In August of 2005, she discovered the hammered dulcimer at the age of 12 and she was a natural talent. She began studying with Sherri Farley of Sandwich, Illinois and in 2007, she recieved a Master Apprentice grant through the Illinois Arts Council to study hammered dulcimer with Bill Robinson, a third generation, nationally recognized master of the instrument. At that point, Alison decided to put her mountain dulcimer playing aside and focus her efforts on the hammered dulcimer. She recieved a second Master/Apprentice grant in 2008 and continues to study with Mr. Robinson regularly.
Alison has adopted a unique method of playing dulcimer from Bill Robinson which includes playing with flexible hammeres crafted from corset stays. Typically she plays standing up with her dulcimer tipped down and away. In addition, her instrument is tuned to "Robinson" tuning which differs quite a bit from a standard tuned instrument.
Alison's career on the hammered dulcimer has included a multitude of performaces at a range of events including weddings, corporate functions, hospitals, festivals and more. Along with countless small events, she has been a featured performer at several notable events listed below. Her studies with Bill Robinson have allowed her the oppurtunity of playing at festivals and events throughout the country. Her solo endeavors have also earned her the respect of fellow musicians and dulcimer players and her love and curiosity for music has encouraged her to begin studying other instruments including bass and guitar.
In September of 2009 Alison travelled to Winfield, Kansas to compete in the National Hammered Dulcimer Chanpionships and was awarded 3rd place among 13 contestants. Her winnings included a trophy and a new dulcimer crafted by Mike Huddleson. For her it was an honor to be recognized nationally and have her traditional style of playing recieve such high praise. Traditional music on the hammered dulcimer is easy to come by, but difficult to master. Alison plays with impecable timing, technical accuracy and an infusion of "fun" that makes her style unique and incredibly enjoyable.