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Saturday Folk Music Workshops

"Totally brilliant - my favourite Saturdays! Great teaching from a great player, in a dynamic class." Student

Whether you want to learn to play from scratch, or improve your technique and musical confidence, come and enjoy high quality teaching from professional folk musicians at Cecil Sharp House.

Run by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) since 2008, our Saturday Folk Music Workshops promote the musical traditions of the British Isles and beyond through affordable group classes in a range of folk instruments and song.


Who is it for?

The Saturday Folk Music Workshops are open to everyone over the age of 16. We welcome all, from beginners to seasoned musicians - no experience of folk music is necessary! We only ask that you have a willingness to learn something new and enjoy making music in a celebratory, examination-free and sociable environment!


When and where does it take place?

Saturdays at Cecil Sharp House, variable dates and times, from 10.00am
Autumn term: 17 October | 7, 14, 28 November | 5, 12 December
Spring term: 23, 30 January | 13, 27 February | 12, 19 March
Summer term: 23 April | 14, 21 May | 4, 18 June | 2 July

Termly fee: £70 | £56 concessions (for details of our concessionary policy please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Annual Enrolment
We recommend enrolling for the whole year. We offer 5% discount if paid by standing order across the year. See our annual enrolment form, available from the downloads section below, for more details.


What can I learn?

Our courses usually consist of six sessions, spread out over the term to give students time to practise. We run classes in Accordion, Banjo (five string), Fiddle, Guitar, Melodeon (D/G with at least two right hand rows) and Song, with Folk Band and Stepping Stones to Sessions classes open to all instruments.

Saturday Folk Music Workshops Timetable

Level Descriptions
Instrument specific information is included where necessary.

Level 1 (absolute beginners)
For absolute beginners, no need to have picked up an instrument before.

Level 2 (beginners)
For beginners who have some basic knowledge of playing the instrument and want to develop their skills.

  • Accordion: some prior knowledge of the keyboard is essential.
  • Fiddle: ability to hold the instrument and bow and can play a basic D major and A major scale.
  • Guitar: a good knowledge of 1st position chords and scales and basic understanding of barre chords. Plectrum and finger-style guitarists will both be welcome.
  • Banjo: Familiar with the basic right hand clawhammer technique and know G, C, D7, D major and F chords in G-tuning.  Alternatively a student who is completely new to the banjo but has experience playing a fretted stringed instrument (such as the guitar) might fit into this group.

Level 3 (improvers)
For improvers who can play the basics on the instrument and want to improve and expand their knowledge of traditional folk music.

  • Fiddle: students should know their way around the violin in 1st position and be able to play in time with others.
  • Melodeon: suitable for students who have knowledge of different keys and using the left hand. 
  • Banjo: Students are familiar with clawhammer style in G tuning, have a repertoire of tunes they know by heart and some experience of learning by ear.  They may or may not have started to experiment with other techniques and tunings (drop thumbing, galax lick, double C, modal tuning, D tuning) although these techniques will be covered in the course.

Level 4 (intermediate)
For people who are confident on their instrument, have some knowledge of the traditional folk repertoire and who want to extend their skills to an intermediate level.

  • Accordion: knowledge of the layout of the left hand and able to play both hands together fluently.
  • Guitar: a thorough knowledge of 1st position chords and scales, a good understanding of barre chords and right hand plectrum and fingerstyle technique is required.
  • Banjo: Students are very familiar with playing clawhammer banjo in G-tuning, double-C, D-tuning and modal tuning.  They understand transposition and the uses of a capo.  Can learn tunes from tab and by ear but perhaps want to improve their musicality, playing in a group or knowledge of traditional and/or folk music.


Who leads the workshops?

Our tutors are all inspiring and friendly professional folk musicians who regularly perform, tour and teach. They are: Paul Hutchinson (Accordion), Ed Hicks (Banjo and Stepping Stones to Sessions), Laurel Swift (Fiddle and Folk Band), Beth Gifford (Fiddle), Dave Delarre (Guitar) and Hazel Askew (Song and Melodeon).


How can I take part?

Enrolments for the summer term are now open!

To enrol, please complete an enrolment form (available from the Downloads section at the bottom of this page) and return it to Imogen, Education Administrator, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Enrolment forms can also be posted back to Cecil Sharp House - our full address will be detailed on the enrolment form.

Payment for the course can be made by credit/debit card or cheque. To pay by card, please contact Imogen on 020 7241 8953. If you would prefer to pay be cheque, please make it payable to 'EFDSS' and send to Cecil Sharp House for the attention of the Education Department.

Please note that we do not accept new beginner students in the summer term. Please contact Imogen, Education Administrator, before sending in an enrolment form if you have any queries.


Instrument hire

We have limited numbers of banjos, accordions and melodeons available to hire for a small fee plus a deposit. We also have details of where students can hire fiddles for our other classes. If you would like to hire an instrument please contact us.



Saturday Folk Music Workshops Summer term enrolment form (word)
Saturday Folk Music Workshops Summer term enrolment form (pdf)

Saturday Folk Music Workshops timetable (pdf)

For more information contact Imogen Dyer, Education Administrator on:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  | 020 7485 2206 ext.223

Promoted by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)

Discover more
Are you looking to learn more about traditional folk song? Why not join our new Monday Folk Choir Workshops?



Resource Bank

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