June 1-7, 2014

 

 

 

Our 2014 classes

Banjo

Intro to Clawhammer Banjo (Level 1-2), Wayne Shrubsall:  This is for folks who've never played clawhammer banjo before, or who've never even played banjo. Wayne will work one-on-one to get everyone playing the basic frailing-clawhammer pattern, "hit/rest/brush/thumb," in the process learning several banjo tunes. As the course progresses, students will learn three helpful banjo tunings, learn clawhammer accompaniment ("back-up"), and learn how to create a clawhammer solo for a tune of their choice. Other areas can be touched upon, based on student requests and needs. If time and interest permit, students will learn to use the thumb on strings other than the fifth string (drop-thumb frailing).

All Things Bluegrass Banjo (Level 2-5), Wayne Shrubsall:  You know your rolls already, and can get around the basic chords. Or you've been playing in a bluegrass band for the last three years. Wayne will work with you at your level to build on your skills. Techniques to be discussed range from basic melodic style; playing in different tunings; playing in keys of F, B flat, and D but using G tuning; playing "up the neck" solos; Scruggs vs. Keith to tunes; and more. Student requests not listed here may be honored as well.

All Things Clawhammer (Level 3), Wayne Shrubsall:  OK, you have the basic clawhammer patterns down and want to expand. Wayne will find what level you're currently at and build on your skills. Techniques to be discussed range from playing in uncommon tunings (gCFCD, fDGCD, f#DF#AD, f#DGAD, gDGBflatD, and others), playing in C and D using G tuning, playing harmony to another's lead, and ornamenting solos with left- and right-hand techniques. Because this is "All things…," student requests not listed here may be honored as well.

Bass

Upright Bass (Level 1-up), Rene Worst:  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), Rene Worst:  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 “etiquette.”

Musicianship for Bassists (Level 3 and 4; upright and electric bass; open to audit for anyone), Rene Worst:  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.

Fiddle

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.

Getting Into Fiddling (Level 2), Paul Anastasio:  Paul will cover the basics of how to hold the fiddle and bow. You'll learn about leverage as it applies to bowing and the vital importance of a loose wrist on the bowing arm. From the beginning, we'll unlock the mystery of where the notes in chords are found on the violin fingerboard. Simple tunes will be taught in a way that allows you to really understand how tunes are built over chords. Paul will also explain how to read music and teach some secrets about learning by ear as well. He'll give you a great diagram that shows you where all the major chords are on the fiddle. You'll find this class a great way to take your technique past where it is today.

Bluegrass Fiddle (Level 3), Paul Anastasio:  Bluegrass is a blend of old-time fiddling and country music, gospel music blues, swing and more. It was invented in the 1940s by such folks as Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs and Ralph and Carter Stanley. Approaching everything we learn with the understanding that chord knowledge is vital, we'll explore some basic bluegrass vocals and instrumentals. Once we know the basic chords to the tunes, we'll explore how we can vary the melodies to instrumentals, harmonize these melodies and play behind vocalists in bluegrass style. Paul will give you the tools to create your own improvisations, not only in bluegrass but in other styles as well.

Advanced Fiddling - Bluegrass and Swing (Level 4), Paul Anastasio:  Almost all of the finest players in bluegrass and swing styles really know their chords. In fact, jazz violin pioneer Joe Venuti said "you have to know chords." Players who don't know chords may be able to throw a strong bluff, especially on tunes with simple chords. However, when push comes to shove, those who really understand how chords are built, how they connect with each other and how melodies fit over chords will find themselves way ahead of the game. Both bluegrass and swing also have their own distinctive bowing styles which help to color solos. Bluegrass uses the Georgia shuffle while swing improvisations are often filled with what is called "too-eem bowing."  Paul will teach these and more. You'll learn some tunes, but, more importantly, you'll learn what's really going on in the music we play.

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.

Theory for Instruments Tuned in Fifths (Level all), Jack Devereux:  There's a reason your instrument is tuned in fifths!  Whether you play the violin, viola, mandolin, octave mandolin, bouzouki, cello, tenor guitar, tenor banjo, mandocello, triple ratamacue or electric dog polisher, Jack will show you new ways of thinking about your instrument, and patterns that will make your musical life much easier.  By first learning universal harmonic concepts, and then examining them through the unique symmetry of the fifths based tuning, you will learn practical skills that will make picking up tunes quicker, and turn you into a more confident improviser.  Even if you don't exactly know what it means to be "tuned in fifths," have no fear!  If you play anything in the violin or mandolin family, and are interested in music theory more as a practical tool box and less as an esoteric occult numerology ritual, this is the class for you!

Guitar

Intro to Fingerpicking Guitar (Level 2), Rolly Brown:  If you just know a few chords and want to fingerpick, this class is for you. If you've played for decades and never gone past playing memorized arrangements, this course is also for you. We'll approach "constant alternate bass"

Old-Time and Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar (Level 2), Scott Nygaard:  In this class we’ll cover the basics of boom-chuck and beyond by playing and singing a bunch of great old songs, getting specific about pick technique, bass runs, rest strokes, strum patterns, and more, but also leaving plenty of time for more philosophical accompaniment thoughts— leaving room for the singer, playing with different instruments, whether to drive the band or lay back, and more. But mostly we’ll be playing and singing.

Fingerstyle Blues Guitar (Level 3), Rolly Brown:  We'll explore some arrangements from great players, both simple and complex, and learn how to play solo blues in E from the ground up by understanding scale/note choices and physical techniques for conveying emotion. Feel free to bring a recording device!

