In 2013 I went to a workshop run by Karen Mueller and built a 1-string cardboard dulcimer with staple frets. In addition Karen showed us showed us some of the other cool things the dulcimer can do. I left inspired & I played that 1-string almost non-stop for weeks. My mom remembered relatives in Kentucky who teach dulcimer and lent out dulcimers that they built from kits so we got one and some books and I loved it. I began learning about chords and learned some more songs, playing hours a day all summer long. I began taking lessons from Laurel Benedict and she loaned me a nicer dulcimer with a 61/2 fret. Dulcimer was not Laurel's main instrument so she referred me to Karen Mueller. I took lessons from Karen for 6 years and was also influenced by Janita Baker & Lois Hornbostel. I played recitals and visited some dulcimer festivals. I played open mic at Buckeye Dulcimer Festival a few years ago and was encouraged to compete at the National Mountain Dulcimer competition in Winfield, Kansas. I was 12 or 13 at the time and didn't really think much about it. I made it through to the final round of the competition and eventually won the championship playing on a cardboard dulcimer at the age of 17! I am currently a college student majoring in mathematics. I have had the opportunity to teach at the Chromatic Mountain Dulcimer Summit, Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, & Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat.