An opportunity for young musicians from the South West and beyond to work with leading folk artists, to develop skills, confidence and creativity, and create a new performance piece.
Musician, composer and educator Becki Driscoll is back as our Creative Lead for 2022. For this week she’ll be joined by professional musician-tutors Matt Norman, Hannah Cumming, and Kate Griffin, with Kerrie Seymour also returning as Pastoral Lead.
We’ll be providing an immersive week of music, creativity and fun, in the beautiful and secluded surroundings of Halsway Manor. It will be intensive and challenging, but also supportive and fun! Young musicians will spend the week working together to learn, arrange and rehearse new repertoire, developing musical skills and performance technique, and creating their own interpretations of traditional material. The group will live, work and play together, with opportunities for informal rehearsals and social gatherings to enrich their experience and understanding of the folk arts.
The week will end with performances at Sidmouth Folk Week!
Who’s is it for?
This is a fun but intensive course for young people aged 12-18. You’ll need to have prior experience as a musician – any instrument is welcome – and to be of a playing level of at least grade 4 and upwards. We’ll be teaching predominantly by ear, so if you’re used to reading music you’ll need to be prepared to give it a go! You’ll need to have some prior experience of folk, perhaps in a school folk band or previous courses at Halsway. It’s important that you want to be creative, work collaboratively with others, and have fun creating a performance that everybody can be proud of.
How to Apply
Call us, or send on online booking enquiry. You’ll need to pay a deposit of £60 to secure your place; the balance is due 6 weeks before the course. Places are limited, and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once we’ve been in touch to confirm your booking, please complete this online Student Information Form to tell us about your musical experience and residential requirements. If you wish to share a room with friends there’s a space to request this on the form.
Becki is a musician, singer, composer and educator with many years’ experience. Based in the heart of the West Country she has a deep knowledge on love of our local – and wider – folk traditions.
Becki leads educational projects and workshops for festivals and specialist courses, ranging from beginners fiddle sessions, to mixed-instrument folk ensembles. She leads the prestigious English Fiddle Weekend at Halsway (together with Nick Wyke), and runs RootNotes, a community music company that provides participatory music workshops for people of all ages in North Devon, including a weekly folk ensemble (featured on BBC Spotlight!) and regular music sessions for young people and families.
Becki is well known for her celebrated musical partnership with Nick Wyke; two of the UK’s finest fiddle-players, together they give a playful and innovative take on English traditional music and song. They first collaborated as a fiddle duo on a busking trip around Spain and Portugal, and in the years since have worked with some of the leading lights of the English folk scene, always pushing the boundaries and developing new and inventive music. The duo’s compositions and interpretations of traditional songs are influenced by a wide range of musical cultures: “We are inspired by the people we meet and the places we’ve been. We like the idea of a global approach to the English tradition.”
Matt is a performer, teacher, composer, arranger, workshop leader and conductor.
He predominantly works with traditional English music, steeped in the traditions of Devon and Dartmoor. He is also blues and classical musician, and a Dartmoor Step Dance Champion!
As a multi-instrumentalist, Matt plays mandolin, fiddle, mandola, banjos, piano and also sings. He performs solo and in bands including Gadarene and A New Vintage ceilidh band, and regularly deps in other line-ups. He’s also a singer and choir-leader.
Matt’s extensive teaching experience includes working in community and festival settings with all ages and abilities. He has a relaxed, fun and accessible approach to learning, tailored very much to the group. He has a broad expertise embracing mixed-instrument ensembles, choral and voice work, instrument specific tuition (mandolin, fiddle, banjo), and also step dancing.
Hannah began playing the fiddle at the age of 12, and her love of folk music spiralled as soon as she could play it. She recorded her first folk CD at the tender age of 13 as a duet with her brother Alex, before starting a ceilidh band together with Alex and pals Jon and Penny Dyer; ‘Dyer:Cumming’s’ are still going strong today!
Hannah’s introduction to teaching came through running festival workshops with Dyer:Cumming’s, but her enthusiasm soon expanded beyond the band, to running her own fiddle workshops at Towersey Folk Festival, running festival youth workshops with Shooting Roots, and running a folk group and folk choir while at college.
Hannah currently performs as a solo singer/musician, and with bands Dyer: Cumming’s, and the Klezbians – a 12-piece klezmer band born out of a love of Jewish Gypsy music discovered while studying music at Falmouth University. She has a busy teaching schedule including private violin tuition for adults and children, leading Fiddlin’ Folk children’s folk orchestra and Sherbourne Folk Band, in addition to working within primary and secondary schools.
Hannah just wants to be able to play, share her music, and encourage others to try it for themselves! Hannah is joining us for the first time as a Young Halsway tutor this year – and she’s even more excited than we are!
Kate is a clawhammer banjo player, vocalist and composer rapidly emerging on the UK folk and world scene. Described as “one of the top banjo players in the country” by virtuoso Dan Walsh, her innovative banjo style combines both traditional UK and American folk, whilst also placing the banjo in a contemporary setting. In 2017 Kate Griffin and Ford Collier formed award winning global folk collective Mishra, fusing Indian classical with UK and American folk music, with their debut album being released autumn 2019. Her solo projects include the Wayside Tales EP which transformed stories from her home village in Gloucestershire into reflective compositions; participating in a cross-cultural collaborative project Virtual Migrants; and touring with theatre company Pif-Paf.
Whilst studying at the University of Sheffield Kate has led numerous workshops with the university’s folk ensemble and undergraduate students, alongside teaching instrumental lessons in piano, guitar and banjo for 4 years. She has also led workshops at folk festivals and with refugee groups in Sheffield.
Kerrie Seymour (Pastoral Support)
Kerrie is a community artist, youth theatre director and project manager with a background in Social Work, specializing in Youth, Education and Children’s Residential care.
Working extensively with schools, community groups and a range of support services Kerrie has delivered countless projects from small theatre performances to large scale outdoor events. She strives to be part of creating fresh, innovative, thought provoking and exciting work that can motivate, inspire, and engage participants and audiences. At Halsway she’ll be leading fun team-building and confidence-boosting games and creative activities to complement the musical tuition, whilst making sure each young person feels included and supported during their stay.