English Dance Musicians Course at Early Music Week

June 27 - July 4, 2013

Held during Early Music Week at Pinewoods.

Is there still room?
For up-to-date info about availability and wait lists,
see our Program Weeks page.


Tentative Schedule

Program Director

Program Description

With its wide variety and long history, English traditional dance music is infinitely rewarding to play, ranging in feel from classical to jazzy to barn-dance styles. Knowing how to play for a dance event with so many differing musical possibilities is the challenge and the joy of the ECD musician. Please join me as we learn about and practice repertoire as well as harmonizing, improvisation, phrasing, ornamentation, tempo selection and maintenance, working with callers and the skills of ensemble playing (without having your band sound like mush).

This course will present ideas, tunes and concepts in the 90 minute class each morning. In a daily afternoon class, there is an opportunity to implement those ideas in supervised small band settings.

Our emphasis will be on playing. Participants should be able to competently sight-read new music at an appropriate tempo on their instrument. Come learn what you need to know to start or be in an English dance band. As we explore both the beautiful and the comical in the dance-playing art, you'll probably have fun as well!

This course, held concurrently with Early Music Week, is an exciting opportunity to be in a musician-focused environment, where others will be working on technique, period style and improvisation. As part of Early Music Week, English Dance Musicians Course participants will have a chance to join one of the three graded, daily English country dance classes, to be reminded of the music from the "user's end". Early Music Week offers a number of options for the rest of the afternoon (including practice time), as well as dancing and concerts in the evenings.

-- Peter Barnes, Program Director


Small group ensembles will work with The Barnes Book of English Country Dance Tunes (both Volumes), available from CDSS and at the camp bookstore.


This course is limited to 12 participants to ensure plenty of opportunity for active participation. If it is oversubscribed on March 18, there will be a lottery of qualified applicants, with preference given to musicians with experience playing for English country dance. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend Early Music Week, if you did not get a space in the course. Scholarships are available.

Tentative Schedule

7:45-8:15 Hot Breakfast served cafeteria style
8:15-8:45 Cold Breakfast Coffee/Tea available
8:30-8:50 General Morning Warmup and Recorder Warm-up
9:00-10:30 English Dance Musicians Course
12:00-12:30 Free time: Swimming, Bookstore staffed
12:30 Lunch
3:35-4:45 English Dance Musicians Course
5:00-5:30 Tea
5:30-6:20 Free time: Informal camper readings, Swimming, Bookstore staffed, Side-by-Side Readings
6:30 Dinner
7:45 Mini Presentations
8:15 All Camp Dance
9:45-10:45 Special Events