Lorinda Jones
Live Online Classes and Lessons

Play By Ear Course Overview

Lorinda Jones, Instructor

Myth: “You have to be born with the ability to play by ear.”

Myth Buster: How many times have you heard that? I heard it many times but I finally accepted the truth. Some people may have extraordinary hearing and grew up in an environment that fostered playing by ear, but for most of us “normal humans,” playing by ear isn’t something you have or don’t have, it’s something you learn!

I learned to play the dulcimer in the same way I learned to play all the other instruments that I owned: I bought a book and read the music! That method worked to teach me a lot about the instrument, gave me the tools needed to reproduce the music that was written down, and play basic accompanying chords for singing. It was also helpful in transferring the classical music and hymns that I was most familiar with to the the dulcimer. But the mistake I made was relying on that written music as I began to learn the old time music repertoire and become a part of the jam sessions. I struggled for years trying to figure out why someone with advanced musical training did not feel successful in learning tunes by ear in a jam session.

If you want to be free of tab and learn to trust your ear and memory skills and begin “playing by heart” then this course is for you. I have made this journey myself, so I know what you need to “break the habit”. I have been a music educator all my life, worked with all ages and all abilities and most importantly on this topic, have made this journey myself and know what you need to succeed.

I’m teaching this because I love that I made this discovery and I want you to learn what I learned in a supportive environment that will prepare you for your dulcimer journey!

Play By Ear Course Descriptions

Each course is a total of four lessons, sixteen if you sign up for all four courses!

If you have never played by ear, then you should start at the beginning, but if you already play some by ear but want to improve your skills and learn new tunes, you can jump in at any course along the way. Just be aware that each course will present progressively more involved tunes and take more skills to learn.

*Note: Playing by ear takes some time to develop. You will not develop this skill in one lesson! You need to be patient and give yourself time to understand the process. This course will guide and support you along this journey in a safe community of sharing and caring.

For each lesson you will receive:

• Audio recording of the tune

• Link to Video recording of the tune with step by step instruction

• Background information about the tunes

• Standard notation of the tune AFTER course is completed

• Online jam opportunities to try out your new skills and tunes/songs

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Upcoming Courses with Lorinda Jones


Enroll below for one course at a time, or take advantage of the bundle offers and save up to $100.

Lorinda Jones Class Bundles

From Paper To Ear

Are you ready to gain confidence in your playing and improve your musicianship overall as you improve your dulcimer player? If so, you are in the right place! This course starts at the very beginning teaching how to hear and identify the scales and intervals on the dulcimer and...

Starts Saturday, January 6, at 10 am ET | 7 am PT - Learn More and Sign Up

Conquering The Jam, Level 1 – Melodies and Chords

This course will move you into playing and hearing basic chord changes, and modes and tunes that can be found in most old-time and dulcimer jam sessions across the U.S. The focus of this course will be to extending songs that start below the scale on the middle string and finding...

Starts Saturday, February 10, at 10 am ET | 7 am PT - Learn More and Sign Up

Conquering The Jam, Level 2 – Playing in Different Keys

As you start to feel more confident, our tunes will move into more keys and more challenging rhythms. We will continue the key of D and add G, A and Em and you will start to pick out more songs by ear, lead songs in jam sessions and play more of your previously learned tunes by...

Starts Saturday, March 23, at 10 am ET | 7 am PT - Learn More and Sign Up

Across the Rivers and Ponds: American and Celtic Roots Music

This is a new course that offers some regional flavor of tunes. We will learn some great tunes from Kentucky fiddle players and start to look at other American roots music such as dance tunes from Scotland and Ireland. This session will guide you into finding your own niche and passion...

Starts Saturday, April 27, at 10 am ET | 7 am PT - Learn More and Sign Up

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Self-Directed Course with Lorinda Jones

Traditional Playing of the Mountain Dulcimer-DAA Tuning and Playing With the Noter by Lorinda Jones

Everything you need to know to begin playing the mountain dulcimer and continue your journey as an accomplished player.

Learn More and Sign Up

Self-Directed Course Promo Video

Self-Directed Course Reviews

Penny W. on August 21, 2023

The course is great! I’ve been sneaking ahead to watch the videos, just had my hand surgery on Friday and it went GREAT but it’s in a cast til at least next Wed. You are such a wonderful teacher and I love this on demand format. I’m excited to dabble in DAA noter style ASAP. FYI, I took your class at Lake Junaluska a few years ago and loved it, so glad I was in your mailing list!

Kathy F. on September 26, 2023

I really appreciated the lessons which were gently and systematically presented. I was able to use the principles in the lessons to play an old hymn tune by ear. That is a big new step for me. Thank you. Kathy F.

This is my fourth class with Lorinda Jones. She is excellent. She is Professional, very well prepared, and provided a mountain of material for the students. Feedback is individual, and she seems genuinely interested in her students. Three Cheers!!

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Private Lessons

Did you know that you can also book 1-on-1 lessons with Lorinda Jones?

Click here to view Lorinda Jones's Lessonface profile.


I always enjoy Lorinda Jones’ classes; she is well prepared, offers interesting musical pieces, “injects” additional music theory items into her program, and is very good humored as well!

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