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youths with guitar, mandolin, banjo

HCOA Folk Arts Music Workshops with Mary and Lawrence Schallert

Music workshops for ALL AGES
($75 general / $60 HCOA members)

Are you a Suzuki-trained violinist eager to learn how to play folk fiddle? String musician wanting to feel more comfortable in social music jams? Aspiring songwriter? These workshops are for you!

All students will gather for an introduction of the instructors, some demonstration and an overview of the day, then divide for two options:


Mary will take you through the basic protocols of jamming with friends, or starting a band or just playing for fun for Grandma.  This workshop will help you to understand the importance of keys, Rhythm and melody, and how to play even when you have never heard the song before.

Perfect for students getting familiar with their instrument, but new to folk music and jamming, or wanting to get more comfortable in jam-type music settings.

Open to all instruments—strings, piano, winds (sorry, but wind players won’t be able to receive instrument-specific fingering or voicing). Let us know your experience and skill level when you register! Limit 10 students.


We’ll start with the basics of songwriting: what to write about, how to put your writing to music.

For experienced songwriters: If you have written a song, how can you make it better, or what are the techniques that Larry uses when he has already written a song.

Bring ideas, works in progress, your instrument, and an open mind. Limit 10 students.

Bring your own snack for a short break. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for all participants.

Mary Schallert

Mary has taught folk music skills in Anchorage and throughout Alaska for 23 years, and is director of Alaska City Folk Arts Camp. From basses to fiddles to mandos, Mary gets musicians in the community to loan their instruments, so children can find the one that calls to them. Mary also taught orchestra and strings at the Anchorage Waldorf School for 20 years, and co-directed an adult orchestra with Kathryn Hoffer for over 10 years.  She received a BP teacher of the year in 2013, and can be heard on two solo albums and with multiple bands. Mary currently plays with the Anchorage-based band Whiskey Jacks, who perform at the 2022 Kachemak Bay Highland Games. “I consider myself a musical hybrid, I can teach multiple styles and genres of music with the hope of helping the student to find their own musical destiny.”

Larry Schallert

Larry plays with the California based acoustic band Sierra Highway, serving up contemporary, original, and traditional music. The 5 member band includes vocalists, bass, harmonica, fiddle, guitar, the occasional banjo, and mandolin. Over the years Sierra Highway has appeared on recordings, radio, and toured throughout California and North America. Larry teaches band and songwriting at Folk Arts Camp. He was named the 2019 California Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, and is the Assistant Director of Student Health & Wellness/Mental Health Program at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita – a great background and combination of skills for teaching and songwriting!

Please use this registration form for participants aged 18+!

Please use this registration form for participants younger than 18!