Workshop Descriptions by Teacher

Winifred Horan: Irish Fiddle

Bow Work (All Levels): A look at Bowing Patterns and Bowing Techniques 

Left Hand Technique for Fiddlers (All Levels)

A Look at Ornaments in Traditional Irish Fiddle (All Levels)

Let's Discuss Tone - A Look At Producing A Rich Tone on the Fiddle (All Levels)

Rhythm and Feel in Irish Music (All Levels)

Classic Session Tunes for Irish Fiddle (All Levels)  


Ontario Style Fiddle (Ottawa Valley Style) - Adv. Beg/Intermediate

Ontario Style Fiddle (Ottawa Valley Style) - Intermediate/Advanced

Bluegrass Fiddle Tunes - Adv. Beg/Intermediate

Bluegrass/Swing Improvisation - Intermediate/Advanced

Ornament and improvise around Celtic melodies - All levels

Cross Canada tour: Regional fiddle styles in Canada including Ottawa Valley, Quebecois, Metis, Canadian Old-time and Cape Breton (All levels)

You will learn one or two tunes in each of the workshops described above.  

KYLE WAYMOUTH: Guitar & Stepdancing

Intro to Drop D Accompaniment: For those with no experience with Drop D tuning (not to be confused with DADGAD), we’ll get a grasp of basic chord shapes and how to apply them to tunes!  May also be the odd tidbit of how to understand the fretboard better when constructing chords or finding notes! Adv Beg/Int

Drop D Accompaniment II: If you have some experience with Drop D or are also taking the Intro course, we’ll take some time in constructing moving bass lines and learn more difficult voicings with Drop D tuning. Int/Adv

Fancy Chords in Drop D: More likely just a continuation of the Accompaniment II course, here we’ll reinforce some of the ideas in that lesson as well as get into shapes for more swing/jazz chords in Drop D for those that really want to stretch their fingers.  Int/Adv

Picking Melodies: To break away from our accompaniment, we’ll learn to pick a melody or two and take the time to identify the chords that could be played with that melody.   Int/Adv

Intro to Canadian Step Dancing: If you’re looking for a bit more of a workout during your time at camp, come try out Step Dancing!  We’ll start with the basic terminology and work our way into a quick routine by the end of the class.  ALL LEVELS

Canadian Step Dancing II:  If you’re looking to try step dancing and you’ve taken the Intro class OR you have prior experience with Tap or Clogging, we’ll get into some more difficult steps and get a sweat on!  ALL LEVELS

Joe Walsh: Mandolin

Easy tunes that sound good on solo mandolin - We all play by ourselves at home quite a lot. It's always nice to find a tune or two that can sound like a complete story while played on one mandolin. In this class we'll check out one or two of these. (beg/intermediate)

The Golden Eagle - the perfect learning vehicle - The Golden Eagle, a twisty tune played all over the country, is a great vehicle for learning about arpeggios, for working on non-diatonic sections, for checking out different ways to play triplets, and for working on our right hand string crossing chops. Plus it's a fun melody. We'll learn the tune, and then learn some larger concepts that the tune demonstrates.  (intermediate/advanced)

Dawg mandolin - David "Dawg" Grisman has written some of the most classic mandolin and string band melodies, and his tunes are loved and played everywhere. We'll learn a couple of the friendlier Dawg tunes. (intermediate/advanced)

Fingerboard layouts - We will develop our knowledge of fingerboard pathways, using arpeggios patterns, working towards being able to play a simple blues in every key. (intermediate)

Moveable and changeable chord shapes, or how G C and D can give you all the chords you'll ever need - The three simplest chord shapes (G C and D) that we learned way back when we first picked up the mandolin can be moved and modified to give us all other chords that we might eventually need. In this session we'll work on moving and changing these chords, working our way up being able to play chords on a simple jazz standard. 

Doublestops  - Doublestops (two note chords) are a huge part of the mandolin sound, and are hugely helpful in informing our knowledge of how and where to find chord tones. We'll learn some simple recurring patterns that will open up doublestop options to us in every key. (beg/intermediate)

Improvising on a fiddle tune - in this class we'll learn a simple diatonic fiddle tune, and then we will use this fiddle tune as a vehicle for exploring various ways of improvising melodically. (intermediate/advanced)


1. Working with time and groove in creative ways (intermediate/advanced): Good Rhythm is the most important part of being a musician, and everyone can make it better!

2. Right hand technique (intermediate/advanced): The bedrock of flatpicking!

3. How to learn tunes, solos and licks (all levels): Finding shortcuts for stealing ideas from your favorite recordings, and for learning tunes on the fly

4. Playing with other musicians (all levels): If you play bluegrass or folk music, it's gonna happen at some point!

5. How to map out the guitar fingerboard (intermediate/advanced): Demystifying the forest of all those lines and dots.

6. Tune writing workshop (intermediate/advanced): Today's brand new tunes are tomorrow's standards!


The bass workshops will largely be based on what the group would like to cover, so the following workshops are suggestions/ideas but are malleable. Please come with questions, topics, and anything else you are excited to learn!

1. Body-mechanics, posture, philosophy. What does it mean to be a bass player? Overview of what we would like to cover for the weekend.

2. Explorations in bass lines and time-keeping. Accompaniment styles and grooves important to backing fiddle tunes, discerning chord changes from a melody, different ways to feel the beat based on style, and more!

3. Bowing the bass! We'll cover anything from a basic introduction to using the bow to playing backup chords and melodies. Bring a bow if you've got one! If there is a lot of interest, we can do more than one session on bowing.

4. Strategies for practicing, especially for good rhythm and intonation

5. Right and left hand technique: how to play with more ease and fluidity (fingering choices, pizz styles, etc.)

6. Putting it all together. Any final topics anyone wants to cover!


Cross-key A tune from Ed Haley’s repertoire (Intermediate/Advanced): AEAE is a staple tuning in the Appalachian repertoire.  The fiddle feels open and vibrates freely.  Let’s learn one from the playing of Ed Haley (1885-1951), master fiddler originally from Logan County, West Virginia, but who spent most of his adult life in Kentucky.

Crooked tunes (Intermediate/Advanced): Narmour and Smith’s Charleston #1 was a hit in 1929.  Named for the town of Charleston, Mississippi, near where William T. ‘Willie’ Narmour lived, it was also recorded by Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts.  It’s a great example of a notey crooked tune and will be as much fun for us to count as to learn.

Dipping a toe into Kentucky tunes (Intermediate/Advanced): Kentucky is a deep source of wonderful old-time fiddlers and tunes.  William Stepp (1875-1957) is an important one, recorded in 1937 by Alan Lomax (and quoted by Aaron Copeland in the “hoe-down” section of Rodeo).  Let’s learn a William Stepp tune!!!  

Judy’s original waltzes: Judy recorded an album of her original waltzes with her dad in 2011, “Late Last Summer”.  (And she’s about to record two more with him.)  She will bring sheet music for a bunch of them, including some arrangements for 2 violins and more.  If there are enough readers in the group we’ll read through whatever we have time for.  If not, we’ll learn as many as we can by ear.  An expert accompanist will join us.

ADAM HURT: Banjo (Old Time)

The Round Peak Clawhammer Style of Kyle Creed (intermediate/advanced): learn some repertoire from this Surry County, North Carolina source musician and master of timing and tone! His characteristic use of the fifth string and other special moves as covered in this class' repertoire are tools that can enhance other tunes already in your repertoire.

Adapting Old-Time Fiddle Tunes to Clawhammer Banjo (intermediate/advanced): old-time fiddle and clawhammer banjo "speak" different dialects of the same musical language; in this class for banjo players, learn strategies for translating the fiddle's melodies and rhythms to your own instrument.

Introduction to "Sandy River Belle" Tuning (intermediate/advanced): learn the roadmap to this beautiful and traditional alternate tuning for the key of G: gEADE.

Review of Clawhammer Basics (advanced beginner/intermediate): brush up on the right- and left-hand fundamentals from the basic clawhammer rhythm to drop-thumb, pull-offs, hammer-ons, and slides through a series of fun exercises.

Be the Banjo Player in the Old-Time Trio (all levels): join Adam on fiddle and Beth on guitar and play a tune of your choice, at your preferred tempo, in a non-threatening environment with lots of feedback and suggestions on how to make these collaborations as successful as possible.

Use Scale "Maps" to Efficiently Locate Tunes (advanced beginner/intermediate): locate the relevant major scales in the double-C and open-G tunings and use these maps to make your tunes easier and more intuitive to play.

BEN KRAKAUER: Banjo (Bluegrass/Progressive)

Review of the bluegrass basics (adv. beg/intermediate): We’ll go over basic rolls patterns, chords positions, left hand ornaments, and a song or two.

