulcimer, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, piano, bass, etc.) for the Pick-Up Band. We’ll play “Scotland the Brave” in G major and “Golden Slippers” in D major, in all manner of variation and craziness. Know how to play both before the workshop session begins; creativity is encouraged! For an all-day workshop, more tunes will be played. It will be ideal to finish the all-day session with an evening contra dance where the class is the band!

Back to Workshop Categories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.