Teaching Events and Summer/Winter Schools

Below is a list of teaching events and summer/winter schools that provide tuition and learning opportunities. Some are week long "festival" type events, while others are more "school" based.

Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, New York State

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason have combined a Fiddle Camp and a Dance Camp to create a place where you can enjoy total immersion in music, dancing or both. Each of their programs offer an exceptional staff of instructors offering in depth classes and workshops, dance parties, jam sessions, song swaps, and great food!

Website: Ashokan Fiddle and Dance camps

Augusta Heritage Centre, West Virginia

Augusta Heritage Center is a non-profit organization known nationally and internationally for its activities relating to traditional folklife and folk arts of many regions and cultures.

Augusta Heritage Center is best known for intensive week-long workshops that attract several hundred participants annually. Thousands more attend our public concerts, dances, and festivals. Augusta’s full-time staff, plus volunteers, seasonal staff, and work-study students, produce a great variety of quality workshops. These world-renowned workshops and festivals have brought together master artists, musicians, dancers, craftspeople, and enthusiasts of all ages. Examples of week long workshops include "Bluegrass Week", "Old-Time Week", "Guitar Week", "Vocal Week" and many more!

Website: Augusta Heritage Centre

Baring-Gould Folk Song School

The folk arts development charity Wren Music invites you to take a week out in beautiful rural west Devon working on your voice and song development at the Baring-Gould Folk Song School. Set in the village of Bridestowe, the Folk Song School gives you the chance to experience being part of a passionate singing community, and meet like-minded people from across the country.

You will have the opportunity to plan your own way through the week, balancing your own programme from the three main strands:
Developing Technique warming up; finding your own voice; breathing; pitching; phrasing; ornamentation; creating your own harmonies
Developing Repertoire searching the archive; collation of text and tunes; putting tunes to words (and vice versa); arranging; using harmony effectively; accompaniment
Developing Performance Skills identifying opportunities to sing away from the clubs; using modern PA systems; building confidence; overcoming nerves; relaxation; telling the story.

Tuition is in large and small groups, as well as one-to-one, and is complemented by discussions, informal evening talks and events in a variety of local venues - including pubs! There is an extensive library of resources and materials, including copies of the full Baring-Gould folk song archive.

The Baring-Gould folk song archive is one of the most significant collections of Westcountry vocal traditions from the Victorian era. Sabine Baring-Gould undertook the first serious attempt to collect the traditional songs of the English peasantry and workers, in West Devon. The full extent of his research work was only realised in 1992, when his personal manuscripts were discovered at Devon’s Killerton House. Alongside the 650 songs, further finds have made the collection even more comprehensive. Wren Music is now the guardian of this amazing archive.

Website: Baring-Gould Folk Song School

Blazin' in Beauly

Blazin’ in Beauly was started by the band Blazin’ Fiddles in the historic village of Beauly, 15 miles west of Inverness. With the aim of being “much more than a fiddle school” the intention of the week in Beauly is to immerse people in the music of the Highlands and Islands. You get the chance to work with world class performers; but the instruction is only a part of the week - the sessions, the talks, the concerts and the craic all add up to make Blazin’ in Beauly one of the foremost fiddle events in the UK.

Website: Blazin' in Beauly

Border Gaitherin, Coldstream

This annual event continues to build on its reputation for providing exceptional traditional music workshops, concerts and sessions. 'The Border Gaitherin' of tutors and performers provides an exciting and inspirational blend of youth, experience, tremendous skill and internationally renowned artists.

Website: Border Gaitherin

Carmel Gunning Classes of Traditional Music and Song, Sligo

Carmel Gunning Classes of Traditional Music and Song
Sligo Town, Ireland
held all year round
Enquires: 0876250454. Email: carmelgunn09@gmail.com.

Cecil Sharp House - Summer Term Workshops

There are a number of workshops that run at Cecil Sharp House in London over the summer, both for adults and for children. Booking is required.

For more information email education@efdss.org or tel 020 7485 2206

Ceolas, South Uist

Ceòlas is a music and dance summer school featuring expert tuition in piping, fiddling, singing, Scotch reels and Quadrilles, step dancing and the Gaelic language. It is set within the Gaelic-speaking community of South Uist. Ceòlas explores the vital connections between Scottish traditional music, Gaelic song and dance while allowing ample opportunity for participants to enjoy all these art forms in cèilidhs and in homes, the places which fostered them. Though focusing on Hebridean tradition, Ceòlas also has a strong Cape Breton dimension. Gaelic culture taken to Cape Breton (Nova Scotia, Canada) by emigrants from the Gaidhealtachd nearly 200 years ago survived there in relative isolation. Now, Ceòlas provides a unique opportunity to bring it all ‘back home'. Celebration of cultural links between music, song and dance, and across the Atlantic, is the School's hallmark.

