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49th Walnut Valley Festival

September 15 - 19, 2021

National Flat-Picking Championships
Winfield, KS

49th Walnut Valley Festival has been postponed
to September 2021 due to COVID-19 Concerns

All tickets previously sold for WVF 49 will be valid for entry in September 2021. Tickets are also currently available for purchase.

2021 Spring AUTOHARP Workshops

Adam Miller- The Easiest Melodies for the Autoharp

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - Noon to 1:30pm CDT

Can you really learn to play recognizable melodies on the autoharp in a single ninety-minute workshop?

Yes, you can! No matter what your level of proficiency – even if you have never played the autoharp before

– this informal hands-on beginner’s workshop will develop your musical abilities. Explore simple techniques for strumming, chording, and picking familiar tunes. Learn how to organize your practice time, making music instead of excuses. The ability to read music is not necessary. Participants need a chromatic autoharp (tuned to the best of their ability), two fingerpicks, and one thumb pick. Easy-to-read PDF workshop handouts are provided in the keys of  F and C.  Skill Level:  Beginner

Minimum 1 participant

Maximum of 25 Participants

Adam Miller - Beyond G, C, & D: Chromatic Chord Progressions on Autoharp

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 2pm to 3:30pm CDT

Although the chromatic autoharp has a twelve-note scale, many of the songs we play on the instrument use only the seven-note diatonic scale (do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti). Are you ready to move beyond playing “1-4-5” songs with the same three and four chords? This workshop explores melodies with decidedly chromatic chord progressions that use the 12-note chromatic scale, including: Hit the Road, Jack, Sixteen Tons,

Greensleeves, House of the Rising Sun, and Freight Train. The ability to read music is not necessary. Participants need a tuned chromatic autoharp (no diatonic autoharps, please) and fingerpicks. PDF workshop handouts are provided in the keys of Dm and F.  Skill Level:  Intermediate

Minimum 1 Participant

Maximum of 25 Participants

Adam Miller - Defying Conventions: Unusual and Eccentric Autoharp Techniques

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 4:30pm to 6pm CDT

I’m a bit of an oddball in the autoharp community: I never use fingerpicks. I play with bare fingernails or a flatpick, and my style of chromatic autoharp playing involves the use open-chording tricks that are usually reserved for the diatonic autoharp. In this workshop, I’ll share these uncommon but nevertheless effective techniques. If you’re an intermediate-level player ready to go beyond pinching and plucking, this workshop will certainly broaden your musical horizons. The ability to read music is not necessary. Participants need a tuned chromatic autoharp, fingerpicks, and a flat pick. PDF workshop handouts are provided in the keys of Dm, F and G.  Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Minimum 1 Participant

Maximum of 15 Participants

Adam Miller - Front Porch Strumming: Playing Old-Time Music on Autoharp

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm CDT

This workshop is targeted at beginning players who love old-time music. Here’s a fun opportunity to develop your autoharp skills while stumming songs recorded by the original Carter Family. We’ll concentrate on techniques for accompanying vocals, playing back-up chords, and executing simple melody breaks. Build your confidence and your repertoire, and develop your rhythm, timing, fingering accuracy, and muscle memory. The ability to read music is not necessary. Participants need an autoharp (tuned to the best of their ability), two fingerpicks, and one thumb pick. Easy-to-read PDF workshop handouts are provided in the keys of G C, and D. Skill Level: Beginner

Minimum 1 Participant

Maximum of 25 Participants

Adam Miller - Honing Your Chops: Tips & Tricks for Picking Melodies on Autoharp

Sunday March 21, 2021 - 2:30 to 4pm CDT

This workshop is targeted at intermediate players who want to expand their instrumental skills. Practicing scales is great exercise, but there’s no substitute for certain traditional warhorses, like Grandfather’s Clock, and O Holy Night, that have the fingering challenges built right into the melody. We’ll breakdown righthand and left-hand techniques for mastering such spirited compositions. Enhance your chops for tackling even the most acrobatic obstacle course of a tune. The ability to read music is not necessary. Participants need a tuned chromatic autoharp and fingerpicks. PDF workshop handouts are provided in the keys of Dm, F and G.  Skill Level: Intermediate 

