The Contradictions and caller Vikki Armstrong lead 5th graders through a Canadian culture and dance program in Trumansburg NY each spring.
I have demonstrated my folk instruments in music, anthropology and language courses at Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College and Cornell University.

Educational Programs

Here are some of the programs I have presented, either solo or with my bandmates. We can develop customized programs for your situation. Also see my Music & Dance Workshops page.

Elementary Schools

  • Folk instrument demonstrations
  • Participatory social dance workshops (square dancing, contradancing, medieval dances)
  • Geographic themes including Canada or Québec, New England, New York State, Ireland, France, Scandinavia

Middle & High Schools

  • Workshops for string players in learning tunes by ear
  • Canadian dances and culture (participatory)
  • Participatory call & response French songs, for French language classes or choir groups

Suzuki Institutes & String Camps

  • Workshops in various fiddle styles and learning by ear, culminating in a parade, performance or family dance (see video below)

Colleges & Music Conservatories

  • For music students: Lecture-demo on similarities and differences between classical violin and traditional fiddle techniques, hands-on workshops in learning tunes by ear
  • For Ethnomusicology, Anthropology or Foreign Language classes: participatory French songs and dances, demonstrations of Scandinavian folk instruments. This radio program gives an example of my lecture-demo style.
I teach fiddling nearly every summer at the Suzuki Institute at Ithaca College. This clip from 2006 shows me teaching and then performing with the kids, with guitarists Mark Hahn and Tom Hodgson and caller Vikki Armstrong.
You first see the kids practicing for the dance, rehearsing the transition between two tunes, and then the family dance itself, with the kids on stage, Vikki calling from the floor, and all the kids' families having a great time on the dance floor. The tunes are
0:00 Kerry Polka
0:38 Cluck Old Hen
2:08 Gaspé Reel
2:55 After the Battle of Aughrim
3:41 Zemer Atik
4:33 Little Liza Jane