Website: Ceolas

Common Ground on the Hill, Maryland

Common Ground on the Hill was founded on the premise that there is a common human thread unifying all people expressed in our various artistic traditions. Their mission is to make this thread a path towards human understanding, tolerance, fulfillment, and enjoyment.

The embodiment of this path will be a music and arts community where master musicians, artists, craftspeople, and creative thinkers will provide a quality learning experience for an audience which we will endeavor to increase in size, diversity, and influence. It is essential to the success of this mission that the artists, teachers, and students, reflect local, national, and international communities.

Common Ground is made up of two "Tradition Weeks" of workshops, classes, dances, art exhibits, and concerts on the beautiful campus of McDaniel College in central Maryland, a two-day, four-stage "Roots Music and Arts Festival" held on the 80-acre circa 1850's Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, Maryland, and a "Roots Music Concert Series", with concerts each month from September through April at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster, Maryland.

Website: Common Ground on the Hill

Dordogne Irish Music Week

Martin Vallely is a noted irish composer,songwriter and multi-instrumentalist coming from a rich line of Irish musicians.

Martin is offering a week long course to musicians, aspiring musicians and complete beginners who wish to improve their knowledge,playing and singing of Irish music in a relaxed and holiday-like environment. To this end Martin has hired excellent teachers of irish music and song who will spend the week imparting their knowledge and skills to students of the course [LES STAGIARES!]. It is held in Chateau de Monteton situated in the historic region of Aquitaine in South West France! Chateau de Monteton is a genuine twelfth century castle perched on a hill-side overlooking the magnificent Vallee du dropt.

All traditional instruments will be covered on the course incl, Guitar,Banjo,Bodhran [Irish drum],Accordion, Concertina, Fiddle and many more.....
Singing will also be a very important facet of the course as well as Irish Dancing.[Remember RIVERDANCE?]
Martin also plans to hold a "CEILI" [Irish Party] during the course which will involve much dancing and merriment.
Performances and Masterclasses from visiting teachers will be included but the emphasis will be on student
development and performance.

For more info see Dordogne Irish Music Week

Dulcimerville, North Carolina

A Week-long Celebration of the Mountain Dulcimer with great player-teachers, classes for all skill levels, concerts, field trip, jams, and outdoor beauty in a scenic mountain setting in North Carolina.

This event in June brings together some of the world's best mountain dulcimer player/teachers with all levels of mountain dulcimer students, from brand new beginners who come to discover the instrument, to accomplished players honing their skills and repertoire. A Mountain Dulcimer Building course is also an option!

Website: Dulcimerville

Edinburgh International Harp Festival

Organised by the Clarsach Society, this weeklong harp extraveganza is crammed full of all things harpy! Including concerts and recitals from some of the best players on the scene, classes on how to join in with sessions, courses on all different styles of harping, workshops on self-care for the harpist, to how to maintain and care for your harp.

See the website at Edinburgh International Harp Festival

English Acoustic Collective Summer School

The EAC continues its holistic approach to traditional music making at Ruskin Mill, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. 17 places are available for a week designed to engage instrumentalists from all backgrounds and levels in the development of their own style.

The course will be led by Rob Harbron and Miranda Rutter, with Chris Wood as guest tutor, and the emphasis will be on creative and individual interpretation of traditional music and new composition. Further information including a downloadable application form can be found at EAC

Frankie Kennedy Winter School, Co Donegal

Frankie Kennedy, born in Belfast in 1955, became one of Ireland's best known traditional flute players through his work with the band Altan which he managed and founded with his partner Mairáad Ní Mhaonaigh. Frankie and Mairáad set the seeds for Altan with their ground breaking album Ceol Aduaidh on the Gael Linn label.

Frankie, a naturally gifted teacher and communicator, was part of a robust wave of young Northern flute players who came to the fore in the '70s '80s. Like his contemporaries, Frankie drew inspiration from the older generation of Ulster musicians and singers.

'Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy' was established in December 1994 following Frankie's untimely death from cancer in September of that year. The school's vision is to continue his huge contribution to Irish traditional music, especially the music and song of Donegal.

With concerts, classes, lectures, sessions and much more, this week long winter school is a firm fixture in the Irish festival calendar.

