Classes, Teachers, Registration

New Term begins Monday, June 28th

Please note: All* of our classes are currently being given with a combination of webinars, videos, private Zoom sessions and online interaction. You can take them on a phone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

We’ll resume meeting in person when it’s completely safe to do so.

* Term 4 features a limited, in-person two-session Fiddle Workshop with Mick Kinney.

Remaining Term Dates for 2021

Term 4: Mon, Jun 28 – Wed, Aug 18
Term 5: Mon, Aug 23 – Wed, Oct 13  |  Term 6: Mon, Oct 18 – Wed, Dec 15

Below you will find all the classes we’re offering this term.
Choose your registration and preferred payment options, and then register!
Click here for Term Dates, Class Hours, and School Locations.


Core Classes


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Learn the beginning techniques to playing Bluegrass Banjo. We will explore the essential fingerpicking picking patterns, chords, and tunes. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the three finger Scruggs Style of banjo playing.
OLD-TIME BANJO - Anytime (Mick Kinney)

Get ready to collect two traditional tunes every week in the old time clawhammer style. Each melody will be spelled out in musical ABC, demonstrated slowly, then at natural tempo. A fiddle version of all material is also included to play along with for the sound of a live session.

Intended for those with basic clawhammer stroke experience; free introductory tutorial video available by request with registration.

This 8 session video course may be viewed at any time, and studied at your own pace. In addition to the weekly recorded video links, you will receive interactive emails with articles, chord charts, and diagrams. Since these videos are not a live stream service they will not conflict with your Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu evening  classes.


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Following the teachings of virtuoso bassist Victor Wooten, overarching themes of the class will be about improving students as Musicians by engaging them in the 10 elements of music: listening, notes, rhythm, feel, dynamics, technique, tone, phrasing, articulation, and space. However, these elements won’t feel like a checklist in a student’s musical advancement as we begin with some very basic bass playing ideas and techniques. You’ll learn simple song structures, such as the 1-4-5, that are so tried and true you can keep up with the greats, fundamental (and easy) music theory tips and tricks, some essential shapes that’ll allow you to walk bass lines, how a bassist fits in and supports fellow musicians, genre specific rhythm and feel, and even how to sound like you know what you’re doing when you really don’t. This class can help someone who’s never ever touched a bass become a master of “the pocket” or lead an amateur bassist towards refining their low-end talent.


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FIDDLE - Anytime (Mick Kinney)

Whether you’re new to fiddle, or you’re ready to experiment with different genres such as Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Swing and more, this class will bring up your performance level and fine-tune your ear (no music reading is required). Beginners will learn to make confident bow strokes, keep time, and use basic scales in easy keys with simple tunes. If you’ve already mastered those skills, you’ll move on to harmony, double stops, playing in higher positions, and developing your own interests and personal style. If you’ve never picked up a fiddle, or any musical instrument, we’d recommend an “intro to fiddle setup and tuning” workshop that we will customize for new students. Please check the box you’ll see on the registration form to let us know that 1) you’ve never played fiddle before or 2) you’ve never played any instrument.

This 8 session video course may be viewed at any time, and studied at your own pace. In addition to the weekly recorded video links, you will receive interactive emails with articles, chord charts, and diagrams. Since these videos are not a live stream service they will not conflict with your Mon, Tue, Wed evening  classes.


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Congratulations on your next move! This is a meetup to figure out this 6-stringed enigma. We start off with a 1-on-1 video call to explore the goals you may have on your guitar journey. Then you’ll receive some “lessons” to consider for our Group Video Meetup! (The meetup time can be flexible, depending on students’use schedules.) After our meetup, we do the second half Zoom Jam!

Each week you’ll get another “lesson” for our next week’s Meetup. We’ll study the Basics of Playing the guitar in a friendly and informative environment where I bet you will amaze yourself. Be patient persistent and present. I will be available through email, phone, video or telepathy to assist in the daily challenges! Let’s play it by ear.

GUITAR 2, Building on the Basics - Wed (Glen DeMeritt)

From the footing of tradition the Foundations crew is pickin’ and a grinnin’ with boom-chucks and bass walks, slick licks that make that flat top box talk. We do what needs to be done to be the music and be the fun.

Build on what you learned in Guitar Foundations, or refresh skills you haven’t used in a while.

This class will cover some of the different techniques of fingerstyle guitar from folk vocal accompaniment, piedmont blues, country blues, and Travis Picking. You’ll learn the foundations of each style and learn how to create original arrangements using the techniques of fingerstyle guitar. Then we’ll explore playing tunes in the styles of Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Chet Atkins and Merle Travis.

Pre-requisites: the ability to change chords with ease, knowledge of all basic chords, and some experience with fingerstyle guitar.

OLD-TIME GUITAR - Anytime (Mick Kinney)

Here are the essentials to provide that solid rhythm for dance tempo fiddle tunes, bluegrass, and slow country songs. With close view videos at your own control, you will learn the secrets to having the best tone, steady time, and powerful bass notes. We’ll work on standard material you can put to use right away.

This 8 session video course may be viewed at any time, and studied at your own pace. Since these videos are not a live stream service they will not conflict with your Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu evening classes.

SWING GUITAR 2 - Tue (Frank Hamilton)

Swing guitar is basically used for keeping rhythm for dancers, although it’s melodic, tuneful, using the popular songs of the late Thirties and early Forties. As dance band guitarists became more known, the instrument was basically acoustic guitar. Players such as Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, Lonnie Johnson, Freddie Green, Allen Ruess, Dick McDonough and Carl Kress came into prominence. The lead style derived from Lang eventually found its way into the electric style of Charlie Christian. Swing guitar is different from earlier two-beat music but developed from the dance styles of the Lindy Hop to the Fox Trot and Jitter Bug. It went out of fashion when be bop replaced it. Many of the New York City Night Clubs on 52nd Street discouraged Swing dancing and playing in favor of a more complex modern jazz. It became a lost art but was found in the playing of later electric jazz guitar players. The rhythmic patterns were based on four-four time, unlike its predecessor, two-beat Dixie or New Orleans jazz. Songs that typified that era were “Satin Doll”, “Honeysuckle Rose”, “Out of Nowhere”, “At Sundown”; a branch of Swing Guitar known as Southwestern Swing, also made for dancing, was popularized by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, who highlighted that style of music with “San Antonio Rose”. Early Swing Guitar players reached a high level of expertise.

In this (primarily) discussion class, Frank will demonstrate everything that he teaches, so you can follow and play each step. As each example is played, Frank will go through the applied theory so you’ll have a firm grasp of the ideas presented. The theory will involve chord construction, chord progressions, and lead lines applied to each tune learned.


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MANDOLIN - Tue (Clark Brown)

Whether you’re new to mandolin or already know the basic chords in the key of D, G and A, you will enjoy this mandolin class. We will learn strum patterns, cross-picking, and some simple melodies, all while learning in a group setting, in a fun and sharing environment.


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UKE 1 : What's It All About, Mini-Class - Anytime (Jeff Pearlman)

Mini Class

This video course is designed for the absolute novice ukulele player. We will learn fundamental musical techniques and concepts including identifying parts of the ukulele, tuning, strumming, chording, and transposing.

This video course may be viewed at any time, and studied at your own pace. In addition to the weekly recorded video links (about 2 hours total), you will receive interactive emails with articles, chord charts, and diagrams. A short live session may be scheduled during the term. Registration includes attendance at our Second Half session (Mondays and Tuesdays) for the entire term.

MORE UKE - Tue (Jeff Pearlman)
All are welcome in this class where we will use the ukulele as our vehicle to explore the foundations of musicianship. We will use familiar folk songs to develop ukulele skills and examine rhythm, melody, chords, and song structure. We’ll combine group and individual online instruction to meet your goals for learning the ukulele.

Specialty Classes

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CAJUN FIDDLE 4-week class - Tue (Barbara Panter)

This 4-week class will meet June 29, July 13, July 27, and Aug 10.

The Cajun tune “Jolie Blon” started Barbara on a quest that eventually led to learning from the late great Cajun fiddler, Dewey Balfa, at workshops and visits to Mr. Dewey’s home in Basile, LA. Cajun music is the music of immigrants from France who fled persecution and ultimately settled in South Louisiana by way of Canada. It’s filled with a powerful mixture of ancient old world melodies, elements of blues and Creole. The class will be focused on learning Cajun fiddle melodies, techniques that make Cajun music unique, and “seconding” on fiddle.

This class is geared mainly to fiddle but could accommodate mandolin and guitar.


Learn to play your ukulele in the style of the early country artists, such as Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, George Jones, and Willie Nelson.

  • Comfort with the basic uke chords – C, D, G, A, E, and F
  • Knowledge in building major and minor chords
  • Knowledge of 7th chord construction

Join us and get a ukulele look at the music of the Grand Ol’ Opry!

INTRO TO CLOGGING - Anytime (Andy Howard)

You don’t need taps to learn how to clog–just a spot to dance and shoes that won’t scuff your floor. (Piece of plywood or a dance board optional). American (Appalachian) Clogging has evolved from a style of square dance to a broader form that includes line dancing (without partners) and using clogging steps that have names and are largely shared throughout the clogging community throughout the United States and beyond. You will learn basic clogging steps and we will string the steps together to learn choreography that can be done with music. Clogging is a great way to exercise, improve your daily step count, and even work on your rhythm and music listening skills.


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.


Jazz manouche (often referred to as “gypsy jazz”), which was predominantly
pioneered by legendary Belgian Manouche guitarist Jean “Django” Reinhardt
in France in the 1930s, is heavily influenced by French, Belgian, and Romani
traditional music and can be considered the European counterpart to
American swing. Unlike in American jazz, a typical jazz manouche band
consists of string instruments with the violin as the lead melodic instrument.

This class is meant to serve as a beginner introduction to jazz manouche
violin, a “meet and greet” if you will. It is impossible to learn everything about
jazz manouche in 8 weeks or 8 months really—one might say that even the
greatest jazz musician is a student of jazz their entire life. We should not be
intimidated by this, though, because the study of jazz is as fulfilling as it is
demanding. Instead we should relish this opportunity for limitless growth
and the pursuit of self-expression, reveling in our achievements along the
way. If you take nothing else from this class, I hope you at least internalize this

There are a number of practical and specific skills we will be working on
during this class that will help you in your musical pursuits. These skills will be
geared toward jazz manouche, but they also apply to any genre of music:

  • Practical music theory: scales, arpeggios, chord progressions, etc.
  • Ear training: passive and active listening, picking out key and time
    signatures, hearing chord qualities and progressions, etc.
  • Reading chord charts: understanding chord progressions and how
    chords function, finding key modulations, etc.
  • Soloing: licks and improvisation, phrasing, musical ideas, creative
    problem solving, etc.

Welcome! Looking forward to swinging with you!


This class will build on the basics of music theory: the major keys and the related sharps or flats (key signature), the related minor keys, the circle of fifths, as well as basic rhythms. You will also learn how to construct chords and to transpose from one key to another—all very essential skills in really understanding how music works!


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 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 Pig’s 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!

SING YOUR HEART OUT! - Wed (Barbara Panter)

Come sing all manner of songs, from Southern Appalachian mountain tunes to  country to early rock. We’ll start with a strong feel for the main melody, timing, and phrasing, and add harmonies where they fit in a supportive and friendly group setting. No need for extensive vocal experience or ability to read music. It is helpful for participants to be able to match basic pitch, which we will practice.

SONGWRITING LAB - Tue (George Eckard)
Do you play an instrument? Do you write poetry? Have you written a song or do you want to? In the Songwriter’s Lab we will discuss songwriters we admire and different styles of music. We will listen to and critique each other’s work. Would you like a network of songwriters to motivate and inspire you? Come and be a part of the group.


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OPEN TUNED FIDDLE - Sun, July 18 and/or July 25 (Mick Kinney)

You can register for both Sunday sessions, or just one, on the registration form.

What: Open Tuned Fiddle Workshop; Mick Kinney, instructor
Who: All fiddlers who would like to expand their tune knowledge and discover alternative tunings
When: July 18 and July 25, 2:00-5:00 (with time for a break)
Where: Gillespie Building at Decatur’s Legacy Park – 500 South Columbia Dr, Decatur (click here for directions)
Cost: ONE session $50 ($45 for FHS members);
BOTH sessions $90 ($80 for FHS members)
Note: This is an in-person class. Please plan to wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated.

