Classes, Teachers, Registration, and more
BANJO 2 - Tue (Payton Scott)
In Banjo 2 we’ll introduce Scruggs-style 3-finger picking, and delve deeper into the clawhammer style covered in Banjo 1. If you’re comfortable with the clawhammer “bum-ditty” and can play in the gDGBD and gCGCD tunings, then this is the course for you! We’ll use classic old-time dance tunes will focus on “filling out” songs with more advanced left-hand and right-hand techniques.
RHYTHM BANJO - Wed (Mick Kinney)
In this class for beginners, we will be exploring ways to play banjo to accompany songs and dance tunes. Starting with basic right hand down stroke and some easy one or two finger chords you’ll be playing along with the fiddle from the first lesson! Later in the course we will introduce some other traditional styles. Even if you don’t own a banjo yet loaners are available by request.
FIDDLE - Tue (Mick Kinney)
GUITAR 1, Foundations - Mon, Wed (Glen DeMeritt)
If you’ve never, or almost never, played guitar, this is the place to start. You’ll learn the essential chords in the most common keys, and how to use Nashville numbers to play in different keys (Note reading is not required). You’ll leave the class with an understanding of rhythm so you can play easily with others, and you’ll have a few basic strum patterns. You’ll be able to play along in our Second Half jam the very first night!
GUITAR 2, Fingerstyle - Mon (Fritz Rauschenberg)
In this Level 2 guitar class, you’ll learn basic picking patterns for familiar tunes that will make it easy to get your thumb and fingers moving over the strings. Then, as these first patterns become comfortable, the course will build your picking pattern repertoire, and you’ll be able to play some of the songs that are well-known for their natural-sounding picking patterns.
Fingerpicking allows the player to emphasize alternating bass strings as well as alternating string choices for the fingers; just a change of one string over for the fingers can change the voicing of a song quite a bit; someone may ask “how’d you do that?”
What you learn in this class can be transferred to other instruments such as Ukulele, Mandolin etc.
Pre-requisite: You should be comfortable making timely chord changes in the keys of G, D, A and E.
GUITAR 2, Fingerstyle Repertoire - Tue (Fritz Rauschenberg)
We’ll build your repertoire using your current picking patterns and include, where fitting, instrumental intros to feature your fingerstyles. We’ll also play in more keys to get your right hand accustomed to moving across different strings, and add an occasional bass run.
This class is primarily intended to increase your fingerstyle confidence and your ability to choose and use fingerstyle patterns in new songs and different keys.
GUITAR 2, Flatpicking - Tue (Glen DeMeritt)
Wanna have fun jamming? We will be using the flatpick to accompany others and to play lead. In this class you’ll learning how to accompany melodies and also to play them while developing your musical vocabulary for creative expression.
We’ll play songs like Flop-eared Mule, Big Sandy River and Salt Creek, learning both from ear and from music. You’ll also become comfortable with the Nashville Numbering system to help organize your mental picture of songs.
A willingness to have fun is the biggest requirement for this class.
EZ LICKS N TRICKS FOR GUITAR - Mon (Mick Kinney)
This course introduces some famous licks and patterns for rock, country, blues, or swing. Starting with some well known songs, you can follow in the fingertips of iconic guitarists such as Chuck Berry and Duane Allman.
Early intermediate level and up can all enjoy this one.
MORE MANDOLIN - Tue (Clark Brown)
If you already know the basic open chords in the key of D, G and A, you are ready for More Mandolin. We will learn new strum patterns, cross-picking, and some simple melodies, all while learning in a group setting, in a fun and sharing environment.
UKULELE 1 - Mon (Pat Powers)
We offer a rotation of specialized classes to keep things interesting! If the class you like isn’t being offered this term, click here to request its return, and we’ll do our best to bring it back!
CELTIC TROUBADOUR - Wed (Payton Scott)
Build a repertoire of Irish and Scottish tunes you can sing to your own accompaniment. In this course, you’ll learn Celtic pronunciation and vocal techniques, along with the rhythms associated with this lively style of music. Instrumentalists (strings, flutes, drums, etc.) will pick up the chords and rhythms to back up singers, and singers will learn how to accompany themselves within this style of music.
All instruments are welcome.
GROUP JAM - Wed (Jeff Pearlman)
Different instrument voicing, vocal harmonies and creative ornamentation bring familiar tunes to life. You’ll enjoy this class whether you’d like to develop a set of performance-ready songs or just enjoy playing in a mixed group and deepening your understanding of what makes a song interesting.
HAMMERED DULCIMER - Tue (John McCutcheon) 6 WEEK CLASS
This is an introductory class to the hammer dulcimer. But whether you’re completely new to the instrument or a veteran player, McCutcheon’s unique approach will open up myriad possibilities for hammer dulcimer enthusiasts. From orienting to the instrument, hammering techniques, rhythmic approaches, arranging, and even learning to play by ear, you’ll get a full tour to this amazing instrument and be well on your way.
Requirements: hammer dulcimer, hammers, electronic tuner.
Experience Level: beginner to intermediate
IRISH INSTRUMENTALS (SESSION TUNES) - Mon (John Maschinot)
Irish Session Tunes – Appreciation and Learning for Melody Instruments
You can certainly play Irish music by yourself (and you should, at least for practice!) but there’s nothing more enjoyable than a good Irish music session with folks who play at your skill level. In this class you’ll not only learn some starter tunes but you’ll learn the difference between simply playing the notes of a tune and playing a tune “Irish style,” how Irish sessions function, how to find or start the right session for your ability, session “etiquette” and more. Melody instruments only: fiddle, penny whistle, flute, concertina, accordion, mandolin, harp etc. Guitars and bouzoukis are fine if you want to learn to play melody lines – we won’t learn accompaniment in this class. Participants must have at least moderate abilities on their instruments.
OLD-TIME CONTRA & SQUARE DANCE BAND - Wed (Max Godfrey)
Do you love old-time dance tunes? Do you have the basics of your instrument down and are you looking for a class to help build up your repertoire? Look no further, because this is the class for you! This is class will be based entirely on old-time instrumental tunes played for contra and square dances. Some examples of tunes we might cover are: “Shove that Pigs Foot,” “Fortune,” “Take Me Back to Georgia,” “Sandy Boys,” “Flop-Eared Mule,” “Old Grey Eagle,” “Soldier’s Joy,” and “Big Sciota.” We will also cover a handful of waltzes if time allows. Although some of these tunes may have verses that we may include, the emphasis will be on learning the instrumentals, bringing them up to a rollicking dance tempo, and refining the group dynamics. You’ll end the term with several new old time tunes under your belt and be ready to go help everyone else kick up their heels!
Students of rhythm instruments (guitar, ukulele, mandolin, bass etc.) should be familiar with the following chords: C, G, D, A, and Em. Although we will play pieces at a moderate tempo, students should be able to change between these chords comfortably while maintaining a steady rhythm. Advanced mandolin students may also choose to join the fiddles on the melody.
Students of melody instruments (fiddle, mandolin, whistle, concertina etc.), should be comfortable playing in D, G, and A.
Students of the banjo should be comfortable with three major chords of both the “Open G” tuning and the “Double D” tuning, and should be comfortable with the basic “bum-ditty” clawhammer stroke.
PERFORMANCE FOR DUOS AND TRIOS - Mon (Brown/Fisher)
Did you ever want to play for an “Open Mic Night,” play a few songs for your friends and family, or maybe entertain at a Retirement Home? This class will get you started.
We’ll cover song selection, and explore the easiest ways to take your tunes up a notch while polishing for performance.
You’ll have a chance, if you like, to perform outside the school during the term.
If you don’t already have a playing partner or two, we’ll connect you during class.
SONGWRITING LAB - Tue (George Eckard)
Study Hall – Mon (John Harvey)
Can’t make it to all 8 weeks of the term? Want to pick up a few tips, get help with a tricky technique or musical concept? This drop-in class lets you join when you can to learn, jam or just practice in good company. And you can stick around for the Second Half, too!
No advance registration – just drop 20 bucks in the jar.
Don't see a class you want?
George Eckard is a Decatur resident who has lived in the Atlanta area for more than 50 years. When his parents bought a little red ukulele for him, much to their surprise, he began to play it, they began to acquire more instruments for him and they offered encouragement for his musical endeavors. His big brother took him to see Bob Dylan at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Atlanta for his 15th birthday. That same year Miss Harbin, his ninth grade English teacher who looked a little like Greta Garbo, told him that he had the heart of a poet. Somewhere in this soil the seeds of songwriting were planted. He started songwriting in college and has had a passion for it ever since. He has played at local venues solo, with the Unusual Suspects and, currently, with the 4 Man String Band. Today, he is completing work on his second collection of songs called Love the Land.
Max’s first love is traditional American music. He has led workshops on worksongs and other call-and-response songs at colleges, farms, and community centers all over the northeast, including Sheepscot General, Whitefield ME; Williams College; Full Plate Farm Collective, Ithaca NY; Common Ground Farm, Beacon NY; Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation, Williamstown MA; SUNY New Paltz; and Billings Forge Community Works, Hartford CT. He has also taught worksongs and old-time fiddle at the Folk Music Society of New York Spring weekend 2014.
Max’s vision is to give his students the tools they need to play by ear, play with others, improvise, and teach themselves. He makes it fun and easy for people learn together by using a call-and-response teaching method that develops a strong connection between ear, voice, and instrument. Then it’s natural to learn new music and join in with any group, and to play or sing well, too!
Max regularly performs in Atlanta at Freedom Farmers Market at the Carter Center, Grant Park Farmers Market, East Atlanta Farmers Market, Root City Pop-up Markets, and The Pullman in Kirkwood. Max’s essays on worksongs have been published in Taproot (Issue 13) and on Bennett Konesni’s worksongs.org.
Facebook pages for Max’s current projects:
Max Godfrey (Solo performance, lessons, writing, and workshops)
Max teaches Old-time American fiddle styles, clawhammer banjo and country-blues and folk guitar privately. You can contact him about lessons at email@example.com, or maxgodfrey.me or 404 218 4707.
Andy Howard is a sixth generation Floridian currently living in Atlanta. He earned a Masters of Arts in American Dance Studies from Florida State University, authoring a thesis on the history and social origins of American Team Clogging. He also earned a Masters of Arts in International Business from the University of Florida. He is a leader in the clogging community, a regular featured instructor at C.L.O.G. national conventions and regional events throughout North America. His troupe, American Racket, has performed throughout the U.S. and in South Korea, Brazil, Canada and Costa Rica.American Racket has shared stages with Bill Cosby, Ted Koppel, Wayne Brady, Sister Hazel, Sugar Ray, Dane Cook and others. Andy is an active performer, judge, instructor and conference presenter. His professional career focuses on marketing, art direction and public relations for companies including Orlando Opera Company, Orlando Repertory Theatre, the University of Florida College of the Arts, the University of Florida Department of Recreational Sports and (currently) the Georgia Tech Research Corporation in Atlanta. He has taught credit-earning dance courses in tap, clogging and world dance at Florida State University and Santa Fe College, worked as an entertainer at Walt Disney World Resort and has been a regular instructor for the University of Florida’s Dance for Life program which involves researching the impact of movement and dance on people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers. Andy enjoys traveling, performing and outdoor photography, including underwater photography documenting Florida’s extensive network of pristine fresh-water springs. He holds a Group Exercise certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). He was inducted into the All American Clogging Team in 2002, the Clogging Team of the Decade in 2010, and the Florida Clogging Hall of Fame in 2015.
David Robert King
Mick Kinney enjoys fiddling a variety of styles including Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic, Blues and Swing. A professional musician since 1978, he has played the 1982 World Fair, McCabe’s, House of Blues, Bluebird Cafe, Rendez vous des Cajuns, and NPR’s Mountain Stage. Mick has performed with John Hartford, Victoria Williams, Michelle Malone, Atlanta blues man Frank Edwards, and 1920s recording artist Stranger Malone. Recent collaborations as a folklorist have been with the Smithsonian New Harmonies exhibit, Georgia Humanities Council, Carpetbag Theater, Dust to Digital Records and Northwest Georgia Textile Heritage Trail. Currently, Mick appears often with Elise Witt, jazz clarinetist Dub Hudson, and the Kinney family old time dance band “The HickHoppers.” He has been an instructor at Swannanoa Gathering, John C. Campbell Folk School, Mars Hill College, Alabama Folk School, and Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. His class will focus on traditional fiddle technique and musical concepts such as scales, modes, and harmony.
John McCutcheon is a 6-time Grammy nominee, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and legendary folk music performer. He is one of the foremost hammer dulcimer players in the world, one of the primary figures in the US hammer dulcimer revival, showcasing traditional players, and authoring instruction methods and workshops that have introduced thousands to this ancient and beautiful instrument.
John put down guitar and took up penny whistle as a young lad in the 1970s after realizing there were just too many Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley and Doc Watson wannabes to compete with. After meeting the great Chicago uilleann piper Joe Shannon, he added the pipes and Irish wooden flute to his instrumental arsenal and set off on a lifelong musical journey. In the late ’70s/early ’80s John was keen to destroy a few good tunes with fellow beginners at whatever establishment or street corner would be fool enough to have them.
