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Winter/Spring 2023 Classes


Note: Our first youth class starts earlier than adult classes in order to fit around school vacation times. Look for more youth weekend classes in March/April. 

YOUTH TRAD BAND with Joanne Garton

Sundays from 4:30 - 5:45 pm, 5 weeks, January 15, 22, 29 and Feb. 5 and 12, $75

For intermediate and advanced level trad musicians of all varieties of any (youth) age who can learn tunes by ear from the Scottish, Irish, Cape Breton, and Old Time tradition. Join the group to learn a few new tunes, practice familiar tunes, create some harmonies, and meet other trad kids and teens in the area. For fiddlers, piano players, guitarists, or mandolin players, or whatever instrument is your jam! Contact Joanne Garton with questions via


Thursday evenings from 5 - 6:15 pm. 4 weeks, March 9, 16, 23 and 30

$100 for youth musicians; their adults may join for $40

Find your groove in the world of musical vocabulary. Let’s start at the beginning with keys and key signatures, time signatures, relative majors and minors, arpeggios, musical intervals, and the circle of fifths. Take a stab at writing your own licks and creating basic harmonies. Open to musical kids of all abilities and their adults (should you like to join!), class learning will be cumulative over weeks 1 through 3 and review during week 4. 



MUSIC THEORY FOR TRAD KIDS - PART II with Joanne Garton and guests

4 weeks, 5 - 6:15 pm: join for review with Music Theory Part I on Thursday, March 30, then continue 3 additional weeks on Fridays April 7, 14, and 21

Thursday evenings from 5 - 6:15 pm. 4 weeks, March 9, 16, 23 and 30

$100 for youth musicians; their adults may join for $40

Take it all to the next level to talk theory with your friends! Learn the basics of chording and chord substitutions, create and write musical rhythms, dive into some unusual time signatures, and ponder musical ideas beyond I, IV, and V chords. For intermediate and advanced musical kids and their adults (should they choose to join!).

Youth only
Youth with adult
Youth only
Youth with adult


(If signing up for both parts and paying via PayPal, use buttons below)

Youth only
Youth with adult

Fiddler and dancer Joanne Garton mixes her pervasive passion for Scottish culture with the drive and rhythms of the New England dance floor. She performs, teaches, and records traditional music and dance from Scotland and Cape Breton with big influences from Ireland, England, Quebec, Appalachia and New England. A resident of Montpelier, Vermont, for the last 12 years, Joanne teaches kids and adults, performs on stage, plays in sessions, and of course, steps out on the dance floor at contra, Scottish, and English dances. Visit for videos, sound bites, gig listings, and more.

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Ted took up the banjo in the mid-1990’s after playing the guitar for 20 years. He has attended old-time music workshops and festivals since, and learned from master banjo players such as Tom Mackenzie, Pete Sutherland, and Dan Margolies. Ted has taught clawhammer classes for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students at the Summit School since 2008. He has also served on the Summit School Board since its inception, and is currently the Board Chair. In addition to teaching, Ted plays banjo with “Kick ‘Em Jenny,” a volcanic old-time stringband from Central Vermont:




Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:15 pm, 8 weeks, starting February 22, $200


Techniques and options for clawhammer jamming and singing. In this class, we will be focusing on right and left-hand clawhammer techniques which help us both support fiddle tunes/fiddlers and old-time songs/singers. Rather than teach a tune/song each class as usual, for this class we will select one fiddle tune and one song that we can master and then use to explore different techniques and approaches to jamming and singing in old-time settings. You should be an intermediate or advanced player, familiar with the main old-time tunings and fundamental clawhammer techniques. I teach “on the fly,” in the old-time way, but also provide recordings for inspiration and tablature for reference. 


Tuesdays, 7:30 – 8:45 pm, starting February 21, 3 weeks, $75

Have you ever thought about learning to play the 5-string banjo?  This three-session “teaser” class gives participants the opportunity to find out a bit about the instrument, learn the basics of how to play it, and finish the class able to play a well-known song (probably “Tom Dooley,” the famous Kingston Trio hit.)  We’ll also provide some written instructional materials that you’ll be able to use during and after the class. ​The class will focus on three-finger “Scruggs” style playing. We’ll take a brief detour to look at “clawhammer” banjo, the other well-known style, but we’ll mainly focus on three-finger style.  
Even if you’ve never picked up a banjo or any other musical instrument this class can get you started playing music right away.  If you’re already a guitarist these three sessions will help you easily transition to the banjo. You’ll need to have a five-string banjo for the class. (Tenor and plectrum banjos are played differently.)  If you don’t currently have a banjo the Summit School may be able to lend you one for the duration of the class. Questions? Contact Jacob via the Summit School registrar.

Jacob Stone has been playing and teaching banjo for forty years.  He currently plays with the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra and Montpelier’s “25 Strings” band. He plays “Scruggs-style” three-finger bluegrass banjo, but his repertoire goes far beyond traditional bluegrass to old-time dance music, Celtic fiddle tunes, folk songs, ragtime, and even the occasional Grateful Dead song. He believes that bluegrass banjo picking can work with virtually any musical genre.


