Regular A.M. Classes (10:00 - 11:30 AM)

Fiddle, Advanced
Brian Conway, instructor (AM only)

Fiddle, Intermediate
Liz Knowles, instructor (AM only). We will use some tunes- some you may know already and some you may not- to help establish and strengthen some of the foundations of good violin/fiddle and Irish fiddle technique: bowings, ornamentation and style. The focus of this class will be about giving you tools to take home in order to access, learn and have fun with Irish music. We will take a deeper look at the bow and the fiddle as separate entities. I will introduce you to some of my favorite recordings of fiddle players and you might come away from the week with a better understanding of how to access other players' style, sound and technique using recordings. I will also leave it open to the class to request other topics!

Fiddle, Beginning
Donna Long, instructor. Beginning fiddle classes are designed for players who are new to traditional Irish music, but have a year (+/-) of experience with the violin or fiddle. Tunes will be taught traditionally - by ear. Melodies will be broken down and presented in two and four measure phrases in a way that is engaging. Be sure to bring a recordingdevice and get ready to have some fun!

Flute & Whistle, Intermediate
Laura Byrne, instructor. In this class we will examine and practice, technique for flute and tin whistle playing and practice. We will also work on aural techniques for learning tunes by ear. We cover the following in depth: Breathing, breath control, tone, hand position, posture, the fastest way to improve your technique, rhythm, phrasing, tune “settings”, proper execution of, and different types of ornaments, differences between flute and tin whistle playing, how to maximize your practice time, ways to make learning a tune by ear easier, performance anxiety, regional styles of Irish flute and whistle playing. We will be learning some tunes by ear so please bring a recording device, and note book and your instruments. There will be handouts available.

Tin Whistle, Beginning
Karen Ashbrook, instructor. This is a great class designed for anyone who has little or no experience with traditional Irish music or those who play other instruments and are looking for a good overview and introduction to basic whistle playing. Karen does a great job of breaking things down and simplifying the learning process while making it all a whole lot of fun. Great hand outs. Bring a D whistle, or purchase one on site (+/- $15). Recording devices recommended.

Guitar, Standard & “Dropped D” Tuning
Conor Hearn, instructor (AM only). This class will cover a wide range of guitar-oriented subjects for players interested in guitar accompaniment in Irish music. Conor will be using Drop-D tuning himself, though he will accommodate players in DADGAD, Drop-D, or standard tuning. Together, the class will think about right hand techniques and grooves for different types of Irish tunes, hearing harmonic movement within traditional tunes, different approaches to understanding and visualizing the fretboard, approaches for session playing, and cool guitar player jargon. Students of all levels are encouraged.

Tenor Banjo & Mandolin
Keith Carr, instructor. This class is not only for tenor banjo and mandolin, but also for all fretted instruments tuned GDAE, including octave mandolin and others. This class covers Irish melody style playing using flatpicking techniques.  We will focus on technique and stylistic considerations — including that all-important triplet!  Tunes from the standard Irish repertoire that are appropriate to the needs of the group will be used as examples.  A recording device will be helpful.

Concertina
Alex Boatright, instructor. This class will be suitable to all levels. Students will learn tunes with concertina-specific ornamentation as well as tips for arranging tunes, practice strategies, and ergonomic playing techniques to maintain tunes and continue learning at home. Please being a recording device and a notebook. 

Bodhrán (Drum)
Anna Colliton, instructor. In this class, we’ll learn to further enhance our jigs and reels with ornamentation, tonal variation, and syncopation, and work on various approaches to other types of tunes including hornpipes, slip jigs, slides, and polkas as time allows. We’ll examine ways to accent rhythmic elements in different types of tunes, make smooth and interesting transitions within sets, and work with other accompanists. The class will explore elements of “top end” style bodhrán playing according to the wishes of the class.  The goal of the class is to help students become versatile and sensitive players who are able to accompany tastefully in whatever style they choose, and students are strongly encouraged to bring questions, ideas, favorite recordings, and topics of discussion to class – we’re going to have fun! We’ll learn using both written notation and ear training, so all learning styles are welcome.

