The next string workshops are happening in Brisbane, just after Woodford Folk Festival on the 3 – 5 January. I’ll be joined by special guest tutors to help you explore a wilder side of string playing, with folk tunes taught by ear, improv exercises, rhythmic accompaniment techniques and more.

This project is supported by Folk Alliance Australia Small Grants scheme

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*These workshops are more geared towards cellists but all string players are welcome!*
Take some time out in the new year to look into a different side of your string playing. Join a community of string players who keep aural traditions alive, push the boundaries of contemporary technique and create their own music.
Learn skills you can use to accompany folk tunes and singer-songwriters, improvise, jam with friends, and expand your creativity.

Classes may involve:

  • Tune learning
  • Improv
  • Rhythmic accompaniments
  • Chordal playing
  • Folk tradition ornaments
  • Jamming skills
  • Singing and playing

Guest tutors
Ben Plotnick (fiddle) and Eric Wright (cello) from Canadian string band The Fretless are bringing their twist on traditional folk tunes. Check out what they do:

The wonderful Lucy Menzies will be teaching the beginner/intermediate class. She’s a Brisbane local who is actively involved in the Brisbane Celtic Fiddle Club, both performing and teaching tunes and chopping workshops. She is wonderfully generous and patient, and has a lot to share!

Zosha is an American genre-crossing violinist, vocalist, and composer, but this January she’ll be sharing her love of Scandinavian tunes. Here’s an absolutely mesmerising video of her playing her Hardanger fiddle!

Salliana Campbell will be sharing her wealth of experience in backing up singers from working extensively with Bernard Fanning and Kate Miller-Heidke. She’s an improvising fiddler with bundles of energy, and we’re so lucky to have her.

Fiddler, guitarist and dancer Davydd McDonald has Irish and Scottish traditional music running deep through his veins. He’s been doing it for over 20 years and has a library’s worth of tunes in his head. He’ll be sharing a few of them at camp this January!

Georgia Shine goes deep into free, expressive improvisation both on her instrument and through body movement. She runs workshops called Moving Connections, and has played cello with singer-songwriters including Nessi Gomes, Alice Night and Maja. While I’ve come at improvisation from the structure of bluegrass and jazz, Georgia taps right into her own authentic self to draw out notes that connect her with everyone else in the room.


3-5 January
Thursday 2-5pm
Friday 9am-3:30pm
Saturday 9am-5pm


Paddington Hall, Brisbane, QLD


$280 Adult
$230 Concession (students and low-income earners)
Go ahead and register if you know you’re coming! As I mentioned, it’ll really help me plan.
$80 Scholarship


Thanks to funding from Folk Alliance Australia, we can offer two scholarships to help make the camp more accessible ($80 instead of $280). To apply, email before the 22nd December with answers to the following questions:

1. Why do you want to attend Tree Folk String Camp? What are you excited about learning?
2. What is your financial situation and reason for applying for a scholarship?
3. What is your instrument, approximate level and experience so far?

Lunches and morning/afternoon teas can be ordered, with dietary requirements taken into account. The deadline for orders and payment is the 20th December.
Payment happens via Paypal, to Include a note about dietary requirements if you have any!
$30 includes three afternoon teas, two morning teas and two lunches.

If you register after this date, or you’d rather self cater, you are welcome to sort your own food. Cafes are within walking distance!


Accommodation is organised by students individually. If you’re working in a small budget, there are two backpackers up the road (Banana Bender Backpackers and Aussieway). The Gambaro Hotel is more up market. There are plenty more options out of walking distance, and plenty on Airbnb in the area.


Monique Clare is an award-winning folk cellist and singer-songwriter, with a passion for education. After graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium, she spent a summer in the USA studying folk traditions and contemporary cello techniques. Teaching and performing has taken her as far as Afghanistan, for a residency as part of The String Contingent, and many folk music camps and festivals back home in Australia. She’s performed with bluegrass fiddle legend Darol Anger, pop artist Kate Miller-Heidke, America-Scottish fiddler Hanneke Cassel, and recently has been touring internationally as part of The Maes (including shows at Orkney Folk Festival and Telluride Bluegrass Festival). She loves collecting experiences to share with her students, building the contemporary and folk string community, and getting as many cellists as possible happily addicted to playing folk.


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