Class descriptions

 Spring 2018 Class Descriptions and Schedule

To download a copy of the Spring 2018  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:  Jan 28, Feb. 4, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, Mar. 4, Mar. 25, Apr. 8, Apr. 15, Apr. 22, Apr. 29.  There is also a make-up day scheduled for May  6, in the event a class is cancelled due to weather or teacher unavailability.   Class times are listed on the last page.
  • Classes are taught primarily in the traditional method, by ear, so students should remember to bring a recording device! 

Fiddle – Jeanne Freeman  

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 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.

NEW! Advanced youth fiddle – (5 weeks only:  Feb. 4, Mar. 4, Mar. 25, Apr. 15, Apr. 29) – For youth fiddlers ready to move beyond the “Beginner Irish” level.   Students should be comfortable learning one or more tunes between classes in their own practice time and come to class prepared to play them.  Class time will emphasize executing tunes with good ornamentation, timing, tempo, bowing, intonation and phrasing, and how to practice effectively.  We will also touch on common keys and modes in Irish music, and why certain tunes pair well.    If time allows, we will also explore regional differences in traditional Irish fiddle styles.

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

Whistle and Flute – Ellen Redman

Beginner whistle – For those who have never before played 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 whistle and flute (Irish or silver) – 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 (9 weeks only; class meets all days EXCEPT Feb. 11)

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.

Youth ceili band class – John Whelan (5 weeks only; class meet on Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, Apr. 8, April 22)

For young people who are  intermediate or beyond in skills – John works intensively with students to help build their ability to play in tight unison with good phrasing, ornamentation and musicality, with the goal of developing skills to compete in regional fleadh competitions.   John will be teaching via Skype this fall (assisted by Jeanne in class), with the possibility of an additional in-class workshop Dec. 3 if his touring schedule allows.

NEW! Tunes with Damien and Jeanne – Damien Connolly and Jeanne Freeman – Dates/times TBD

Damien and Jeanne will gather their younger students together for some occasional informal sessions to foster fun, friendship, and musical collaboration among the next generation of Irish traditional players in Connecticut.  Damien is an All-Ireland champion and highly regarded player and teacher of both fiddle and accordion and has taught at the Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Swannanoah Gathering and many other Irish music camps.  This is a great opportunity for our young people to form connections and friendships with other young musicians around CT who play Irish trad! Due to logistics and geography, these will be scheduled on a flexible basis during the fall session outside of the usual Academy hours and location.  For more information, please contact Jeanne directly.

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.

NEW! Songs in the Tradition – Claudine Langille (Class meets 8 weeks: Feb. 4, Feb. 25, Mar. 4, Mar. 25, Apr. 8, Apr. 15, Apr. 22, Apr. 29)

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

(3 workshops on Saturdays,  Feb. 10, Mar. 24, Apr. 7)

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 2:00-2:45 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 2:45-3:30 p.m.). 

Probable Course Times (all Sundays except Bodhran and Tunes with Damien/Jeanne)*:

Time Studio A (on right) Studio B (on left) Saturdays Other
11:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m. Absolute beginner fiddle I  Beginner flute/whistle
12:15-1:00 p.m. Intermediate fiddle Intermediate flute/ whistle
1:00-1:45 p.m. Beginner fiddle II Mixed instrument slow session
1:45-2:30 p.m. Beginner Irish fiddle  Mandolin/ tenor banjo/ guitar, TBD**
2:30-3:30 p.m. Youth ceili band (check dates)
2:30-3:15 p.m. Advanced youth fiddle (check dates) Mandolin/ tenor banjo/ guitar, TBD**
3:15-4:00  p.m. Songs in the Tradition, TBD
2-2:45 p.m.  Beg. Bodhran
2:45-3:30 pm  Int. Bodhran
Tunes with Damien and Jeanne:  Date/location TBD;  please contact us for more info!

*Times may be subject to some adjustments based on final enrollment; students will be notified of any changes if this occurs.

**We will create the best programming based on students’ levels and needs.

A class may be subject to cancellation if fewer than 3 students enroll.  Thanks for your cooperation and flexibility.