Vision Maker Media
Flute School

2017 Workshop Program

The following is the list of workshops for the 2017 Native Rhythms Festival. All of these workshops are free, except as noted where a nominal fee is charged to cover the cost of materials the attendee will take away from the workshop. All of these workshops have limited enrollment (most limited by the space in the workshop tent). Early (on-line) registration is strongly encouraged.

Workshop Registration

Use the form at the bottom of this page for advanced registration for individual workshops. Seats in all workshops will be allocated on a first-come/first-serve basis, beginning with advanced registration from this page. Any remaining seats (not allocated by advanced registration) will be available for on-site registration on a first-come/first-serve basis at the workshop check-in tent. Once all available seats have been allocated, a waiting list will be established for each workshop.

When registering, please limit your selections to 5 workshops that you actually plan to attend. PLEASE do not register for workshops that you "might" want to attend. It's not fair to others if workshops reach their stated capacity only because numerous people who aren't sure they will attend have registered, and others who really want to attend are blocked from registering. If you have more than 5 workshops that you want to attend, list those additional workshops in the "comments" field on the form and you will be placed on the waiting list for them.

Upon receipt of the on-line registration form, our workshop registrar will send an e-mail to you to confirm your registration or indicate your position on the waiting list. That confirmation message will come from the e-mail address Nothing else will be accepted as confirmation of your registration. The automated response that is generated when your form is transmitted to us does not constitute confirmation of your registration. You may wish to print out your confirmation e-mail message from when it arrives, and bring with you to the festival. 

In the past, some of our flute enthusiasts have registered for all workshops, including those they did not actually plan to attend. This prevented people wanting to attend those workshops from registering. We ask all to please be respectful of others. Do not sign up for workshops that you don't definitely plan to attend.

On-line advanced registration will open when the workshop schedule is published and closes at the end of the day on Monday, November 6, 2017. A workshop check-in tent will be set by the main workshop tent. On-site check-in for those who pre-register on-line is required, with empty seats filled at the check-in tent on a first-come/first-serve basis. A waiting list will be maintained when the workshop capacity is reached.

All advanced (pre-registered here) registrants must check-in at the workshop check-in tent upon arrival at the festival to confirm their presence and their plan to participate in the workshops for which they have registered. Seats not confirmed in this manner will be reopened and made available to those on the waiting list.

Although most of the workshops are designated as "space available" and likely will be able to accommodate all who wish to participate, we request that those who wish to participate in them submit an advanced registration form below so that we will have an idea of the number of people to expect and can plan accordingly.


Basic Introduction to the Native American Style Flute  (David Jenkins & Indian River Flute Circle)

Reawakening the Pueblo Style Flute  (Scott August)

Number TAB: The Easy TAB  (Scott August)

Prayer - Cedar - Fire: Their Stories  (Pamela Bennett)

Animal Totems - The Power of Nine  (Arvel Bird)

Beading on a Loom  (Joyce Bugaiski)

Walking With Wisdom - A Path to Understanding  (Will Davis)

Playing "Composed" Music on the NAF  (John Ellis)

Native Flute Playshop  (Clint Goss & Vera Shanov)

Guided Native American Meditation  (Randy Granger)

Developing Vibrato in Your Flute Playing  (Mark McGourley)

RagOn!  (Tami Morgan) 

Traditional Flute Playing  (Jon Norris) 

History and Evolution of Flutes in North America  (Jon Norris)

Rhythmic Connection: Drumming and Fluting Together  (Painted Raven)

Intro to Rim-Style Flutes  (Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps)

Painting Images with the Native Flute   (Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps)

Let the Music Set You Free  (Nelson Rios)

How to Add Other Instruments to Your Music  (Nelson Rios)

Recording an Award-Winning Album  (Steven Rushingwind)

Stepping Back in Time  (Dock Silverhawk)


Basic Introduction to the Native American Style Flute

Leader: David Jenkins supported by the Indian River Flute Circle members
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Anytime
Program Length: Variable
Location: Main festival grounds
Class Size: No limit

A separate vendor-style booth will be set up near the main workshop tent for on-going instruction in the basics of playing the Native American Style Flute. Skilled players, including volunteers from the Indian River Flute Circle, will rotate in leading this workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring their own flute, although loaner (PVC) flutes will be available for those who do not yet own one. Instruction will include hand placement in properly holding the flute and covering the playing holes, mouth placement and basic breathing techniques, playing the basic scales, and other basic playing techniques. Instruction techniques will vary by instructor.

