Workshops

Tunescape enjoys teaching workshops at festivals or in conjunction with other events.  We are familiar with a wide variety of traditions, including music and dance from Quebec, Ireland, Sweden, France, and of course, New England contra dance.  We’re also experienced at leading dances for children and helping classical musicians discover traditional music.

Check out the following descriptions of some typical workshops we offer.  We are always happy to create a new workshop or tailor a workshop topic to fit your  event. Contact us if you’re interested!

Arranging medleys for contra dancing

Tunescape talks about creating distinctive dance medleys that have a specific theme or shape. The band demonstrates rhythmic and textural techniques that produce a distinctive mood.

Level: intermediate to advanced.

French-Canadian Dance Tunes

Repertoire class of traditional and newly composed tunes from Quebec.

All levels and instruments.

French Canadian Tunes for fun and Performance

Repertoire class that can include crooked and/or square tunes from Quebec. Tunes are taught by ear.

Level: intermediate to advanced.

Quebecois foot percussion

Learn the characteristic clogging foot rhythms of”l’accord du pieds;” in the traditional music of French Canada. A few basic 4/4 steps taught in participatory environment, and more advanced steps (including other key signatures) presented along with ideas on getting your feet and instrument going at the same time!

All levels.

Contra Dance Piano

We’ll cover the basics (solid rhythm, chords that support the melody) as well as more advanced ideas (syncopation and chord substitution).

All levels.

Beginning penny whistle

Learn notes, fingerings, basic playing techniques, and a tune or two.

Beginning flute

Learn the basics of Irish flute, including how to form a good flute embouchure. For any wooden or plastic open-hole flutes in the key of D.

Intermediate Irish flute and whistle

Learn how to add ornamentation and other stylistic techniques to your playing to make it sound more authentic.

Beginning piano accordion

For anyone who has an accordion sitting in their attic (closet, basement, etc) that they would like to learn to play a few tunes on. Learn the basics of the keyboard side, the bass side, and the bellows. Learn one or two simple tunes.

Breton tunes and dance

Learn some beautiful tunes from Brittany, the Celtic region of France, along with the dance steps that go with these tunes. The dances for these particular tunes are extremely simple, so even if you have never danced before, you will be able to master these. At the end of the workshop, we’ll divide the class up so that half can play the tunes while half dance and vice versa. Tunes by ear, with music, or both.

Music reading made simple

Learn basic skills for reading musical notation: it’s easier than a lot of people think it is! We’ll cover pitch names, note values, a few key signatures, and other fundamentals. You’ll be reading tunes in no time!

Folk dances for children

These simple, fun folk dances for children of all ages will help them internalize many elements of the music, such as beat and form. Even very young children can learn to dance beautifully and rhythmically!

Folk dances for children—the adult version

This is a workshop for adults who work with children in any setting and who would like to learn how to teach children to dance. Methods for organizing movement in large groups of children will be taught, as well as ideas for presenting steps and movements in a manner that small children will understand.

Tune types

Learn what makes a jig different from a reel and a waltz different from a jig and a hornpipe different from a reel… etc! Learn how to count for each tune type, hear examples of each, and learn to play several different types of tunes.

Unusual tunes

Learn a handful of exotic tunes from all over the world!

Fiddle for violinists

For those who want to “make the jump” from classical music to fiddle playing.  We’ll learn an easy tune, talk about how “fiddle” is different from “violin,” and figure out how to keep the dancers happy!

Level: Intermediate.

Irish fiddle style

Learn a tune or two, and try to capture the “lilt” of Irish music.  We’ll listen to a few recordings, play some, and talk about bowing and ornaments.

Level: Intermediate.

Interesting Irish tunes

There’s more to Irish music than jigs and reels… learn some new polkas, slides, single jigs, slip jigs, hop jigs, mazurkas, hornpipes, barndances, highlands, and flings (whew)!

Level: Intermediate-Advanced.