INTERMEDIATE BLUEGRASS FIDDLE (Nate Lee)
If you’re a fiddler who would like to learn the skills you need to play well in jams, this class is for you! You will learn classic fiddle solos from first-generation greats, as well as more recent ideas from traditional-style bluegrass fiddlers. You’ll also learn about every aspect of being a good fiddler, including kickoffs, endings, how to play in tune, how to play backup & fills, how to make good tone, and basic improvisation skills. If you can tune your instrument, keep time, and play a few tunes at medium tempo with confidence, you’re the perfect student for this class. Don’t worry if you’re not comfortable with playing double stops and playing up the neck – tunes and licks will be mostly in first position, and double stops are optional! All material will be taught by ear (don’t worry, I’ll help you if you have trouble with this) and you’ll get handouts to reinforce what you’ve learned. Sign up today and let’s fiddle!
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS FIDDLE (Nate Lee)
If you’re a fiddler who is confident in jams and want to step up your skills or even play in a band someday, this class is for you! You will learn classic fiddle solos from first-generation greats, as well as more recent ideas from traditional-style bluegrass fiddlers. You’ll also learn about every aspect of being a great fiddler, including kickoffs, endings, honing your intonation, chopping & fills, how to make good tone, improvisation skills, and how to groove like a pro! If you can play tunes up to speed, have spent some time playing up the neck, and aren’t afraid of double stops, you’re the perfect student for this class. All material will be taught by ear, and you’ll get printed materials to reinforce what you’ve learned. Sign up today and come learn how to be a great fiddler!
THE INTUITIVE COMPOSER (Joe Craven)
Want to “talk” music like you do with words? Would you like to create your own tunes and compositions in a fun, organic way? Here’s a playful process of referencing and finding ideas for composing instrumental tunes based on indexing rhythms of sound and fragments of melodies already floating around in that amazing repository of yours called the brain – what Joe calls it being “The Intuitive Composer”. We’ll look at three areas of expression; intention, movement, and content. Using technology (any hand held device that records) with tapping rhythms and humming, whistling or singing (like one would do in improvising a solo over a chord progression), we can become sound-catchers of ideas in this fun, fast-paced class. You’ll be surprised at what we can create under timed spontaneity! Sounds can be linked together like pieces of a puzzle, from creating a composition in the moment (improvisation), to more enduring melodies to re-visit and/or develop. Nothing is created in a bubble and you’ve already got so much to work with inside of you! All instruments and intermediate to advanced students are welcome. Come open minded and ready to stretch yourself. Bring your smart phone or other recording device, pen & paper and any instrument in addition to your voice.
FEELIN’ THE BLUES (Joe Craven)
The blues are truly a foundation and inspiration for most traditional and contemporary vernacular American music. This adventure is open to all bowed instruments. We’ll listen to historical references from early recordings to the present‑. We’ll play basic forms (the 8-, 12- and 16-bar and grill). We’ll feel the grooves from ballads to stomps, rumbas to shuffles, hand jive to swing. We’ll reference the melodic guidepost of the human voice, bending long and short tones and learn some tunes/songs that reflect them. We’ll also tackle how to translate the ‘feel’ of the grease, the groan and the growl of the blues to your instrument, and importantly, we’ll address taking your time sayin’ a bunch without playin’ a bunch of notes. Playin’ the blues suggests the ‘technique’ of clarity over correctness – of intuition, release and expression of your personal emotion. Surrender to the feeling and you’ll do it! We’ll have a great time!
INTERMEDIATE OLD-TIME FIDDLE A (Tricia Spencer)
Tricia will utilize the “Grandma’s Cheats” that her grandma Iona taught her as a young girl to learn some groovy old-time fiddle tunes. These “cheats” are two-note combinations that unlock the mysteries of the fiddle through chord shapes, which allows a fiddler to focus on bowing, intonation, and learning tunes more quickly. A knowledge of old-time music is not required and techniques learned in this class can be utilized in any style of music. All tunes and techniques will be learned by ear, so be sure to bring a recording device, paper and pen if you want to take notes, and expect to have a lot of fun!
