Workshops & Training

What Is A Dulcimer ?

“What is a dulcimer ?” is perhaps the question I’m most often asked – this blog aims to answer that question and to give a little background to this charming instrument, as well as my own approach to it

the dulcimers that I play are members of the zither family, not to be confused with the hammered dulcimer, which is a trapezoid-shaped percussion instrument


the difference between rhythm and timing

the difference between rhythm and timing in music

In music, timing and rhythm are two completely different things.  This issue has cropped up a few times on my workshops, so I created this blog post to help to explain the difference between two.  Clarity for me came when I considered the difference between a timing change and a rhythm change within the same piece of music.  So, as well as defining the terms, I have included in this blog examples from my dulcimer repertoire of both type of changes.


Making Music

practical tips for aspiring musicians 

these helpful hints are presented here as they were published in the British monthly magazines MK Pulse and NN Pulse from March 2021 


performance skills

The following notes are based on the handout from my performance skills workshop.  The focus of my workshops was to build confidence as well as competence, so these notes are necessarily focused on the psychological aspects.  A workshop is undoubtedly a better way to learn about performance skills than an essay, nonetheless these notes might prove useful to you.  The techniques herein are powerful and have been deployed over decades to thousands of students with excellent results.     


mixolydian mode – major or minor ?

the mixolydian mode – is it a major or minor scale ?

those of you who are familiar with my music will know that I play modal folk melodies and I have also composed pieces in various modes

I used to think of the modes as all being minor scales, except Ionian of course – recently however, several people have told me that the mixolydian mode is a major scale

this did not sit comfortably with me as the Mixolydian scale sounds minor to me – so I asked 3 highly qualified musicians that I regularly work with to shed some light on the matter

this blog post shows my initial question, their fascinating answers and my updated view now


my approach to the dulcimer

my approach to the dulcimer ~ or why I play in DAA

I am often asked why I play mostly in DAA, rather than today’s more dominant DAD tuning.  Whilst I enjoy many benefits from DAA, and there are many, the real reason is not just about the pros and cons of DAA vs DAD, but about the configuration of the instrument itself.  This article aims to explain that configuration and thus the approach I have to the dulcimer.


voice workshops


For many years I ran a weekend voice workshop called Everyone Can Sing.  It was a large part of my life, not just in time and income but in how profoundly rewarding the work was and how much it changed me as a teacher and group leader, as a singer and performer and also as a human being.  From undertaking this work, I documented several essays about the methods used – about respect, criticism & confidence and about community development.  Those essays were published on my previous music website, which is no longer online.  So here is a very short precis with a few typical student quotes, as a taster of this important work.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more.

‘this has been an outstanding course with an outstanding tutor who use a unique process that ensures success for everyone involved – it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this incredible weekend’


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