At Bear Meadow we offer an apprenticeship session designed for every level of skill and aspiration.

Here are some comments written by people who have completed various sessions.

Initiate, Advanced & Journeyman Sessions

I'd like to tell you how much I enjoyed the three Dulcimer Apprenticeship Sessions I took.

I learned an awful lot in all of them. I feel you offered a very good balance of letting me do what I could on my own, and providing assistance. Even when I was doing a task on my own, you kept an eye out and corrected me if I was doing it wrong or inefficiently. By my third Dulcimer, I was able to achieve the skill of making a dulcimer with no mistakes. It was a replica of a Bear Meadow concert dulcimer with the exception of the inlays.

I found you were very generous with your knowledge. Your aim for my work was that my dulcimer would be equal to yours. You showed me all the processes you used, and held me to your standards.

In addition, it was very encouraging to see that the equipment required doesn't neccesarily have to cost me a fortune. You have many ingenious ways of accomplishing the tasks required. I learned to appreciate the use of hand tools and the satisfaction of quietly working with my hands. (I even learned to enjoy sanding!)

Finally, I enjoyed working with you. We had many interesting and stimulating conversations. This provided an environment that was relaxed yet deliberate. It was much like a couple of friends working together on a project: Enjoying the work and enjoying the company. I count this as one of the richest experiences I've had.

Thank You!
Rochester, New York

Initiate Session

From start to finish my experience at Bear Meadow with Dwain Wilder was excellent. The accommodations that Dwain helped to arrange were conveniently located next door with the neighbors Dustin and Michelle, who welcomed me into their home as if I’d know them for years. Walking into the workshop for the first time was exciting as the smell of freshly sawn wood crept into my nose and my eyes passed over the array of tools, workbenches, partially finished instruments and neatly organized shelves and chests; a beautiful sight for anyone who loves to work with wood.

The Initiate apprenticeship went above and beyond its title with detailed instruction and plenty of opportunities to practice and apply the skills and techniques. One of the aspects of Dwain’s program that struck me most was his attention to detail, planning and organization. Before arriving I received an in-depth outline of what he planned to cover on a day to day basis. This gave me confidence that I wasn’t going to be a slave but rather a student and assistant. (This is not meant to imply that the program was set and inflexible without room for adaptation and improvisation when situations arose.)

The instrument I crafted throughout the month was given as much attention as the Concert Grand he was working on while I was there. With his careful guidance the dulcimer I produced surpasses, in both beauty and sound, every dulcimer I’ve played before and since, except, of course, for the Concert Grand he finished while I was still there. 

Thomas Wheat
Gainsville, Florida

To arrange for an apprenticeship see Arrangements & Fees

Bear Meadow Studio - Click for larger view
Bear Meadow

Testimonials & Endorsements