Master Classes

2020 Master Class Series Now Open
Our 2020 Master Classes bring together some of the cream of the folk community to share their skills and talents with you. All are international performers and, as well as being fine musicians they are experienced teachers. These classes provide a unique opportunity to connect with and learn from these outstanding exponents of their craft. Places are limited so we advise booking early to secure your place and avoid disappointment.

Master Class Presenters – 2020

Fay Hield | Folk Songs Deconstructed -  Getting Inside the Songs We Sing

What does a song mean? Is it just about finding the historical truth behind a story, or can we look at how it fits into the wider tradition, or your own personal experience? Join Fay as she invites you to explore the deeper meanings of the songs we sing to uncover ways of getting deeper inside the words to develop individual relationships with the material. This can enhance your own performance, and the way you enjoy listening to others. All welcome, and do feel free to bring along a song you currently enjoy to explore together.

A singer who seems to have been born knowing how to carry a tune but with the rarer gift of knowing how to go straight to the heart of a song Fay was also behind the Full English Band pulling together half a dozen of the top talents on the English folk music circuit including Nancy Kerr, Seth Lakeman and Sam Sweeney.

Jon Boden |An introduction to English Fiddle Style (intermediate to advanced, learning by ear)

Although closely related to Irish, Scottish and Swedish fiddle traditions the English fiddle is its own strange beast - difficult to define, tricky to master, constantly evolving. Learning English fiddle is a journey with no defined destination, but this workshop aims to set you off in a good direction and to describe some of the possible terrain you might encounter.

The workshop will look at technical aspects such as ornamentation and swing, as well as introducing some of the main types of English tunes. Jon Boden has been central to the evolution of English fiddle style since emerging on to the scene in 2001. As the lead singer and main arranger of Bellowhead his take on English fiddle has been heard all over the world. The focus in this class will not just be to learn tunes but to improve the ability to play and enjoy the experience of playing the fiddle.

Paul Hutchinson |Interpreting English Dance Music (open to all instruments and the music will be sent out in advance)

This class will explore some musical treasures from collections17th and 18th Century English collections such as John Playford’s Dancing Master. Simple methods to create countermelodies and variations which will bring these tunes to life will be explored. These skills are transferable so that participants can apply them to their own repertoires. The music content will selected from the following sources: The Dancing Master (Playford), The She Favourite, Elephant Stairs, Mr Kynaston’s Famous Dance, Farnicle Huggy and Emperor of the Moon (Nathaniel Kynaston) and lesser known tunes from Paul's recent publication 60 Country Dance Tunes 1786 – 1800.

The ability to read music would be advantageous but not crucial for those who play confidently by ear.

Karen Wimhurst |Singing the Spirit of Rebellion (a choir master class)

This choral workshop we’ll look at a number of folk songs embodying the British spirit of rebellion from 1650’s to the current day.  Through songs of poignant reflection, hard nosed irony, blistering ballads and street rocking riots, we’ll trace a line of songs that clamour for more peaceful & pleasant times. Themes include: Hunger and Hidden Petticoats 1650’s – 1900’s; The Critics Group; MacColl and Beyond 1960’s - 2000; Woke and Wild on the streets 2000-2020  

Karen Wimhurst is a composer, clarinettist and choir leader based in the UK South West.  Her love of traditional music has taken her into all kinds of collaborations adding a hint of jazz into the mix as she goes.  Regularly performing at Halsway Manor and Cecil Sharp House, she also runs and arranges for two acappella choirs, rejoicing in the spirit of voices coming together! 

Please complete the booking order form below to reserve your place in any of our 2020 master classes. Numbers will be strictly limited to give participants the best opportunity to get the most out of these unique and highly informative sessions.


Who Can attend:
Master classes will cater for intermediate to advanced level unless otherwise stated in the class description and the numbers in each class will be limited so you will need to apply and pay early to ensure your place.


Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th April 2020

3 x sessions over 2 days
2 x 9:30am - 12:30pm (Wed & Thurs) + 1 x 1:30 - 3:30pm (Wed) Lunch is included on Wednesday only.

Ainslie Arts Centre, Canberra

$265   OR
$235 (NFF Season Ticket holders)





Jess Henderson, Program Administrator
T: 0418 964 775     E: [email protected] (ensure you put MASTER CLASS in the subject box)