Come and hone your playing skills at a Moonrakers workshop

Develop your skills as a player and arranger of folk tunes and songs! Weave fabulous harmonies with your co-musicians and groove together with infectious dance rhythms. If you’re interested in playing music at a steady pace with like-minded musicians, look no further. Whether you play bowed, fretted or reed instruments, whistles or flutes, bass or percussion, there will be a part for you.

Professional tutors and members of Moonrakers welcome intermediate instrumentalists who wish to develop their skills in a friendly and encouraging environment.

You don’t need to read music – the tunes, including chords, countermelody and bass, are sent to you in advance, along with a video demonstrating how the tune should sound. Then at the workshop, the group develop it further into a performance piece. Arrangement ideas from participants are also welcome.

Jon Bennett (guitar, ukulele, bouzouki, whistles) and Jacqui Johnson (cello, fiddle, keyboard) have for many years conducted these workshops at Benslow Music, Halsway Manor, arts centres and festivals.

They have a recent book, New Acoustic Music for Folk Ensemble (published by Mel Bay) that comprises their own composed tunes; at the workshops they mix these with other traditional and contemporary material. All instruments and all standards are welcome, though this is not for absolute beginners.

Moonrakers run the workshops either as a day event or as a residential course over three days. They restrict numbers to 15 to ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to also benefit from some individual input from the tutors.

The residential workshops are, above all, a rare opportunity to play with a multi-instrumental and welcoming group.

2021-22 workshops

9-11 December 2021
Residential course, Dunster, Somerset
Multi-instrumental group arrangements, playing and tuition for intermediate players. Details: (01643) 821 425

30 January 2022
Whole-day workshop, Banbury
Multi-instrumental group arrangements, playing and tuition for intermediate players. Details: themillartscentre.co.uk

28 Feb-4 March 2022
Residential workshop, Halsway Manor
Run by Ron and Jacqui, including a Moonrakers duo public concert. All instruments welcome; intermediate standard (no absolute beginners). Details: halswaymanor.org.uk

17-19 June 2022
Residential weekend, Hitchin
The first of our annual residential weekend workshops at Benslow Music. Details: benslowmusic.org

3-4 September 2022
Bunkfest Festival, Wallingford
Our annual foray into the delights of BunkFest, including a concert, workshops, etc. And it’s all free!
Details: bunkfest.co.uk

9-11 September 2022
Residential weekend, Hitchin
The second of our annual residential weekend workshops at Benslow Music. Details: benslowmusic.org

For details, see moonrakers.net, facebook.com/Moonrakersfolkorchestra and ukuleleoxford.com, or call Jon Bennett on (01865) 769 206. This article appeared in Folk London 315, October-November 2021