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British BMG Federation Summer School

Friday 10 Jun 4pm — Sunday 12 Jun 4pm, 2022

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £270– single ensuite room
  • £232– sharing an ensuite room
  • £232– single non-ensuite room
  • £185– sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £175

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £165

We are delighted to be hosting the prestigious 2022 British Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar Federation Summer School. Choose from 3 courses – Classic Finger-style 5-string Banjo with Aaron Jonah Lewis; Mandolin & Guitar with Barbara Pommerenke-Steel; Mixed Instruments with Nick Wyke – and let us know your choice when booking.

Who’s it For?

Three courses are on offer; please let us know when booking which course you would like to enroll on.

Aaron Jonah Lewis: Classic 5-String Banjo This class will focus on the improvement of technique and musicianship in classic banjo playing through the study of various pieces and exercises. We will concentrate on tone and clarity, rhythm and timing, phrasing and dynamics, and we will discuss various practice methods. We will explore both solo and ensemble playing and look into how to create your own arrangements for the banjo. Standard music notation will be used, and music will be available beforehand. This course is suitable for both the beginner (with a sound basic knowledge of the instrument) as well as the more advanced student and is open to all players of 5-string banjo regardless of the style normally played, bearing in mind that strings will be played using fingers, not plectrum or finger-picks.

Barbara Pommerenke-Steel: From Dots to Music – Making Music come Alive – This course will focus on three different pieces of music arranged or composed for mandolin and classical guitar. After playing the notes written on the page, we will spend time exploring the musical and technical aspects of the pieces to make them our own, and determine how to achieve the best possible performance. Music will be available beforehand and will be arranged in different parts to make it accessible to players of different standards. This course is open to mandolin family instruments and classical guitar and will be suitable for intermediate to advanced players. Bass (guitar/ukulele) players are also welcome.

Nick Wyke: Transatlantic Strings – Folk, Bluegrass & Old-time Music (for mixed stringed instruments)
This course will explore the wealth of traditional music from both sides of the Atlantic; from Irish jigs to Canadian reels; from English hornpipes to American waltzes. We’ll be investigating the style and feel of all this different music, looking at their similarities and differences, and learning about how they relate to other music styles, from classical to jazz. It is open to mixed strings from both the plucked and bowed families, including mandolin, banjo, guitar, violin and cello amongst others. Music will be provided in advance in the form of notation with chord names. Tablature can be provided if required. Parts will be provided for players of varying abilities, but a good grasp of music reading, tablature or confident ear-learning would be an advantage, along with the ability to play some scales, tunes, chords or pieces confidently on your instrument as a minimum skill level.

If you have further queries about course content and the ability level required for each group, please contact:
BMG Federation course co-ordinator Sandra Woodruff, email sandra.woodruff@virgin.net

The Tutors

Aaron Jonah Lewis is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, performer and educator. He is noted for his mastery of multiple banjo styles, and as a banjoist, Lewis explores some interesting veins in the roots of Old-Time, Bluegrass, Ragtime and Jazz music through his newest recording, “Mozart of the Banjo: The Joe Morley Project.” Lewis is passionate about sharing early fingerstyle banjo music. He is “trying to keep (classic banjo) alive and spread it around, as it’s a delightful style that brings joy and connects us to the depth of our shared history.” He spends most of his time touring as a solo performer and with the Corn Potato String Band, Lovestruck Balladeers, and other projects.

Barbara Pommerenke-Steel studied Music in Berlin and at Strathclyde University. She also gained a diploma in mandolin teaching from the Bundesakademie, Trossingen, Germany and through Victoria College of Music, London. She has taught mandolin and classical guitar for more than 25 years in individual and group settings at both arts centres and higher education settings  such as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In 1999 Barbara co-founded the Lanarkshire Guitar and Mandolin Association and has designed, developed and delivered a wide range of music courses for young people, adults and professional musicians and tutors. She currently conducts two mandolin and guitar orchestras. Through her work with the British BMG Federation she has been involved  in developing the syllabus for mandolin with Victoria College of Music.

Nick WykeNick Wyke is an experienced professional guitarist, fiddler, mandolinist and tutor and has worked in the industry for over 20 years. His main field has been in playing and researching folk and traditional music and he has played and recorded with Jim Moray, Jackie Oates, Jim Causley, and many more. He currently performs as a duo with Becki Driscoll and is the fiddle player in Gadarene. He has worked in community music for 18 years, mainly with Wren Music, and has run orchestras, choirs and youth groups, as well as many one-off workshops in guitar, fiddle and folk band. He has recently run Wren’s ‘Mandolin Orchestra of Devon’ conducting, writing and arranging pieces for mandolin-family instruments.

The British BMG Federation aims to promote the performance and education of banjo, mandolin and guitar. It is committed to creating educational opportunities for players of all ages to learn and improve on their chosen instruments through running workshops and courses and advertising courses run by other individuals and organisations.

The Summer School is a major event in the BMG calendar; this is an annual residential weekend that moves around different venues in the UK, offering courses for banjo, mandolin and guitar.