Title: Reawakening the Pueblo Style Flute, Early Anglo Exploration of the Ancient Southwest
Leader: Scott August
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Friday, 12:00-1:30PM
Program Length: 1 1/2 hours
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

A presentation with over 200 images, stories and eyewitness accounts of the early explorations that uncovered Kokopelli's flute.

This is not a teaching workshop. All may attend, no flute or flute skills required.

Number TAB: The Easy TAB

Leader: Scott August
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Saturday, 1:00-2:30PM
Program Length: 1 1/2 hours
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Number TAB is an easy TAB that allows users to quickly write down musical idea, songs, and rhythms. It assignes an automatically transposed name to each note for the NAF.

Native American style flute required. Preferred, but not required, keys: A, G, or F#. 

Prayer - Cedar - Fire: Their Stories
Leader: Pamela Bennett
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 9:00-10:00AM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Information in the oral triad is meant to entertain and inform. Using a number of resources (documentation), the focus is on the lifestyles, traditions, and beliefs of the people of our region - the Southeast - & specifically the Mississippian Moundbuilders of the woodland era.

Southeastern stories of the ancients, a trilogy of short stories about the Native peoples of the Southeast, the moundbuilders:

  1. Why do Native people use smoke to pray? (Sacred plants)

  2. Why dp we burn red cedar in the Southeast? (The Legend of Red Cedar)

  3. How did the people get fire?  (How the animals helped us)


Animal Totems
- The Power of Nine
Leader: Arvel Bird
Fee: $20 (covers handout workbook & CD)
Scheduled times: Friday, 10:00AM-12:00PM or Saturday, 10:00AM-12:00PM
Program Length: 2 hours (same presentation each day)
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: 30.

This powerful 2 day workshop is a life changing experience of self-discovery into who you really are. It's shedding your false self and stepping into your true personality, your true personal power.

The Power of Nine is about discovering the nine power totem animals that you were born with, the nine that agreed to work with you from birth to death, the nine that represent your innate talents, abilities, challenges and dreams, the medicine that you carry in your Earth walk here.

Shed your imprinting and false-self and step intio the personal power that you were meant to live. Be the Power of the Nine.

If you attended last year's workshop, this year's workshop will move you into the next level of understanding of your nine totem animals.

Arvel Bird became interested in animal totems and their medicine power when he began to research and study his own Paiute heritage. He grew up knowing a significant part of his ancestry were of the Southern Paiutes of Utah, however, no one had spoken of it in his childhood, so as an adult he became curious and discovered to his surprise that he held a great respect and affinity for the ways of not only his ancestors but of all the North American Indian people. 

During this time of ancestral discovery, he also began to write and record music of birds and animals, composing the instrumentals to represent the characteristics and power of these spirit animals. This led him into the desire to discover and relate to his own animal totems. Through study, searching, and journey he found the alignment he held in spirit with 9 power totems that were there to show and encourage him to drop the energy he was carrying from his childhood imprinting and to embrace the strength and characteristics of who he truly is. This shined a spot light on his underlying motivation or basic desire in life; his way of perceiving and focusing on higher meaning and purpose; his way of acting by channeling his energy into completion of a task despite difficulties, and his life task which is to discover and reveal that which is most relevant and essential to his life’s journey and to share these insights with those who would be receptive to these perspectives on their own life experiences. This explains the reason Arvel leads Animal Totem workshops. Arvel has facilitated dozens of Animal Totems workshops at churches, private events, and festivals in Arizona, Colorado, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota, Utah, Wisconsin, Utah, Florida, Toronto and others.

Beading on a Loom

Leader: Joyce Bugaiski
Fee: $10.00 (optional, to cover the cost of materials supplied)
Scheduled time: Saturday, 3:30-5:30PM
Program Length: 2 hours
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: 18

If you have ever wanted to learn how to bead on a loom, now is the chance.

If you bring all of your own supplies, loom, beads, needles, thread, the workshop is free to you. If you wish to purchase a loom, the cost will be $10.00 each. This will be a basic loom like the one pictured below, which includes all supplies needed.

Everyone will be given instructional handouts with basic beading patterns.


Joyce has taught beading workshops at Native Rhythms for a few years now, as well as other places. She has beaded pipe stems, drum beaters, bags, barrettes, chokers, medallions, etc. She has beaded pieces for celebrities and flute makers, such as Robert Mirabal, Brent Haines, Ray Wood, Billy Whitefox, Utah Farris, the Southeastern Cherokee Council, Inc., had has also done some beadwork restorations.

