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Classes, Workshops & Sessions

The heart of the Acadia Trad Festival is world-class instruction students receive from our faculty and workshop instructors. Whether you are registered for the full week, a single day, or you just wish to drop in for an afternoon workshop, we have over 200 educational opportunities that will appeal to almost everyone.

Morning classes focus on student’s chosen major, and are open to registered students only. Classes are progressive throughout the week. All instrument majors (except for those note as specifically for Beginners) are intended for students at the Intermediate, Advanced or Master level (see below for a description of the levels).

In addition to major classes, afternoon workshops and jam sessions are offered for all levels (including beginner) in all instruments and dance. All workshops and sessions are included in full-time and daily tuition rates. Workshops and sessions are also open to the public for a small fee (in 2018, fees were $30 for a 75-minute workshop or $15 for a 75-minute jam session. 2019 fees will be posted as we approach Festival week).

View the Schedule of 2018 Classes, Workshops and Jam Sessions. 2019 details to come!

Skill Levels

Major courses of study are offered at four skill levels: Beginner (fiddle and guitar only), Intermediate, Advanced and Master. Students are expected to focus on their major for the morning classes, but are free to explore other instruments during afternoon workshops and jam sessions. Afternoon workshops are offered at all levels.

BEGINNER fiddle classes are geared toward those who have little to no experience with fiddle. Beginner guitar students should have a basic understanding of simple chords (G, D, C, etc). The main criteria is the desire to learn! Want to play another instrument or learn to dance? Many afternoon workshops are offered at the beginner level.

INTERMEDIATE students should be able to play their primary instrument at slow and intermediate sessions. All major courses of study are available to students at the intermediate level.

ADVANCED students are people who are comfortable playing out at dances or in bands. An advanced student can lead a session, play fast, and take solos. All major courses of study are available to students at the advanced level.

MASTER students are typically very active performers and/or music teachers. Classes are rigorous and fast-paced, and available only to selected instruments.

2019 Majors:

  • Accordion
  • Bodhran
  • Cello
  • Dance
  • Fiddle*
  • Fiddle-making
  • Flute
  • Guitar*
  • Harp
  • Piano
  • Songs & Accompaniment
  • Whistle

*Beginner classes offered too!

NEW! Songs & Accompaniment

A journey through Irish song, this class will welcome singers, instrumentalists, and those interested in both. Cathy Jordan and Eamon O’Leary will teach songs from their extensive (mostly) Irish repertoires — timeless stories of the sea, of love and courtship, of work and ritual, of emigration, of war, and many other subjects. We’ll learning the songs themselves, words and melodies, together as a group, with discussions of versions, sources, and provenance where appropriate. Then we’ll explore ideas for arrangements of the songs, covering everything from vocal harmonies to instrumental accompaniment. We expect accompaniment instruments will be primarily guitar, bouzouki and mandolin, but all other instruments are welcome.