Dance: Footwork and Ceili Basics (Beginning)
Kate Bole, instructor (AM only). This class is perfect for the beginner that has always wanted to try Irish Dancing! Or the Ceili lover who wants to up their footwork game! Learn the basic footwork used for figure and step dancing, including skips, sidesteps, and the rising step of the jig. The class will teach beginning Ceili dances like The Siege of Ennis and The Walls of Limerick, with emphasis on the proper footwork, timing, and learning how to move across the floor with confidence. No previous dance experience required!

Dance: Donegal Step Dances (Intermed & Advanced)
Elizabeth MacDonald, instructor (AM only). Like Donegal music, the Donegal step dance style is unique in Ireland. Here’s your chance to explore this lesser-known -- but delightful – style through two dances: The Highland and Maggie Pickins. This class is best suited to intermediate- and advanced-level dancers.

Dance: Improvisation for Irish Dancers (Intermed & Advanced)
Kelly Smit / Sandy Silva, instructors (AM only). Improvisation is central to the mastery of sean-nos dance, but it can also be a valuable tool for stepdancers to encourage musicality and creativity in choreography. Whether you are comfortable with, new to, or fearful of improvisation, this class will give you ideas in developing simple and effective ways of playing on the spot. Talented dancers Kelly Smit and Sandy Silva will offer two perspectives on how to  explore in-the-moment with less judgement and more ease.

 

Regular P.M. Classes (1:30 - 3:00 PM)

Fiddle, Advanced
Liz Carroll, instructor (PM only)

Fiddle, Intermediate
Mitch Fanning, instructor (PM only). This class is designed for fiddle players with 2-5 years experience with traditional Irish music, and advanced violinists who are new to the genre.   Tunes (jigs, hornpipes, reels, polkas, barndances, etc.) will be taught traditionally - by ear - and presented in subphrases without ornamentation.  Once a tune is learned, we’ll explore different ways of ornamenting phrases and experiment with different approaches to bowing as a way of shaping phrases and reinforcing rhythmic drive.   We’ll also explore examples of modal compositions (ionian, dorian, mixolydian, aeolian) in Irish music as a way of deepening listening skills and building new tools for understanding and working with modal scales in Irish music.   Registrants are advised to bring recording devices and manuscript paper.   Written notation will be provided for those who require or prefer it.   By the end of the week, you’ll not only have learned a good number of new tunes, but more importantly, you’ll have some new tools for listening and learning going forward.    

Fiddle, Beginning
Donna Long, instructor. Beginning fiddle classes are designed for players who are new to traditional Irish music, but have a year (+/-) of experience with the violin or fiddle. Tunes will be taught traditionally - by ear. Melodies will be broken down and presented in two and four measure phrases in a way that is engaging. Be sure to bring a recordingdevice and get ready to have some fun!

Flute & Whistle, Advanced
Josh Dukes, instructor (PM only). This class is for students who are skilled enough to play tunes in a variety of rhythms (jigs, reels, etc.), with good technique and at a reasonable tempo. This course will expand on the skills and topics introduced in the beginners class, with more attention given to ornamentation, breathing, style and repertoire, while continuing to emphasize rhythm and phrasing in the music. Tunes will be taught by ear so bring a D flute or whistle and a recording device. 

Flute & Whistle, Intermediate
Laura Byrne, instructor. In this class we will examine and practice, technique for flute and tin whistle playing and practice. We will also work on aural techniques for learning tunes by ear. We cover the following in depth: Breathing, breath control, tone, hand position, posture, the fastest way to improve your technique, rhythm, phrasing, tune “settings”, proper execution of, and different types of ornaments, differences between flute and tin whistle playing, how to maximize your practice time, ways to make learning a tune by ear easier, performance anxiety, regional styles of Irish flute and whistle playing. We will be learning some tunes by ear so please bring a recording device, and note book and your instruments. There will be handouts available.