Walking With Wisdom - A Path to Understanding

Leader: Will Davis
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 9:00AM - 1:00PM.
Program Length: 4 hours
Location: Candlewood Suites conference room
Class Size: Space available

Participants will leave this workshop with a greater understanding of what wisdom is and how connection is vital to oneself and their greater environment. 

Walking With Wisdom-A Path To Understanding…is a workshop/seminar based on the book written by Will Davis, by the same title. The workshop/Seminar will be an abbreviated version of the offered full day workshop/seminar. During the several hours of this seminar presented at the Candlewood Suites as part of the Native Rhythms Festival, the participant will engage in defining what ‘wisdom’ means for them and sharing some accolades of how it has worked in their lives. The participant will be guided through several meditations including a short walking meditation. The idea of connection and being connected will be part of the presentation. Will, has a Facebook page also by the same name. Copies of the book, “Walking With Wisdom-A Path To Understanding” will be available for purchase. 


Will Davis is an experienced workshop/seminar provider for over 25 years. He has provided professional training for areas such as mental health, HIV/AIDS awareness, Human Resources, Stress Management, Communication Skills, Cultural Awareness, and Spirituality. He has presented all over the country including, Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Washington, DC, and Oregon. 

Playing "Composed" Music on the NAF

Leader: John Ellis, performing as Johnny Kee
Fee: None
Scheduled time: Friday, 2:30-4:00PM
Program Length: 1 1/2 hours
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

We teach a new Native American flute player the basic pentatonic minor scale and show them how to improvise using only the notes of that scale. That has beginners actually playing music in 15 minutes or less. But a great many players sooner or later develop the desire to play a "composed" song, even if it's only "Amazing Grace". Some go on to want to learn other songs they know and love.

This workshop will teach participants to extend the basic pentatonic minor scale (six notes between the fundamental and octave of the fundamental) to the diatonic scale (all semitones in an octave) needed to play a wider range of music. This includes techniques including cross-fingering, half-holing, and playing into the upper register. Timing will be taught, including counting beats.

Time will be spent considering how to arrange a "composed" song to play on the NAF, and how it's the range of notes in the song that determines it's key on a given flute.

This will be a "hands on" workshop, so participants are encouraged (but not required) to bring a Native American style flute in the key of A to get the most from it.

The material in this workshop is derived from the presenter's book, "A Song A Week for the Native American Flute and Accompanying Guitar". Copies will be available at the workshop, or at the Turtle Mound Flutes booth any time during the festival.

John Ellis has been playing and singing traditional European/American folk music for over 50 years. Appearing under the stage name Johnny Kee, he added the Native American Flute to his multi-instrument repertoire over ten years ago, and from that came his interest in playing the flute in his folk music performances (including old hymns, spirituals, and gospel songs) . In 2012 he published a songbook called "A Song A Week on the Native American Flute and Accompanying Guitar" to encourage others to play this type of music on their flutes.

Title: Native Flute Playshop
Leader: Clint Goss and Vera Shanov (
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Saturday, 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Program Length: 3 hours
Location: Candlewood Suites conference room
Class Size: 30 participants (pre-registration strongly recommended)

The Native Flute Playshop is a special program for people who play (or wish to play) the Native American Flute. We will gather for the workshop with a focus on building confidence playing the flute in many settings and styles and expressing your inner voice. 

We will explore: 

the elements of music - melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, and silence; 

basic improvisation techniques such as call-and-response, solo over drone, and repeated patterns; 

song forms such as A/B/A contrast, blues, and rounds. 

And we mean it when we say Playshop ... participants will be playing most of the time! You will get an opportunity to play solo and in ensembles in many settings, and work with facilitators from many different corners of music. 

Regardless of your current level of experience, if you want to bring your flute playing to a new level, this is the weekend to attend! 

Reference list of Clint's links:

* Join Clint and Vera’s Native Flute list
* Flutopedia (Native Flute encyclopedia)
* (index of all our web sites)


Guided Native American Meditation

Leader: Randy Granger
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Friday, 9:00-10:00AM
Program Length: 45 minutes
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: 25

Learn to meditate using Native American spirituality and music. Also learn about vocal toning for healing and balance.

