David Schnaufer grew up in south Texas, raised on "hard country" music, listening to artists such as Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb. As a young man, he fell in love with "folk rock" music and realized that he wanted to be a musician.
David already played harmonica and jew harp. He tried the guitar and autoharp, but couldn't quite relate to them. Then, on his 21st birthday, he bought himself a present, a beautiful sounding mountain dulcimer. It was like a harmonica and he understood how it worked. David believes everyone has an instrument, it's just a matter of finding it.
In 1976, David found himself at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. This was the first year the Festival was holding the National Mountain Dulcimer Championships. With some encouragement from other contestants, he entered and won first place.
David went about meeting many of the finest dulcimer players in the country, some of whom became not only his influences, teachers, but good friends. One such friend, Alan Freeman from West Virginia, taught David how to back up fiddle players and how music feels.
Schnaufer has played dulcimer for the Judds, Dan Seals and Emmylou Harris. After doing some recordings of his own, he joined a group called the "Cactus Brothers" and played with them for nine years
David loves antique dulcimers and is currently involved in researching the history of the mountain dulcimer in Tennessee, where a unique box -shaped dulcimer, called The Tennessee Music Box developed. In 1995, his dream of passing on his music became a reality. The Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN added mountain dulcimer to its curriculum and they appointed David Schnaufer as Adjunct Associate Professor of Dulcimer.
Stephen Seifert teaches with David at the Blair School of Music. He has played the mountain dulcimer for nine years and with his friend David for four years. Stephen says David has been a teacher and role model for him. When you put the two of them together, you will truly be not only rocked but knocked right out of your seat.