ADVANCED OLD-TIME FIDDLE A (Tricia Spencer)
Tricia will teach fiddle tunes her family has played for generations as well as other tunes she has learned from masters of old-time music throughout her lifetime. She will also unlock the mysteries of ‘seconding,’ which allows a fiddler to focus on bowing, intonation, and learning tunes more quickly through the use of chord shapes. All tunes and techniques will be learned by ear, so be sure to bring a recording device, paper and pen if you want to take notes, and expect to have a lot of fun.
INTERMEDIATE IRISH FIDDLE (Andrew Finn Magill)
In this class we will cover the basics of Irish fiddle technique: bowing, ornamentation and tempo, rhythm and tone. We will be learning new tunes, taught simply, phrase by phrase, before demonstrating how to incorporate various techniques into the tune. We will also take some standard session tunes and look at adding variations and different ornamentations. Tunes will be taught by ear, but sheet music will be provided for those who need it.
ADVANCED IRISH FIDDLE (Andrew Finn Magill)
The advanced fiddle course is for students who have a good general knowledge of Irish fiddle techniques and ornamentation. We’ll learn some new tunes in perhaps some more interesting keys such as G minor or F, and perhaps a more intricate hornpipe. Emphasis will be placed on learning by ear. We will use some tunes you may know already and some you may not to help establish and strengthen some of the foundations of good fiddle technique: bowings, ornamentation and style. The focus of this class will be about giving you tools to take home in order to access, learn and have fun with Irish music.
INTERMEDIATE CANADIAN FIDDLE STYLES (April Verch)
This class will be an overview, through discussion and demonstration, of the various regional styles of fiddling in Canada, including Ottawa Valley, Western Canadian, Métis, Maritime, Cape Breton and French Canadian. We’ll learn tunes from various regions and focus on learning the basic bowing patterns and ornamentation techniques that correspond to their fiddle styles. We will also learn how to take a tune and build it from the basic melody into your own version of the tune by implementing the various techniques we learn. We’ll spend lots of time learning how to make the various types of tunes “groove” by working on bowing and rhythms and being mindful of the dance traditions they come from. Tunes will be taught by ear with handouts provided occasionally as a guide. Please feel free to bring your recording device and lots of questions, as the class will be tailored to suit your needs and requests. We will be mindful of keeping with the roots of this tradition – getting together to make music and have a great time in a relaxed, social environment!
ADVANCED CANADIAN FIDDLE STYLES (April Verch)
There are several different regional styles of fiddling in Canada from coast to coast, including Ottawa Valley, Western Canadian, Metis, Maritime, Cape Breton and French Canadian. This class will be an overview of these different styles and explore what makes each of them unique. We’ll learn tunes distinctive to each style and apply the bowing patterns, phrasings, and ornamentation techniques that correspond to each region of fiddling in Canada. All of these regional styles are based on some type of dance tradition, and we will learn a variety of different types of tunes that are common in most Canadian fiddle traditions, including jigs, reels, two-steps, polkas, waltzes, airs, etc. We will discuss the development of your own fiddle style and how the various Canadian fiddle style techniques might be used more broadly. Tunes will be taught “by ear” and handouts provided occasionally as a “guide”. Please feel free to bring your recording device and lots of questions, as the class will be tailored to suit your needs and requests. We will be mindful of keeping with the roots of this tradition – getting together to make music and have a great time in a relaxed, social environment!
REPERTOIRE & STYLE SURVEY (Avery Merritt)
In this intermediate class, we will explore the repertoire and stylistic tendencies of bluegrass, western swing and Texas-style fiddling. Students can expect to come away with a number of standard (and maybe obscure) tunes in each genre. We will also use these tunes as vehicles to discuss melody-based improvising. Some experience with learning by ear is suggested. There will be very little-to-no sheet music so please bring a recording device.
ADVANCED IMPROVISATION (Avery Merritt)
In this class, we will explore the various musical elements essential to being a confident improviser including rhythm, harmony, voice leading, listening and much more. While these topics are relevant regardless of genre, we will primarily be looking at examples from music within the orbit of bluegrass, jazz and western swing. To me, the study of improvisation is a lifelong practice. Therefore it is my hope that students will come away from this class with some new perspectives on how to find and embrace their own unique process.
