For Musicians

How to Practice to Improve

Workshop with Gene Murrow
Sunday, March 8, 2020
1:00-4:00 p.m.

Workshop Fees:

  • GCD members*: $10
  • Wednesday Night Musicians: $15
  • Other: $20
    These are techniques developed over many years (centuries, in some cases) by master teachers in the classical music field that will enable you to:

  • produce a more beautiful sound
  • sight read music more readily
  • bring out the phrasing and contours inherent in the music
  • play difficult passages at the proper tempo

  • We'll tackle each topic by describing practice techniques and then applying them to appropriate tunes in our contra dance and English dance repertoire. We all have limited time these days; use your practice time well to improve!

    Workshop Leader: Gene Murrow

    Gene Murrow

    Gene Murrow has been an English country dancer and musician since 1965. He performs on recorders and concertina, has made four CD recordings for dances of Fried Herman and Gary Roodman, and is the producer of the series of English dance recordings featuring the Boston-based band Bare Necessities. Gene approaches English country dance as a medium in which dancers and musicians alike participate in the realization of works of art. His dance workshops strive to make their richness of structure, musical form, texture, and affect enjoyable and appreciated by dancers of all abilities. Gene is the founder and Executive Director of Gotham Early Music Scene.

    Summit Church
    2nd Floor Parlor
    6757 Greene Street
    Mt. Airy, PA 19119

    *GCD sponsors these workshops for the improvement of the music community and their support of the dancers. The modest membership fee ($12/year) helps keep the workshop fees low. Please consider joining.

    Open Band

    The date for the next open band will be Wednesday, 03/25/20.
    Caller: Kate Neally
    Band leader: Steve Epstein and Kirsten Erwin

    Click here to view the tune list (to be posted by March).

    If you would like an opportunity to participate in a future PlayShop please email Kathy Talvitie.

    Playing for Dancers: Our Vision

    Germantown Country Dancers (GCD) is committed to fostering a vibrant community of English Country Dancing in the Delaware Valley. This works best when dancers, musicians and callers are fully committed to working together.

    GCD offers a variety of workshops for dancers and musicians to achieve this goal, and also looks for other ways to nurture the development of local musicians.

    We hope that our musicians will love playing for our English Country dancers and will join us as a dedicated and appreciated part of our dance community.

    Music Workshops

    Each year GCD provides workshops for musicians. Our purpose is to give musicians an opportunity to learn more about the variety and uniqueness of English Country Dance music. Workshops also explore techniques to help musicians approach the English Country Dance repertoire and to provide great music for dancers. We invite well-known English Country Dance musicians to give workshops on playing for dancing. Past workshop leaders have included Jacqueline Schwab, Mary Lea, Barbara Greenberg, Bob Pasquarello, Kate Barnes, Robert Mills, Rick Mohr, Kathy Talvitie, and Chris Rua.

    Playing Music for our Wednesday dances

    The Wednesday Music Committee engages musicians to play for Wednesday evening dances. If you are a skilled musician who is familiar with English Country Dance music, is able to maintain steady rhythms, and can play at dance tempo, you may apply with a band to play for a Wednesday dance. Musicians should also be comfortable playing the tunes on the GCD Repertoire List.

    Open Band Opportunities

    Three times a year for our Wednesday dances we invite both skilled musicians and those who are learning the English Country Dance music genre to play for an “Open Band.” The tune list is available ahead of time, and a rehearsal is often planned before the evening of the dance.

    Fish and Chips

    Fish and Chips provides another opportunity for musicians to work together on the skills needed to play English Country dance music. This rehearsed band, led by Bob Pasquarello, is open to all local musicians. The ensemble meets several times to prepare for an annual GCD dance.


    If you have questions or suggestions about playing for Wednesdays, feel free to contact a member of the Wednesday Music Committee: (, Kirsten Erwin, and ). Questions about workshops? Contact who is responsible for GCD's Music Development.