Starting Out on the Stick Dulcimer

First Strums
Hold the instrument in a comfortable position, don't press any strings, and strum all three strings with your fingers or a pick.  You'll hear something like this: 
First Strum
One-Finger Notes
You can play melodies with just one finger on the fret board.  Press only the bottom string (often called the melody string) just behind  a fret and strum all three strings. ("Behind" means on the side toward the tuners.) 

By numbering frets we can specify a tune without having to read music. "0" means to strum with no frets pressed.  "2" means press behind the second fret from the nut.  Strum all three strings once for each number.

Strumming in this order gives the beginning of a do-re-mi scale.
0  1  2  3  4

Try this sequence.
0  2  4  4  4      It sounds something like this.

These notes begin a traditional song.

02444
Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
Strumming to the words gives us this:

Mi-chael, row the boat a-shore.  Al-le-lu-jah!  Mi-chael, row the boat a-shore.  Al-le-lu-u-jah!
 0      2           4       4     4       5    4            2   4   5   4         2       4        4       2        3      2    1          0   1  2   1    0


Row
 Simple Style Variations to Try

 1.  Instead of strumming all three strings, strum just the melody string, or just
       the  melody string and the middle string.

 2.  Instead of pressing just one string, use one finger to fret both the melody
       string and the middle string simultaneously.  Strum all three strings or just
       strum those two strings.

 3.  Mix and match.  For example, play the first lines to O Susanna on one string,
       then play the chorus on all three strings.

O Susanna
O  I  come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.  I'm  goin' to Loui-si-a-na  my Susanna for to see.
 0  1      2        4      4  5  4   2     0      1      2   2   1    0       1          0        2        4    4      5  4   2     0    1   2    2   1    1     0

It rained all night the day I left; the weather it was dry. The sun's so hot I froze to death. Susanna don't you cry
 0    1          2         4      4     5   4    2     0      1      2   2   1    0       1   0        2     4     4   5    4       2      0           1   2   2     1       1       0   


O Susanna!  O don't you cry for me.  For I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.

 3    3    5   5     5     4         4      2    0     1       0   1     2         4     4  5   4   2    0       1     2    2   1    1       0