Start date: 20/03/21
End date: 23/03/21
Time: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Concerts | Major Events | Nonsuch Event | Online Events | Workshops

NEW: Tip Jars for our Tutors are here.

Our Nonsuch Spring Fling Weekend will be held online this year. We have a wonderful two days of workshops for both hammered and mountain dulcimer players, a concert and an online session/open mic for the weekend of March 20th – 21st, 2021. Workshops are available for all levels of player from beginner to advanced. All events will be held via Zoom.


Here are our fabulous tutors. Click on their names to find out more about them. If you want to show an extra mark of appreciation, you can give them a tip! See the links below.

Spring Fling Weekend Events


Download this schedule by clicking on the image!

Workshops (Cost £25 per workshop)

You can choose one of the Hammered Dulcimer or Mountain Dulcimer workshops at a particular level for each afternoon. You can register for Saturday and/or Sunday workshops. Some workshops are one single topic with additional depth. Others offer two sessions with different topics covered within the workshop – registration is for the entire workshop from 3:00 – 5:45.

We are offering two levels of workshops each day – for (Beginner/Advanced Beginner) and for (Intermediate/Advanced). There will be some overlap in the levels between these two – please choose the workshop that suits you best. Please check the workshop descriptions for details and contact Hilary Davies if you would like more guidance or information.

Saturday Afternoon Workshops: 3:00 – 5:45 pm UK (11:00 am – 1:45 pm USA EDT)

Anne Lough (Hammered Dulcimer – Beginner to Advanced Beginner)

Tania Opland (Hammered Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)

Laurie Alsobrook (Mountain Dulcimer – Beginner to Advanced Beginner)

Rob Brereton (Mountain Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)

Sunday Afternoon Workshops: 3:00 – 5:45 pm UK (11:00 – 1:45 USA)

Tania Opland (Hammered Dulcimer – Beginner to Advanced Beginner)

Anne Lough (Hammered Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)

Laurie Alsobrook (Mountain Dulcimer – Beginner to Advanced Beginner)

Rob Brereton (Mountain Dulcimer – Intermediate to Advanced)

Saturday Concert – Cost £7 a person

Our four tutors will participate in an online concert from 7:30 – 9:00pm.

Sunday Online Session: 7.30 to 9.30pm GMT  (3:30 to 5:30pm EDT) – Cost Free*

The Spring Fling Session on Sunday 21st March is an online session for all instruments. William Duddy will be our “compere” and Chris Nash our Zoom “host”. Emails have been sent to everyone who has booked a weekend event, inviting offers of tunes/songs/whatever for what will be a relaxed session to close Spring Fling. (Please check your “Spam” folder if you haven’t received one. It was sent on 3rd March for those who had booked before then).

Given the high number of registrations, we may have a packed programme so it will be “first come, first served ” for the list to fit the time available. Therefore, please let us have your “offering” (by response to the email invitation) as soon as possible and no later than Friday 12th March.

It will be helpful if you can provide dots or tab for sharing however Frans Morre has kindly offered to transcribe tunes if required. (Please also bear in mind copyright restrictions on any printed music you propose, as highlighted in the email invitation).

The “Session list” will then be finalised and music added to a dedicated Dropbox, for circulation to everyone by Wednesday 17th March.

*This session will only be available to those who have booked for some other part of the weekend.

Online Social Hour – Free*

This social hour session on Friday 19th March at 7:30pm is only open to those who have booked for the weekend. A zoom link will be sent with the information pack.

Workshop Descriptions

Anne Lough (Hammered Dulcimer) (USA)

Saturday, March 20th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Beginner/Advanced Beg.)

The Next  Step – Adding Those Finishing Touches

Now that you can play melodies on your instrument, it’s time to have fun “dressing them up.”  We’ll explore basic embellishment techniques and introduce the concept of  drawing from chord patterns to enhance and create interest in your tunes. As you hone these skills you will be inspired to create freshness and variety in everything you play. 

Sunday, March 21st: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Intermediate/Advanced)

Creating Interesting Arrangements

Let’s spend time with ideas and techniques that will expand and create freshness and variety in your playing and performing. Refine the art of putting tunes together in medleys, taking into consideration key, effective modulation and tempo. We’ll also have fun  “ragging the rhythm” with  Dill Pickle Rag, a  tune that will take you from G to C and back again, with some chromatic notes along the way.

Tania Opland (Hammered Dulcimer) (USA)

Saturday, March 20th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Intermediate/Advanced)

Mesmerising Rhythms – Exploring Uneven & Unusual Metre

If you’ve ever been simultaneously mesmerized and lost by a rhythm, swept into a sinuous ebb and flow of beats that you couldn’t even figure out how to tap your foot to because the beats weren’t the same length, then (if it wasn’t jazz) you were probably listening to some Eastern European or Middle Eastern dance music.

