The School of American Music has added lessons in mountain dulcimer, clarinet and saxophone to its curriculum.
The mountain dulcimer, a different instrument than the more familiar hammer dulcimer, goes back to 1700s American, where it was developed by German settlers in Pennsylvania. Scotch-Irish immigrants took up the instrument and brought it down to Appalachian Trail and into homes along the way.
According to dulcimer instructor Garth Taylor, the mountain dulcimer is the easiest stringed instrument to play, and the first he learned. “A family friend quit his law practice and set up a dulcimer factory on Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis,” he recalls. “As a child, I would sit at the kitchen table and play along with melodies I can still hear.”
Beginning, intermediate and advanced clarinet and saxophone are being offered by a recent addition to the SAM faculty, Jill Measel. Measel also teaches students at the Lakeshore Public Schools and performs in community bands and church ensembles. She comments that she works within a wide range of musical instruction, “from the squeaks and squawks of brand-new beginners to those who desire more advanced coaching as they prepare for college auditions and solo performances.”
SAM music lessons are given in studios on the second floor of the Three Oaks, Mich. Library at 3 N. Elm St. Founded in 2012, SAM is now in its seventh year of operation.