Julie Henigan

Julie H.

Springfield, MO
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Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
I offer lessons in American traditional singing (including Southern Mountain style) and in traditional Irish singing (in both English and Irish Gaelic). I help students improve their vocal technique, while encouraging them to step outside the pop and classical vocal idioms to learn how to sing in traditional idioms, including (depending on preference) suitable melodic ornamentation.

"Many people are talented as performers but not gifted as instructors--Julie is most definitely both. She uses her keen ear to let you know your strengths, and finds productive ways to help you improve weak points. She lives and breathes traditional music and it is always a true delight to learn from her." –Sierra-Maria Magdalena, traditional Irish singing student

“Julie H. brings to her teaching a perfect combination of knowledge and musical enthusiasm, combined with a lovely voice and excellent guitar technique. She also has the gentle communication skills that make any level of student feel comfortable and excited to be learning from her. I still value the time we spent together.” –Connie McKenna, singer/workshop student
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Julie teaches



Julie delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 10+

Teaching since:

I am a professional musician, specializing in traditional American and Irish music and song; I can, however, also teach classical guitar and beginning-intermediate violin. My CD, "American Stranger," has received critical acclaim and I have authored two books on DADGAD guitar for Mel Bay Publications.

I taught myself guitar at the age of thirteen, but took three years of lessons at Washington University, where I also studied English and French. As an adult I became interested in fingerstyle guitar in open tunings, especially DADGAD. I am, however, happy to teach in standard tuning--including basic guitar proficiency, classical guitar, and "folk" guitar.

I have played violin since I was eleven, taking lessons until the age of sixteen and playing in both high school orchestra and the local youth symphony. I later learned to suspend much of my classical technique in order to play both old-time and traditional Irish fiddle as authentically as possible; but I still retain my initial training and apply good basic violin technique to my fiddle and (of course) her violin teaching, while tailoring it to the musical idioms of each of students.

I have also studied voice, which again, however, I have never allowed to interfere with my performance of traditional songs--largely because I had developed a traditional approach to the singing of both American southern mountain repertory and traditional Irish song many years before receiving any formal instruction. This training, however, has given me greater insight into how to get the most out of your voice for almost any style.

I also taught myself to play lap dulcimer, basing my approach on the Eastern Kentucky styles associated with Jean Ritchie, Barbara Edwards, and Anne MacFie—that is, primarily using a small dowel stick or noter to sound the melody, and playing counter-melodies for song accompaniments.

My clawhammer banjo-playing is influenced by various Appalachian instrumentalists and accompanists (including Dock Boggs, Clarence Ashley, Hobart Smith, and Lily May Ledford), but my style is also influenced by years of playing with midwestern and southern-style fiddlers.

I welcome students ages 10 or above, and have learned to adapt my teaching style to the individual student, helping each one to make the most of his or her talents and enthusiasms, while emphasizing sound technique and good practice habits.

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Ph.D. English
Aug 1999 - May 2009
Unveristy of Notre Dame


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Professional Proficiency
Irish Gaelic
Professional Proficiency

Photos & Videos

Me and my 1936 2-17 Martin guitar.

Photo by Julie H.

At a Music by the Bay house concert (Gary Martin's), Assonet on the Bay, c. 1996,


2 Reviews

Write a Review
Rose Sep 4, 2018
Dulcimer · In home

I loved working with Julie. She considered what my goals were for playing and the playing style I was interested in. She then guided my lesson practice toward those goals, while at the same time making sure I was getting the underlying foundational principles to build upon. I'm off to a good strong start and I'm certain I will continue to build my skills and enjoy playing music for many years.

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Rose Jul 1, 2018
Dulcimer · In studio

I'm very excited about my lessons.

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