This workshop will explore some of those meters from various angles, both analytical and intuitive, to help participants get inside them. We’ll use traditional Balkan and Galician tunes, as well as compositions inspired by those traditions. This will also get us into some interesting scales that use both sharps and flats. Practice materials will be available beforehand for those who want to get familiar with the very different patterns these scales make on the dulcimer. The first session will use tunes that can be played on either 12/11 or 15/14 non-chromatic dulcimers. The second session may include some material that would require re-tuning one pair of strings on the smaller instruments.

Sunday, March 21st: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (HD – Beginner/Advanced Beg.)

Dancing Hammers: a choreographic approach to playing the Hammered Dulcimer

Playing the hammered dulcimer has more in common with dancing than it has with playing most other instruments. Two hands work together to do one job – there’s no “bow hand”, no “fret hand”. Dancing Hammers will explore a choreographic approach to using the whole range of your instrument, plotting out your arrangements on it as if it were a dance stage.

We’ll use familiar traditional American and Irish tunes to experiment with the many options you have while finding your way around a melody. You will learn how to find hammering patterns that work for you, how to begin to find those accompanying notes, and be more spontaneous in your playing. 

Laurie Alsobrook (Mountain Dulcimer) (USA)

Saturday, March 20th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Beginner/Advanced Beg.)

Session 1: Make Waltzes Move

Feel the flow of a waltz by adding the strum variations presented in this class.  You’ll smooth out your playing and discover how it adds to your enjoyment in making your waltzes move. 

Session 2: Tunes That Teach

Ready to add harmony to the melody line that you have been playing? Chord structure and ease in playing will be a focus in this class.  You’ll find some old chestnuts in this session, plus an original or two.

Sunday, March 21st: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Beginner/Advanced Beg.)

Session 1: Round and Round

Virtual Rounds?  Yes!  This workshop will “round-out” your dulcimer repertoire as we explore the beautiful harmonies that are experienced in playing rounds.  So that we can actually hear how it all goes together, I record one part and then play the second part live.  You provide the third voice.  Although listed as an advancing beginner class, all levels would enjoy this session.

Session 2: Stephen Foster Favourites

We are all charmed by Stephen Foster’s enduring melodies that have been with us for generations.   This workshop presents a few of my favourites – from fiddle tunes, to waltzes, to lovely songs with haunting lyrics. 

Rob Brereton (Mountain Dulcimer) (USA)

Saturday, March 20th: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Intermediate/Advanced)

Session 1: Modes and Tunings

Dulcimers are based on modes. To know modes is to know your instrument. It’s as simple as that. Learn how to recognize these modes and use these modes. How do you  tune for a mode, how do you use capos for modes. We will be concentrating on The Big Four: Ionian (or Major), Aeolian (or natural minor), Mixolydian (Majorish with a twist) and Dorian (minorish with a twist). Just for fun, we’ll do a piece in Phrygian too! Starting Key is D-A-d. 

Session 2: You Can Play in Other Keys in DAd!

This is a workshop about using chords in more than one key on your dulcimer. There are three basic chord shapes on the dulcimer. Learn these shapes and you can find inversions of all the chords in the key of D. Pretty handy, right? but let’s take that a step further. Many chords in the key of D are found in most of the popular keys used on guitar. We are not limited to one key on the dulcimer; we can transpose or change keys. Let’s go one more step. Chords are three or more notes played together at the same time. If you’re willing to give up one of those three notes (namely the notes not found on the dulcimer), we can find even more chords and keys on the dulcimer. Your instrument is much more versatile than you thought!

Sunday, March 21st: 3:00 – 5:45 pm (MD – Intermediate/Advanced)

Session 1: Smoothing Out Your Playing

Is your playing a bit choppy? We’ll discover what causes choppy playing and the “big secret” for smoothing out your playing. Most choppy playing happens in the fretting hand. We’ll see what these problems are and, more importantly, how to fix them. We’ll also discuss ways to make your playing more musical.

“You make it look so easy!” is one of the biggest compliments you can receive. This class will be about tricks and tips to accompany yourself and others. We will discuss chord and inversion choices, how to get from one chord to another, how to improvise a “break”, and how to be flexible in your playing.


Music for the workshops and zoom links will be made available a few days beforehand. This is so that you are able to download handouts, and listen to any audio/video files in advance. If you have time, you can listen to the music and work though the tunes on your dulcimer before the class. However your instructors will not expect this.

You will need to be able to download the most up-to-date version of Zoom before attending the event. A laptop or iPad works best, but a smart phone is also fine. If you are unfamiliar with the technology and need help, please join the Social Hour session or contact Hilary Davies or Sally Whytehead.

Please contact Hilary Davies if you need any further information or advice about the weekend.


The cost for the workshops is £25 per person per workshop, and the concert is £7 per person.

Bookings close on 13th March, a week before the event. Detailed information about each workshop, the sessions and concert will be sent out a few days later.

Payment is via PayPal, Debit or Credit card at time of booking through our online booking form below.

Book Your Place Here

Contact Hilary Davies or Sally Whytehead if you have queries.