Many traditional fiddle tunes have a special sound that can only be made using non-standard tunings. These alternate tunings allow open strings to be bowed for a sustained resonant effect similar to bagpipe drones. Fingering is often the same as normal classical tuning, or may use the open tuning to an advantage in the melody such as in old time banjo.

We will introduce tunes in alternative tunings such as Citico, Calico, High Bass, Cross, and Open D (Bonaparte’s Retreat).

This two weekend sessions workshop spans one week. The first session is Sunday, July 18, the next the following Sunday, July 25. This is an in-person class!

So that you can keep your own fiddle tuned in standard EADG, fiddles are available for rental through registration (handled on a case-to-case basis).


Don't see a class you want?


Adam Bern
Adam likes to think of himself as a musical chameleon. He is an up-and-coming, award-winning multi-genre violinist with over 20 years of experience and over a decade of classical training. His music is rooted in the Scottish fiddle tradition and jazz manouche violin, as well as other genres of world music. His past awards include first place at the mid-atlantic open Regional Scottish Fiddle Competition (run by Scottish F.I.R.E) and Best March, Strathspey, and Reel at the open US National Fiddle Competition, the nation’s most prestigious competition for Scottish fiddle. He has served as the lead Scottish fiddler for the annual Rialto’s Atlanta Celtic Christmas, and has performed with two Atlanta-based bands, FLAN, as a multi-instrumentalist, and Oakland City Swing, as a guest jazz violinist. Currently, he is based in Boston, MA where he is studying at the Berklee College of Music as a violin principle.

Adam has a deep passion for writing music, performing music, and sharing that passion through teaching and collaborating. To Adam, music should be a conduit of self-expression—it is not merely something we do, but rather who we are. While there are many great players who have perfected the technical elements of their craft, it is the greatest musicians who find a way to speak through their art.

Adam is excited to be teaching the exceptionally rich tradition of jazz manouche violin at the Frank Hamilton School. Though he has given workshops in other genres, he especially loves teaching jazz since it is predicated on spontaneity and self-expression. Adam strongly believes that we all have the potential to speak through our music, and that the right teacher can inspire that in a student.

Clark Brown
Clark Brown, a resident of Atlanta, has been playing mandolin and guitar for almost fifty years. He has played in rock bands, country music groups, and at church. For 14 years he played guitar and did arrangements for the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra. He also plays mandolin in the duo MandoCordion, and he’s been performing solo at various venues around Atlanta since 2010. He developed his solo style while taking master classes from mandolinists Simon Mayor, Evan Marshall, Carlo Aonzo, and guitarist Rene Izquierdo.  
Glen DeMeritt
Glen hails from Wichita, Ks where he studied with the great Craig Owens and other accomplished composers and teachers at Wichita State University. He started teaching in 2004 and quickly found joy in helping others find their musical voice. Whether he’s playing in his band, The Pour Downs, or helping someone else get it together, Glen is grateful to share a musical experience with you.
George Eckard

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.

Charlie Fisher

Son of Atlanta harmonica player Eryk Fisher, Charlie began playing drums live with Chicago Joe Jones in 2007 at the age of eleven in his camps and at open mics, as well as performing in local blues competitions with former band the Caste Outs and others. Around 2009 he began to learn bass from Dustin “Big Red” Sargent, and also began playing bass in shows. Since then he’s expanded to learning the larger aspects of music production and attended The Recording Connection, apprenticing under Ejay Washington at 11th street Studios in 2015 and Phil Tan’s Audio Production school at Callanwolde in 2017. Although he enjoys learning the ins and outs of how any and all music is made he maintains the most important part of music is not how many instruments you can play, or how masterful your recording process, but understanding what makes a good Musician, and that is part of what he hopes to teach others.

Eryk Fisher
Eryk Fisher began his musical journey with a harmonica and a songbook in the early 80’s. It didn’t take long to tire of commercial radio and discover local stations playing a variety of music that was culturally diverse, and to step into Atlanta’s blues scene. After playing at some open jams, he began performing in bands; regular stage performances coupled with mentoring from seasoned musicians formed the core foundation of his music education. Putting in countless hours of listening, playing, reading, writing, teaching, recording and wood-shedding expanded and continues to add to his musical knowledge.
Max Godfrey
Max Godfrey

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

Facebook pages for Max’s current projects:

Max and Maggie

Max Godfrey (Solo performance, lessons, writing, and workshops)

The New Millennium Jelly Rollers

Sourwood Honey

Max teaches Old-time American fiddle styles, clawhammer banjo and country-blues and folk guitar privately. You can contact him about lessons at, or or 404 218 4707.