Building a bluegrass repertoire (adv. beg/intermediate): Expand your bluegrass repertoire with this class, which will focus on fun and driving arrangements.

Backup on the banjo (all levels): Find ways to accompany other instrumentalists and singers. We’ll get creative with finding many different ways of backing up the same thing, often by incorporating interesting rhythms with simple techniques.

Playing chord progressions without shifting positions (intermediate/advanced): One way to get more comfortable with complicated chord progressions is by practicing within a single position. This helps with both playing chords and with soloing over changes. We'll also focus on using just three strings at a time, which can help navigating difficult progressions.

Playing melodies on a single string within a roll pattern (intermediate/advanced): Isolating melodies on a single string, within a roll, is one of the easiest ways to improvise while keeping the open, ringing banjo sound. We'll explore how to isolate the melody within each picking finger. We'll also explore how to apply different rhythms to rolling patterns, and how to create variations on these rhythms/rolls. This approach lets us adapt rhythms from any kind of music for rolling banjo.

Jazz Harmony (intermediate/advanced): We'll branch out from three-note chords to explore other types of harmony, including jazz chords with upper extensions, as well as other chords that include close interval clusters. This will introduce many voicings and concepts that can be applied in bluegrass, new acoustic, jazz and other contexts.

JOE CROOKSTON: Songwriting, Singing & Guitar

Guitar Tricks that Give Goosebumps: In this guitar workshop, we’ll discover new sonic ideas, chord variations and musical tricks for adding interest to your guitar playing. We’ll learn ways to present songs with more feeling, tonal color and explore alternate chord variations, melodic accompaniment, and fingerpicking techniques to make your songs shine.  We will deconstruct a song and build it back with new sounds and variations. This workshop is for all skill levels and will send you home with a grab bag of new ideas.

Extending Our Nuts - An Intro to Slide Guitar: In this SLIDE guitar workshop, we will discover the fretless greasy rhythmic aspect of slide guitar playing.  Metal nut extenders will be available for trial and purchase. We’ll practice right hand picking techniques, blues riffs, contemporary arrangement ideas, using fingerpicks, holding a steel slide, palming, vibrato and basic open chord shapes.  This workshop is open to all skill levels and can be a great experience for beginning players as well as advanced guitarists looking to try something different and inspire new sounds. Bring your guitar. There will be a limited number of nut extenders, fingerpicks and metal slides available for participants.

Intro to Fingerstyle Guitar:  Joe studied classical guitar in college from Cuban guitarist Jose Pochedley. He has made his living fingerpicking and singing his songs…In this workshop we’ll learn the basics of fingerstyle technique, healthy hand position, Travis-picking style, classical techniques, minimum movement, left hand hammer ons, pull offs and how to create a rhythmic pulse and melodic orchestra using strings and our fingers. We’ll play open tunings, blues and grow our ability to create bass, rhythm and lush sonic landscapes.

STRINGBAND - Join the Gravel Gertie Old Time String Band!: This workshop is all about us being a band…sitting in a circle, learning a couple tunes, honing the groove, tightening the melody and pulse and creating a full band sound.  Mandolins, fiddles, bass, banjo, guitar… You bring it together we will play it. This is a great workshop for those who love to jam with others and would like to grow their ability to play with an ensemble.  This workshop will be informative and FUN. We’ll talk about dynamics, when to lay low and when to play more, deep listening and locking in to the rest of the group. Tune up, rosin up and let’s make some joyful noise together!

The Art of Songwriting 1 & 2:  (That Isn’t Self-Absorbed Nonsense): Joe has made his living for 20 years writing and singing songs. He was given a Rockefeller Songwriting grant and was awarded Album of the Year from Folk Alliance International.  Based and rooted in traditional music, his songs are specific AND Universal. In these workshop we will write. You will journal and develop a song. We will explore imagery, nouns, subconscious association, metaphor and most of all, lyrical honesty. “Get to the point”. “Not a word wasted”. Songs come from you but they should be about ALL of US. This workshop will be a personal and musical exploration as we discover the John Prine, Towns Van Zandt and Gillian Welch inside you.  Bring instruments & notebooks.

DAVID SURETTE: Mandolin & Guitar

Celtic Mandolin (AdvBeg/Int): We will learn a reel and take a look at how to make it sound more Celtic, and the mandolin’s role in that genre. We’ll also work on some lovely-sounding accompaniment, with easy to play open fingerings, often treating the mando as a mini-bouzouki.