Thursdays 7:00 – 8:15 pm, 8 weeks starting February 23, $200


Ready to take your old time fiddling to the next level? Looking to prep yourself for Clifftop, play for dances, or lead a public jam? In this fun, fast-paced class students will learn how to apply simple yet nuanced bowing techniques (including the ‘rock’ and ‘pulse’) to their playing to develop their own signature fiddle sound. We’ll learn how to tune our fiddles to some non-mainstream Old Time keys (including DDAD, Calico, or others based on class request). We’ll break down several unique tunes by ear that I learned from contemporary Old Time fiddlers in my travels around the country. We’ll also learn a couple short, sweet, and weird tunes to add something different to your repertoire. 

For this class, students should feel comfortable navigating and tuning their fiddle, have been playing for at least a year, and be able to pick up tunes by ear pretty easily. Please bring a recording device (phones are great) to take video/audio recordings and a notebook. At the end of class I’m happy to provide students google drive access to the large collection of field recordings I’ve taken at festivals over the years so you can really go down the Old Time rabbit hole! 


Tuesdays 7:00 – 8:15 pm, 8 weeks starting February 21, $200


Have you wanted to try playing the fiddle but don’t know where to start? Are you intimidated to pick up a new instrument as an adult? Fear not! In this fun 8-week class we’ll cover the very basics of playing southern Appalachian Old Time fiddle. Students will learn how to handle and care for their instrument, tune the fiddle strings to the different keys common in the Old Time repertoire, easy bowing tricks to make your playing sound ‘fiddley,’ and a little bit of super simple music theory in order to navigate old time jams. We’ll learn a couple fun beginner-level fiddle tunes by ear. In the last class we’ll have a slow jam with local Old Time musicians so students can experience playing with other people in a real world setting. There is no sheet music in this class. Please bring a recording device (phones are great) to take video/audio recordings and a notebook. 

Jenny Monfore has been playing old time music since her early 20’s. Starting out on clawhammer banjo at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC, she picked up the fiddle and hit the road! She’s traveled around the country playing at regional old time festivals, from Clifftop to the Alaska Folk Fest and many in between. She enjoys playing and calling square dances, small jams at house parties, and introducing new folks to the wild world of old time music! She lives near Montpelier and has a flower farm called Old Time Flowers. Visit her website to learn more:


Wednesdays 5:30 - 6:45 pm, 6 weeks starting March 8, $150

Experience the fun of a fluid Old-Time or bluegrass style jam but with a chance to work on a variety of musical ideas together. Guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, upright bass, harmonica, etc., are all welcome. Participants and I will make a set list of songs we agree to work on. We will choose from a variety of genres including folk, country and bluegrass.  We will focus on many aspects of music and collaboration including soloing, improvisation, singing and harmonizing.

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A true renaissance musician, D. Davis has been playing guitar for the better part of four decades. He divides his performance time among the jazzy and dynamic, the driving and the dulcet. Find him performing with Red Hot Juba, Cookie’s Hot Club, The Larkspurs and Les Dead Ringers, among other bands.


COMMUNITY JAM led by Susan Reid, Gretta Stone and Jacob Stone (and others)

First and third Thursday of each month through spring 2023, 6:15 - 8:00 pm, drop-in, $5 donation/session

Note: this event is held at the Montpelier Senior Activities Center, 58 Barre St.

The Community Jam is an opportunity for acoustic musicians at all skill levels to come together, learn new tunes, learn jamming skills, practice learning tunes by ear, connect with others in the rich music community in Montpelier, and have a fun evening.  At each jam there will be a short instructional segment at the beginning, to welcome and encourage new attendees.


We welcome fiddles, mandolins, acoustic guitars, banjos, accordions, concertinas, dulcimers, harmonicas, pennywhistles, recorders, ukuleles, and bass.  (No amplification except for bass guitars.)


We will be playing a wide variety of tunes:  Celtic, old-time, contra dance and square dance tunes, bluegrass, and whatever else participants bring to the jam.  


We welcome players at every skill level; if you know a few chords on your instrument you will be able to participate and grow your musicianship.  Playing with others is an essential path to becoming an accomplished musician, and even the most passive participation in a jam can be a wonderful growth experience.


This is a drop-in event; no registration needed.  We request a donation of $5 per session to support both the Summit School and the Senior Activities Center.


Registration and Payment:

You can securely pay online securely via Paypal by clicking the button next to the class of your choosing. The Summit School appreciates payments by check or cash when possible in order to minimize service fees. Checks for the amount listed should be sent to: Summit School, 46 Barre St. #5, Montpelier, VT 05602. Please note the relevant class in the description line on the check. When you pay for a class online, you will automatically be registered. If paying by check or cash, please email the registrar, Tracy Loysen, at with student name (if not yourself) and the name of the class you wish to register for.


Weekly classes are held at the Center for Arts and Learning at 46 Barre St. in Montpelier. The Community Jam is held in the downstairs Community Room at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center, 58 Barre St. Masks are optional and welcome in both buildings. Please do not come to class if you are not feeling well.

Refund and Payment Policies:

After the first week of programming, no refunds will be provided. Student cancellation a week or less before the program begins results in a refund of half of the tuition. No refunds or make-up classes offered for student absences due to illness or family emergency.


Contact the registrar, Tracy Loysen, at or 802-522-3083.

The Summit School is a non-profit folk music school located in Montpelier, Vermont.  We host ongoing group classes in music and dance for children and adults. The Summit School also hosts Trad Camp Weekend for kids in the summer, the Old Time on the Onion summer weekend gathering, and Spice on Snow winter music festival.

Contact:, 802-279-2236 for more info.
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