Teaching is an important part of my life. Not only do I have a lot of experience teaching language and literature at the college level (Ph.D. in Comparative Literature); I also teache music privately and at festivals and camps. I have been on the faculty of Common Ground on the Hill (MD), the Swannanoa Gathering (NC), the Augusta Heritage Center (WV), Kentucky Music Week, Hcamp in Kerville, TX, the Volksmuziekstage in Gooik (Belgium), and many more dulcimer festivals than you care to read about!
I keep a small private teaching studio for intermediate-to-advanced students who are interested in expanding their knowledge in his specific area of competence, i.e., traditional instrumental ensemble music of American, Celtic, and Western European origin. I especially like working with adult students who (want to) play more than one stringed instrument (guitar—classical and DADGAD— bass, mandolin, tenor or five-string banjo, bouzouki, cittern, and dulcimer), or people who have played other instruments before. I focus on enabling students to become group musicians, rather than solo performers.
this year (2020) folk music moved online. My first zoom classes were for Common Ground on the Hill and went great. www.commongroundonthehill.org
Here are a few anonymous student evaluations:
Paul gave more then is possible to learn in an, hour 15 min/day for a week long camp. But I think that is very good to have more to take away and work with. I enjoyed it and hope to participate in another workshop led by Paul.
A lot of information was taught.very good use of sharing documents, Videos and direct instruction
Paul has an encyclopedic knowledge of music of several styles and countries. He is a fount of information that includes not only musical notation and finger mechanics, but also the music theory that supports the Irish Celtic genre. He is an enthusiastic and informative teacher.
Would give him 7's if I could go higher. (Editor's note: the scale is 5) So knowledgeable and so much knowledge. He connected the dots on a lot of concepts that I never put together. Enjoyable atmosphere, the class went by so fast. An what talent. I was moved by his performance Wednesday. Would sit through class a couple more times for sure!
I spent several summers teaching at HCAMP in Kerville, Texas. A HOOT!
The information about my classes is all gathered at oorts4hcamp.pbworks.com
(and some also at hcampceltic.pbworks.com)
They have a website with student quotes about my teaching. My favorite is laconically Texan: "best I ever had."
Here's what one band-aid student from Winston-Salem wrote:
"I never had Paul Oorts as an instructor before. He was amazing - he could address needs for all of
the instruments in the "band". I learned a lot. Would like to have him back again sometime."
Here's my favorite quote from a Kentucky Music Week student:
I loved your ukulele class! If had ever had a music teacher like you, I might have entered the teaching profession as a music teacher! You are phenomenal! … Thanks for a great experience at KMW 2011! C. S.
Here's a PS to an email from Joanie Blanton, who organizes music weekends with SMAD (Shepherdstown Music and Dance):
PS Many students said your class on Pentatonics on Sunday was the best class they have ever taken! Bravo!
Two student evaluations from the same venue:
OUTSTANDING. I believe my class with Paul Oorts on Sunday – Improv on GDAE was one of the most
information/productive classes I have ever attended anywhere.
Paul Oorts: intro to mando. EXCELLENT teacher. Second time I’d taken a class with him,
different topic and different venue. Very good at meeting people at whatever skill level they’re
at, figuring out when the class is getting frustrated and taking a break. I had him for a
weeklong band class at Pinewoods – consider having him lead a dance band or ensemble
playing workshop some year.
I've also done a number of workshops in different places. These may give you some ideas!
A nice comment from the friendly folks at the Colorado Dulcimer Festival (February 2016):
"Your guitar classes were a great addition to our festival and your concert performances were inspiring! We are so happy you could participate!"