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ARCHIVES: Pics of Past Sessions in Halifax



Please note: Our classes are rated as either: Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, or All Levels Welcome


Levels: novice, intermediate, & advanced class; all styles welcome

Instructor: Gillian Boucher, Cape Breton
Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 2:00- 4:30pm – 2.5 hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall – Room 1
Cost: $25.00

A rare opportunity to enjoy an intimate class with one of Cape Breton's finest young fiddlers !!!!

In this class, Gillian will touch on many topics, including the difference between several different styles of playing (Scottish, Cape Breton, Irish, Quebecois), and the difference between the types of tunes (strathspeys, slow airs, waltzes, jigs, reels, etc.) Learning a couple of tunes by ear first, and then handing out sheet music for future reference at the end, Gillian will also discuss the history of Cape Breton music and dance (ie. Scotland, Clearances, Emigration), how the music has changed , and also the aspects of it preserved.

This class is suitable for players of all genres. No knowledge of written music is necessary. Please bring your fiddle, notepad, and a recording device if you have one. You will also walk away with our “Tune of the Day” in your head, and on your bowstrings.

Born and raised on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Gillian Boucher’s style blends Celtic & contemporary sounds with hints of Eastern European styles and jazz. Gillian started touring the world at just 15 - first as a featured performer at Green Linnet's 20th Anniversary Gala in New York, and then throughout North America, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. She has shared the stage with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Solas, Natalie MacMaster, Cappercaillie, The Battlefield Band, Tom Paxton and many other performers. While living in Edinburgh, Gillian founded the all-girl band Maysha and was a featured performer on Scotland's Television Programme 'Tacsi'. Most recognized as a duo with guitarist Andrew White, Gillian now resides in her home province Nova Scotia, and co-hosts a weekly session a Durty Nelly’s Pub in Halifax. She was a 2010 ECMA Nominee for Roots/Traditional Solo Recording of the Year and a 2009 NSMW Award Winner for Roots/Traditional Recording of the Year.

We are pleased to welcome Gillian back to her second Workshop because of your overwhelmingly positive feedback from Workshop #6.


Levels: novice, intermediate, & advanced class; all styles welcome

Instructor: Glenn Coolen, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Date: Saturday, May 1
Time: 2:00 -4:30pm - 2.5hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 2
Cost: $25.00

Sometimes, the proper feel & playing of REELS confounds even long-time players. This course will discuss tips & tricks you can employ in improving your ability to play this fun type of dance tune.

A 2-1/2 hour-long course covering the fundamentals of whistle & low whistle playing (in both Scottish & Irish styles) by one of Canada’s top whistle/pipers. This course is good for anyone who can play basic tunes on the whistle, and more advanced players as well. Students will have the opportunity to direct the focus of the class. Please bring your whistles ("D" preferably). Great for highland pipers, whistle, low-whistle, flute players, or anyone else wishing to improve their skill on these popular instruments. All styles are welcome, although the focus of this class will be primarily on Scottish & Irish styles of playing.


Levels: beginner & novice class

Instructor: Mark Currie, Bedford, Nova Scotia
Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 2:00 -4:30 pm -2.5hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 5
Cost: $25.00

Welcome to "Bodhran Bootcamp" !!!!!
Tired of seeing that bodhran hanging on the wall but have no idea where to start? ……This class is tailored strictly for you, the beginner! You will be taught the important fundamentals of the “Kerry style”, which will lay the foundation of good technique. The basics of Jigs & Reels will be covered, as well as a litany of tips and tricks to kick-start your playing. You will be amazed to find yourself grooving along with the "tune of the day" demonstrating your newly learned prowess!

With over 20 years experience, Mark is one of Canada’s top bodhran players. Mark will quickly have you playing on this popular rhythmic instrument. He will also o spend a few minutes focusing on a lesser-known instrument: the “bones”.


A quick overview of The Irish Bagpipe

Level: all levels welcome; all styles welcome!
Instructor: Jon Goodman, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 10:00am -12:30pm - 2.5hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 2
Cost: $35.00

A 2-1/2 hour-long course covering the fundamentals of this very unique instrument.

We are pleased to announce –due to popular demand –our second class specifically dedicated to the IRISH BAGPIPE. With your continued- interest, we are hoping to make the UP a regular part of our Workshop series. This class is designed for both the individual who has a set of pipes already, or for the person who is curious of the instrument’s “crossover” with other instruments: the flute, whistles, or other types of bagpipes.

