2024 Details & Info Coming Soon

Summer Wheat provides music classes that include lap dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, fiddle, guitar, singing, songwriting, mandolin, upright bass, harmonica, ukulele, and more.

Tai Chi, storytelling, performance techniques, sound engineering, and music theory are also offered.

Musical styles include (but are not limited to) Irish, Old Time, Blues, and Cajun.

Classes include instrumental, songwriting, and singing lessons.

List of Classes

Classes are held in various areas on the Wheatland festival grounds including on Main Stage and in outdoor settings (weather permitting) within walking distance of each other. Other classes are held in indoor buildings and large event-style tents.

  • Please note that instructors and classes are subject to change.
Classes are drop-in and for all levels unless otherwise noted.


Cajun Accordion | Mark Palms

Students will learn how to play cajun melodies on the accordion with instructor Mark Palms, a member of Creole Du Nord. Participants will explores aspects such as rhythm, chord sequences, and more.


Old Time Band | Bruce Gartner
All instruments are welcome. Students will play several southern fiddle and banjo tunes at slow and faster tempos in this Old-Time ensemble class.  Repertoire will be taught quickly by ear during the workshop. Students form an all-star string band. It will be much like a jam with tips on Old-Time style, rhythm, and chord backup.
Required Skills: A willingness to join a group of merry music makers. Perhaps form a band with fellow campers and learn to play well with others with guidance from the music staff.

Exploring Celtic Music | Hannah Harris
We’re not kidding about the exploration bit — with Celtic being such a large genre containing many different regional styles, this is a class where we can easily go down a rabbit hole dissecting a Scottish strathspey or learning how to play a call-and-response traditional Breton tune. We’ll do a bit of playing and a bit of exploratory discussion. The only requirement? Bring a curiosity and willingness to share + learn new things!

Bluegrass Ensemble | Dan Seabolt
So you want to be in a bluegrass band? This class will cover the basics of the bluegrass sound. It is open to all instruments. You will learn a few songs, basic tunings, and balancing the various instruments into a cohesive sound.


Clawhammer Banjo | Mark Palms
Students focus on the clawhammer style of banjo and learn a few great tunes along the way. Participants will hone the right-hand and left-hand technique and learn backup chords to tunes. The goal is to add to each student’s repertoire and to boost their own banjo skills in a relaxed and cheerful setting.
Level: Intermediate
Recommended Materials: Audio/video recording devices.


Lap Dulcimer Explorations | Annette Barton
Students will explore new chording and strumming techniques on the lap dulcimer as they add new songs to their repertoire.

Exploring Hammered Dulcimer | Katie Moritz
Students will explore the versatility of the hammered dulcimer, looking at a variety of techniques for both solo and ensemble work.

More Hammered Dulcimer | Katie Moritz
Students will expand on what they have learned, finding new and fun ways to express themselves musically with the hammered dulcimer.


Beginning to Intermediate Fiddle | Dan Seabolt
Students focus on the basic technical aspects of playing traditional Irish music on the fiddle.
Required Skills: The basic ability to play and tune your instrument.
Recommended Materials: Audio/video recording devices.

Cajun & Creole Fiddle Tunes | David Greely
Build a repertoire of the catchiest Louisiana French instrumental earworms (songs that get stuck in your head) without those pesky French lyrics. Participants play the music of Dennis McGee, Canray Fontenot, Wade Fruge, and Dewey Balfa, as well as, made especially for the fiddle-haunting waltzes, fiery reels, and bluesy shuffles. Learn why they sound different from any other kind of fiddling.
Level: Intermediate / Advanced

Exploring the Fiddle | Bruce Gartner
Gain a solid foundation and learn the basics, including holding the fiddle with good posture, left and right hand techniques, and bowing while learning new melodies.

Improv on the Fiddle | Dan Seabolt
Learn how to take a good thing and make it better. Learn to recognize patterns and scales, and find creative ways to expand one’s musical understanding.
Level: Non-beginner
Required Skills: The basic ability to play and tune your instrument.