INTERMEDIATE CAJUN & CREOLE FIDDLE (David Greely)
In this class we will make our way through the history of Cajun fiddling and culture from 1929 to the present. We will cover the spectrum of Cajun and creole fiddle styles highlighting fiddlers such as Dennis McGee, Canray Fontenot, Doc Guidry, and Will & Dewey Balfa. We will delve into stylistic variations throughout southwestern Louisiana, such as the Texas influence on players like Harry Choats. We will learn aspects of the style including double stops, fiddling as an integral part of song, bowing and rhythm. This class will proceed at an appropriate pace for intermediate fiddle players, and will be directed by student interests and experience.
ADVANCED CAJUN & CREOLE FIDDLE (David Greely)
This class will cover essentially the same material as the intermediate section above, but at a pace more appropriate for advanced players, and once again, the class will be directed by student interests and experience.
INTERMEDIATE SWING FIDDLE (Evan Price)
Let’s get swingin’! Whether you have already started to improvise in your primary genre or not, this class will get you oriented to the fundamentals of generating the sound, the feel, and the lines of the great swing-era fiddlers like Stephane Grappelli, Svend Asmussen, and Stuff Smith. Learn to jam on a few standard swing tunes and to start thinking chordally on your fiddle. Some tried-and-true practice techniques will be covered, including how to build an improvisational vocabulary through arpeggios and related patterns, and how to create flowing, horizontally lines that glide through the changes. We will also talk about ‘riffing,’ an age-old jamming technique which not only gives horn players (that’s us!) something to do during other people’s solos but provides a great opportunity to practice and internalize the swing groove.
ADVANCED GYPSY SWING FIDDLE (Evan Price)
This class is appropriate for fiddlers who already have some swing experience but would like to expand their improvising vocabulary or perhaps learn some more advanced tunes. A greater focus will be placed on the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and the finer points of recreating their sound. Depending on the general class level, we could learn to integrate various chord substitution techniques involving diminished and augmented chords, or practice building melodies using higher-tension notes like 9ths and 13ths. But don’t be intimidated! If you can confidently jam on a swing tune and are comfortable in first and perhaps third position, you’ll be right at home.
INTERMEDIATE SCOTTISH FIDDLE (Jenna Moynihan)
In this class, we’ll learn tunes by ear from the Scottish repertoire including marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs, slow airs – old and new favorites. We’ll spend plenty of time learning melodies, as well as exploring embellishments, groove, plus some tips for practicing. For some tunes, we’ll learn to play some basic chords. We’ll also listen to some great recordings. Students should bring a recording device to each class.
ADVANCED SCOTTISH FIDDLE & BEYOND (Jenna Moynihan)
We’ll learn lots of tunes in the Scottish repertoire by ear, but we’ll also spend a good bit of time in the ‘beyond’ part of this course title. How can we approach these melodies thoughtfully? We’ll be exploring lots of ways to express a melody, digging into all things bowing: phrasing, dynamics, groove. Students should bring a recording device to each class.
INTERMEDIATE BASS (Kevin Kehrberg)
This class will cover intermediate principles of bass performance and accompaniment applicable to various musical settings including jazz, swing, and traditional music styles. Topics include bass line construction, following chord progressions, timing and feel, and ear training. Concepts of bass soloing and improvisation will also be introduced. The class will mainly use pizzicato technique, although other techniques may be discussed if applicable (e.g., slap technique, bowing). Students should possess fundamental technical skills and know basic scales.
SWING ENSEMBLE (Greg Ruby)
Open to all instruments. This class will focus on performance practice through learning arranged swing repertoire. With parts divided between instruments and difficulty level, we will assemble a swing ensemble during class as we address the fundamental aspects of swing eighth notes, dynamics, part-playing, improvisation and good rhythm section practices. Materials will be provided in standard notation, tablature and chord diagrams. Open to intermediate and advanced players but no prior experience with swing music is necessary.
BEGINNING SWING GUITAR (Greg Ruby)
Whether you are new to swing music or the guitar, this hands-on beginners’ class will introduce you to the skills that you need to play swing music. Using common repertoire, this class will provide a solid foundation for good chord voicings, rhythm guitar strumming patterns, pick technique, melody playing and accompaniment practices. Participants should plan to have fun and play during class. Handouts will be in standard notation, tablature and chord diagrams.
