Class descriptions

 Spring 2020 Class Descriptions and Schedule

To download a copy of the Spring 2020  Class Descriptions and Schedule:  [Click here for a PDF version]   [Click here for a word document]

Welcome!  Classes will meet on the following Sundays (431 Hartford Avenue, Wethersfield)  unless otherwise indicated:  February 9 and 23rd; March 1 and 29; April 5, 19, 26.  Class times are listed on the last page. 

  • Classes are taught primarily in the traditional method, by ear, so remember to bring a recording device!  

Fiddle – Jeanne Freeman  (all dates except April 5 – see below for special fiddle workshops with Tony DeMarco)

Absolute beginner fiddle I – For those with no prior experience on fiddle,  this class will emphasize the skills needed to learn the basics of how to hold and play the fiddle, and begin to play simple tunes.

Beginner fiddle II – For those who have completed the Absolute Beginner I class, but are not yet ready to move up to the intermediate/advanced class.  Emphasis will be on continuing to strengthen skills covered in the prior class, and building a repertoire of tunes.

Beginner Irish fiddle – For students who have played the violin/fiddle for at least a year but wish to develop Irish fiddling style and technique.  Emphasis will be on building a repertoire of session tunes and introducing bowings and ornamentations. 

Intermediate/Advanced Irish fiddle – For those who know some Irish fiddle but are working on expanding their repertoire, ornamentation, and developing their bowing style.

NEW – Fiddle workshops with Tony DeMarco –  A Century of Traditional Irish Music in NYC –  April 5 ONLY!

Intermediate, 11:45-1:15 p.m. – This class will focus on building technique, and will use a few exemplary tunes as vehicles to explore key concepts in bowing, with emphasis on how to use the bow to help phrasing and flow of each tune.  The class will also touch on ornamentation, including bowed and fingered triplets, and suggestions for where to place ornamentation.  Tony will focus on tunes from the repertoire of the great fiddlers of NYC from the past century, including some unique settings of common tunes.

Advanced, 1:30-3:00 p.m.  – This class will focus on the points covered in the intermediate class, but will expand on that to include particular discussion of  how to improvise within a tune to make it more interesting, yet remain in the tradition.  Tony will focus on tunes composed by the past masters of the tradition in NYC.    

Whistle and Flute – Ellen Redman

Beginner whistle – For those just starting to play the whistle or flute.  The class will focus on learning all the notes on the instrument in preparation to learning some basic tunes.  This is also a good beginner class for those who have never played but who are interested in eventually moving on to Irish flute or uillean pipes. 

Intermediate/Advanced whistle and flute  – For those who have at least a year of experience playing the whistle or flute (either silver or Irish).  Common session tunes will be taught, along with ornamentation and tone production and breathing.

Mandolin/Tenor Banjo/Guitar – Claudine Langille   

Beginner and Intermediate –  We will create the specific programming (classes or possibly some private or semi-private lessons) based on students’ needs and ability levels – so please contact us if you are interested and we will arrange the schedule.  Beginners will learn the basics of the instruments, including basic chords and melody structures; you’ll be playing away in no time! For Intermediates, the emphasis will be on growing your repertoire, improving your ear, and spicing up your ornamentation. 

Intermediate slow session for mixed instruments – Claudine Langille

Some experience on your instrument is required; emphasis will be on developing skills and confidence to play in a session (learning tunes by ear, familiarity with keys and modes, tunes types, building sets, and basic “session etiquette”).  This class will literally function as a slow-paced session with a number of new tunes being played each week and past tunes being revisited. 

Songs in the Tradition – Claudine Langille (Class meets all dates EXCEPT NO CLASS Feb. 9)  

In this class, we’ll sing a variety of songs that are embraced by the Irish tradition, ranging from pure a capella ballads, to pub chorus songs with harmonies, to contemporary songs composed by trad singers, with arrangements for instruments. All welcome who like to sing!

Bodhran  – Mary Gardner (Class meets 3 times only, on Feb. 9, Feb. 23, March 29)

Beginner –  For absolute beginners as well as those with limited experience.  This class will focus on learning basic rhythms and patterns for jigs, reels, polkas, and slip jigs, and well as proper tipper technique.  (Meets 3-3:45 p.m)

Intermediate  Students with previous experience will focus on incorporating the left hand to explore the tonal aspects of the bodhran.  We will also learn how to accompany tunes in sessions with a focus on playing musically.  (Meets 3:45-4:30 p.m.).

Course Times (all Sundays): 



Studio A (on right)

Studio B (on left)


11:00 a.m.-12:00


Absolute beginner fiddle I

Beginner whistle


12:00-1:00 p.m.


Intermediate fiddle

Intermediate flute and whistle


1:00- 2:00 p.m.


Beginner fiddle II

Mixed instrument slow session


2:00-3:00 p.m.


Beginner Irish fiddle

Songs in the Tradition


3-3:45 p.m.

Beg. Bodhran

(check dates)


3:00-4:00 p.m.


 Mandolin/Banjo/Guitar times TBD


3:45-4:30 p.m.


Int. Bodhran

(check dates)


4:00-4:30 p.m.


Mandolin/Banjo/Guitar times TBD


11:45 am-1:15

(April 5 only)

Intermediate Workshop –  

 Tony DeMarco


1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

(April 5 only)

Advanced Workshop –  Tony DeMarco


 *Times may be subject to some adjustments based on final enrollment; students will be notified of any changes if this occurs.  A class may be subject to cancellation if fewer than 3 students enroll.  Thanks for your cooperation and flexibility.  

**We will create the programming based on students’ levels and needs.  Private or semi-private lessons may be 30 minutes, larger groups will be 45-60 minutes.

Questions?  Contact Jeanne: