Workshop Program

NOTE: The below describes a typical program for our annual in-person workshop each July. The program for 2023 may differ slightly.

For information on our online programs, please see the web page for that specific program.

All activities take place at Folklore Village, located in a peaceful, rural setting about seven miles east of Dodgeville, WI and about a 35-minute drive west of Madison, WI. The beautiful, air-conditioned main hall includes a spacious sprung wooden dance floor and separate classrooms for fiddle instruction.

General schedule

Instruction begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and ends with lunch on Sunday after a morning review session. Part-timers are welcome. See the registration form for options.

Hardingfele: The HFAA welcomes hardingfele students at all skill levels, from complete beginner to serious amateur to the professional player. No prior experience playing hardingfele is required. We offer four concurrent classes--one Beginner level, two Intermediate level, and one Advanced level, with special Beginner Mentoring available on request to those who have never played a bowed stringed instrument before. Here is a more detailed description of our classes:

  • Beginner level: Beginner level students should have at least 3 months' experience with a bowed stringed instrument. If you have never played a bowed stringed instrument before, we offer beginner mentoring to bring you up to speed in basic bowed string-playing techniques so that you can join the beginner class; please contact the hardingfele instruction coordinator at for more information. The Beginner level class starts with an in-depth review of the basics; tuning, holding the fiddle and bow, proper instrument setup, and bowing and fingering notes on the hardingfele. Students learn a couple of simple tunes by ear, broken down into small phrases. Exercises in fiddle technique are provided including simple bowing patterns, basic dance rhythms, tone production and intonation. At the completion of the class students will be able to tune their fiddles, play a couple of simple tunes, understand fiddle technique and know the basics to be able to practice at home for the next year.

  • Intermediate level: Intermediate level students should have 2-3 years experience playing a bowed string instrument. Students should be able to tune their fiddles and have a good understanding of the techniques required to play and be able to learn tunes by ear. Four to five tunes will be taught slowly, broken down into phrases. Examples of tunes taught in this class might be: one to two beginner-level springars/gangars and/or three to four intermediate-level gamaldans tunes. Students are taught hardingfele ornamentation, styling, techniques for playing on two strings (double stops), and rhythmic patterns and how they apply to dance tunes.

  • Advanced level: Advanced students should have at least one year of experience playing hardingfele bygdedans tunes (springar, gangar, rull, halling), and be able to learn tunes by ear (note that learning by ear is a requirement for participation in this class). This class is led by a master teacher from Norway specializing in a particular regional tradition. Students can expect to learn three to six tunes by ear. Students are taught the details of authentic styling, ornamentation and rhythm for the teacher's tradition, and can expect at the completion of the class to be able to play at least one tune from the teacher's tradition at dance tempo together with the class group.

Sample Schedule (subject to change)


12:00 - 1:00 - Registration

1:00 - 5:00 - Dance and hardingfele classes

6:00 - 7:30 - Dinner

7:30 on - Dance party


8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast and registration

9:00 - 9:30 - Orientation

9:30 - 12:30 - Dance and hardingfele classes

12:30 - 1:15 - Lunch

2:00 - 5:00 - Dance and hardingfele classes

6:00 - 7:00 - Dinner

7:15 - 8:15 - Talent Showcase concert

8:30 on - Dance party


8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast and registration

9:00 - 12:30 - Dance and hardingfele classes

12:30 - 1:15 - Lunch

1:15 - 2:15 - HFAA Annual Business Meeting and election of officers

2:15- 5:30 - Dance and hardingfele classes

6:30 - 8:00 - Banquet

8:00 - 9:30 - Gala Staff Concert

9:30 on - Dance party


9:00 - 10:00 - Breakfast

10:00 - 12:00 - Review of dance and hardingfele classes

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 2:00 - Pack, farewells

We encourage you to study these class descriptions to help you find the class that is best for you. However, if at any time you feel your selected class does not meet your needs, you are welcome to switch to any other class.

All hardingfele classes are taught in the traditional manner by ear; students are allowed and encouraged to use audio recording equipment in the classes. Upon registration, students are given access to download mp3 files of all tunes to be taught for study in advance of the workshop. In addition, we provide written transcriptions of all tunes to be taught, to be used for reference after learning the tune by ear. These will be available for free as a pdf file for download beginning on the Monday before the workshop starts. It will also be possible to download the file on wifi-equipped devices via the wifi network at Folklore Village during the workshop. Students who wish to receive a paper copy of the transcriptions at the workshop must request one on the registration form by the deadline specified on the form; a fee applies.

Students without a hardingfele are encouraged to sign up for our Workshop Hardingfele Loan Program.

Four to five hours of instruction are provided each day on Friday and Saturday, and 3 hours each day on Thursday and Sunday. This time includes both class instruction and private lessons. Each student is entitled to at least one 20-minute private lesson with the teacher of his or her choice. Additionally 1 to 2 hours a day are devoted to lecture/demonstrations and group playing practice.

For their private lesson, the student may select from any of the workshop hardingfele teachers. In preparation for their private lesson, the student is encouraged to think about what specific fiddling problem they would like to solve, and how the selected teacher could best help them.

Dance: The HFAA does not set any gender limitations or experience prerequisites for our dance classes. All are welcome. Instruction is tailored to both beginning and experienced dancers. Morning classes focus on the featured dance tradition. In the afternoon, instruction in the featured tradition continues, and we may also offer lectures on other hardingfele-related dance traditions, question-and-answer sessions, and an opportunity to view and discuss Norwegian dance videos. Dancing in classes and at parties is to live hardingfele music.

Note to all students: Dance and hardingfele classes are taught concurrently. If a student wishes to take classes in both, we recommend signing up for hardingfele on Friday and dance on Saturday. Saturday-only enrollees should be aware that class on Saturday opens with a brief review, then builds on the work done on Friday. Beginner mentoring on hardingfele is offered on Thursday and Friday only.

And more . . .

Mini-class & jam sessions: Classes in kveding (Norwegian traditional singing) may be offered in the afternoons. There may also be some jam sessions on munnharpe (jaw harp) or seljefløyte (willow flute).

Dance parties each evening feature a variety of fiddlers, including faculty members and the student lagspel (group playing) ensemble. Fiddlers perform music for dances from different regions of Norway, which offers attendees a chance to practice dances taught at previous HFAA workshops.

Talent Showcase: Our Talent Showcase, held on Friday night, is an opportunity for workshop participants to show their talent in traditional Norwegian music and dance. Performance slots are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at check-in on Thursday.

Festive Saturday evening includes a traditional Norwegian dinner (many choose to wear bunad—traditional dress), a parade of all fiddlers and a concert featuring our workshop staff. The general public may purchase tickets for the concert at the door. Those not already participating in the workshop who wish to attend the dinner must make reservations in advance using the workshop registration form.