What Are Traditions Weeks?

Traditions Weeks are three individual weeks of classes, concerts, dances and other activities in the traditional roots-based arts, normally held on the campus of McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.
Traditions Weeks 1 and 2 are VIRTUAL this year.
Traditions Week 3 will be IN-PERSON.
Class descriptions coming soon!

McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster, MD 21157
2022 Tuition TBA. Learn more >
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General information


Class Period


Class Periods

Note: Most Visual Arts classes are 2 periods

Class Periods

A discount of $15 is applied with every 5th class registration

Additional Information

  • REMINDER: Weeks 1 and 2 are ALL-VIRTUAL in 2022! Week 3 is IN-PERSON!
  • Interested in registering from outside the U.S.? We can help - please email us at commonground@commongroundonthehill.org. Our registration system does not accept out-of-country payments, but we will work with you to get your registered!
  • Tuition cost is determined by the number of periods that a class spans. Most classes are a single period. A 2-pd class (e.g., Hammered Dulcimer classes or most Visual Arts classes) will cost the same as 2 single-period classes. ALL classes run for 5 days, Monday to Friday. There are a total of 5 periods available in a day.
  • A $100 deposit is due with each registration form; $50 of the deposit fee is non-refundable. Total balances are due by June 1, 2022, to hold your spot in class unless otherwise arranged.
  • No refunds are available within 30 days of the start of the enrolled week.
  • All rates quoted are per week/per individual.
  • Some class workshops include an extra materials fee which is payable directly to the instructor.
  • Classes run 5 days, Monday-Friday.
  • Single period classes are 75 minutes.
  • Classes may be taken across the three weeks

A word about your skill level

Please refer to What’s the Right Workshop Skill Level for Me? in the Skill Levels tab above to help you understand our guidelines for placing students interested in studying a musical instrument in the workshops that will be of the most benefit to them as individuals and also benefit whole classes and the camp. It is also important to note that instructors will observe individual students’ skills and the general skill level of a class and adjust his or her presentation accordingly in order to arrive at the most productive and enjoyable instructional experience possible.

Welcome to Traditions Weeks!

Information and links that will help you to have the best experience at this year's Traditions Weeks!

IF YOU NEED TO CONTACT US please email commonground@commongroundonthehill.org OR maria@commongroundonthehill.org
**NOTE: McDaniel College is still locked down, so we are unable to answer phone calls at this time.

REMINDER: All classes and events are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) - that is, Daylight Savings Time in the Eastern Time Zone. Classes run Monday-Friday.



Executive Walt Michael welcomes you to Traditions Weeks 2021 with some song and sage advice, as well as tips for how to make the most of your experience. Many of your questions will be answered in this short informational session, so plan to stop by! This event will be streamed on the Common Ground on the Hill YouTube Channel, found HERE.


Week 1 and 2 Gallery Talks (6:30 PM ET), Keynote Lectures (Mondays at 8 PM ET), and Evening Concerts (Tuesdays-Fridays at 8 PM ET) will all be streamed LIVE on the Common Ground on the Hill YouTube Channel HERE!

Week 3 Keynote Lecture (Monday at 8 PM) will be streamed LIVE on the Common Ground on the Hill YouTube Channel HERE!

Enjoy all three weeks with the whole family!

A complete schedule of GALLERY TALKS can be found HERE.

A reminder about class times

Classes run Monday-Friday. All classes are listed in Eastern Daylight Time.

  • Period 1: 9 - 10:15 AM
  • Period 2: 10:30 - 11:45 AM
  • Period 3: 1 - 2:15 PM
  • Period 4: 2:30 - 3:45 PM
  • Period 5: 4- 5:30 PM

Traditions Weeks are funded in part by

Common Ground on the Hill is proud to be a Maryland Folklife Center
Learn more about academic credit

Undergraduate Credit


graduate Credit


What's the Right Workshop Skill Level for Me?

Please note that the guidelines below apply to instrumental (and in some cases dance) workshops ONLY

Terms Explained

True Beginner

A total novice; someone completely new to the instrument, dance, etc.

Advancing Beginner

Rudimentary experience; ready to learn and move forward with basic skills (chords and chord changes, playing in time, learning scales, etc)


Some facility with basic skills (can play and change chords in time, may have some facility with playing scales, tunes, etc.)


Competent in basic skills as above, shows some musicality and perhaps awareness of stylistic elements of genre(s) etc.


