Tim Simek has been playing the mountain dulcimer and hammer dulcimer for 27 years. Primarily a self-taught musician, Tim explains how he got into playing such an obscure class of instruments. “I got my start with strings after getting a summer job in the dulcimer shop at Dollywood back in the mid 80’s. Part of my job was to demonstrate the mountain dulcimer to the guests. I would play a little bit to lure them over, teach them to play a simple song on the mountain dulcimer by number, and hopefully sell one to them. I probably got more practice my first week of work than most people get in a year.” “We also had a hammer dulcimer in the shop. I had never seen one before, but part of my job was to keep it in tune. In the process of tuning the instrument, I realized that playing it would be similar to playing a keyboard with 2 fingers. I played around with the hammer dulcimer when we were slow, and before I knew it, I had figured out a couple of simple tunes. The rest of it was just having fun with the instruments…something that most people call practice.” Tim became a full-time musician in 2006 and plays various venues throughout the southeast. He also holds workshops throughout the year, gives private lessons and is available to play for private events. He is a 2 time national champion, winning the national mountain dulcimer championship in 1993 and the national hammer dulcimer championship in 2011.