HANDS ON MUSIC has been running music courses and workshops since 1991, for free reeds, strings, winds and voices. Our aim remains the same, to provide good quality teaching and musical input for players and singers in the broad area of folk, traditional and world music. The courses and workshops are designed for those who have already started on their musical journey, and have some knowledge of their instrument or voice (see below on Ability Levels). The tutors, who include both well-established names and newcomers, are selected for their ability to convey their knowledge and expertise. They each devise three course units and prepare musical material in advance, which is available to students a few weeks beforehand via the website. Students register in advance for three course units (two on Saturday and one on Sunday), giving alternative choices in case any of the groups is full.

Take a look at the tutors and what they are offering, and decide which units will best suit your interests and abilities. Then simply book your place, make your payment online, and you will receive an email confirmation of your booking together with any other information you need. A few weeks before the weekend you will be sent a code which will give you access to the advance music and mp3 files. If you don’t live nearby, you will need to find accommodation. Then practice your advance music and come to Witney! On the Friday evening there is an informal welcome session at Henry Box School, with music to play, and teas and coffees available - no bar, but do bring along anything you want to drink. On Saturday, meet up at Henry Box School, register, and start working on your chosen units. You'll find yourself in a group of friendly like-minded people, with an experienced tutor covering a particular aspect of your instrument and its music. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available at break times, and for lunch and an evening meal you will go out into the town for something to eat and a bit of fresh air and a change of scene (see "where to eat" for some suggestions). In the evening there is a concert by the tutors, and on Sunday you do it all again, with a different group and maybe a different tutor, have a farewell gathering, and go home. We hope you will depart having learnt something new, full of ideas to work on for the rest of the year, with new friends and the memory of having had a great time.

[If you don’t have regular computer access and want to book, and receive your confirmation, music and information by post, this option is still available but incurs a surcharge of £5.00.]

return to top of page

The weekends are held at HENRY BOX SCHOOL in Witney, a pleasant market town twelve miles west of Oxford, just off the A40 and with good public transport links (regular bus services from Oxford Rail Station). The school has excellent facilities and plenty of parking space, and is close to the town centre. The town is well provided with accommodation and eating establishments to suit all pockets. It has plenty for non-musical spouses, partners and parents to do, and is near to Oxford, Woodstock, and many other beautiful and interesting places.

The fee for each course is £95.00 (U. S. $150.00, Euro120.00), which includes all teaching and workshop sessions, access to advance music and information, and admission to the Saturday night concert. Students should book in advance, either online or by printing and sending in a booking form with payment. One-day bookings are not available until three weeks before the date of the weekend. The course is non-residential, and an accommodation list is available on this site.

Even if you don't come for the course, you can catch some great performances by a unique range of artists. Every weekend includes a public concert featuring the course leaders. Tickets cost £10.00 for adults (£11.00 on the door), and £7.00 for under 18's and senior citizens.

We are able through the generosity of sponsors to provide a limited number of subsidised places for young people at the reduced price of £50.00 (U. S. $75.00, Euro60.00). These places are available to anyone aged between eighteen and twenty-one who is not in full-time employment. Please note that all students must be over eighteen years old.

There are a limited number of free places for people prepared to act as stewards, carrying out duties such as serving teas and coffees at break times, staffing the admissions desk, and setting out rooms. Being a steward may mean arriving early and missing part of some sessions. Prospective stewards must be over 18. Please phone or click here for email if you would like to be considered.

return to top of page

Most weekends include a trade fair, with stalls for instruments, sundries, books and CDs.

It is important to choose course units suited to your ability. To make this possible, we have defined three ability levels as follows:

Basic Level - Musicians who can play a few tunes, know their way around the main notes of the instrument, and have some knowledge of note-names, written music and/or chord-symbols. On accordion and melodeon, they will have begun to use the left-hand chord buttons.

Intermediate Level - Musicians who can play in the usual keys of the instrument, have knowledge of where to find all the notes, a fair idea of rhythm, and can follow at a reasonable pace. They will have started to learn to control the sounds (i.e. loudness and attack), to consider musical style, and perhaps to experiment with harmony and ornamentation.

Higher Level - Musicians who can play with a degree of fluency, understand the layout of the instrument, can find notes as required, and keep a fair rhythm and pace. They will be exploring various aspects of their music such as style, phrasing, dynamics, accents, rhythms, harmony, ornamentation and technique.


On the booking form, the level for each unit is marked as Basic, Intermediate Higher, or a combination of these. If units are to be taught mainly or entirely by ear, or require particular expertise, this will also be indicated.

Hands On Music reserves the right to alter or cancel any part of this programme of events under unforeseen circumstances.

return to top of page  return to terms & conditions  sample programme  home