Jon Goodman is one of Canada’s most well-known and respected Irish musicians (flute, whistles, Irish Pipes). He learned about pipes and piping from people like Chris Langan, Brendan Breathnach, Dan Dowd, and Liam O'Floinn. Jon spent a couple of years in Dublin and Zurich trying to prove a connection between the Uilleann Pipes and Alpenhorn, making his own set of uilleann pipes in the process. Over the years Jon has recorded with the likes of Rita MacNeil, the Rankins, Joel Plaskett,….. to name a few.

Bring chanters, practice sets, half sets, or full sets if you have them,………and, one special note for students from Jon,” … I have a fondness for Honeycrisp apples”. Please note, that this class costs $35.00 ($30.00 for students & seniors).



Instructor: Patricia Murray, Prince Edward Island
Date: next class: Saturday, October 23rd, 2010
Time: tba -2.5hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room tbd
Cost: tba

Award-winning Gaelic singer, Patricia Murray, will be resuming her series of classes at our next Workshop (#8) on October 23rd, 2010.

Although we will not be offering a Gaelic singing class this time round, we are committed to having Gaelic as a very key component of our future Workshops!!! And in fact, we are working to make it a much stronger component that it has previously been. Please ask us if you have any questions or suggestions about future Gaelic classes.


Celtic Harp, Persian Santur, Hammer Dulcimer
Level: all levels of experience welcome; all styles welcome; harp & santur & dulcimer players welcome

Instructor: Saeed Foroughi , Chester, Nova Scotia
Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 10:00 -12:30 -2.5hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 5
Cost: $35.00

Due to many requests, we are excited to be able to offer (for the very first time) an overview of the Celtic Harp!

And, we are very pleased, and honored , to welcome Saeed Foroughi as an instructor to our workshop series. Saeed is a nationally- recognized performer and teacher. He began his musical education at age 10 in Iran, eventually mastering the flute, the Irish harp, the santor and dulcimer. Following his graduation from Trinity College in London, he was principal flutist of the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra for three years. For the past 25 years, Saeed has recorded and performed throughout Canada, appeared in many international festivals, has completed a tour of Japan, and has become a regularily featured composer & performer for CBC Radio 2 .

Saeed is a versatile performer:…. His music explores Classical, Scottish, Irish, Persian, Japanese & Chinese styles. Because of his broad range of knowledge and experience, this class will not just be an overview of the Celtic harp:….it will also include some digging around at the roots of some related instruments, by using the examples of the ancient Persian santur, as well as the hammer dulcimer. Please feel free to ask Saeed any questions relating to any of these instruments.

All levels are welcome to this class! Even if you are just “harp-curious”, and do not own one yourself, come along to see what all the fuss is about! This workshop is also open to santur and hammer dulcimer players.

Recording devices are permitted and encouraged. Please note, that this class costs $35.00 ($30.00 for students & seniors)




Level: novice to intermediate class; all styles welcome
Instructor: Seph Peters, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Date: Saturday, May 1
Time: 2:00pm –4:30pm – 2.5 hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall – Room 4
Cost: $25.00

One of the most sought-after Celtic guitar accompanists in Canada, Seph Peters has toured the USA, Canada and the UK sharing the stage with artists such as Pauline Scanlon, Donogh Hennessy, Troy MacGillivary, Shooglenifty, Tony DeMarco, Kimberley Fraser, Squid, Anna Ludlow, Rosie MacKenzie and Paddy Keenan. Born in Glasgow, Scotland and raised in picturesque Margaree on Cape Breton Island, Seph's music is percussive and Irish in nature.

For this workshop, Seph is offering a class in “DADGAD” guitar accompaniment for “tunes” & “songs”. DADGAD is a guitar tuning often used in the accompaniment of Irish/Celtic tunes. He will focus on strumming techniques and basic chords, with the emphasis on learning by ear.

Recently back from an extended musical journey to Ireland, Seph is a great resource for any Celtic music enthusiast.

Capos are a bonus, if you own one, please bring it! Though all levels are welcome, this will be primarily a novice to intermediate level course.


Level: novice, intermediate, advanced class; all styles welcome

Instructor: Louis Benoit, Nova Scotia
Date: Saturday, May 1
Time: 10:00 – 12:30pm – 2.5 hrs long
Location: Christ Church Hall – Room 4
Cost: $25.00

A rare opportunity to sit down to learn with one of Canada’s finest mandolin players !