Randy Granger is an award-winning recording artist, composer, flute instructor and performing artist. He is classically trained in percussion, voice, and performance. A former instructor with the Yamaha School of Music, as well as teaching private students in guitar, percussion, voice, and flute, he now conducts workshops around the country on flute and Hang playing. The majority of Granger's private students are now taught via Skype with students all around the world. He has performed and shared the stage with R. Carlos Nakai, Michael Graham Allen, Peter Phippen, Skip Healy, Scott August among many other top recording artists. His workshops are extremely popular and he has facilitated flute playing workshops at INAFA, Zion Canyon, Native Rhythms, Oklahoma Flute fest, and Handpangea, to name a few. (

Developing Vibrato in Your Flute Playing

Leader: Mark McGourley
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Friday, 4:30-5:30PM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Mark designed a workshop for "Vibrato" with handouts and offered it at Dock's Silverhawk gathering last year. He did quite a bit of research on the topic as an overview, including its place in music in general. He specifically addresses how it translates closely from singing to flute playing. Mark suggests a few ways to achieve the effect, including the formal method (using diaphragm) and others that various people have learned by trial and error.  He includes exercises that help to properly learn and master the technique.

Rag On!

Leader: Tami Morgan
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 4:00-5:30PM
Program Length: 1 1/2 hours
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds.
Class Size: Space available

There's a whole lot of shimmy goin' on in this playshop. Sequins are gonna fly as Amunet teaches you fun, dramatic combinations that you will put together to create a short easy choreo! So, throw those inhibitions aside and let Amunet show you how to move in ways you never thought you could!

Bellydancers do not dance "like no one is watching". ...We dance like EVERYONE is watching and get out there to SHOW THEM HOW IT'S DONE!

Traditional Flute Playing

Leader: Jon Norris
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 10:00-11:00AM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Native American flute music as it was traditionally played is quite a bit different than the music we hear today. In this one hour workshop, we will listen to examples of some of the earliest recorded flute music, explore how songs are structured, and learn some basic techniques that will allow you to play in a similar style. 

Participants aren’t required to have a flute to attend, but there will be some opportunities to try out a few of the techniques discussed. Mid-range keys (A, G, F#) are preferred.

History and Evolution of Flutes in North America
Leader: Jon Norris
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Friday, 1:30-2:30PM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

The modern flute that we all know and love is a fairly new creation. In this workshop, we will explore the origins of wind instruments in North America, starting with primitive bone instruments and the rim-blown flutes of Ancestral Puebloan cultures. Then, using replicas of several historical instruments as well as some more recent flutes, we'll take a look at how the Native American Flute has evolved over the last 200 years to become the instrument we play today.

Title: Rhythmic Connection: Drumming and Fluting Together
Leader: Painted Raven  (Annette Abbondanza and Holly Harris)
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 2:30-4:00PM
Program Length: 1 1/2 hours
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Enjoy getting back to basics with Painted Raven (the Native American Flute and World Music duo of Annette Abbondanza and Holly Harris) through experiencing the rhythmic connection between drums and flutes.

We will begin by connecting with each other and the rhythm by learning basic cooperative drumming skills. We will then learn and practice rhythmic flute techniques. This will be followed by each individual having an opportunity to play flute along with the group providing supportive drumming.

Attendees are encouraged to bring along their own flutes and/or hand drums (djembes preferred). The class is tailored towards beginners, but anyone of any ability is welcome.

Intro to Rim-Style Flutes

Leader: Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 1:30-2:30PM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: 20

This workshop will include a brief history of flutes, group instruction of rim techniques, and small-group/one=on-one instruction of techniques to help participants develop skills.

Please bring a flute with you if you have one. I will have a few available for loan.

Painting Images with the Native Flute

Leader: Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Saturday, 9:00-10:00AM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Learn how to create mood and emotion in your music by applying flute techniques. This workshop is intended for amateur flute players that are ready to take the next step. BYOF  (Bring Your Own Flute)

Let the Music Set You Free

Leader: Nelson Rios
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

This workshop teaches the three main elements of percussion hand drumming: open tones - slap - bass tones. It describes how each one is used to create your rhythm. This workshop is "hands on", so bring your hand drum of any style.

How to Add Other Instruments to Your Music

Leader: Nelson Rios
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Sunday, 12:00-1:30PM
Program Length: 1 1/2 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Let's bring it all together. How to add other instruments to your music, recording, or performance. \

I will teach you the correct method of adapting the rhythms of other instruments into your set. I will show you how Carlos Santana- Gloria Estefan, and others Master their music composition. You will understand clearly what to do and how and why its done this way. Mastering your approach to organizing every step of your music. Understanding what rhythms work and will not work with your music.

I will have a special guest and very dear friend of mine at the event and joining me on this workshop.

