2019 - Fall  Session of Evening Classes
The Fall Session runs from Sept. 22 - Dec. 17


Klezmer Music - with Zoe Christiansen

The Not-So-Fast Jam - with Jacob & Gretta Stone, & Susan Reid


Bluegrass Banjo Sampler - with Jacob Stone

Trad Music Ensemble - with Jeremiah McLane


Guitar in Alternate Tunings - with Art Edelstein 

American Harmony Singing - with Heidi Wilson & Avery Book

Old Time Banjo - with Tom MacKenzie


Old Time Fiddle - with Dana Robinson

Old Time Stringband - with Dana Robinson

All Classes are held at the Center for Arts and Learning on 46 Barre Street in Montpelier, VT.

To Register, securely pay online by clicking the "Add to Cart" button next to the
class of your choosing. Or, send a check for the amount listed to:
Summit School, 46 Barre St. #5  Montpelier, VT 05602


Klezmer Music with Zoe Christiansen


6 Monday Evening Classes from 6-7:15pm


October 7 - November 11 | $150 | Rm 200

"Klezmer" music, or Eastern-European Jewish-music, is well known here for its unique sounding clarinet, and some other qualities that people sometimes struggle to describe, often using words like 'happy', or 'emotive', or 'exciting'. 

This class will teach you what really makes klezmer "klezmer", from the rhythms that drive the dances it accompanies, to what makes the clarinet (and other instruments) sound uniquely in the style. I love to teach a little bit about the history of klezmer of well; what it was like before immigration to America, and how it changed upon its arrival on this continent. I also love to teach by showing some contrasts in similar/surrounding styles of music from Eastern Europe - for example, the music of Turkey.

All and instruments and levels are welcome, voices are welcome, and although sheet music will be provided, learning by ear is highly encouraged!

Not-So-Fast Jam

With a rotating cast of guest instructors


6 Monday Evening Classes from 5:30-7pm


October 7 - November 11 | Rm 207

This is a class offered by donation! We kindly suggest that folks commit to a minimum of 4 classes at a donation of $10 per class. We recommend $90 for 6 classes. Either way, it's great value!

The “Not So Fast Jam” is a facilitated slow jam for beginning and intermediate musicians playing acoustic instruments:  guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle, ukulele, recorder, whistle, etc.   Even if you only know a few chords – as few as two chords! – this jam can be great fun, a wonderful learning experience, and a chance to connect with other local musicians.  And you don’t need to read a note of music to participate in this jam!

In addition to being a lot of fun, a facilitated jam teaches the essential skills of playing with other musicians, which is ultimately what all musicians want to do.  These jams will provide chord sheets for a number of well-known bluegrass, old-time and popular songs, and facilitators who will “coach” participants through group playing.  We’ll also take a little time to discuss the “etiquette” of different types of jams.

New musicians are often intimidated about joining a jam, afraid that they will be expected to do a solo or otherwise be embarrassed.  That won’t happen at this jam! Every participant at the “Not So Fast Jam” will be able to participate comfortably at their own level, with an absolute guarantee that they never be singled out or made nervous or uncomfortable.

Participants should have their instrument (of course), an electronic tuner, and a music stand. Come join us.  As the Beatles said, “A splendid time is guaranteed for all”.


Bluegrass Banjo: An Introductory Mini-Class with Jacob Stone

3 Tuesday evening classes from 5:30pm - 6:45pm

Oct. 8 - Oct 22 | $75 | Rm 200

This three-session mini-class is for anyone who thinks they might want to learn bluegrass-style banjo, but isn’t ready to buy a banjo and commit to a long series of lessons.  In these three classes we’ll cover the basics of playing banjo, to the extent that everyone will have a better sense of whether bluegrass banjo is for them.  Nobody will finish the class as a banjo virtuoso, but everyone should finish the class able to play “I Walk the Line”, by Johnny Cash.  More important, you’ll know how to continue learning, whether with further lessons, or on your own with online and printed learning materials. 

This mini class is open to everyone!  Even if you’ve never touched a musical instrument before, this might be a good way to start.  And if you’re a guitarist who has wondered about whether to take up the banjo, this is a perfect way to get started.

And you don’t even need to have a banjo!  We have a number of loaner banjos available, all decent and playable instruments that class participants will be able to use and take home with them for the duration of the class.  And during the last class session we’ll discuss how to buy a banjo if you want to keep playing.  We’ll also discuss instructional materials that are available.

Class size is limited to five students who need loaner banjos and three students who have their own banjos.