Irish Fiddle Tunes | Hannah Harris
This class focuses on developing the real feel for Irish fiddling while learning new tunes. We’ll explore tips for good tone, rhythm and phrasing — and of course learn some new tunes to bring to your local session!Level: Advanced Beginner/Intermediate/AdvancedRequired skills: The basic ability to play and tune your instrument.

Old Time Fiddle | Bruce Gartner
The secrets of bowing and other characteristics of Old-Time fiddling will be explored along with getting that Old-Time sound. Learn a fine fiddle tune or two. Discussion includes ways to overcome any blocks and questions are welcomed. Fiddle playing should bring joy, especially when playing beautiful old tunes.
Level: Intermediate / Advanced
Required Skills: The basic ability to play and tune your instrument.
Recommended Materials: Audio/video recording devices.


Beginning & Old Time Guitar | Mark Palms
Old-Time style music is a direct ancestor of Bluegrass. Students will focus on the early techniques with an emphasis on solid rhythms, bass runs, and accompaniment for fiddle tunes and songs.

Blues Guitar | Drew Howard
Students will take a 12-bar blues form and build in complexity, rhythm, and lead.

Dobro | Drew Howard
This class will start from the ground up by incorporating open G tuning, bar technique, right hand rolls, and vibrato while working with an appropriate repertoire of songs.

Fingerpicking | Howard Wilson
Students will learn how to properly use their fingers to pick chords on the guitar, as well as, break down patterns into bass and melody, practicing building up the component parts, so that they can compose their own fingerpicking patterns.

Flatpicking Guitar | Drew Howard
Students will explore flatpicking which refers to an acoustic guitar style, heard primarily in the bluegrass and folk idioms, of playing individual notes with a pick to form melodies, solos, and fills. 

Old Time Songs & Accompaniment | Bruce Gartner
An Old-Time jam is naturally a place where folks get together to play tunes as well as actual songs. Students will learn a Carter family repertoire and early gospel songs, and work towards a performance level that incorporates musical ideas and simple harmonies.
Required Skills: Basic playing or singing ability.
Recommended Materials: Voice or instrument.

Swing Guitar | Frank Youngman & Howard Wilson
Swing is a melodic and tuneful style that keeps dancers moving. Students learn the basics of chord substitution, rhythm, and syncopation as they explore the aspects that make the style unique.


Harmonica | Nicholas James Thomasma
Participants learn harmonica as an accompaniment. Explore basics and learn about using a rack mount for accompanying singer songwriters.


Exploring the Mandolin | Don Julin
Day 1: Getting started. Day 2: 5-chords and 4-strumming patterns. Day 3: Playing your first melodies. Day 4: Counting and subdividing beats. Day 5: What goes up must come down.
Commitment: Progressive Daily Learning Plan

Improove Your Groove: Find the Back Beat | Don Julin
Day 1: Jigs, reels, and hornpipes (Irish style). Day 2: The Sound of Silence (timing exercise). Day 3: Long Journey Home (Bluegrass style). Day 4: Tremelo.
Commitment: Progressive Daily Learning Plan
Required Skills: The basic ability to play and tune your instrument.

Mandolin Tunes | Don Julin
Day 1: Mastering the fingerboard. Day 2: Improvisation 101: Jamming for Dummies. Day 3: Triplets, hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides. Day 4: Blues mandolin. Day 5: Intro to chord melody (solo arrangements).
Commitment: Progressive Daily Learning Plan
Required Skills: An appropriate knowledge of the genre and ability to play tones at a medium pace.


Music Theory | Frank Youngman & Howard Wilson
Students will learn about the basic structures of how music works including scales, chords, melodies, and harmony. This flexible and free flowing class offers a fun way for participants to take what they are learning at camp and put it all together in an inspiring and fun environment.
Recommended Materials: Bring your instrument.

Music Theory for Vocalists | Carol Palms
Vocalists will explore music theory to enhance their singing abilities.


