Rockingham Folk Music School

Rockingham, Ontario in the Wilno hills

Lessons and Classes

Emilyn Stam teaches
*Fiddle *Piano *Piano Accordion


John David Williams teaches
*Clarinet *Diatonic Button Accordion *Harmonica


Contact us if you need help finding an instrument.
We have some available for rent!

FIDDLE - with Emilyn

Fiddle is fun! Canada's most popular folk music instrument! If you already play some violin, your lessons can be:

- an introduction to new kinds of fiddling traditions

- improvising

writing tunes

jamming along with other kinds of music

If you're new to the instrument, you'll learn how to play from a fiddling perspective.


I've played fiddle since I was 13 growing up in the fiddling town of Smithers, BC where I learned a lot about writing tunes, jamming, playing groovy harmonies and improvising with my mentor Oliver Schroer. Performing on the fiddle has taken me around the world, and I've had the pleasure of exploring various traditions such as French, Quebecois, Klezmer, Scandinavian, American Old Time...

CLARINET - with John

Clarinet -  A folk approach to the clarinet: Learning tunes that are fun to play with other people. I've been playing the clarinet since I was 8 years old, and studied classical music at the University of Toronto. I really found my passion for the clarinet in some of its traditional genres: Especially Klezmer, New Orleans Jazz, and European folk dance music! Your lessons can include:

- an emphasis on learning by ear
- fun repertoire
- a deeper dive into some of the "folk" traditions of the clarinet
- improvisation / jamming
- tone and technique
- jazz & classical

The clarinet's wide range, malleable tones, and ability to play super soft and super loud make it a very versatile and expressive instrument. It's brought me to perform at eclectic events such as playing for parades in the French Quarter in New Orleans, playing for folk dancing on a barge in Paris, performing at folk festivals in Australia, and jazz festivals in China!


PIANO - with Emilyn

Piano is such a great foundational instrument - it was my first instrument! I studied the Royal Conservatory of Music Piano Method up to Grade 10, and really fell in love with the instrument when I started accompanying fiddle music and improvising. In your piano lessons with me we can explore:

- playing by ear

- jamming with chords 

- improvising

accompanying fiddle tunes

- accompanying songs you like to sing

reading sheet music + playing classical music (RCM)

- harmony and theory lessons

If you're someone who had piano lessons as a kid but would like to revisit it from a new perspective, or are starting out from scratch, we'll have a lot of fun together!




A great source of joy in my life!! "Diatonic Button Accordions", "Melodeons", "Button Boxes", "Squeeze Boxes" come in various keys, tunings, and styles of playing. You can find them in all sorts of folk traditions from around the world! I particularly enjoy playing traditional french, cajun and Quebecois tunes.
-fun tunes from various traditions
-playing chords to play with others or yourself singing
-tunes for folk dances
-ornamentation that brings the music to life!


It's enjoyable and intuitive to start, with open-ended space for exploration and improvement!


It's like a piano you can wear! The accordion is popular in so many folk traditions, with this 'party in a box' you can play melodies and chords and basslines... I love playing klezmer music, French music and more... In our lessons we can:

- learn the basics of piano accordion right hand and left hand 

- learn folk tunes

- use the accordion as an instrument to sing-a-long with 

- improvising and jamming

HARMONICA - with John

Harmonicas are inexpensive, fun and fit in your pocket! I've played harmonica since I was a teenager, and it's been a great travel companion ever since!

- learn fiddle tunes, folk songs, and of course the blues!
- solo harmonica, and how to jam with others



 - with Emilyn

Starting Spring 2021 - as covid restrictions allow - physically distanced community folk orchestra!

This is a chance for us all to play together! We welcome all sorts of acoustic instruments - fiddles, guitars, mandolins, accordions, recorder, flute, cello ... We will teach folk tunes, create arrangements for the orchestra, and even have some opportunities to perform the music as a group! The focus of the groups is fun in playing together, and eventually when it is allowed, playing music for people to dance to!


Who we are ? Our Vision

building community through music and dance

Emilyn & John

We are two multi-instrumentalists each with unique and extensive training, who've had the honour of recording on award winning albums and touring across Canada and around the world with various eclectic acts over the past decade and a half or so!


We are also music community facilitators, event organizers, and teachers of music and social dancing. We are launching our music school here in Rockingham, with the primary goal of sharing the things we love about music, and facilitating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate in music in the ways that bring them joy!  


We offer private lessons, but will also soon be hosting group classes, regular social folk dances, launching a community folk orchestra, and inviting guest musicians for workshops and performances.


​So we invite you to grow with us and embark down the path of expression, connection, community, and joy that is learning and playing music!


Our Tunebook (beautifully hand-crafted and illustrated by Oksana Hawrylak) features melody and chord notation of 60 tunes: the tunes from our album plus more of our current favourite tunes to play for dancing! Waltzes, Schottishes, Mazurkas, Bourrées, Rondos, etc.

Subscribe to our Patreon page to receive weekly videos of us playing tunes from our album: slow versions, accompaniment only versions, and up to dance tempo versions 

Tunes From Honeywood and More
Tunebook Play-a-long Videos


We're following government regulated guidelines and providing an environment for private lessons that is Covid-Safe!

* Masks are worn while we greet you at the door

* Lessons are taught behind a plexiglass barrier in our teaching studio


* Hand sanitizer is provided


Rates and Location

Our private lessons take place at our home on John Watson Rd in Rockingham. (Near Combermere, between Barry's Bay and Killaloe in the Ottawa Valley.)


We're excited to build a music community with our students! So all our private students will be offered discounts on special events like concerts and group programs like our folk orchestra!

Sliding scale rates (as your budget allows, pay the lower price if you need to and the higher price if you can).

1/2 hour lessons: $25-30

Hour lessons: $50-60

We are also open to considering trades and bartering.