June 1-7, 2014




Classes (2013)


Introduction to Frailing and Clawhammer (Level 1-2), Mark Johnson:  In this course, you値l learn basic frailing right hand techniques, followed by the basic drop thumb (also known as clawhammer) style.  You値l learn some techniques that can be put into practice quickly in playing with others.  You値l also work on backup styles in clawhammer playing.

Intermediate Clawhammer and Beginning Clawgrass (Level 3), Mark Johnson:  Here you値l get introduced to Mark痴 own Clawgrass style, which is a combination of old-time clawhammer playing and the three-finger bluegrass style.  You値l find out how to use clawhammer in a bluegrass setting.  You値l learn about expanding on the melody, and integrating some 3-finger-style roll patterns into clawhammer playing.  And finally, you値l get into some riffs in Double-C tuning.

Clawgrass for Advanced Players (Level 4), Mark Johnson:  You're going to get into some real advanced melody and backup, using new chord shapes and voicings in G.  You'll also explore harmony and counter-melody.


Upright Bass (Level 1-up), Cary Black:  This class will focus on ways to develop efficient, comfortable technique, with emphasis on playing in tune and with precise timing.  We'll learn the role of the bass in several roots music styles, listening for the appropriate note choices, and learning how to find them in various locations on the fingerboard.  We will study when and how to include passing tones, neighbor tones, arpeggios, and scale runs to make our bass parts more dynamic and supportive.

Bass Guitar (Level 1-up), Cary Black:  Here we address the special challenges involved in making the electric bass blend well in acoustic music settings.  While learning the role of the bass, we will feature concepts and techniques specific to the bass guitar, and apply them to roots music styles including folk, bluegrass, country, blues, and swing.  Topics will also include instrument setup, amplification, and acoustic 兎tiquette.

Musicianship for Bassists (Level 3 and 4; upright and electric bass; open to audit for anyone), Cary Black:  We'll look at some ideas for expanding our musical horizons, to enhance our enjoyment and progress as bassists.  Areas we'll work on:  practical applications of chord/scale theory; hearing chord progressions; ensemble skills; rhythm and syncopation; chart notation; walking bass; and soloing.


Intro to Fiddle (Level 1), Marianne Danehy:  Learn the basics of playing the fiddle in this course designed for beginners. You値l learn to hold the fiddle and bow, how to tune the instrument, and how to produce good tone. Then we値l move on to single octave scales, controlling longer bows, the standard shuffle, and simple fiddle songs in the keys of D and A. You値l also learn the basics of note reading.

Beginning Old Time Fiddle (Level 2), Jack Devereux:  Old time music developed as one half of a rich social dance tradition. Because of this direct connection with dancing, old time fiddling has a deep and crucial rhythmic component. In this class, we will explore that rhythm through simple but grooving tunes, and the introduction of the musical vocabulary and bow techniques that are unique to old time.  We will learn a couple tunes, but the primary focus will be on stylistic and rhythmic ideas, rather than repertoire.  Part of the class will be spent dealing with the historical and social context of Old Time, and listening to field recordings of significant historical players.  This class will be taught by ear, so some type of recording device is highly recommended.

Old-Time Fiddle: Beyond the Drone and the Pulse (Level 3), Greg Canote:  We値l tackle a handful of beautiful old tunes while we explore some handy old-time bowing conventions and patterns, and we値l spend some quality time with compelling cross-tunings like DDAD and Calico (AEAC#).  Bring your milking machines (little recording devices)!

Intermediate Bluegrass Fiddle (Level 3), Jack Devereux:  Bluegrass is primarily based around vocal music in a performance setting, and as a result the role of the fiddle is different than in styles centered around dance tunes.  In this class, we will talk about how to play with a vocalist and as an effective member of a bluegrass ensemble, as well as how to make fiddle tunes sound "bluegrassy."  Through the study of solos by contemporary and historic bluegrass fiddle players, we will work on improvising idiomatically and explore how to build coherent breaks, rather than relying on stock licks. Transcriptions of solos will be provided (along with recordings), so the ability to read music is helpful but by no means necessary.  Some type of recording device is highly recommended.

Advanced Irish Fiddle (Level 4), Jack Devereux:  In this class, we will focus on the subtleties of Irish rhythm and ornamentation through some of the thornier tunes in the repertoire. We will talk about the long form improvisation exemplified by such as Tommy Potts and Martin Hayes. Specific emphasis will be placed on the skills needed to give a solo performance rhythmic lift and melodic variation while staying deeply grounded in tradition. A portion of class will be spent listening to historic and contemporary players and discussing what makes their sound unique and effective.  This class will be taught mostly by ear, so some type of recording device is highly recommended.