Mandolin Accompaniment for Celtic or Old-time music (Int/Adv): We will look at Rhythm approaches for accompanying old time tunes, a non-bluegrass, non-chop chord way of accompanying both fiddle tunes and songs.There is a fair amount of overlap between these two styles with this approach.

DADGAD for Fingerstyle Guitar (Int/Adv):: David is known as a leading player of Celtic fingerstyle guitar.This workshop will present an approach to fingerstyle playing and arranging of tunes and songs.

Old-Time Mandolin (Adv Beg/Int): Learn a couple great old-time Southern fiddle tunes, and how to make them come alive by focusing on simple, groove-based playing.   

Duo Playing and Singing with Susie Burke (All Levels): Susie & David will look at different approaches to developing vocal harmonies and instrumental arrangements, especially in a duo format.  Good for multiple instruments.

Folk/rock Repertoire (All Levels): Songs and guitar styles that focus on that 60s and 70s intersection of folk and rock. Come and play some classics with us!

Accompanying a Singer (Int/adv level): Learn how to play around, behind, and with a singer, providing support and variety without getting in the way! Come to class prepared to play. This will be taught on guitar and mandolin, but could also be applicable to other instruments. Taught with Susie Burke.

David and Susie will lead a Contradance/New England Jam during the weekend.

SUSIE BURKE: Singing & Guitar

Vocal Play:  Some singing involved but also vocal games, all in the spirit of saying YES and trying to no think too much, and just vocalize.  

The Upkeep of the Voice:  As we get older, we need a little more vocal upkeep than we used to, but warming up is a good idea for all. Come learn some vocal exercises to take home with you , and come sing a few songs as well.

Fingerpicking Guitar (Adv Beg): Song accompaniment with fingerstyle guitar.

Song interpretation:  How do you choose a song that suits you and your voice? How do you get the most out of it? Let’s talk and try together.

Duo Playing and Singing with Susie Burke (All Levels): Susie & David will look at different approaches to developing vocal harmonies and instrumental arrangements, especially in a duo format.  Good for multiple instruments.

Folk/rock Repertoire (All Levels): Songs and guitar styles that focus on that 60s and 70s intersection of folk and rock. Come and play some classics with us!

Accompanying a Singer (Int/adv level): Learn how to play around, behind, and with a singer, providing support and variety without getting in the way! Come to class prepared to play. This will be taught on guitar and mandolin, but could also be applicable to other instruments. Taught with Susie Burke.

Susie and David will lead a Contradance/New England Jam during the weekend.

ROSIE NEWTON: Old Time Fiddle

Old Time Fiddle - Ithaca’s ‘Highwoods String Band Style’ (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate): How to learn tunes by ear;  learn some basic fiddle rhythms and bowings found in Old Time music and learn a tune. 

Sing While Accompanying Yourself on Fiddle (All Levels): Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? If so, you may be enjoy this session. If not, you need to be there.

Making Music with Fiddle & Banjo (All Levels): Band Workshop with Richie (Stearns) & Rosie will discuss and demonstrate how they approach making music with fiddle, banjo and vocals.

Old Time Fiddle - Two Favorite Bowings for Old Time Fiddle (All Levels): Rosie will demonstrate a couple of her favorite bowing for playing old time fiddle music.


Being Richie: Old time banjo tips and techniques from Richie.

Banjo & Fiddle Duo: Richie & Rosie approach to creating their unique sound with banjo and fiddle.

AARON LIPP: Old Time Banjo & Bluegrass Guitar

Old Time Clawhammer Banjo (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate): The amazing Finger Lakes multi-instrumentalist Aaron Lipp will welcome banjoists to Falling Waters and present his approach for playing Clawhammer banjo. Suitable for all levels but tailored to those with less experience.

Flatpicking Guitar Duo Workshop:: Aaron will present a flat picking guitar workshop with Bobby Henrie and explore rhythm and lead guitar. They often perform as a duo all around the Finger Lakes region.

BOBBY HENRIE: Bluegrass & Swing Guitar

Flatpicking Guitar Duo Workshop:: Guitar phenom and Finger Lakes treasure Bobby Henrie will present a flat picking guitar workshop with Aaron Lipp and explore rhythm and lead guitar. They often perform as a duo all around the Finger Lakes region.

Django Band Workshop: Bobby will perform and discuss the music of Django Rheinhart with one of his bands, the Djangoners with Eric and Harry Aceto.