Bluegrass Lead Guitar (Level 3), Scott Nygaard:  The three elements that make up bluegrass lead guitar correspond to the other melodic instruments in a bluegrass band: fiddle tunes (from the fiddle, of course), crosspicking (from five-string, Scruggs-style banjo), and the blues (from Bill Monroe’s mandolin playing). We’ll learn examples of each with the aim of using these techniques to create your own solos based on the melodies of bluegrass songs and instrumentals.

Owning a Jazz Standard (Level 4), Rolly Brown:  To understand a jazz, swing, or bossa standard completely, we'll learn melody, chord movement, bass lines, bass/chord rhythm playing, melodic improvisation, and putting it all together. Feel free to bring a recording device!

Swing Leads (Level 4), Scott Nygaard:  In this class we’ll explore the swing vocabulary of swing jazz greats like Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Lester Young, and others. You’ll learn fingerboard positions as they relate to typical swing melodic lines rather than just scales and arpeggios. We’ll also look at how to navigate the changes of some standard swing tunes based on some fingerboard positions that work well on the guitar.

Mandolin

Intro to Mandolin (Level 1), Dave Firestine:  We will cover all the basics: listening, rhythm, relaxing, how to hold the mandolin comfortably, holding the pick, tuning, pick direction, rhythm, fun ways to practice, playing finger friendly chords, left and right hand technique and coordination, more rhythm, and playing (music) with others.  The goal for each student will be different according to his or her needs.  We will seek out bad habits and destroy them, and we will learn Dave's First Rule of Rhythm, and the Universal chord

Mandolin, the Next Step (Level 2), Tim May:  This is for players who know a few chords, can strum along with a few songs and maybe can play a few melodies. We'll look at ways to develop good technique for rhythm and lead, tools for jamming and creating solos from simple vocal melodies and fiddle tunes.

Irish Mandolin, Techniques and Tunes (Level 3), Dave Firestine:  In this class we will explore the mystery of playing Irish tunes on the Mandolin. We will work mainly with jigs and reels as we learn about picking techniques, Irish ornaments, and what makes an Irish tune sound Irish. We will learn the standard picking patterns for jigs and reels, many ways to play "triplets" and even more ways to have fun with these great melodies.

Intermediate Mandolin (Level 3), Tim May:  We'll focus on creating solos for vocal and fiddle tunes and, the Big Four: Scales, Folded Scales, Crosspicking (Arpeggios), and Harmonized Scales. We'll look at some rhythm ideas, spend a little time on technique, and look at how all the above apply to improvisation.

Advanced Mandolin (Level 4), Tim May:  Our main focus will be on improvisation and the tools you need to do it well. We'll look at what great players do when they create interesting solos: targeting chord tones and drawing from a vocabulary of different scales and patterns, like the major blues, minor blues, etc.

Ukulele

Ukulele 101 - Beginning Ukulele (Level 1-2), Marcy Marxer:  Get started playing your ukulele with a flair. Learn chords, notes and sing-along songs. Play music with friends. Learn enough Ukulele History, including past and present players, to astound your friends at your next cocktail party.No previous knowledge required. Please bring a pencil and a ukulele to class. Party hats, coconuts and grass skirts are optional.

Ukulele 201 - Advanced Ukulele (Level 3-up), Marcy Marxer:  Learn one instrumental version of a tune or song each class period. Does that sound impossible? Not when you're studying with a GRAMMY winner! Genres included will be Swing, Jazz, Traditional Folk and the Beatles. Players should be comfortable playing basic chords. Please bring a pencil and a recording device to class.

Singing, Swinging, Harmonizing, Theorizing, Performing

Sing Shop (Level 1-2), Jennifer Scott:  This class will cover simple, fun but comprehensive vocal techniques to ease you into a more comfortable singing style. We will cover breathing techniques, vocalises that suit the non-classical singer, strength & tone building exercises. We will focus on some common issues vocalists worry about: vocal strain, singing through your “break” and much more! We’ll also use repertoire to help illustrate how to sing with more ease. All levels welcome.

Introduction to Swing (Level 3-up), Raul Reynoso:  If you can get around the basic chords effectively, you can play swing!  This class is for all instruments, and Raul will introduce you to the style.  You'll start with some western swing standards such as "San Antonio Rose" and "Take Me Back to Tulsa" and find that it's pretty easy to get started!

The Wonderful World of Harmony (Level all), Jennifer Scott:  We will learn a few fun, easy arrangements from different genres: South African freedom songs, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jazz & Brazilian Folk – as a group we will discover how fun and easy it can be to harmonize with others creating a beautiful group sound!

Performance Techniques for Singers, Songwriters and Musicians (Level all), Jennifer Scott:  Let's polish up your performances. Work with your natural positives to create an onstage persona that is honest & natural, but also polished and comfortable. Stage presence, microphone technique (and self sound design), self-accompaniment (or working with an accompanist), vocal ease in a performance situation and committing to the lyrics & music are the focus here. Enjoy being on stage and the process of getting there - this is a great class for taking it to the next level!

Basic Music Theory for Guitarists (Level all), Marcy Marxer:  Do you think of music theory as a good cure for insomnia? Does the word "scales" remind you of fish? All musicians need a WORKING knowledge of theory. You need theory that will WORK for you while you play the music you love. Everything we learn in this class will apply to playing the guitar. In fact, you will never put your guitar down in this class! Intervals, Note Names, Scales, Harmonized Scales and more will be covered in this class. Each Player will receive a Personalized Practice Plan Worksheet. Bring a flatpick (we'll work one note at a time) and a pencil to class. This class is open to all levels.