But by the mid ’80s he found his way and started The Buddy O’Reilly Band, for many years the big cheese of the Atlanta Irish/folk music scene. “The Buddies” have produced 3 albums and a whole lot of great music and fun!
John has since gone on to a solo career and participate in many bands and collaborations. His latest venture is with the music and dance trio, Ah Surely. And he’s been involved with productions big and small. He created and produces Atlanta’s annual Celtic Christmas concert, celebrating 27 years in 2018.
He’s a leader at The Marlay House Trad Tuesday night in Decatur – 10 years of trad music!
John’s been teaching Irish music workshops and privately for about half of his 58 years.
And he discovered, though he couldn’t quite match Jimi Hendrix’s guitar on uilleann pipes, he could at least come close to his soul!
Jeff has been playing music since taking up the trumpet in middle school. Highlights of his four years in the high school marching band include a stint on tuba and meeting his wife. Jeff also began playing guitar in high school. When Jeff’s children were younger, neighbor Frank Hamilton recommended the ukulele for them. The kids didn’t learn the instrument, but Jeff did. The ukulele led to banjo and then a return to guitar. Over the years, Jeff has spent countless hours sharing music with school-aged children and adult peers.
Jeff approaches music lessons as a collaboration between teacher and student. By nurturing a rapport with his students, he can shape his classes to satisfy the individual tastes and goals of everyone in the group. In his class you’ll develop not just as an instrumentalist, but as a musician; learning by ear will give you the both the ability to play the songs you’ll learn from Jeff, but the capacity to play along with songs you don’t know!
Fritz has played and taught guitar for over 40 years and has performed folk music and “songs of the heart” in halls, coffee houses and bars for about as long as a singer/songwriter. He has taught private and group lessons in local music shops. Fritz loves to kindle the light of musical passion in his students, and his warm, relaxed teaching style reflects the pleasure he takes in bringing people and new music together.
Fritz studied classical guitar and music theory with Lyster Bass (Lyster currently teaches at Maple Street Guitars in Atlanta). During that time he played in the master class seminar at Emory University.
Fritz also enjoys playing ukulele, octave mandolin, mandola and harmonica. His luthier work includes restoring and repairing acoustic stringed instruments in the violin, guitar and mandolin families.
Mike Simpson has been a leader in the Atlanta Irish music scene for 25 years. In the early 90s he wrote what was for years the web’s leading tin whistle tutorial, and taught slow sessions in the late 90s and early 2000s. He has played in numerous bands and ensembles over the years including Caislean, The New Road, and The Long Drop, and anchored Atlanta’s longest-running traditional music session from 1993 to 2013. In 2004 he went to Dublin and obtained the T.T.C.T. certification for teachers of Irish music (on fiddle), and in 2009 he released a self-produced CD entitled, “Other Forms of Magic”. He currently anchors a weekly session at The Wrecking Bar, and performs for contra dances and special occasions.
Sign up for a single term: 1 Class or 2nd Half only
1 Class : 1 Term
Choose your class, and register for a single term.
Pay your class fee online or by check.
Mon, Tue, Wed Classes (8 wks)
$150 per student
$140 for FHS Members
John McCutcheon’s Hammered Dulcimer Tue Class
(6 wks, no class on 11/12 or 12/17 )
$113 per student
$105 for FHS Members
2nd Half : 1 Term
If you already play pretty well but want to find new musical friends, our Second Half option is for you!
Arrive at 8pm for 45 minutes of jamming and singing when all the classes come together.
Pay your class fee online or by check.
$45 per student per term.
Because we expect a large turnout for John McCutcheon’s Tuesday night class (including 2nd Half), we are asking that you choose only one night of the week for 2nd Half this month. Thanks.
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1 Class : Monthly Auto-pay
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$62 per month for FHS Members*
2 Classes : Monthly Auto-pay
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$96 per month for FHS Members*
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Just click below to select your classes for this term!
Mon, Tue, Wed classes
Classes are held at the Oakhurst Baptist Church
222 East Lake Drive, Decatur, GA 30030
Google Map Link
** No Classes Thanksgiving Week (11/25, 26, 27) **
10/21, 10/28, 11/4, 11/11, 11/18, 12/2, 12/9, 12/16
10/22, 10/29, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19, 12/3, 12/10, 12/17
10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 12/4, 12/11, 12/18
Classes are from 7pm-8:45pm.
2nd Half’ers show up at 8pm and jam with everybody!
Questions? Contact us!