Tin Whistle, Beginning
Karen Ashbrook, instructor. This is a great class designed for anyone who has little or no experience with traditional Irish music or those who play other instruments and are looking for a good overview and introduction to basic whistle playing. Karen does a great job of breaking things down and simplifying the learning process while making it all a whole lot of fun. Great hand outs. Bring a D whistle, or purchase one on site (+/- $15). Recording devices recommended.

Guitar, DADGAD Tuning (Intermediate)
Zan McLeod, instructor (PM only). We will focus on the basics of accompaniment of all the various types of Irish dance tunes and rhythm patterns using the tuning DADGAD. We will learn the system of the "scale numbers" and Modes that occur in traditional music. Some basic understanding of DADGAD and backing of tunes is required. The first position chord Chart is downloadable on my website (www.zanmcleod.com) There is also an option for private instruction during MAD Week.

Tenor Banjo & Mandolin
Keith Carr, instructor. This class is not only for tenor banjo and mandolin, but also for all fretted instruments tuned GDAE, including octave mandolin and others. This class covers Irish melody style playing using flatpicking techniques.  We will focus on technique and stylistic considerations — including that all-important triplet!  Tunes from the standard Irish repertoire that are appropriate to the needs of the group will be used as examples.  A recording device will be helpful.

Concertina
Alex Boatright, instructor. This class will be suitable to all levels. Students will learn tunes with concertina-specific ornamentation as well as tips for arranging tunes, practice strategies, and ergonomic playing techniques to maintain tunes and continue learning at home. Please being a recording device and a notebook. 

Bodhrán (Drum)
Anna Colliton, instructor. In this class, we’ll learn to further enhance our jigs and reels with ornamentation, tonal variation, and syncopation, and work on various approaches to other types of tunes including hornpipes, slip jigs, slides, and polkas as time allows. We’ll examine ways to accent rhythmic elements in different types of tunes, make smooth and interesting transitions within sets, and work with other accompanists. The class will explore elements of “top end” style bodhrán playing according to the wishes of the class.  The goal of the class is to help students become versatile and sensitive players who are able to accompany tastefully in whatever style they choose, and students are strongly encouraged to bring questions, ideas, favorite recordings, and topics of discussion to class – we’re going to have fun! We’ll learn using both written notation and ear training, so all learning styles are welcome.

Irish Songs & Singing
Brian O’hAirt, instructor (PM only). Come explore the singing traditions of Ireland.  Learn about the historic development of these traditions along with the English language while focusing on phrasing, ornamentation, and individual style.  Students will try their hands at ballads, macaronic songs, rebel songs, hedge school master songs, northern songs and more!  Brian will also spend some time teaching a few songs in the Irish language (no familiarity with the language is necessary!). Students will learn to sing these songs in a small group settings to accommodate participation.  Please bring a recording device.

Dance: Beginning Sean Nos (Beginner)
Kelly Smit, instructor (PM only). If you love Irish dance, but haven’t danced in years, or you’ve always wanted to get up and dance to Irish music, this is the class for you! Often described as “drumming with your feet”, Sean Nós dance is a close-to-the-floor, percussive dance style traditional to Ireland. Sean Nós is a solo style of improvised dance deeply rooted in traditional Irish rhythms.  The Gaelic "Sean Nos" literally translates as "old style".  No partner is needed to dance Sean Nos, just your feet, and a good sense of fun!  The steps are often incorporated into Irish Set Dancing. No special shoes are needed for this style of dance.  Shoes with hard soles that "make noise" -or- dance sneakers -or- your most comfortable pair of shoes are recommended. **Please do not bring shoes with metal taps.**

Dance: From the Foot to the Body (Advanced)
Sandy Silva, instructor (PM only). This course is for dancers who specialize in traditional forms of foot percussion who want to develop a deeper sense of movement and sonic placement. Whether working within a traditional form or moving outside its bounds, we will look at how and where the body holds tension and how we can create a deeper sense of flow and musicality in percussive dance. This class is best suited for advanced dancers.

 

Lunchtime Electives (11:35 AM - 1:25 PM)

All MAD Week registrants (full time, part-time AM & part-time PM) are encouraged to participate in any or all of the following lunchtime electives at no additional cost.

Ceili Band Class, M-F 11:35-12:25
Jesse Winch, instructor. The céilí band is a critical part of the Irish traditional music landscape. Most of the well-known and highly accomplished players of the music at one time or another were part of a céilí band. There’s a good reason for this since the traditional tunes: reels, jigs, hornpipes, etc. are dance tunes making the céilí band the ideal setting for learning tempos, tune selection, signature tunes and more. Fintan Vallely in his book, The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, says: “A céilí (pronounced Kay-lee) band is a group of musicians organized together on a permanent, professional, or ad hoc basis in order to provide music for céilí (Irish) social dancing, and/or (today) set dancing.” The MAD Week Céilí Band class is open to all registered attendees as a lunch-time elective with the only requirement that participants be able to play at standard dance tempos and have a basic repertoire of traditional tunes. Monday through Thursday will involve organizing tune sets for the dances that will be presented at the Thursday evening MAD Céilí (in the Waldorf auditorium). On Friday, the band will be part of the student showcase.

Celtic Crafts, M-F 11:35-12:25
Sandy Hoar, instructor. This class is one of the most popular classes. Sandy does a great job of providing different Celtic arts & crafts projects each day that are fun and rewarding. Create and take home your own memento of your MAD Week experience throughout the week. Daily schedule of activities will be posted.

Dance: Percussive Dance Around the World (Intermed & Advanced), M-F 11:35 - 12:25
Agi Kovacs / Sandy Silva / Brian O'hAirt, instructors. This exciting lunch workshop will take dancers on a journey around the world to explore percussive dance styles and their origins. Featuring American buck dance, the sean-nos steps of Galway, French Canadian and Cape Breton style stepdancing, and Hungarian boot dancing, this class will take dancers to a new place each day and broaden their minds and repertoires!

Irish Song Circle, M-F 11:35-12:25
Eileen Estes, instructor. This lunchtime elective is an opportunity for all at MAD Week to come together to hear, sing and share their favorite songs. Bring your favorites and hear some new favorites too!

Teen Ensemble Class, M-F 12:35-1:25
Conor Hearn, instructor. Sharpen your playing skills and tune repertoire by playing with other advanced students in a class focused on playing as an ensemble. This class will be invaluable for bands and session players alike. What are the principals of constructing good tune sets? Mixed sets? Arrangements? The class will be conducted in a collaborative style and a tune set/arrangement will be performed at the Friday afternoon student concert presentation.

Dance: Donegal Two-Hand Dances (All Levels), M-F 12:35-1:25
Elizabeth MacDonald, instructor. The Donegal Two-Hand dances are simple to learn and fun to do. Done to a variety of rhythms, these social dances are short (often 16 or 32 bars) and use an easy, natural footwork. This relaxing noon-time class is ideal for beginner-intermediate level dancers, musicians interested in exploring dance, or more experienced dancers/ceili callers looking to build their repertoire.

 

Workshops

All MAD Week students (full time, part-time AM & Part-time PM) are encouraged to participate in any or all of the following workshops at no additional cost. Individual Workshops may be attended by non-students for a fee, indicated below. Non-students may register for Workshops by clicking the “Register” button.

Lectures, M-F 12:25-1:25
Daily lectures on Irish music and culture. Fee for non-students: $75.00

Monday: Patrick Egan ( Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin), Exploring the riches of digital archives of Irish traditional music
Among the collections of audio recordings in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress lies a treasure trove of Irish traditional music from the twentieth century. There are audio copies of wax cylinders, 78 rpm discs, reel to reel and cassette tapes that represent the work of collectors, concert organizers and researchers. In the digital age it is now possible to re-combine these recordings using digital tools and techniques as we imagine new ways to re-combine and represent them. This talk will present a work-in-progress for Patrick's project, entitled, "Connections in Sound", which seeks to understand more fully the role that archives and collections might play in the ways that we as performers have access to these recordings.

Tuesday: Francesca Winch, Seeing Ireland with group music and dance tours
Join Ches Winch for a virtual lunchtime stroll through Ireland as she explores both the most popular tourist sites and the lesser known byways that make any trip to The Emerald Isle magical. Whether your interest be Ireland's history, music, dance, language, or simply her beautiful vistas, this lecture will explore all aspects of travel throughout The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well. No matter your interests, Ireland beckons!

Wednesday: Brian O hAirt, Sean nós dance
Sean-nós dancing has gained immense popularity over the last two decades due to global exposure created by the economics of the Celtic Tiger. Workshops, festivals, digital media, and competitions have increased demand and access to this dance form beyond the relatively isolated region of Conamara--its home place. However, this acclaim has come with a price as its earlier identity tied to language, geography, civil rights, and family pedigrees becomes exploited by new economic models brought about by the now defunct Celtic Tiger. Explore the historical context of sean-nós dancing as we delve into archival material and early written accounts made at the turn of the 20th century and its resurgence following the Gaeltacht Civil Rights Movement. Join the discussion as we consider the cost of promoting tradition versus maintaining it, and what changes have occurred as it becomes increasingly modified for performance.

Thursday: Mike O'Malley, Policing the Jig: Francis O’Neill and the having of a lot of tunes
O’Neill’s important work in preserving the musical culture of Ireland and Irish America is well known. But O’Neill complained all the time about musicians who refused to share their tunes with him: “rare tunes were looked upon as personal property,” he wrote. He often had to bribe, bully, or trick people into giving up their music. In this talk we'll be looking at the musicians who didn’t want to share their tunes, and why they held them so closely.

Friday: Dr. Julia Topper, Rising Steps: Irish Dance and Music in Japan
Irish performing arts traditions are alive and thriving in Tokyo! Based off doctoral fieldwork conducted in 2016, this lecture provides an overview of the Irish dance and music scene in Tokyo, Japan. I'll discuss how Irish traditional music was initially introduced via the Japanese education system in the late 1800's before moving to look at today's scene and the impact these musicians and dancers are having in the larger transnational community. I will specifically be focusing on three modern competitive Irish step dance schools and a group of musicians and set dancers involved in CCÉ Tokyo and the Intercollegiate Celtic Festival.

Irish Piano - Intermed & Advanced, M-F 11:35-12:25
Donna Long, instructor. Fee for non-students: $75.00

Introduction to Irish Language, M-F 12:35-1:25
Mike Schaeffer, instructor. Fee for non-students: $75.00

Button Accordion (Intermed & Advanced), Wednesday only, 10:00-11:30
Sean McComiskey, instructor. Fee for non-students: $35.00

Button Accordion (Intermed & Advanced), Wednesday only, 1:30-3:00
Sean McComiskey, instructor. Fee for non-students: $35.00

Button Accordion (Intermed & Advanced), Wednesday only, BOTH SESSIONS: 10:00-11:30 AND 1:30-3:00
Sean McComiskey, instructor. Fee for non-students: $60.00

Irish Harp - Interactive Listening Room
Alex Boatright, instructor. Come unlock the mysteries of the Irish harp with Alex Boatright in an interactive Q&A listening room. Hear everything from old Irish music written for the harp to jigs, reels, polkas and more! Alex will cover anything you’d like to know from how harpists create their own accompaniment to how to add ornamentation to Irish tunes to the history of how Irish harps came to the session. If you’ve ever wondered if the harp is for you, now is the time to find out. If you just enjoy relaxing to a few gentle toe-tapping tunes, come for the craic!

Tuesday, 11:35-12:25. Fee for non-students: $25.00
Wednesday, 12:35-1:25. Fee for non-students: $25.00
BOTH SESSIONS: Tuesday 11:35-12:25 AND Wednesday12:35-1:25 Fee for non-students: $40.00

Dance Workshops

Dance: Set Dance Master Class (Intermed & Advanced), Tuesday only, 4:00-6:00 pm
Elizabeth MacDonald, instructor. Fee for non-students: $40.00. In this workshop, Elizabeth will take you through one of the more recently composed set dances plus spend a bit of time on Clare battering footwork. Ideal for intermediate – advanced-level set dancers.

Dance: Choreographic Tools for Body Percussion Master Class (Advanced), Wednesday only, 4:00-6:00 pm
Sandy Silva, instructor. Fee for non-students: $40.00. Learn skills for developing ideas and themes around a choreography, and how to build on these ideas into a solo, duo, or group piece. We will explore how the texture, tempo and placement of sounds (as a rhythmic base) with movement can ignite and incorporate both the emotion/intention of a choreography from beginning to end. This template will start you on your path of developing your own unique body of work. This class is best suited for advanced dancers.

Dance: English, Irish, and Scottish Clogging Workshop (All Levels), Thursday only, 4:00-6:00 pm
Agi Kovacs, instructor. Fee for non-students: $40.00. Clogging!!!!!!! It’s not just for arteries anymore! If you have two feet and preferably leather soled shoes (or any other type shoes that will make some sound and not have you stick to the floor), then you should come and have a great time learning the “basics” and some “fancy” clogging steps with Agi Kovacs.  Smiling is required! 

Music Theory Workshops for Irish Musicians (Level I and Level II)

Peter Brice, instructor. Fee for non-students: $75.00 for each level (Level I, Level II).

Overview: The music theory program at MAD Week is specifically designed for practitioners of Irish traditional music and dance. Graduates will be able to play by ear, sight read, sight sing, and describe traditional tunes, songs, and steps using universal terms. Our syllabus prepares students to meet or surpass the music theory requirements of the Scrúdu Ceol Tíre exams offered by Comhaltas. The curriculum progresses at a modest pace in order to reinforce concepts using practical examples and exercises. We strongly suggest that this curriculum should be seen as a cornerstone in the education of instrumental musicians, singers, and dancers.
Admission: The beginning level of this curriculum has been designed for musicians and dancers who are able to play or lilt at least 15 tunes, and who are ideally age 12 or older (though exceptions will be made for younger, eager students). Admission to each level requires completion of the preceding level(s). Students who do not meet the minimum requirements for entry into Level I may be admitted at the discretion of the instructor.
Homework: Students will be expected to complete homework assignments in order to develop fluency with music theory concepts.

Level I: Scales and the Circle of Fifths, M-F 11:35-12:25
Level I will provide students with a framework for understanding the melodic structure of Irish traditional music.  Over five classes, we will discuss intervals, the construction of scales in diatonic modes, and the relationship between keys as explained by the circle of fifths.  Students will come away from this class knowing how to build scales in the ionian (major), aeolian (natural minor), mixolydian, and dorian modes (the primary modes of Irish traditional music), and will be able to recognize pentatonic and hexatonic scales in airs and dance music.  

Level II: Rhythm, Meter, and Steps, M-F 12:35-1:25
Level II will address the rhythmic and metrical structures of jigs, reels, hornpipes, slip jigs, hop jigs, polkas, slides, and marches in their various regional and historical forms.  Students will learn to distinguish between, for instance, single jigs and double jigs, and will learn to make a case for whether a tune in 6/8 is a jig, a march, or a planxty.  We will master fundamental metrical devices such as counting, subdivision, and the time signature, and develop useful definitions for rhythm, meter, and tempo.  Finally, students in Level II will create and compare transcriptions of dance steps with transcriptions of melodies.