Website: Frankie Kennedy Winter School

Fèisean nan Gàidheal

This is an organisation which supports the development of community-based Gaelic arts tuition festivals throughout Scotland. There are lots of events happening all over Scotland throughout the year.

For more details see: Fèisean nan Gàidheal

Hands on Music Weekends, Oxford

Held in Witney, Oxford, HANDS ON MUSIC WEEKENDS are an opportunity to develop your musical skills and find out more about styles and musical traditions. Courses are held for concertina, melodeon, accordion, strings and village music. The courses are for people who already have a basic competence on their instrument (see below on Ability Levels). To help students get the most out of the weekend, a music pack is sent beforehand, containing some of the material the tutors will be using during the weekend and other advice on preperation. Students register in advance for two course units, one for each day, giving alternative choices in case either group is full.

Website: Hands on Music

Hebridean Tunes

A teaching event in the Outer Hebrides. It is a four day long programme which offers music workshops by Angus Nicolson Trio and the students and staff of the BA Applied Music of Lews Castle College in Benbecula. Additionally, there will be ceilidh dancing and step dancing workshops, excursions to explore the beautiful islands of the Uists and a taster session of Gaelic language; a great experience of the Hebrides.

For more info see: Hebridean Tunes Website

Joe Mooney Summer School, Co Leitrim

This summer school takes place in Drumshanbo, a small picturesque town situated in the very heart of County Leitrim, Ireland. It is a week long traditional festival of music, song and dance named after the man who did so much to promote the cause of Leitrim and his beloved town.

The committee continue to emulate his high ideals, endeavouring to promote Leitrim's heritage of traditional music, while handing on the best traditions of the past to future generations.

Classes are open to people of all ages with some previous experience, although beginners are welcome to the set dancing, tin whistle and bodhrán classes.

In addition to the classes and workshops there are recitals, ceilithe, lectures, and open air music events. The impromptu music sessions, the natural beauty of the Drumshanbo area and the traditional 'ceád míle fáilte' hospitality of County Leitrim provide an unforgettable week for all those who participate in the classes and also for those who just visit the town to be part of the experience!

Website: Joe Mooney Summer School

La Fuente Old-Time Music Week

La Fuente Old-Time Music Week is a week of sharing and learning Traditional American music and Bluegrass. The event takes place in a beautiful retreat completely off-grid in the mountains of south-eastern Spain, where all accommodation, food and facilities are included.

Students and teachers live together on-site for the week and the small size of the event means everyone gets to play and jam with everyone else should they wish to. In addition to a daily programme of workshops students have the opportunity for one-to-one sessions with teachers.

The teachers are some of the world’s finest exponents of Old-Time American and Bluegrass music. A sample of them includes:

Alice Gerrard, the Grammy Award nominee who has been a seminal influence in both old-time and Bluegrass singing and is legendary for her early work with Hazel Dickens and her work in supporting and preserving old-time country music.

Beverly Smith, one of the most respected guitar players in old time music today, who is also in great demand as a singer, fiddler, and dance caller.

Carl Jones, whose songs have been recorded by The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins with Tony Rice, and others. In the 1980's he played mandolin with James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake as part of the Rising Fawn String Ensemble.

Dave Bing, West Virginia's master old-time and bluegrass fiddler and multi-instrumentalist, who is widely recognised as one of the most influential and knowledgeable tradition-bearers in the US.

There are two La Fuente Music Weeks every year, in the spring and the autumn. The dates usually fall in mid-May and early October.

More information and enrollment can be found at the La Fuente website or through kate@katelissauer.com .

Northumbria Piping Week

A Northumbrian Smallpipes residential course suitable for all playing levels (including absolute beginners) based in the licensed Northumbria Hotel in Whitley Bay, with guest tutors and performers.

For more info email susan@northumbriansandpipers.com

Northumbrian Music Workshops - by Andrew & Margaret Watchorn

These are a series of concerts and workshops on the music of North Northumberland, held in various locations in the North of England throughout the summer. Players of any melody instruments are welcome to join in the workshops, and to play the tunes they’ve learned in the evening concerts if they feel brave enough!

For more info see their website or phone 01665 576245

O'Carolan Harp Festival and Summer School, Co Roscommon

The Festival held in honour of the famous Harper and composer Turlough O'Carolan includes Concerts, Set Dancing Céilís, Harp Recitals, Lectures and Music sessions.

Harpers and traditional musicians world wide are now coming in big numbers to Keadue, Co Roscommon, for the August Bank Holiday Festival.

