Classes description

Class Description

I.    Beginner Hurdy Gurdy

Teacher: Michael Opp

A brief description:

A class for beginners; We will cover basic operation and maintenance topics.

Who should take it:

If you are brand new to the instrument, or have had one for a while and you’re not sure where to start, this class is for you.

Class content and organization:

The beginner class will focus on getting brand new players familiar with playing and every day maintenance of the instrument using a few simple traditional tunes to work on different left hand technique as well as to learn and practice the chien ‘buzzing bridge.’

We will also be working on playing with other people, and getting yourself comfortable with jam sessions and avoiding other bad habits while working on your own.

The course materials will be provided at registration so that you can become familiar with the tunes a little before the class starts. Being able to read music is not required for this class, as I mix the use of sheet music and rote learning, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.

What to bring:

Bring a recording device, paper and pen, a copy of the sheet music and a list of any questions that you might have. Video recording is OK during demonstrations.


II.    Traditional Music and Technique Workshop class description.

Teacher: R.T. Taylor

A brief description:

A class for non-beginners to improve their playing technique for left and right hand using Traditional music.

Who should take it:

If you have been playing for a while, have a good working instrument, can learn tunes on your own by reading sheet music or by ear, can play tunes with both left and right hands at the correct tempo, are passionate about playing and want to play at your best, you are in the right class.

Class content and organization:

We use basic traditional tunes to help learn to play accurate right hand technique and rhythms and at the same time use these tunes to learn to apply basic ornamentation. We play both associated and dis-associated right hand techniques. Topics covered include precision tuning, finger planning, how to play in a particular dance style like a 2 time Bourree, Waltz etc., general musicianship skills, and for those that are inclined, we add harmony, second voice, and a bit of improvisation just for fun and to see how easy it is to improve your playing by adding some variation to your tunes. And of course there is a focus on precision right hand technique, how to practice to improve your skills for all of the basic coups including coup sec, coup gras, breaks etc. For this you need a good performing Chien ( the buzzing bridge ). When possible we can try to improve the performance of your Chien outside of class time.

All of the course materials are provided in advance so that you can teach yourself the tunes before the workshop starts. That includes sheet music and the tunes in mp3 formant played at normal and slow speeds.  Tips on playing the class tunes are included.

Since you will know the tunes before the workshop starts we can focus on improving how you play the tunes, adding ornaments, correct right hand rhythms etc. This makes it easy to get the most out of your workshop.

You are expected to show up for class, with your Hurdy Gurdy in tune and ready to start playing. Each day we will try to play all of the workshop tunes for a short time. That way you get a great chance for learning and improvement. Each class will focus on a few tunes in particular.

What to bring:

Bring a recording device, paper and pen, a copy of the sheet music and a list of any questions that you might have. Video recording is OK during demonstrations.


III.    Baroque Hurdy-Gurdy Class

Teacher: Robert Green


to develop a familiarity with the baroque style as it applies to the repertory for 18th-century hurdy-gurdy. This objective will be accomplished through the study of pieces chosen from the numerous duets for two hurdy-gurdies.


(1) the ability to read music.

(2) the ability to play in both C and G.


the music to be studied will be available for download on the workshop website prior to the session. Some familiarity with both the first and second voice in these duets prior to the workshop would be helpful.

Subjects to be covered in studying these pieces include

(1) ornamentation.

(2) rhythmic alteration (notes inégales).

(3) phrasing.

(4) articulation.

(5) fingering.

(6) dynamics.



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