John Harvey
John Harvey has played in musical groups ranging from his high school marching band and multiple ensembles to a weekly house-band and even a samba school. He has also led local jam sessions. Originally from Austin, Texas, John has made the Decatur area of Atlanta his home for the past 9 years. Since discovering the Frank Hamilton School last year, he has volunteered as an assistant teacher and joined the FHS Band as a regular performer at festivals. Recently he launched a community jam session program for the school. John brings to the school experience teaching English as a second language and coordinating music workshops. When he’s not training non-profits to use software, John spends as much time as possible singing and playing guitar and mandolin with other music lovers.
Andy Howard

Andy HowardAndy Howard
Director, American Racket Cloggers
Director, Florida Clogging Festival

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
An Idaho native, David Robert King now lives in Decatur, GA with his wife, Marita. David’s songs have been in the top 40 on both the Americana and CCM Charts. He has shared the stage with Josh Ritter, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Mary Gauthier, Over The Rhine and Loudon Wainwright III. He has also been a featured performer at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN. David has studied songwriting with the very best: Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls), Mary Gauthier, Darrell Scott, and Jonatha Brooke. David also has a Master’s degree in education from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.
Mick Kinney

Mick KinneyMick 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

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 Maschinot

John MaschinotJohn 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!

Barbara Panter-Connah
Barbara grew up in Atlanta in a musical family from Copperhill, TN, a copper mining town on the GA/TN line. Her fiddling grandfather, John B. (“Uncle Bert”) Panter played for house dances, barn raisings, and other community gatherings, often alongside Fiddlin’ John Carson. After surviving a mine cave-in where his brother was killed, Barbara’s grandfather declared that no son of his would work in the mines. Thus the whole family including Barbara’s grandparents, parents, and all but two of her father’s siblings moved to Atlanta in the 1940s after WWII, providing a large extended family. Barbara’s father, John Panter Jr., one of 7 brothers and 2 sisters, was a fine singer with a beautiful tenor voice and a keen sense of harmony. Some of Barbara’s earliest memories are of falling to sleep at family gatherings listening to gospel singing with beautiful harmonies. At the age of 3 Barbara began playing piano and singing and strumming her little ukulele and sang her 1st solo in church at the age of 4. Her grandfather gave her his fiddle when she was 8 years old and told her he expected her to become a fiddler, further setting her on course for a lifetime of music. Barbara has played with several bands and performed throughout the southeast, in the northeast, southwest, British Isles, and even Serbia. She played and sang for over 40 years with her late husband, Whit Connah, in the band, Hurt Dog, that began in the 70s as an acoustic hillbilly, honky tonk, old time, Cajun band that evolved into Hair of the Dog with drums, and electric guitar, bass, and pedal steel; and continues with her son and daughter-in-law John and Audrey Ferguson, among others. Barbara is currently a member of The Rosin Sisters with Ann Whitley and Jan Smith, three fiddling “sisters” who love playing fiddle tunes and singing early country songs, with close attention to harmony! Barbara loves teaching and facilitating others to find their way on fiddle or guitar, and delights in guiding harmony singing in a supportive fun environment. Barbara, with the Rosin Sisters, has had considerable experience leading harmony workshops at Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week at Mars Hill, NC; at Bear on the Square Festival in Dahlonega, GA, and the Dulcimer and Old Time Festival in Palestine, TX.
Jeff Pearlman

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!