Competent in basic and intermediate skills, is able to learn new tunes and techniques with relative ease and speed, plays with noticeable musicality

Skill levels explained


Skill Level

Best For:
The Beginner, Advancing Beginner
Not so good For:
Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate, Advanced
Example Workshop
Beginning Guitar

Skill Level

Best For:
Advancing Beginner, Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate
Not so good For:
True Beginner, Advanced
Example Workshop
Old-Time Guitar 1

Skill Level

Best For:
Beginner/Intermediate, Intermediate, Advanced
Not so good For:
True Beginner, Advancing Beginner
Example Workshop
Old-Time Guitar 2

understanding the nomenclature of our workshop titles

If a workshop title includes the word "Beginning," it will correlate to Skill Level A. Workshops titles that include a numeral 1 correlate to Skill Level B. Workshop titles that feature a numeral 2, or include an instructor's name (i.e., Old-Time Guitar with Danny Knicely) correlate to Skill Level C. Some workshops will have none of these indicators in title, but the workshop description may still include a Skill Level suggestion. Workshop descriptions that do not indicate a Skill Level are open to students of all Skill Levels.


Make it your tradition.

With over 350 workshops taught by 200 nationally and internationally recognized instructors, this is an opportunity to both dive deep into your chosen interest and to cast a wide net into the vast array of classes we offer!

View schedule

Traditions Weeks Instructors

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Academic Credit

Did you know?

You can earn undergraduate and graduate credit when you take Traditions Weeks workshops, including classes in traditional visual arts, music, film, lecture, and more! Credit available for up to two weeks of classes, across the three Traditions Weeks. REMINDER: Classes are ALL-VIRTUAL in 2021!

Academic Credit Coordinator: Dr. Pamela Zappardino zapinator@aol.com

NOTE: Procedures for earning Academic Credit are changing for 2021. See complete information in the Availability tab, above.

Academic credit is available for participation in Common Ground on the Hill and requires full participation in the Traditions Weeks Program as well as additional assigned work. Full participation is defined as registering for a total of 5 workshop periods for every 3 Graduate or up to 4 Undergraduate credits desired. Attendance at art talks, evening concerts, keynote addresses and other activities is suggested and may also be required.

Participants may elect to earn academic credits across the three Traditions Weeks summer program. Click the Availability tab, above, for full details.

Once you have registered for Common Ground workshops and noted a desire to earn credits you will be assigned an Instructor of Record who is a member of the McDaniel College Faculty and who will supervise your work, assign additional work in the form of reflections, papers, readings, and/or products to be completed after the Traditions Weeks are over (or before they start.)  and assign your grade.

NOTE: Credits are awarded by McDaniel College and are generally transferable to other academic institutions. Participants should check with their own Institution for questions about transferability.


Three or four undergrad credits may be earned per 5 periods of class for 5 days, or six to eight credits, for 5 periods of class for 10 days. Evening virtual event attendance is also required. Credits may be earned in English, Art, Music or Interdisciplinary Studies for an additional $175 per credit beyond the Common Ground on the Hill full-time fees ($485 per week). You will be responsible for any additional materials fees if applicable.


  • For graduate credit students, as in years past, students will enroll in Traditions Weeks classes of their choice, learning from Common Ground on the Hill artists, musicians and lecturers. In addition, credit earning students are assigned a McDaniel College Instructor of Record who oversees, facilitates and grades the out-of-class work required of credit students.
  • McDaniel College requires that you have an undergraduate transcript on file with the College. Once you have registered with Common Ground on the Hill, the College will contact you if they require you to send an official transcript.
  • Participants may earn 3 or 6 graduate credits through full participation in the Traditions Weeks program. Full participation is defined as registering for 5 class periods of classes for 5 days for 3 credits and 5 periods per day for 10 days for 6 credits.
    We have listened to your requests…You may take these classes across one, two, or all three weeks as long as your total meets the requirements. (For example, you could take 2 periods of classes for 5 days in Week 1, 1 period of classes for 5 days in Week 2, and 2 periods of classes for 5 days in week 3 in order to earn 3 credits)
  • Attendance at virtual events: art talks, evening concerts, keynote addresses, the festival and other activities is also required: 5 evenings for those earning 3 credits and 10 evenings for those earning 6 credits. Again, these can be spread across all the weeks as fits your schedule.
    As in the past, there is work required outside of workshop and evening event attendance. There is also a final project. This year, that work has been designed to deepen your understanding of equity issues as well as your classwork and how it will impact your teaching. We think you’ll really enjoy the change.

    This outside work will, for the most part, take place on McDaniel’s online Blackboard platform and will include films, readings, and other resource materials, as well as discussion groups, which many past credit students have requested. The Blackboard asynchronous classroom begins on June 18th and the discussion board will be active until the beginning of Traditions Weeks on June 28. The discussion boards will resume activity on July 17 and continue through August 7. You will have access to the readings, film links, and other resources throughout Traditions Weeks.

    Some of these online discussions and assignments will be the same regardless of Instructor of Record, while others will be assigned by or developed with individual Instructors of Record.
  • McDaniel College requires 112.5 hours of attendance and outside work per 3 credits earned. This will be broken down on the Blackboard Site.

