“Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs,
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress
Its music”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
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Folk Music

Twyford Folk Music Workshop

New members’ briefing

“My playing came on more in 6 months of playing with others than in 20 years of practising solo”


A TFMW workshop Twyford Folk Music Workshop is aimed at classical players who are interested in folk music, and folk, country dance & morris players who want to improve their sight reading. They are not “sessions” nor performances.

The style has been described as “where orchestral meets folk”.


We meet at St Mary’s Church Centre, Twyford, on the first Wednesday of the month, from 8.00 pm prompt to 10.00 pm.

There is usually no meeting in August (holidays), and we might occasionally meet on a different day of the month. Check the home page for the date of the next meeting before attending.

There is a charge of £5.00¹ for the evening, including half-time tea or coffee. No subscription is required: you only pay when you turn up.

Sheet music

A TFMW score Scores for all the music we play are available from the Members’ area of this website – access details are given after joining.

We also use the 200-page Paul Hardy Session tunebook, which you can download free. A printed copy costs £14.00¹ (inc. P&P). You don’t need the Hardy book, but as a source of 600 tunes many members find it attractive.

There are not many power sockets in the room we use, so if you view music on a tablet make sure it is charged before the workshop.

Workshop format

Workshops follow the same pattern as the typical programme. I email the programme in advance, including access details for the Members’ area so you can obtain the scores. You can also view future programmes there.

“Most of the others are better players than me, but they all seem to come for the joy of playing. The atmosphere is really comfortable and encouraging”

In the first half the pace is slow and anyone can ask for the speed to be taken down. In the second half we aim to play at dance speed, and some tunes will be technically demanding.

A TFMW workshop Sight-reading is a chance for members to nominate a tune for the group, either from Hardy or from our own tunebook. Tunes should be within the range of instruments in the group, which I will check before we play. The person who nominates the tune starts the tune, normally with a 4 or 8 bar intro.

We play from the music in front of us at the speed set at the start, so that we are all playing the same version, to avoid discords.

Second parts (harmonies) are provided for some tunes. For harder tunes they tend to be easier than the melody, and vice versa. First time through a tune we all play the melody.

We try to listen to the other players and do not drown them out.

We do not criticise wrong notes and we do not allow snippy remarks about anyone’s playing.

A TFMW workshop I make sure that we cover the whole programme on the night, to ensure that practice time is rewarded.


Finally, it is my deliberate policy to run a well organised (some might say formal) evening where the less experienced can gain confidence and no-one is competing to be the best or fastest or loudest or widest repertoire player. There are sessions nearby that are less formal and less structured. If my event does not suit then I can direct you to these other sessions.

Joining the group

We do not run formal auditions. We do expect that players are reasonably proficient on their instrument and can read music – the hear us page gives some examples. If you think that TFMW might be for you, please use the enquire page to get in touch, saying what instrument you play, and we will follow up.


A TFMW workshop The group is aimed at players of acoustic melody instruments in C with at least two octaves’ range. Typically flute, violin, recorder, acoustic guitar, mandolin, concertina, melodeon. We reserve the right to manage the balance of instruments in the group, which might mean a waiting list for some instruments. Transposing instruments are not supported. Please check with us that your instrument is suitable and there will be room for it without upsetting the balance of instruments.

A TFMW workshop

Reading music

Players need to be able to read treble clef scores (& chord symbols) for pieces in F, C, G, D & A and their relative minors (one ♭ to three ♯s) – see Scores for examples. We do not support tab.

Typical skills levels

Skills levels range from Grade 3 to Grade 8 and beyond – that is why the first half is easier paced than the second half. Again, the Scores page gives examples.

Best regards,

—Colin McEwen

If you are interested in coming along to see if the event suits you, then please contact us to check that we are running and that there is space for your instrument.

¹as of January 2024 – subject to change

To hear Colin discussing the ideas that shape the group, here’s a 10-minute podcast created by RG10 magazine:

Prodcast title card

Recorded October 2021