Pat Powers
Pat PowersPat grew up listening to Broadway show tunes, classical piano, and ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll. After brief encounters with piano and trombone, Pat began playing guitar at age 18. He later added mandolin, ukulele, and bass to his repertoire. He enjoys many kinds of music, but is especially fond of popular songs from the 1920s and 1930s. He performs often with local Old Time string bands at festivals, dances, parties, and other events. Pat, a retired federal employee, teaches guitar and ukulele to refugee girls at the Global Village Project school in Decatur. He also volunteers at The Carter Center, Historic Oakland Cemetery, Literacy Action, Atlanta Legal Aid, and the Furkids cat shelter. He concurs with Albert Schweitzer’s dictum that there are “two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats.” The ukulele is a sweet, welcoming, and accessible instrument. Simple material can be learned quickly on it, yet it offers infinite complexities to the advanced player. The ukulele can be a gateway instrument to the more physically challenging guitar, or a wonderful primary instrument in itself, worthy of lifelong study. And it fits neatly in the backseat or overhead bin on your vacation/business trip. Pat would be delighted to help you begin your journey with the ukulele.
Fritz Rauschenberg

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.

Lisset & Judith Rodés

Born and raised in the musical city of Matanzas, Cuba, sisters Lisset & Judith Rodés both sing, and play guitar, as well as congas, bongos, claves, maracas, guiro, and campana. They draw from a repertoire of “Son” classics, boleros, trova ballads, and cha cha chas, Their collective experience includes international performances with Cuban artists Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club, Pedro Louis Ferrer, and composer Lazaro Horta.

Lisset & Judith now live and teach in Dekalb Co, and have an Atlanta based band, CubanaSong.

Shelley Satonin-Hershkovits
Shelley Satonin-Hershkovits loves to take beginners on the adventure of discovering music. She learned to play violin in elementary school and eventually played in the Flagstaff Symphony. She then worked on the administrative staff of the San Diego Symphony. After a hiatus from classical music and some dabbling in other genres and instruments, Shelley played violin in a cover band in the late 90’s. This led to her teaching music classes and summer camps for small children, and taking training in the Suzuki method. In the next 15 years of full-time teaching, she saw so many people who thought they or their children had no “talent” experience the joy of the core Suzuki philosophy: anyone who can speak their mother tongue can learn to play an instrument well. Having completed the first Suzuki teacher training in classical guitar, Shelley realized she wanted to share a style of playing that was more accessible and popular. The opening of the Frank Hamilton School was the answer to her call.
Payton Scott
Payton Scott started playing the banjo at the age of 14, and soon added the guitar, mandolin, bass, accordion, and dulcimer. Payton has studied under Steve Martin Banjo Prize-winner Jens Kruger, world renowned guitarist Uwe Kruger, and the wonderful Frank Hamilton. Payton performs in a folk duo with Sara Grace Carmical called The January Duo. He also performs regularly with his father, Christopher, at markets, festivals, concert halls, and private venues. Payton lives in Newnan, Georgia and is studying to become a lawyer in Atlanta.
Mike Simpson

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.

Private lessons are available on a wide variety of instruments. Please contact us if you’re interested!

Registration & Payment Options

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, Thu & Anytime Classes (8 wks)
$150 per student
$140 for FHS Members

Tue 4-week Class
$75 per student
$70 for FHS Members

Mini Anytime Class
$56 per student
$52 for FHS Members

Mick’s Sunday Fiddle Workshop
See details in Workshop Description!

2nd Half : 1 Term

If you already play pretty well but want to find new musical friends, our Second Half option is for you!

Join in at 8:15pm for 40 minutes of jamming and singing!
Note: 2nd Half is now only on Wednesdays!

Pay your class fee online or by check.

$25 per student per term.

* Click here for information about membership and benefits!

Are you a returning student, already on auto-pay?

Just click below to select your classes for this term!

All the F.Y.I.

2nd Half Online


Please note: All of our classes are currently being given with a combination of webinars, videos, private Zoom sessions and online interaction. You can take them on a phone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

Term 4, 2021
Jun 28 – Aug 18

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu classes

6/28, 7/5, 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16

6/29, 7/6, 7/13, 7/20, 7/27, 8/3, 8/10, 8/17

6/30, 7/7, 7/14, 7/21, 7/28, 8/4, 8/11, 8/18

7/1, 7/8, 7/15, 7/22, 7/29, 8/5, 8/12, 8/19

4-week Class – Tue
6/29, 7/13, 7/ 27, 8/10

Classes are from 7pm-8:45pm
except “Anytime” classes which can be viewed at any time!
2nd Half’ers join in at 8:15pm (Wednesdays only)

Questions? Contact us!