CELTIC GUITAR ACCOMPANIMENT (Conor Hearn)
This class will cover a wide range of guitar-oriented subjects for players interested in guitar accompaniment for Irish and Scottish music. The class will be taught out of drop-D tuning, but is open to players in DADGAD and standard tuning. Together, we will think about right-hand techniques and grooves for different types of common melodies, hearing harmonic movement within traditional tunes, counterpoint, different approaches to understanding and visualizing the fretboard, approaches for session playing, and cool guitar player jargon. The class will be taught by ear, though chord charts can be provided. (Find this class in the Mando & Banjo Week Schedule)
BLUEGRASS GUITAR ACCOMPANIMENT (Ed Dodson)
This class focuses on how to play powerful bluegrass rhythm guitar. We will work on alternating-bass styles of playing as well as using bass runs and other motion within the chords to accent your vocals or the instrumentalists you’re playing with. In addition to these basic building-block techniques, we will learn the rhythm accompaniment part to one bluegrass song or tune each day. The class will present songs/tunes that allow you to see the rhythm patterns that work effectively in most of the first-position chord families. We will also discuss how to use a capo to get the song in a key to fit your voice. All levels of participants are welcome. Familiarity with guitar chords and knowledge of guitar tablature is helpful, but not required. Participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to class and also encouraged to participate in the Bluegrass Jam that Ed will lead every afternoon, as a way to reinforce the techniques learned in class as well as learn additional songs/tunes. (You will find this class on the Mando & Banjo Week Schedule)
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS GUITAR ACCOMPANIMENT (Ed Dodson)
This course will delve into more advanced forms of bluegrass guitar rhythm playing. In addition to learning our way around the standard “boom-chuck” bass note and strum patterns that form the foundation of bluegrass rhythm guitar, we will explore more advanced moving bass lines, substitute chords and inversions, and even some basic three-note swing rhythm patterns to put some extra “sock” into your playing. Along the way, we’ll highlight the concepts of harmonic theory and how to select chords and chord patterns to strengthen the guitar’s support of the vocalist and instrumentalist. Familiarity with flatpicking and guitar chords, along with knowledge of guitar tablature is highly recommended. While tablature will be provided for most techniques and songs covered in class, participants are strongly encouraged to bring recording devices to class as a memory aid, as we will be covering some fairly challenging material. (You will find this class on the Mando & Banjo Week Schedule)
MASTER CLASS IN ARTISTRY (Janis Ian)
This is a traditional Master Class, normally offered on the university level and focusing on what it is to be an artist – to live as an artist, and to understand more about the role of and history of the artist through the ages, right up to the modern world. We will be covering history – from earliest sapient beings to the ancient Greeks, the Dark Ages, medieval troubadours and their role in spreading the news, the Renaissance, and why syphilis gave rise to the ‘artist as lunatic’ perception. We’ll pay attention to fear, and its effect on us as creative persons, the poetry and consciousness of wood, what to do when the well runs dry, the importance of both craft and talent, and the impossibility of living up to your ideals. There will be exercises for stage fright, a ‘wall’ of quotes and artwork you can take pictures of to carry home with you. Each class will end with a song to illustrate that day’s lesson, along with a short Q&A. Students will be asked to read 3-4 short stories about artists before class begins. If you haven’t received the short stories two weeks before classes begin, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for copies. (No class limit)
DAILY BLUEGRASS JAM (Ed Dodson)
In the last hour before supper, Ed will lead a non-threatening bluegrass jam for all levels and instruments. Come have fun channeling your inner Bill Monroe! (No class limit)
BAND SESSIONS (staff)
During the last hour before supper, there will be a special class time for students of any skill level to form bands, along with students from Mando & Banjo Week. With the guidance of instructors, band members arrange and rehearse with the option of performing at the Student Showcase on Friday evening. (Sign up for band sessions is at first band meeting time; no advanced registration required.)
Throughout the week we will feature several fine luthiers displaying instruments, including bowmaker Roger Treat www.rogertreat.net, and violin maker Joe Thrift. www.joethriftviolins.com
ON-SITE INSTRUMENT REPAIR (Lynn Dudenbostel)
Master luthier Lynn Dudenbostel will be offering his repair services throughout the week. Contact him through his website for his rates: www.lynndudenbostel.com/contact.htm