Website: O'Carolan Harp Festival & Summer School

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is committed to being a centre of excellence for the development and enhancement of the Gaelic language, culture and heritage, by providing quality educational, training and research opportunities through the medium of Scottish Gaelic; and by interacting innovatively with individuals, communities and businesses, to contribute to social, cultural and economic development.

The ability to use Gaelic as a medium of study and communication is widely recognised as being of educational value. In addition to personal fulfilment, competence in the language is an asset desirable for a range of career opportunities. From week-long courses to Honours degrees, the courses provided by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig are both practical and relevant, and study at the College can equip students with the transferable skills and knowledge that will ensure a bright and successful future.

Website: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Sandpipers Fiddle Week

Organised by "Northumbrians And Pipers", this is a 5 day non-residential fiddle course for confident beginners to advanced players, held in Northumberland.

For more information email info@northumbriansandpipers.com

Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh, Co Kerry

This is a 5 day traditional music school held in Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula (Co. Kerry, Ireland)during February each year.

It pays particular attention to the music, style and songs local to the Corca Dhuibhne peninsula in Co. Kerry, Ireland.

Local, national and international musicians come to entertain and inspire people with their music. Learners and their freinds from far and wide attend the classes for the various instruments, for singing or dancing and to taste of the area's living tradition while attending the Scoil.

See their website: Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh

Shetland Fiddle Frenzy

More than just a fiddle school, this is a celebration of the music and the musicians that have made Shetland one of the world's most highly acclaimed fiddle playing regions.

Website: Shetland Fiddle Frenzy

Swannanoa Gathering, North Carolina

This is a series of summer workshops in various folk arts held on the campus of Warren Wilson College near Asheville in the heart of North Carolina's beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Each week also features public concerts.

With a limited enrollment and an 'open' format which allows each student to select their own curriculum from a variety of courses, they offer an intimate, supportive community experience for students of all abilities, featuring a staff of some of the finest performers and teachers in the world.

Website: Swannanoa Gathering

Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, California

The Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School in the northern California redwoods holds a week of intensive study, recreation, and good times with people who share an interest in the music and dance traditions of Scotland. In the beautiful setting of Camp Campbell in the Santa Cruz mountains, fiddlers of all ages and levels of musical experience choose from daily workshops on Scottish and related fiddle styles. Additional classes are offered in dancing, singing, mandolin, percussion, and piano, guitar, and cello accompaniment for fiddle tunes. Cello, piano, mandolin and guitar classes are designed for intermediate to advanced level players.

Alasdair Fraser is the Director of the camp, and is well known as a concert artist, dance fiddler and fiddle teacher throughout his native Scotland and the United States.

Website: Valley of the Moon

Whitby Folk Week

This long-standing celebration of the traditional music, dance and song of the British Isles has taken on the trappings of a tradition in its own right. With over 600 events covering workshops, concerts, singarounds, dances, sessions, street entertainment and the extensive ‘fringe’ events that blossom spontaneously, Folk Week is a well established and loved festival.

Whitby itself is filled with examples of its rich and colourful heritage. From the Jet Workshop to the Dracula Experience via Captain Cook's cottage and the ruined Abbey dominating the cliff tops above the town, there is culture and tradition in abundance. Folk Week could not have a better setting.

For the ‘inner person’ there are many excellent restaurants, cafes and bars, real-ale pubs, and the best fish and chips in the northern hemisphere. And all this can be digested in the company of some of the finest musicians and singers in the British Isles.

Website: Whitby Folk Week

Willy Clancy Summer School, Co Clare

"Willie Clancy was one of Ireland's foremost traditional musicians and through his expertise enjoyed an international reputation. Visitors who came to this country in pursuit of our native music invariably knew of this great piper and many of them visited him in Miltown Malbay. He had a storm of knowledge on Irish folklore and his love of Irish traditional music was exceeded only by his love of the Irish language." The Clare Champion, 2 February 1973

The Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy is Ireland's largest traditional music summer school, held annually since 1973 in memory of the piper Willie Clancy. During the week, nearly a thousand students from every part of the world attend daily classes taught by experts in Irish music and dance. In addition, a full program of lectures, recitals, dances (céilithe) and exhibitions are run by the summer school.

All events are held in and near Miltown Malbay in County Clare starting on the first Saturday in July. Registration for music and dance classes takes place on Saturday and Monday. The registration fee of €140 Euro, £130 Sterling or $250 US includes six classes, all lectures and recitals (except the Saturday concert) and reduced price admission to céilithe. Weekly registration only. Lectures, recitals, concert and céilithe are open to the public.

Website: Willie Clancy Summer School