Minimum 1 Participant

Maximum of 20 Participants

Adam Miller - Norwegian Wood: Beatles Songs as Autoharp Instrumentals

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 5pm to 6:30pm CDT

This workshop is targeted at intermediate players who are already comfortable playing simple melodies. Approaching the autoharp as a solo instrument, we’ll learn instrumental arrangements of several beautiful and enduring Beatles melodies that have transcended the genre of popular music. The songs include Yesterday, I Will, Let It Be, and Michelle, by Paul McCartney, and Norwegian Wood and In My Life, by Lennon and McCartney. The ability to read music is not necessary. Participants need a tuned chromatic autoharp and fingerpicks. PDF workshop handouts are provided in the keys of F and D.   Skill Level:  Intermediate

Minimum 1 Participant

Maximum of 20 Participants

JoAnn Smith - Diatonic Autoharp - Open-Noting Techniques / Overcoming Chord Bar Dependence

Saturday March 20, 2021 - 10am to 11:50am CDT

The biggest advantage the diatonic autoharp has over the chromatic is the potential for open-noting — picking melody without having a chord bar depressed all the time. This reduces choppiness and imparts a lovely, fluid sound to the music. If you have a diatonic autoharp and are not using the open-noting techniques, take this class and find out what you’re missing!  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advance

Maximum of 12 Participants

REQUIREMENTS:

These classes are intended to introduce intermediate to advanced diatonic playing techniques. Attendees should be able to play melody with good success and will be expected to have a good understanding of the differences between a chromatic and a diatonic autoharp (how to convert a chromatic to diatonic will NOT be covered).

Attendees will need a diatonic (single-key) or semi-diatonic (two-key) autoharp that can play in one or more of the following keys: F, C, G, D. If you only have a G/D, that’s fine. If you only have an F/C that’s fine. If you only have a single-key G, that’s fine. Bring what you have. If it’s a single-key B flat, you might not get to play along, but come anyway. If you don’t have a diatonic autoharp but are curious about or are considering one, you are more than welcome to attend any or all of the classes to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

Participants

JoAnn Smith - Diatonic Autoharp -The Fantastic Four - Essential Color Chords and How to Use Them

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 2pm to 3:50pm CDT

Another advantage the diatonic autoharp has is room for chords that go beyond the standard major, minor and dominant seventh chords found on a chromatic autoharp. In this workshop, we will discuss the most useful and versatile color chords to include on your diatonic autoharp.  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advance

Maximum of 12 Participants

REQUIREMENTS: 

These classes are intended to introduce intermediate to advanced diatonic playing techniques. Attendees should be able to play melody with good success and will be expected to have a good understanding of the differences between a chromatic and a diatonic autoharp (how to convert a chromatic to diatonic will NOT be covered).

Attendees will need a diatonic (single-key) or semi-diatonic (two-key) autoharp that can play in one or more of the following keys: F, C, G, D. If you only have a G/D, that’s fine. If you only have an F/C that’s fine. If you only have a single-key G, that’s fine. Bring what you have. If it’s a single-key B flat, you might not get to play along, but come anyway. If you don’t have a diatonic autoharp but are curious about or are considering one, you are more than welcome to attend any or all of the classes to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

JoAnn Smith - Diatonic Autoharp - ZITHERIN' - Exploring the Single-Key Autoharp (and Why you need one)

Saturday March 20, 2021 - 6pm to 7:50pm CDT

The autoharp is a chorded zither. The diatonic autoharp, in particular, is tuned almost identically to a zither — so many of the techniques used to play the zither can be adapted to the diatonic autoharp. In this workshop, we will be focusing on the strings, the melody, and accurate plucking with very little help from the chord bars. In other words, we’ll be ZITHERIN’!  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advance

Maximum of 12 Participants

These classes are intended to introduce intermediate to advanced diatonic playing techniques. Attendees should be able to play melody with good success and will be expected to have a good understanding of the differences between a chromatic and a diatonic autoharp (how to convert a chromatic to diatonic will NOT be covered).