Intro to Fingerpicking (Level 2), Charlie Hall:  For years, you've been playing chords, and maybe a bit of melody, but you haven't been able to put it all together.  With finger-picking, you can not only do some beautiful accompaniments to songs, you can play both the melody and accompaniment.  In this introduction, you'll learn a few popular picking patterns including the industry-standard, ISO-9000 certified, Oprah-approved Travis pattern, which works for accompanying an amazing number of songs, and is the basis for much of the fingerstyle repertoire.  You should already be able to chord along with songs and be able to change between the basic first-position chords (C, D, G, F, Am, etc.) effectively.  Full disclosure: fingerpicking will not get you chicks.  For that, go to Jeff Troxel's Getting Past the Fifth Fret seminar.

Fiddle Tunes: Gateway to Technique (Level 2), Jeff Troxel:  Playing fiddle tunes isn't just fun; it's one of the best ways to develop real technique that'll carry forward to almost every other style of guitar playing.  In this class we'll revisit often-overlooked fundamentals such as guitar positioning, pick grip, rest strokes, good tone production, left-hand technique and playing in time.  You'll analyze some fiddle tunes, dissect their form, name and loop the phrases, and learn a solid boom-chick accompaniment and good clean melody production on easy tunes.  You'll learn to move between chords more quickly and do some basic ear training.

Bottleneck Blues and Open Tunings (Level 2), Mike Dowling:  Join Mike to explore slide in D & G tunings. Learn fretted chord shapes, turnarounds and other techniques that will get you started playing comfortably in these time-honored tunings. Mike uses the bottleneck to add texture and color to traditional Piedmont-style melodies as well as his own slide-based compositions. Handouts provided, audio recorders encouraged, no video cameras please.

Intro to Open Tunings (Level 3), Cosy Sheridan:  What does DADGAD stand for? Why do I need a partial capo?  These are ways to get new sounds from our guitar! This week we'll learn three open tunings and the basics of how to use partial capos. By the end of the week we'll know how to play some simple songs-and maybe our own songs-in open tunings and with a partial capo. Bring a Kyser "Short-Cut" or Shubb C7B partial capo; either will cover three inside strings (2-3-4 or 3-4-5); they're available at some local music stores or all over the web.

Solo Flatpicking (Level 3), Rolly Brown:  This course is designed to help you learn how to play extemporaneously as a solo flatpicking guitarist. Whether you're backing your own vocals or playing instrumental music as a soloist, you'll learn a series of exercises and techniques for playing without accompaniment. Beginning with simple rhythm patterns, we'll gradually add in elements of syncopation, bass movement, crosspicking, rolls, melodic improvisation, and other devices. By the time we're done, you'll find that your playing has become much more interesting, both for you and your listeners. Bring a recording device!

Ukulele for Guitarists (Level 3), Jere Canote:  The secret's out!  The uke is really a little guitar (capoed at the 5th fret with the 5th and 6th strings removed, so a D chord is now a G chord)!  We'll explore how the guitar and uke intersect, while learning chords and scales and right hand strumming techniques for that characteristic ukulele sound.  Bring a ukulele tuned g c e a!

Riffs, Rags and Boogies (Level 3-4), Mike Dowling:  From the Delmore Brothers' infectious boogies to Louis Jordan's jump style grooves, Mike uses tunes from the blues, swing, and ragtime songbag to teach techniques that will sharpen your ears, tighten your timing, and broaden your playing horizons. Learn new syncopations and chord progressions that will lay the foundation for improvisation. Suitable for both flatpickers and fingerstyle players. Mike likes to treat this class like a big guitar band with the more adventuresome players trading solos. It's fun, but Mike says be warned, you might pick up some practical music theory along the way. Handouts provided, audio recorders encouraged, no video cameras please.

Advanced Flatpicking Guitar (Level 4), Jeff Troxel:  In this class you'll cover some of the high-end techniques of flatpicking leads including cross-picking, floating notes, and moving up the neck.  You'll learn workouts for down-up picking as well as developing speed and accuracy, and go over some arranging ideas for fiddle tunes with variations, slides, slurs and various musical devices that are available to guitarists.

