Caffe Lena School of Music

Through group folk music lessons for children and adults, the Caffè Lena School of Music develops skills for a lifetime of joy, comfort and connection through music.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, both the child and adult lessons are being taught online via ZOOM. When the shutdown ends, the children’s lessons will meet at Caffè Lena. The adult lessons will continue to be offered online.

Adult Music Courses

The adult track is taught by some of the folk world’s top teachers. Each online session consists of four weekly lessons. Local students are encouraged to participate in Caffe Lena’s jams and open mics in order to further develop skills and become part of a folk music community. 

Old-time Fiddle

Thursdays from 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Dates: July 9th, 26th, 23rd, 30th

Suggested experience level: If you have at least a small repertoire of tunes and feel comfortable learning short phrases by ear, then you’ll be fine.

Clawhammer Banjo

Wednesdays from 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Dates: July 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th

Suggested experience level: If you have at least a small repertoire of tunes and feel comfortable learning short phrases by ear, then you’ll be fine.


Bruce Molsky: Old-Time Fiddle and Clawhammer Banjo

Bruce Molsky is one of the most revered “multi-hyphenated career” ambassadors for America’s old-time mountain music. For decades, he’s been a globetrotting performer and educator, a recording artist with an expansive discography including seven solo albums, well over a dozen collaborations and two Grammy-nominations.

Youth Theater Course

Develop your creative spark and build a community of artists that empowers you to create original theatrical performances in the spirit of a “maker lab”.

Fire your imagination with acting and storytelling skills using improvisation, writing exercises and games. Devise original stories and characters based on myths and fables that relate to the present day and after rehearsing you’ll have the opportunity to present your original work as a performance on the Caffe Lena stage! (social distancing measures will apply as needed!)

A six week course on Mondays from 10:30am – 12:00pm

Dates: June 15, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20 (performance date)

For all experience levels!


Dennis Schebetta: Award-winning film director, stage director, playwright and actor

Dennis has worked Off-Off Broadway in New York City and regionally. Trained in the Meisner technique of acting in NY as well as physical theater and ensemble-based techniques, Dennis creates new and devised theatre projects from an ensemble-based perspective. Since moving to the Capital Region, he has acted in Northeast Theatre Ensemble’s An Ideal Husband and Saratoga Shakespeare’s The Tempest and directed American Soldiers at Albany Civic Theater and Romeo And Juliet at Siena College. He is currently Assistant Professor at Skidmore College and has taught all levels of theatre students as faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and as a teaching artist for the Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation, the Pittsburgh Public Theater and SPARC’s New Voices for the Theater.


Youth Music Courses (age 7-12)

Though our introductory courses, children develop a core repertoire of folk songs, and learn to play their instrument by ear. Courses are available for banjo, fiddle, guitar and ukulele.

Each session consists of 8 weekly 40 minute lessons, with additional help provided outside of group lessons as needed. Full scholarships, including instruments, are available for any family that qualifies for free or reduced school lunch.

Classes will take place every Tuesday

June 16 – August 4th

Seats available: 4 per class
Guitar 1 (beginner) 1:30pm-2:10pm
Guitar 2 (beginner/intermediate) 2:15pm – 2:55pm Prerequisite for guitar 2: must know a few basic chords, especially G, D, and C.
Fiddle 1 (beginner) 3:00pm-3:40pm
Fiddle 2 (intermediate) 3:45pm- 4:25pm Prerequisite for fiddle 2: must be able to play a 2 octave G major scale.
Banjo 1 (beginner & intermediate) 4:30pm – 5:10pm
Ukulele (beginner & intermediate) 5:15pm – 5:55pm


Oona Grady – Fiddle 1 & 2
Oona Grady’s music career began while growing up in the rich old time and roots music community of Ithaca, NY, where she studied violin from age four, and began Irish fiddle lessons at ten. She traveled to Ireland to focus on Irish music and ethnomusicology for college and graduated with a B.Mus from University College Cork in 2008. Over the past ten years, she has built a private teaching studio specializing in Suzuki violin and Irish fiddle, as well as maintaining an active performance schedule.
James Gascoyne – Guitar 1 & 2, Ukulele, Banjo
James Gascoyne is a multi-instrumentalist performer, composer, producer, and instructor residing in Saratoga Springs, NY. A fixture of the local music scene since 2006, he’s also toured nationally with various groups from New York City and Nashville, TN. James seeks across genres with his music to spread joy and inspiration among folks both young and old.



Adult Courses


Youth Courses

To ask a question about the Caffe Lena School of Music or learn more about scholarships please email musicschool@caffelena.org

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