Attendees will need a diatonic (single-key) or semi-diatonic (two-key) autoharp that can play in one or more of the following keys: F, C, G, D. If you only have a G/D, that’s fine. If you only have an F/C that’s fine. If you only have a single-key G, that’s fine. Bring what you have. If it’s a single-key B flat, you might not get to play along, but come anyway. If you don’t have a diatonic autoharp but are curious about or are considering one, you are more than welcome to attend any or all of the classes to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

JoAnn Smith - Diatonic Autoharp -Autoharp AC/DC (Accuracy, Clarity, Dynamics & Color)

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 10am to 11:50am CDT

The four hallmarks of an excellent instrumental arrangement are Accuracy, Clarity, Dynamics and Color — no matter what instrument you play. We will explore these in detail and discuss why they are important, as well as ways to apply them to your own arrangements.  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advance 

Maximum of 12 Participants

REQUIREMENTS:

These classes are intended to introduce intermediate to advanced diatonic playing techniques. Attendees should be able to play melody with good success and will be expected to have a good understanding of the differences between a chromatic and a diatonic autoharp (how to convert a chromatic to diatonic will NOT be covered).

Attendees will need a diatonic (single-key) or semi-diatonic (two-key) autoharp that can play in one or more of the following keys: F, C, G, D. If you only have a G/D, that’s fine. If you only have an F/C that’s fine. If you only have a single-key G, that’s fine. Bring what you have. If it’s a single-key B flat, you might not get to play along, but come anyway. If you don’t have a diatonic autoharp but are curious about or are considering one, you are more than welcome to attend any or all of the classes to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

JoAnn Smith - Diatonic Autoharp - Flow On, Sweet Melody - Obedience Class for the Thumb

Sunday March 21, 2021 - 2pm to 3:50pm CDT

Have you ever played a well-known song for someone on the autoharp, only to have them not recognize it? The culprit could be that darn thumb! Use of the thumb when playing the autoharp tends to become habitual and can overshadow the melody. In this class, we will be teaching your thumb some manners!  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advance.

Maximum of 12 Participants

REQUIREMENTS: 

These classes are intended to introduce intermediate to advanced diatonic playing techniques. Attendees should be able to play melody with good success and will be expected to have a good understanding of the differences between a chromatic and a diatonic autoharp (how to convert a chromatic to diatonic will NOT be covered).

Attendees will need a diatonic (single-key) or semi-diatonic (two-key) autoharp that can play in one or more of the following keys: F, C, G, D. If you only have a G/D, that’s fine. If you only have an F/C that’s fine. If you only have a single-key G, that’s fine. Bring what you have. If it’s a single-key B flat, you might not get to play along, but come anyway. If you don’t have a diatonic autoharp but are curious about or are considering one, you are more than welcome to attend any or all of the classes to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

JoAnn Smith - Diatonic Autoharp -Melody AND Accompaniment: Bringing it All Together

Sunday, March 21, 2021 - 6pm to 7:50pm CDT

In this final workshop, Jo Ann will demonstrate examples of a number of techniques she uses when developing a solo arrangement for diatonic autoharp. From glissandos to power chords, interludes to hammer-on’s, you will get a taste of the kind of beautiful music that is possible with a diatonic autoharp — and perhaps inspire you to start your own journey of discovery.  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advance

Maximum of 12 Participants

REQUIREMENTS:

These classes are intended to introduce intermediate to advanced diatonic playing techniques. Attendees should be able to play melody with good success and will be expected to have a good understanding of the differences between a chromatic and a diatonic autoharp (how to convert a chromatic to diatonic will NOT be covered).

Attendees will need a diatonic (single-key) or semi-diatonic (two-key) autoharp that can play in one or more of the following keys: F, C, G, D. If you only have a G/D, that’s fine. If you only have an F/C that’s fine. If you only have a single-key G, that’s fine. Bring what you have. If it’s a single-key B flat, you might not get to play along, but come anyway. If you don’t have a diatonic autoharp but are curious about or are considering one, you are more than welcome to attend any or all of the classes to see for yourself what all the fuss is about!

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Office Hours

Post-Festival through May

Monday-Friday
9am-Noon; 1pm to 5pm

June through August 2nd

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

August 3rd through September 7th

Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

Saturday
9am-1pm