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Teachers at the Old Town School

Dona Benkert

Hammered Dulcimer, Appalachian Dulcimer, Autoharp, Bowed Psaltery, Mountain Dulcimer

Traditional, Irish, Ragtime

Dona has been an instructor at the Old Town School since 1989, and is well known throughout the Midwest as an accomplished musician and instructor who enjoys working will all ages and skill levels. She has the ability to draw any audience into the music, and incorporates the history and tradition of the instrument into her teaching.

Musical styles include contemporary, British Isles, New England Country dance music, Appalachian fiddle tunes, ragtime and the music of Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan, with lessons tailored to your specific needs. Dona makes learning about the music of our ancestors enjoyable for all. She believes it is important to learn to read music, as well as play by ear, but most of all to enjoy music as a creative release. Techniques and theory are taught in an easy to understand format through learning tunes. Children learn many basics through musical games and structured practice that make the learning process fun.

Dona has performs regularly at festivals and private events throughout the
Midwest, presenting concerts that are not only entertaining but educational
and participatory as well. She has worked with the special needs children
in the public school system for many years, and the Greater Chicago and
Northern Indiana Girls Scouts as a teacher of music and dance. She has won
many awards for her work in music, including the Studs Terkel Humanities
Service award in 2002, and the WDSRA award for "bringing music to the hearts
and hands" of special ed children.

Started at the Old Town School in August of 1989