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Dulcimers at Halsway

Monday 18 May 4pm — Friday 22 May 10am, 2020

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £360– single ensuite room
  • £330– sharing an ensuite room
  • £330 – single non-ensuite room
  • £295 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £220

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £205

We regret that this event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. We hope to run this event in 2021 with the same team. More info.

We are delighted to welcome back Nonsuch Dulcimer Club to host another packed workshop week offering practical guidance on playing the dulcimer. Featuring superb tutors from the USA and UK, there will also be times to socialise and play informally, plus informal evening concerts from the tutors – and from participants!

Choose from four courses, and let us know your choice when booking:

Mountain Dulcimer: Introductory Course
Mountain Dulcimer: Exploring Course
Hammered Dulcimer: Introductory Course
Hammered Dulcimer: Exploring Course

Introductory courses are designed for beginners / improvers, loan instruments are available subject to demand; please make your enquiry early.

Exploring courses are more in-depth, designed with the intermediate / advanced level player in mind. NB. the MD Exploring course is also open to players of players of other fretted instruments.

Click here for playing level guidelines.

Mountain Dulcimer (MD)
The Appalachian, or Mountain Dulcimer consists of three or more strings stretched over a long-fretted sound box, held on the lap and played by plucking or strumming.  It derives from the family of fretted zithers found in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.  Developed in the poor hill farming communities of the Southern Appalachians, the dulcimer was adopted by the early folk revival in the 1960s and rose to fame through its use by Richard Farina and Joni Mitchell, and groups such as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention – even the Rolling Stones!  Today a younger generation of acoustic musicians are discovering its distinctive tones and using it in fresh ways with traditional and contemporary material.

Hammered Dulcimer (HD) 
The Hammered Dulcimer(HD) has a sounding board or box, typically trapezoid in shape, over which strings of increasing length are stretched.  The strings are plucked or, more often, struck by hand-held beaters, commonly known as hammers.  Its origins are lost in history but it probably came from the Far East a thousand years ago, before spreading across most parts of the world.  It was a reasonably popular instrument in the UK before the advent of affordable pianos and until the mid-20th century still had a foothold in the pubs of East Anglia, Birmingham, Northern Ireland and Glasgow.  It was re-discovered for a wider audience in the folk revival era, with players such as Sue Harris and Chris Coe featured in folk-rock supergroups the Albion Band and the New Victory Band.

Who’s it For?

All skill levels will be catered for.  There will be two broad strands of workshops for both Mountain and Hammered Dulcimer: one for Beginner/Improvers and one for Intermediate/Advanced players. Click here for playing level guidelines. There are instruments available – both mountain and hammered dulcimers – for beginners to borrow – please request early when you book).

Please complete this questionnaire so we can make sure you get the most from the course.

The Team 

Susan Trump (MD), from Schenectady, NY State, has been a major force in the mountain dulcimer world for many years, with her outstanding instrumental skill and her clear, relaxed teaching style.  She is a much sought-after instructor and performer across the US and has won awards in both banjo and mountain dulcimer competitions.   Susan has released four well-received solo CDs, as well as master-minding the classic “Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer” CD series.  She has also authored several instructional books and CDs.

Stephen Humphries (HD), from Chatanooga, Tennessee, is a former US national hammered dulcimer champion, freelance percussionist, and music educator. A well-known performer and teacher on the US dulcimer scene, he has also written two best-selling method books for hammered dulcimer.  A welcome return to Halsway for one of our most popular tutors.

Jessica Comeau (MD), from Pensacola, Florida, is a young mountain dulcimer player with numerous YouTube followers, attracted by her obvious passion for the dulcimer and her natural charm.  As a lover of music and literature, she is especially fond of music from the Celtic, British, and medieval European traditions. As a qualified teacher, she provides good structures and materials for students, while providing space for them to make the music their own.

Patti Amelotte (HD), from southern California, is well known to the UK hammered dulcimer world, having performed and taught over here for the past 15 years.  She aims to increase students’ musicality, but also build self-reliance and belief – as well as have fun.  Her performances are informal and refreshing.  We’re pleased to welcome her back to the UK again after a few years’ break.