Trad Music Ensemble with Jeremiah McLane

6 Tuesday Evening Classes from 6:30 - 8pm

Nov. - Dec (Nov. 5, 19, 26; Dec 3, 10, 17) | $150 | Rm 200

Trad Music Ensemble will focus equally on group performance and individual musicianship while playing with others. Repertoire for the class will be send out via audio and sheet music prior to each class, thus reserving time in class for arranging, improvising, harmonies, ear-training, chord theory, melodic variation, and general discussion. The repertoire will feature tunes from a wide variety of sources including Quebec, France, Scandinavia, New England, the British Isles, to name a few. Level: intermediate to advanced; the ability to read music is helpful but not required; playing by ear will be a staple of the class. 


Playing Guitar in Alternate Tunings with Art Edelstein

6 Wednesday Evening Classes from 5:30-7pm

Oct. 2nd - Nov 6th | $150 | Rm B-7

Most guitarists play in “standard tuning” and that works well for many musical styles, but there are many more ways to tune a guitar besides EADGBE. DADGAD, DGDGBD, DGDGCD, CGDGCD are just a few of the tunings employed by guitarists. In this course we’ll look at several alternative guitar tunings especially DADGAD and DGDGBD. We’ll learn melodies and chords in these tunings and learn a variety of Celtic and American songs employing these tunings. We’ll learn how to play rhythm in these tunings as well. Both fingerstyle and flatpicking guitarists can benefit from this course.

Students taking this course should be intermediate level, with a basic knowledge of the guitar fretboard and some basic fingerstyle/flatpicking technique.

Old Time Banjo with Tom MacKenzie

6 Wednesday Evening Classes from 6-7:15pm

Oct. 2nd - Nov 6th | $150 | Rm 200

Take your banjo playing to the next level. Intermediate to Advanced.


We will work on specific tunes, and songs, and learn how to play more than just the melody. Emphasis on the structure of the music so that you can play along even before you have learned the tune itself. Harmonies, background playing and accompaniment of songs will be covered. Bring your favorite tunes and songs and we can get down to the nitty-gritty.

American Harmony Singing with Avery Book and Heidi Wilson

6 Wednesday Evening Classes from 6:30-8pm

Oct. 16 - Nov 20 | $150 | Rm 207

This 6 week course will serve as introduction to the rich harmony singing traditions of the United States. The music we'll share comes out of African American, English, Scots Irish, Irish, British, and more folk singing traditions. This course places a special emphasis on "living songs," songs with purpose: work songs, healing songs, graces, lullabies, travel, songs of connection, transformation, resistance, resilience, and celebration. We will sing three and four part harmony songs, introduce the basic theory behind the music, and apply that through small group singing, improvisation, work on vocal technique, and harmonization. This is a great space to explore beautiful harmony singing and to challenge yourself in a warm and supportive environment.


Intermediate Old Time Fiddle with Dana Robinson

6 Thursday Evening Classes  from 6-7pm

Sept 26th - Oct. 31st | $150 | Rm 200

In this class we will continue our never-ending search for the groove. We’ll learn one new tune per class and approach it from 2 or 3 different perspectives: 1) Explore the underlying rhythm through the bowing. 2) Identify the chords (double stops) in order to play the rhythm within the tune, and 3) when possible, learn the melody both high and low. We’ll choose classic melodies popular in regional jam sessions and a couple contemporary tunes as well. 

Old Time String Band Ensemble with Dana Robinson

6 Thursday evening classes from 7:30-8:45pm

Sept. 26th - Oct 31st | $150 | Rm 200

This class will focus solely on the dynamics of playing in an oldtime string band ensemble format. Particular attention will be given to the specific role of each instrument and how they fit together to become a cohesive - and great sounding - unit. We will choose tunes that we are already familiar with and work on sharpening our skills and tightening our sound.


This class will be limited to two of each instrument common in oldtime string bands: fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass. First come, first serve. Please contact Dana Robinson to sign up for slots prior to registering - robinsongs@fairpoint.net or 802-793-3016.  

Refund and Payment Policies:


  • After the first week of programming, no refunds will be provided. 

  • Student cancellation the week before the program begins results in a refund of ½ the tuition.

  • No refunds or make-up classes offered for student absences due to illness or family emergency.

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.   Our Summit School year has two semesters of classes for adults, local after school music programs for children, Trad Camp for Kids in the summer, and a Winter Folk Music Festival 'Spice on Snow'.  Mission Statement: We are dedicated to promoting cross-cultural exchange and celebrating our American heritage through affordable group music and dance programs.
Contact: director@summit-school.org, 802-793-3016 for more info.
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E-mail: director@summit-school.org • Mailing Address: 46 Barre Street #5, Montpelier, VT 05602 • 

Located at the Center for Arts and Learning

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