One On One Sessions
Some instructors are available for private one-on-one teaching. After students check with the instructor for availability and to schedule a time, they will then let the staff at the Information Building know so it’s added to the master schedule. Sign-up sheets will be available at the Information Building.


Cajun A Capella Ballads | David Greely
Participants learn about group call and response. Lyric sheets are provided, and students learn by imitation. Stories and linguistic insights will offer further insight.

Community Sing: For the Sake of Song | Matt Watroba
This class is about the singing and the song. Participants will learn what they need to know to unleash the power of singing in their community. Matt will share his experience as a song leader and performer by teaching and leading a wide variety of songs in many styles. Matt will highlight songs and the influence of Pete Seeger in honor of his one hundredth birthday year. Participants are encouraged to bring in songs and try out their song leading talents with the class. Students will sing every day and, upon leaving, be inspired to take what they have learned to their communities.

Harmony Sing | Matt Watroba, Carol Palms, and David Greely
Participants will find the magic notes that complement each other to make a song come alive.

Improving Your Overall Performance: Get the Most out of the Songs You Sing | Matt Watroba
Bringing songs and a performance alive is all about choices. In this interactive class, Matt will show students the choices that great performers make to get the most out of their songs and time on the stage. Then participants can apply what they have learned to the songs they chose to sing. This workshop promises to be a safe, friendly place where beginners and professionals alike will benefit from the wisdom of the instructor and the group. Phrasing, style, stage fright, and performance techniques are just a few of the many areas that the class will explore on the way to wowing any audience with the power of music.

(Celtic Ballads) now: Traditional Irish Songs | Hannah Harris
Learn and sing Irish songs together. This class will cover a mix of songs in the Irish and English language, with themes ranging from love to leaving home to a date night gone awry. Be prepared to both laugh and cry — we’ll have space for it all!

Old Time Songs & Accompaniment | Bruce Gartner
An Old-Time jam is naturally a place where folks get together to play tunes as well as actual songs. Students will learn a Carter family repertoire and early gospel songs, and work towards a performance level that incorporates musical ideas and simple harmonies.
Required Skills: Basic playing or singing ability.
Recommended Materials: Voice or instrument.

Songwriting | Nicholas James Thomasma
Sad songs say so much. Explore why people love sad songs and how songwriting can be used to express and process emotions and experiences. Learn where the seeds of a song come from, how to construct a song, find inspiration, finish ideas that have been circulating forever, and create a song to be proud of.
Recommended Materials: Writing supplies.


Sound 101 | Hanno Meingast
A sound engineer is responsible for the technical side of a recording or live performance. The sound engineer designs and manages sound levels. It requires a lot of technical expertise, but also requires a creative bent that helps musicians and performers realize their artistic intent. If you have a sensitive, well-trained ear and enjoy messing around with electronics, becoming a sound engineer may be just for you. 


Storytelling | Nicholas James Thomasma
Students learn how to use storytelling in songwriting and performances. Storytelling forges connections among people and ideas. Nicholas wants students to consider how they want to tell their story.


Morning Tai Chi Exercises | Michael Dwyer
Camp attendees will warm up their muscles with Tai Chi exercises that will help them feel amazing for a day of playing and singing. Open to everyone.

Afternoon Tai Chi | Michael Dwyer
Participants will learn the basic Wu Style Tai Chi forms and exercises to relieve and revitalize the body, which improves balance and well-being for a night of jamming and dancing. Open to everyone.


Exploring the Ukulele | Frank Youngman
This beginner course helps students with the basics, such as properly holding the ukulele, tuning, strumming patterns, using a pick, making chord changes (it’s helpful to be familiar with basic chords), and learning a few simple songs.

Intermediate Ukulele | Frank Youngman
Participants learn to play folk, blues, and old country songs in five keys while receiving lots of tips to make their ukulele playing more musical.
Level: Intermediate / Advanced


Upright Bass | Carol Palms
Learn how to keep the beat with upright bass. Styles will include Old-Time, Bluegrass, and Honky Tonk.

Frank Youngman’s Music Theory class enjoys the beautiful day from Main Stage.
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