Our DG Weekends at Halsway are hugely popular and book-up well in advance. We’re delighted to be welcoming Andy Cutting and Anne Niepold back to the team in 2021, joined by non-other than Saul Rose!
This weekend is not aimed at total beginners. You’ll need to have a basic grasp of your instrument – as a guide you should at least be able to play simple tunes with both hands together – with plenty to inspire and challenge more experienced and accomplished musicians. There will be a busy programme of workshops (each group will spend time with each tutor) plus time to socialise and take part in informal sessions plus an informal tutor’s concert on the Saturday evening.
“I really enjoyed the weekend. The accommodation and food was lovely, such a special house. Being in close touch with such good teachers and great musicians, so inspiring.”
Who’s it For?
Players of the D/G melodeon (diatonic button accordion) of all levels except complete beginners. You’ll need a DG melodeon (2 row, 8 bass as a minimum). The course is taught predominantly by ear at all levels.
We’ll be asking you when you book to pre-select the group which best suits your current ability level so that we can keep group sises manageable. If – come the weekend – you feel you’re in the wrong place, there will be the possibility to move group at the tutors’ discretion. The three tutors will work with all three groups, allowing you the experience of learning from each of them.
Please make sure you read our Halsway Playing Levels guide, to help you choose the most appropriate group. Also while we commend ambition, please be realistic about what your playing level will be next May!
The groups are:
Aimed at level 2 players, we’ll be learning simple tunes that will help you with technique as well as adding to your repertoire. You should be used to playing tunes with both hands together, albeit slowly, and you’ll need to be prepared to learn tunes by ear.
For our level 3+ players, this is an intermediate level class which will move at a faster pace, looking at more complex tunes and incorporating a greater level of challenge. You should be able to pick up tunes by ear at a reasonable speed, know your way round the right and especially the left hand of your box, and be used to crossing the rows.
This group is for those who want a real challenge. You’ll be at least a level 4 on our playing guidelines, and able to pick up tunes by ear at a fair pace. You’ll be wanting explore the possibilities of your instrument and develop your musical style as well as technical ability.
Music is not sent out in advance for this course. Teaching is generally by ear with scores available for you to take away. All tutors are happy for you to make video or sound recordings for your own use, so bring a recording device as well as a notepad and pen!
Andy Cutting needs little introduction. Hailed as one of the country’s most beloved folk musicians and three-time winner of BBC Folk Musician of the Year, Andy is an emotive and engaging performer, and a warm and witty tutor.
A soulful and technically outstanding melodeon practitioner with an ear for a fine tune, as well as a thorough grounding in the English tradition, Andy’s influences extend way beyond these isles, particularly to the music of Central France and to the storming Quebecois tradition. He currently performs with Leveret, with Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr, plus Blowzabella, Topette, June Tabor, and Roger Daltry.
“Hearing Andy Cutting play is like going through the wardrobe and finding Narnia. His music is glorious, joyful, moving, subtle, emotionally charged, a totally spell-binding experience that is never long enough.” June Tabor
Anne Niepold (Belgium) is an extraordinary accordionist and composer. A passionate tutor with almost 20 years experience. Anne holds a masters degree in composition and arrangement from the prestigious Brussels Royal Conservatoire and has taught courses for all levels of ability across Belgium, and in France and Germany. As a performer she is a true force of nature – brash, adventurous and phenomenally skilled, she takes the humble accordion in startling directions. Beside her solo projects, she performs with numerous arts companies at home and abroad, and has numerous recordings to her name.
Anne and Andy are creating and performing together in a celebrated new duo!
Saul Rose has to be one of the most experienced and hard-working box players (and singers) on the UK folk scene. Saul was a long-time member of Waterson:Carthy, winning two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards with ‘Broken Ground’ and forming a duo with Eliza Carthy with whom he has worked with extensively ever since. More recently Saul has joined Whapweasel, played in Ruth Notman’s band, and formed duos with James Delarre (of Mawkin) and with Maclaine Colston. He is one third of Faustus (with Benji Kirkpatric & Paul Sartin) and is a founder member of folk big band Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band. He has played on numerous albums as a guest, including Jackie Oates’ album ‘Hyperboreans’, Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy’s album ‘The Gift’ and the soundtrack for the films ‘Morris- A Life With Bells On’ and ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’. He was nominated for the Musician of The Year award in the 2010 BBC Folk Awards and during 2011 took the part of Songman in the West End play War Horse.