We are very pleased to welcome Louis Benoit to our workshop series. Influenced by his late father Jarvis’ mix of French Acadian, Cape Breton and Irish styles of playing, Louis Benoit, (mandolin/guitar) is well respected throughout Atlantic Canada for his performances with the Jarvis Benoit Quartet, The Octet, and his weekly performances in Halifax at The Old Triangle with Dave MacIsaac.

This course will give you a good overview of how to improve your skills on the mandolin. Players of all styles wishing to improve their skills are welcome. Anyone is welcome to join in. Bring your questions, notebooks, and of course - mandolins!



A great way to improve your understanding of tunes, and how they are notated.
Level: all levels of experience welcome

Instructor : Jennifer Publicover
Moderator: Glenn Coolen
Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 1:00 -2:00 pm - 1 hr long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 1
Cost: $10.00

Developing a good ear is essential to catching the style and energy of traditional music. It is also a really great investment in yourself to learn to read and write music, so that you can take advantage of the many great tune collections out there without always having to rely on recordings. You can also describe your musical ideas and share tunes with others much more quickly and easily, including some pieces that you might write yourself! Becoming musically literate is just like learning to read and write a language -- it opens so many doors to any style of music.

This hour-long open seminar is designed to answer any questions you may have about writing & reading music, especially in relationship to learning & memorizing TUNES.
*Learn basic notation & theory;
*Learn about the common time signatures in trad. tunes ( 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8 );
*Learn how to find the key (tonic, or "home base") of a tune;
*Learn what the most common trad. keys/modes are ;
*Learn about software that allows you to slow tunes down at pitch to make them easier to transcribe;
*Learn how to notate tunes in your own notebook;
*Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of learning tunes by sheet music vs by ear.
Plus, there will be an open Q&A period : bring any questions you may have- no matter how basic- about music notation.

You are welcome to bring pencil & paper. This course is designed primarily for those who are new to the world of sheet music (or a bit rusty), but anyone is welcome to participate!

Jennifer leads a double life as an active freelancer on both the modern orchestral flute and the wooden Irish flute. She earned a Master’s degree in flute performance at the University of Toronto. Driven by the desire to develop her own unique voice beyond her classical training, Jennifer has been drawn to the traditional music of her native Nova Scotia, Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Scandinavia and beyond. She is a member of two neo-traditional bands: Papilio and Fancy's Flight. In her alter ego as a classical flutist, she performs as an alternate player for such institutions as Symphony Nova Scotia, the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra, and the Stadacona Band, frequently appearing in many orchestras, pit orchestras, pro concert bands and chamber groups in and around Halifax. She is also in demand as teacher, and is a busy mom of two.


Level: all levels of experience welcome; all styles welcome

Cost: Free to anyone enrolled in one of the above courses
Date: Saturday, May 1
Time: 4:30 -5:00pm - 30mins long
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 1

It has become customary to end each HALIFAX CELTIC MUSIC WORKSHOP with an informal, relaxed music SESSION. To both novice & experienced players alike, the “SESSION” has become a primary component of Celtic music around the globe. ……. And if you’ve never experienced one before, this is a great way to begin. At each WORKSHOP, students learn a “tune of the day’. This tune is performed by everyone –instructors and students alike- at the end the day. And then we let loose !!! This Workshop’s “Tune of The Day” is a secret,….but let’s just say for now that it is a wonderful reel.



Level: all levels of experience welcome; all instruments welcome

Cost: Free to anyone enrolled in one of the above courses
Date: Saturday, May 1
Time: 12:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Christ Church Hall - Room 3

We are proud to introduce a SESSION ROOM. This space will be available for anyone who wishes to play tunes with other registrants, or to rehearse. The room will be available from 12:30- 4:30. The “SESSION” has become a primary component of Celtic music around the globe. ……. And if you’ve never experienced one before, this is another great way to begin. Show up a bit early, ….stay a bit later after your class, …… or rehearse what you’ve just learned from your instructor. It will be informal & relaxed.



In addition to the WORKSHOP classes listed above, some of our instructors will be giving private instruction on Sunday November 22nd. Please contact us if you are interested in signing up in advance for our 1-on-1 private classes.

All classes take place at THE BLOOMFIELD CENTER, 2786 Agricola Street, Halifax
On Saturday, November 21, 2009

Classes & times may be subject to change due to enrollment levels.

To register on-line for any of the courses listed above, or for additional information, please ......

click here to download a full PDF description of Workshop #7



last updated April 21st, 2011