Carroll County Public School Employees Continuing Education

Three or six credits are available, designated as EDU 551, Common Ground 21, Equity and the Traditional Arts. As noted above, you may take any combination of classes across the 3 Traditions Weeks to meet the 3 or 6 credit requirements. Common Ground on the Hill will direct bill CCPS for your Common Ground on the Hill and credit registration fees at a special discount rate of $1065 per 3 credits. You will be responsible for any materials fees if applicable (Undergraduate credits are also available for CCPS Employees, designated as EDU 3398, Diversity Education and billed at the same discounted rate as noted above.)

All CCPS Employees MUST contact the CCPS HR Department for authorization PRIOR to registering with Common Ground on the Hill. Check “cohort” on this form to trigger direct billing. CCPS informs us weekly about those who have received this authorization. Once you have obtained this authorization, you must complete your registration with Common Ground on the Hill.

Teachers/administrators in districts other than Carroll County

May likely also apply credits earned toward continuing education requirements and should check with their school districts as to reimbursement policies. (Most will reimburse for credits earned through Common Ground on the Hill). The tuition and fees for earning three credits will total $1085. Tuition and fees for earning six credits will double to $2170.

Other Degree Programs

Individuals wishing to earn graduate credits (Education, Art, Music, Education) for other degree programs will follow the procedures as outlined above. The cost will be $1085 per 3 credits. Please check with Dr. Zappardino for Course name and number designation. NOTE: Credits are awarded by McDaniel College and are generally transferable to other academic institutions. Participants should check with their Institution for questions about transferability.

Application Deadline

Deadline to apply for Academic Credits and complete all registration requirements through Common Ground on the Hill is JUNE 14, 2021

coursework completion deadline

You must submit your outside coursework and any projects to your Instructor of Record by August 7, 2021.

After Friday, June 25th, withdrawal from participation in Common Ground on the Hill for Academic Credit will incur a fee, the total of which will be dependent on when that withdrawal is initiated. Any refunds that may be made after this point will have this fee deducted from the total returned.

Veterans Initiative

Did you know?

Veterans face as many challenges upon returning home as they do in the field of battle. They also possess myriad skills and leadership qualities that our nation needs, and their experiences offer an opportunity to broaden the dialogue about critical issues here on the home front, and to enrich all of our lives. Explore below to learn more.

After bravely answering the call of duty, too many veterans are lost in the physical, financial and psychological struggles that await them upon return. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide are epidemic, and returning to a "normal" life is a long term process. Some never truly make it home.and graduate credit when you take Traditions Weeks workshops, including classes in traditional visual arts, music, film, lecture, and more! Credit available for up to two weeks of classes, across the three Traditions Weeks.

In 2012, Common Ground on the Hill launched its Veterans Initiative, providing full scholarships for ten veterans to attend the Traditions Weeks summer workshops at McDaniel College in Maryland. The experience was transformative. Both veterans and civilians thrived in an environment of mutual respect and sharing, engaging in an essential and difficult dialogue.

The Common Ground on the Hill Veterans Initiative seeks to provide a safe space for veterans to grow and to share, to process their experiences and teach others, while gaining a new perspective from their peers at the summer workshops. It's difficult to explain the transformative effect of Common Ground on the Hill unless you have experienced it. But the veterans who have participated in the Common Ground Veterans Initiative spoke of nothing less than a life-changing impact.

"I just want to thank you all, for saving my life."
- Josh Hisle, USMC

"What I've already experienced here, if we could give that to other veterans, that's a gift to the world."
- Scott Blakley, USMC

"I felt very alone with my ideas about the war. I am not alone now I realize. There are others who feel as I feel and I can talk to them."
- Frank Morales, U.S. Army

"I want to mentor two vets next year and help with expanding the process of new Veterans experiencing CGOTH."
- Travis Elfgren, USMC

"I felt Invisible for so long, I haven't made new friends in years, especially since I came back the last time. I don't go out, I stay to myself a lot. Since CGOTH Vet week I now realize I can talk to people and make non-vet and new vet friends. Needed to come out from behind my wall."
- Michael Lemke, U.S. Army

"On the surface, Common Ground on the Hill is a 1-2 week program of immersion into traditional arts and opportunities to listen and discuss current social and environmental issues that challenge us. At its core, it is a mind-altering experience. I am ever so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in CGOTH for the last 5 years, particularly this year, when I joined a class with a group of veterans led by Josh Hisle in an effort to focus on the lives and specific challenges vets face as they return from combat. The veterans receive scholarships to attend Common Ground, where the traditional arts serve as a voice for them to convey thoughts and emotions that are too often marginalized by society. I am grateful to these heroes for sharing their opinions and experiences, difficult as they may have been to express."
- Brenda Anna, Common Ground on the Hill Traditions Week participant

Veterans initiative scholarship Application

Email maria@commongroundonthehill.org to request a Veterans Initiative Scholarship Application.

Return your completed application:

Contact Common Ground on the Hill with questions.

More information coming soon.

Class Change Form

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Something For Everyone

Schedule a week or two, or three! Or, just sprinkle some classes in between other commitments.

Week 1

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Week 3

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