August 14-20, 2023 // Cascade, MD
Take your playing to the next level!
English country dance music is some of the best music around. Playing ECD music for dancers in an ensemble is even better. Join us at Cascade of Music & Dance for a special course devoted to ensemble playing for English dance musicians led by Dave Wiesler.
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This course is about getting off the page for ECD music. We will focus on the two main components:
- Knowing what else to play. We will discuss and practice how to construct simple but compelling melodic variations, to play effective harmony lines, to provide musical support and contrast, and to vary the mood or feel with different rhythmic textures.
- Learning how to pay attention to the dancers, the caller, and your bandmates — all while you are playing. We will discuss and practice strategies for making space in your brain to listen, watch, respond, and execute your ideas on your instrument.
Course Details and Participation Requirements
The class will meet for two hour-long class periods each day. Mornings will be spent discussing ideas, playing musical games, and working on ear training and observation skills. Afternoons will be mostly for small ensemble playing with coaching. There will be an opportunity to observe musicians in an ECD class played by staff and perhaps to sit in. In order to make the best use of our class time, I will also send out some advance homework — critical listening exercises and some audio and sheet music for you to learn in advance.
To benefit the most from this course, you should be
- Proficient at your instrument
- Able to read music or to learn a tune by ear quickly
- Willing to dance ECD, or at least try it out
- Willing to prepare for class by doing some advance homework
- Willing to challenge yourself in a supportive camp environment
It is helpful, but not necessary to have some experience playing for dance of any kind (not necessarily ECD, but also contra dance, Scottish, etc.)
Registration and Fees
The fee for the course is $950.
Participation is limited to 12.
If the course is oversubscribed on March 13, preference will be given to the more experienced musicians and, to a lesser extent, the balance of instruments. There is also some preference given to applicants supported by their local community. Strong indicators of that support are our Group Priority and Matching Scholarship processes, where a CDSS Affiliate vouches for a participant and may offer some scholarship, asking CDSS to match that amount. This is a statement by people who know the individual, that the person is deserving of assistance and would benefit the local community by attending the course.
To learn more about available scholarships, visit our scholarships page.