The Music of Reverend Gary Davis (Level 4), Rolly Brown:  The circle of players who actually met and learned from Reverend Gary Davis is gradually shrinking.  Rolly痴 couple of intense days with the Reverend 田hanged the guitar forever for him, and he spent years capitalizing on the tunes the Reverend taught him, and on the others which he "stole" by watching him play. Rolly will pass on what he learned, both from the Rev and subsequently from trading tunes with many of his other students, in an organized fashion. You'll learn a tune each from the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level. Bring a recording device!

When the Singer Says "Take it!" (Level 4-5), Mike Dowling:  Don't panic, just take this class designed for swing students who can play swing rhythm accompaniment and are ready for the next level. Mike will explore riffs, arpeggios, melodic embellishments and other musical devices that will get you started playing your own swinging solos. Handouts provided, audio recorders encouraged, no video cameras please.


Mandolin, the Next Step (Level 2), David Surette:  This is for players who know a few chords, can strum along with a few songs and can maybe play a few melodies.   We will focus on expanding your melodic and rhythmic abilities, with lots of emphasis on developing and maintaining a groove. We'll look at a few easy standard rootsy songs and fiddle tunes, and work on switching back and forth between lead and back up as one would in a jam situation.  We'll also look at some exercises for the right and left hands to help with tone, rhythm and volume.

Celtic Mandolin, Techniques and Tunes (Level 3), David Surette:  In this class we will explore the mystery of playing Celtic music on the mandolin. We will work mainly with jigs and reels as we learn about picking techniques, ornaments, and making a tune sound Celtic. We will also focus on being able to play a nice accompaniment part, and on picking up tunes quickly in a session. Our repertoire will mostly focus on Irish and Breton tunes, with possible detours.

Fiddle Tunes for Fun and Profit (Level 4), David Surette:  This class will be geared towards mandolin players, but also open to fiddlers, guitarists, banjo pickers, or other instrumentalists who like to play fiddle tunes. We will explore a variety of advanced and stimulating topics about being a tune-monger, and play a bunch of great tunes, from old-time and Irish to way out yonder. We will work on expression, groove, stylistic elements, non-stylistic or pan-musical elements, and learning by ear. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Band, Songwriting, Singing, Theory, everything else

Western Swing Band (Level 3-up), Greg & Jere Canote:  Admit it. You've always pined to be in a western swing band, playing songs like "Take Me Back to Tulsa," "Four or Five Times" and "Faded Love."  Well, pine no more!  There is nothing more fun than putting together a Big Ol' Band!  Greg and Jere will work with you on style, presentation, singing, chords and solos.  Make sure you bring your boots to perform at Friday's student concert!

Songwriting Games (Level All), Cosy Sheridan:  If you've never written a song, or if you've written lots of them, this class is for you! Songwriting Games is all about loosening up and just having fun with our creativity. Each day we'll have an in-class songwriting game that will help us explore the tools of the songwriter: lyric, melody, meter and rhyme. We might cut-and-paste with other songs, or play melody poker. We might do some co-writing, or a guided meditation  or even charades. Every day a new game!

Vocal Technique (Level All), Maria Hall:  I know; you thought that if you don't sing, you can't sing.  Not True.  It's like anything else; you learn how to do it, and build your skills.  This is for everyone who would like to explore singing in a relaxed and friendly setting.  You will learn exercises to relax your body and prepare for singing, to work with pitch perception and tone as well as exercises to strengthen your voice and to use your body to resonate sound.  You will leave with a whole new set of tools to help you become the singer you want to be!

Harmony Singing (Level All), Maria Hall:  Have you ever wanted to learn to sing better harmony?  Here you'll learn how harmony works and have a chance to experience the fun of singing in harmony.  You'll learn listening techniques, how to recognize chordal relationships and how harmony fits into a melodic landscape.  Join us for a fun and empowering experience!

Music Theory: Truly Evil, Or Just Misunderstood? (Level All), Rolly Brown:  Music theory is about the nuts and bolts of making music; the mathematical workings of it. But theory can be useless, tedious, and unapproachable unless it's applied to your instrument, so our goal will be to concentrate more on what theory sounds and feels like on your instrument, rather than just what it looks like on paper. We'll start simply, but, by the time we're done, you may be able to make music using the modes of the major scale, sharped 11ths, extended arpeggios, and altered scales...  Hey! There are only 12 tones! How hard can it be? Bring a recording device!