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Macclesfield Music Centre Folk Ensemble Taster Session

Macclesfield Music Centre Folk Ensemble

A taster session for those interested in a potential new ensemble.

Date: Saturday 15th June 2024
Time: 10am to 12pm
Registration: please fill in this registration form to indicate which instrument you play (if any) and what level 
Facilitators: Richard Fay and Daniel Mawson, of Modalways CIC (intercultural musicking)

This taster session will focus on klezmer to show the kind of folk music traditions that the ensemble would focus on if we’re able to establish a new group. The musical culture now usually termed klezmer has its roots in Eastern European Jewish communities (think of the context for Fiddler on the Roof), roots which have been extended through migration to new contexts (e.g. the USA) and through encounters with other music cultures (e.g. swing).

The session will also provide you with some sense of how the prospective folk ensemble could work, in terms of ways of learning music from different traditions.

Modalways (intercultural musicking)
In collaboration with the Macclesfield Music Centre (MMC), the intercultural musicking community interest group Modalways CIC- led jointly by Daniel Mawson and Richard Fay - will provide the overarching vision for the potential new MMC Folk Ensemble.

The Team
Daniel and Richard would coordinate the teaching with different teams of specialised tutors leading the potential ensemble for the tradition with which they engage. These traditions include: Balkan, Breton (and other traditions from France), Greek (including Cretan), Irish, Klezmer, Scandinavian, Scottish, and Welsh. The team of tutors would be drawn from a pool including the following performers: George Bingham (bass, guitar, percussion); Richard Fay (accordion, brass); Mabon Jones (violin); Elana Kenyon-Gewirtz (violin); Georgina MacDonell Finlayson (violin); Jo MacMahon (whistles, flutes, clarinet); Daniel Mawson (clarinet, flute); Caroline Morris (cello).

Situated Encounters
The taster session will seek to situate the participants’ encounters with folk music traditions in ways which are historically and culturally informed as well as being attentive to the new context (i.e. Macclesfield in 2024). It will also seek to develop participants’ musical understandings of the traditions concerned and the functions for which the music was performed (e.g for weddings, for dancing).
The taster session (and the prospective ensemble) will involve an enjoyable opportunity to learn to play different folk traditions music with other musicians. The focus will not just be on the playing of notes on the page, but doing so based on a historically-, culturally-, functionally-, and musicologically-informed foundation.

Learning Styles
Some of the learning will be done aurally, i.e. by ear. This practice, which is in keeping with the practice in many folk traditions, may be familiar for some participants but may represent a significant challenge for others. We will provide support and encouragement in this unfamiliar way of learning.
At other times, we will base the learning on notated music. Again, this may be familiar for some, but also be a significant challenge for others. We will provide support for this challenge.

The central objective is to enable all participants, regardless of their musical learning preferences and experiences, to feel included and able to engage with the new musical material.