TIM BALL: Fiddle & Guitar

Fiddle technique (all levels): Roughly speaking, “technique” means “how to use your instrument efficiently, to help the music you like to play sound good.” Bowing, tone, intonation, shifting, dexterity, and rhythm are all potential topics - bring difficulties and questions! This will be a mini-lesson session or a workshop depending on interest.

Two fiddles (Int/Adv): Learn some of the many ways that two fiddle players can have fun playing together - unison playing, harmonies, accompaniment textures, and rhythmic techniques. come experiment with us!

New England Fiddle Tunes (Int/Adv): Learn a couple of classic New England fiddle tunes, along with some stylistic elements that make them sound great and work well for contra dancing.

Sligo-style Irish Fiddle Tunes (Int): Learn a couple of tunes from the Co. Sligo/New York City tradition of Irish fiddle playing. We’ll put a lot of emphasis on bowing patterns, and introduce/review some basic Irish ornamentation.

DAVE DAVIES: Singing, Vocal Improv & Harmony

Vocal Improv (Open to all): Through various informal and fun excercises ranging in styles, the vocal improviser in each participant will be discovered and freed, so that they can apply this new raging talent to all endeavors! Participants should prepare to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment with fun excercises using swing, blues, gospel, funk, and totally free grooves.

Swing Harmony (Int-adv): Add to your harmony-singing toolbox in this class about swing harmony Ala Lambert Hendricks and Ross, The Andrew Sisters and others. We will take a simple song or two and add some colorful notes (6ths, 9ths etc) to get the sounds that compliment standard swing songs.

Swing Band (All Levels): Join the Falling Waters swing band and arrange a song or two with rhythm, riffs, solos and vocals. 


Basic Banjo Rolls Blown Sky High (Adv Beg/Int): We will look at 4 or 5 basic rolls and see how some minor variations open up infinite possibilities.  Open to all all levels of expertise, but it would be good to have these rolls "in your pocket":  Forward roll (TMTIMTIM),  Alternating Thumb (TITM),  Forward Backward  (TIMTMITM, Foggy Mt. Roll (IMTMTIMT), G lick roll - sometimes called forward forward backw
Paul Fairbank’s Workshop Descriptions

Basic Banjo Rolls Blown Sky High (Adv Beg/Int): We will look at 4 or 5 basic rolls and see how some minor variations open up infinite possibilities.  Open to all all levels of expertise, but it would be good to have these rolls "in your pocket":  Forward roll (TMTIMTIM),  Alternating Thumb (TITM),  Forward Backward  (TIMTMITM, Foggy Mt. Roll (IMTMTIMT), G lick roll - sometimes called forward forward backward, (TMTIMITM).  Handouts and worksheets galore.

It's Not Music Theory, It's Music Fact: Ever wonder why people shout out numbers at your local jam?  What is this I IV V stuff?? This workshop will explore chord construction (major, minor, and dominant 7th), the diatonic scale, the Nashville numbering system, and how you too can learn to transpose almost any song on the fly using 7 letters and numbers! Open to all players.  Feel free to bring your instruments, but this will be more of a discussion than a playing opportunity.  Handouts galore!

Reviewing the latest in learning software applications: We will focus primarily on Song Surgeon.  This app can import streaming music with a microphone or import files from your music library.  It will decode the chord structure and allow you to alter pitch and tempo.  It also will save "loops" that you keep for learning certain complex passages. We will look at some of the interesting features available in Tabledit, a tabwriting application. Open to all musicians. Handouts galore!

Sing-a-long and Slow-er Jams :  We used to call these "slow jams" but they've morphed into a slightly more moderate pace with lots of singing.  Stop by even if you don't play an instrument. Help us harmonize and remember the words to those long forgotten standards!  It's a great way to start your day with zero pressure and lots of fun.  We are a judgment-free zone!!

RICK MANNING: Fiddle & Mandolin

Portlandia - Mandolin Orientation Session (All Levels):  The Portland Collection are collections of tune books that are the staple of contradance players nationwide with tune transcriptions and chords that are relatively accurate. The tunes cover a range of styles from Irish, to Old Time, Bluegrass, French Canadian and more more for many of us represent a shared source of standards, and a great reference. I will lead a workshop to help mandolin players warm up, assess their weekend goals and strategies, and learn or just play some tunes from the Portland Collection books. These books will be for sale at the merch table by Michael Ludgate.

Twin Fiddle (Int/Adv):  Taught with Tim Ball.