Workshop & Class Descriptions

We had over 90 workshop participants at the last Trad Fest (way back in 2019.) We are proud to once again feature some of the top teachers and performers in Irish music today. It's recommended that students enroll in just one class for the day however half days are available upon request. There will be an intermediate session during the lunch break. See the Register  page for fees, and to sign up.  Advanced registration strongly encouraged.

***If you are new to Irish music and dance, we encourage you to enroll in one of the classes labeled with the symbol *** which denotes a class suitable for beginners. It is recommended that you have some amount of playing experience for all other classes. Saturday workshops are intended to be a full day intensive with the same instructor. 

Click on a class below or scroll down for description: 

Saturday Workshops

April 13, 10am-3pm (Orientation 10am, Lunch break 12-1:30) at The Center for the Arts, 3400 Norman Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21213

Visit the Register page for fee info and to sign up!

Button Accordion (All Levels) - Billy McComiskey

Fiddle (Advanced) - Brian Conway

Fiddle (Intermediate/Advanced) - Patrick Ourceau

Fiddle (Intermediate) -  Rose Flanagan

Fiddle (Advanced Beginner) - Joanna Clare

Tin Whistle/Flute (Intermediate / Advanced) - Joanie Madden

Flute (Intermediate/Advanced) - Chris Norman

Flute/Tin Whistle (Advanced Beginner) - Brendan Dolan

Tenor Banjo / Mandolin  (Intermediate /Advanced)-- Eamon O'Leary

Concertina (All Levels) -- Alex Boatright 

Uilleann Pipes (All Levels) - Dan Isaacson

Guitar (Intermediate/Advanced)Sean Earnest

Guitar (Advanced Beginner) - David McKindley-Ward

Piano - Donna Long

Bodhran (Intermediate / Advanced) - Josh Dukes

Bodhran (Fundamentals) - Myron Bretholz***

Songs - Liz Hanley***

Sean Nos Dance - Kelly Smit***

Social Dance - Megan Downes

Saturday Lunchtime Elective: Musician Health and Wellness  - Sean McComiskey (Included with all Saturday workshop registrations)

Sunday Classes

Tune Teach -  3:15-4:45pm Zissimos on the Avenue in Hampden

Saturday Workshop Descriptions:
Button Accordion (All Levels) - Billy McComiskey

This class is designed for students of the button accordion with some prior experience. Students should at least have a working knowledge of the keyboard and basic scales. Tunes will be taught traditionally, breaking them down into easy-to-learn sections at slow and moderate tempos. Ornamentation and bass accompaniment options will be demonstrated and discussed, as well as alternate fingerings and styles of play.

Fiddle (Advanced) - Brian Conway

Sligo Style - This class is designed for violinists or fiddlers already playing Irish music who want to improve technique, style and Irish tune repertoire. Ornamentation and technique will be covered and the class will learn several tunes by ear.

Fiddle (Intermediate/Advanced - Patrick Ourceau

Clare/East Galway style - This class is for students able to learn a tune by ear and who have an intermediate to advanced level command of the instrument . The focus of the class will be on repertoire but more particularly on bowing, as well as ornamentation, accents and variations. Make sure to bring a recording device.

Fiddle (Intermediate) -  Rose Flanagan

This class is for violinists or fiddlers at an intermediate level who want to improve technique, style and Irish tune repertoire. Ornamentation and technique will be covered and the class will learn several tunes by ear.

Fiddle (Advanced Beginner) - Joanna Clare

This class is for fiddlers who already play a little bit of Irish music or classically trained musicians who are new to Irish fiddling. Students in this class will learn several Irish tunes by ear. The class will include a segment on the physical technique that can help implement Irish ornamentation styles. Students should bring a recording device and are encouraged to ask questions.

Flute/Tin Whistle (Intermediate/Advanced) - Joanie Madden

I am really looking forward to coming to Baltimore Irish Trad Fest to teach.  I plan on working on teaching a few tunes while incorporating cuts, rolls while focusing on style and swing!  See you there! Joanie

Flute/Tin Whistle (Intermediate/Advanced) - Chris Norman

I'll bring a mix of magical & mossy tunes from some of the older collections dating back to the 18th & 19th century. I also have some fun crossover gems that you'll enjoy from the French Canadian, Acadian and Cape Breton traditions. Can't wait, looking forward to seeing you in Baltimore! Chris

Flute/Tin Whistle (Advanced Beginner) - Brendan Dolan

For flute and/or tin whistle players who may know a few Irish tunes, would like to improve their technique, repertoire and ornamentation and learn more about Irish Traditional music as well as flute and tin whistle styles of playing.

Uilleann Pipes  - Dan Isaacson

In this class, we will investigate the repertoire, techniques, and aesthetics of the art of uilleann piping at an intermediate/advanced level. Bring a recording device!

Tenor Banjo  -- Eamon O'Leary

This class will be a general tenor banjo class (4-string tuned in Irish style - GDAE) and focused on plectrum techniques, ornamentation, chord enhancements and, most importantly, melodic variation. Students will also learn simplistic playing styles, rhythm and syncopation, and pick tricks.

Concertina  -- Alex Boatright 

This class is for students of any level. Class will cover the “hows” and “whys” of concertina playing for all levels together. Beginning students will learn the basic fingering system for the tune, intermediate students will hone their technique and ornamentation, and advanced students will learn arrangement ideas for chording and other extended techniques. All students will receive tips on how to practice at home to continue progressing and learning tunes long after class ends. 

Guitar (Intermediate / Advanced) - Sean Earnest

This class will explore approaches to the accompaniment of Irish music. Focus will be placed on rhythm, chord selection, phrasing, and right- and left-hand techniques.

Guitar (Advanced Beginner) - David McKindley-Ward

This class will explore approaches to the accompaniment of Irish music with standard tuning. Focus will be placed on rhythm, chord selection, phrasing, and right- and left-hand techniques.

Piano (Intermediate / Advanced) - Donna Long 

The Irish piano class this year is designed for intermediate to advanced players.  We will focus on tunes that are more difficult and have unexpected melody/chord changes.   I will be teaching a minimum of four tunes and we will talk about the different ways to make a tune interesting without detracting from the melody.  
Please bring a tape recorder and note paper.  There will be handouts of tunes.

Bodhran (Intermediate / Advanced) - Josh Dukes

In this class, we’ll go over modern stick grips, how to hold the bodhrán to achieve tonal control, the three basic contemporary stick strokes, voicing hand technique, tuning, basic jig and reel grooves and some contemporary variations, single and double-ended ornaments, posture, practice ideas, session playing, accompaniment ideas for various other tune types, and instrument and stick selection. Please bring your Bodhrán and tipper to class. Feel free to bring recording devices. All levels of player are welcome.

Bodhran (Fundamentals) - Myron Bretholz

Learn and improve your skills for accompanying jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, and more. We will also discuss how to practice and continue improving, and how to fit in, hold your own, and positively contribute to a session or performance. Please bring your bodhran and tipper to class.

Songs - Liz Hanley

Songs are like stories – some are short, while others go into great detail. And if well written, you can be drawn right in. But where do you find these songs? How do you find the version that best suits you and your voice? Liz's workshop will guide you and show you by example. You will come away with great songs, fresh ideas on approach and finding the right songs, and techniques while singing and finding your voice.

Sean nós Dance - Kelly Smit

The sean nós nua dancing tradition encourages you to react to the music you love by making up rhythms with your feet. Express yourself! Learn how to balance your body and articulate your feet. Be part of the music! 
If you love joyful Irish music and always tap your toes, this is the class for you! Get up and Be happy! Please wear comfortable shoes with a smooth hard sole (leather or hard rubber soles are preferred — please no taps or fiberglass). Dancers are encouraged to bring water, a notebook, and a recording device. 

Irish Social Dance - Megan Downes

If Irish music makes you tap your feet, come dance with us! Find partners at the dance or bring a friend and learn how to swing, slide, hop and jig. Get the basics or work on fancy footwork for your favorite Connemara and Clare sets.

Lunch Elective (12:30-1:15pm) - Musician Health and Wellness - Sean McComiskey

Sean McComiskey, PT, DPT, will be discussing Musician Health and Wellness: Preventing Repetitive Stress Injuries for Irish Traditional Musicians. The presentation will focus on the early signs and symptoms of muscular repetitive stress injuries commonly associated with musical practice and performance, and on providing practical tips for managing and preventing muscular pain and fatigue. At the end of the session, participants will have a foundational understanding of the causal mechanisms behind repetitive stress injuries, be able to identify the common signs and symptoms of repetitive stress, and will have learned stretches, exercises, and practical self-care tactics to protect themselves from future repetitive stress injuries. This class is included with your Saturday class registration. 

Sunday Class Descriptions

Song Repertoire (1:30-3pm)

Liz Hanley and David McKindley-Ward will share some beautiful songs from their wide repertoire. 

Tune Teach (3:15-4:45pm)

A great opportunity to learn some new tunes in a group setting! Two or more of our faculty musicians will teach some of their favorite selections. Open to all melody instrumentalists. (Some experience needed)