Nelson Rios is a Master World Percussionist, Teacher, Educator, Instructor of hand Percussion 

I have performed with the Miami Sound Machine for many years, as well as for Mr Carlos Santana, Chubby Checker, and many others.  I starting playing on a drum kit and taught myself hand percussion at the age of 8 year's old. Moving forward I was given the chance of a lifetime when I met Mr Giovanni Hidalgo, master and one of the best in the world percussionist. I worked with him learning rhythms of all types. Giovanni Hidalgo, I thank you from the bottom of my heart my brother. I took what Giovanni taught me and transferred that into my personal style of Jazz/Fusion/Latin/Rock/Blues/Motown playing, allowing me to be so different from other percussion players. I just did not want to sound like everyone else out there. What I discovered was that music is music. It doesn't matter what style your playing, it still involves rhythms and patterns. I started holding percussion clinics at Guitar Center here in Philadelphia and in the New Jersey area for many years. Now I write and record with many other professionals from around the world. So I bring to you some of my experience and easy to learn grooves that everyone will be able to use in many areas.

FYI. For those of you who have your own instruments, please bring them. I'll have some to loan out at my classes. Video Cameras and audio recorders are welcome to capture what being said and taught.

Recording An Award-Winning Album

Leader: Steven Rushingwind
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Saturday, 12:00-1:00PM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Submitting your music to an awards show? recording music just for fun? either way I will be discussing the pitfalls many artist have succumbed to when recording and submitting music. We will touch on how to market yourself, how to book gigs, and what to look for when choosing a recording engineer.

Title: Stepping Back in Time
Leader: Dock Silverhawk
Fee: Free
Scheduled time: Saturday, 2:30-3:30PM
Program Length: 1 hour
Location: Workshop tent, main festival grounds
Class Size: Space available

Dock will be displaying and playing several very old Native American flutes that have been gifted to him from a private Native American collector. He will also be telling the stories behind them.

Personal Professional Instruction

Accelerate your flute playing by taking private lessons from one of several of our headlining recording artists. One-on-one or as a couple, take advantage of the opportunity to get personal guidance in a private lesson.

The following performers have agreed to offer private, personal instruction for a fee. Contact the individual artist to make arrangements for your personal lesson. These artists will be available throughout the weekend at the festival site, or contact them by e-mail to make arrangements prior to festival weekend.

Scott August:
Arvel Bird:
Randy Granger:
Nelson Rios:
Steven Rushingwind:

2017 Workshop Registration Form

Fill out and submit the below form to register for individual workshops. If you are registering for a limited seating workshop, you will be notified as to whether you have a confirmed seat in that workshop or have been placed on the waiting list. Please submit a separate form for each person registering.

* Indicates a required field...

Name: *

Phone (cell preferred): *

e-Mail Address: *

Select all workshops you wish to register for and actually plan to attend:

    Scott August: Reawakening the Pueblo Style Flute (Friday, 12:00-1:30)
    Scott August: Number TAB: The Easy TAB (Saturday, 1:00-2:30)
    Pamela Bennett: Prayer - Cedar - Fire: Their Stories (Sunday, 9:00-10:00)
    Arvel Bird: Animal Totems - The Power of Nine (Friday, 10:00-12:00)
    Arvel Bird: Animal Totems - The Power of Nine (Saturday, 10:00-12:00)
    Joyce Bugaiski: Beading on a Loom (Saturday, 3:30-5:30)
    Will Davis: Walking With Wisdom - A Path to Understanding (Sunday, 9:00-1:00 @ Candlewood)
    John Ellis: Playing "Composed" Music on the NAF (Friday, 2:30-4:00)
    Clint Goss & Vera Shanov: Native Flute Playshop (Satuday, 9:00-12:00 @ Candlewood)
    Randy Granger: Guided Native American Meditation (Friday, 9:00-10:00)
    Mark McGourley: Developing Vibrato in Your Flute Playing (Friday, 4:30-5:30)
    Tami Morgan: RagOn! (Sunday, 4:00-5:30)
    Jon Norris: Traditional Flute Playing (Sunday, 10:00-11:00)
    Jon Norris: History and Evolution of Flutes in North America (Friday, 1:30-2:30)
    Painted Raven: Rhythmic Connection: Drumming and Fluting Together (Sunday, 2:30-4:00)
    Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps: Intro to Rim-Style Flutes (Sunday, 1:30-2:30)
    Sydney Kokopelli Girl Phipps: Painting Images with the Native Flute (Saturday, 9:00-10:00)
    Nelson Rios: Let the Music Set You Free (Sunday, 11:00-12:00)
    Nelson Rios: How to Add Other Instruments to Your Music (Sunday, 12:00-1:30)
    Steven Rushingwind: Recording An Award-Winning Album (Saturday, 12:00-1:00)
    Dock Silverhawk: Stepping Back in Time (Saturday, 2:30-3:30)

Comments and questions:

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