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‘Build a Stick Dulcimer’ class takes off at SVHEC

The “Build a Stick Dulcimer” class that took place on June 27-29 at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center was a success. During the three-day course, instructor Clint Johnson taught three students, Henry Stevens, Neal Conner and Kenneth Cope, how to make a stick dulcimer from scratch. 

According to the students, building their own handmade instruments resulted in a great sense of accomplishment and pride. Using some of the woodworking equipment available at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Innovation Center was an exciting aspect of this hands-on applied learning experience. 

Johnson said, “I am pleased with the way the first stick dulcimer course took place.  Although we only had three students attend the course, we had a great group in the class. Everyone seemed to have fun, as they gained exposure to the building experience.  Many of these students had no prior experience in this type of environment, and they all excelled.”

The College for Life Long Learning (COLLL) at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center will be hosting an additional dulcimer class on Aug. 1, 2 and 3. 

A dulcimer is a versatile three stringed guitar styled musical instrument ideal for beginners or experienced musicians. Johnson will instruct the August class in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Innovation Center. Participation in the course will be $200 per student. This fee covers the use of equipment, wood, all needed materials, instruction and access to the facility. 

Class size will be limited to 10 students with a minimum age of 10. Participants under 16 years of age should be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian during the class because of use of power tools. This class provided a generationally shared learning experience for Kenneth Cope who completed the class with his grandson, Neal Conner. 

No prior experience is needed to take this class. The only thing that is required of students is a willingness to learn and follow instructions. The stick dulcimer class has easy to follow instructions along with instructor Johnson to assist students every step of the way.  

Registration forms are available at and must be submitted two weeks before the first class meeting. 

For more information, contact Clint Johnson, product design and development technician, at SVHEC Innovation Center at 434-572-5505 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .