Week One Classes

Advancing Beginner Guitar is for players who know their basic guitar chords and not much else. We’ll get up the neck a bit, try out some tunings, fool around with rhythm, and learn some shortcuts and cheap tricks. Bring a capo and a favorite song or tune.

  • Beginning Guitar
  • Erica Weiss
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 am

Playing familiar songs right from the start, we will learn the basic tools for song accompaniment and playing with others. We’ll cover the basic chords, learn which chords commonly go together, and practice changing chords in rhythm. Basic strumming styles will be taught, with an emphasis on bass/alternate or “boom-chuck” strumming with a flatpick. Simple music theory and other useful tools, such as using a capo, reading TAB and chord diagrams, etc. will be included as desired by participants.

  • Beyond the Basic Strum: The Art of Backup Guitar
  • Maura Kennedy
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Maura has toured the US, UK and Ireland for two decades as half of The Kennedys duo, and as Nanci Griffith's primary backup vocalist and acoustic guitarist. Her specialty is getting a full band sound out of a single acoustic guitar, and her style involves not only strength and volume, but also a number of more subtle techniques using the dynamics and contrasting sounds that are available to the guitarist who wants to dig a little deeper and venture beyond the basic strum.

  • Blues Guitar Heritage
  • Guy Davis
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Learn how the blues masters played, from a master of the blues. This will be a hands-on survey of Guy's favorite blues artists, songs and techniques.

  • Blues Guitar Strategies in Standard Tuning
  • Scott Ainslie
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

We’ll lay the groundwork for understanding blues guitar techniques that are the foundation for rock n’ roll, and contemporary country music. We’ll examine the chord forms and techniques that allow solo guitarists to sound like two guitarists, with an eye to understanding how to find and employ these sorts of forms up the neck and how best to use them as soloists. A few chords, a few licks, a simple strategy, and enough guitar information to hold it all together. Int/Adv

  • Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar
  • David Surette
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Since its introduction into the world of Celtic music in the 1960s, the guitar has become an integral part of the music, both in accompaniment and as a solo instrument. This class will focus on both of these aspects, primarily through arrangements of traditional Irish and Breton dance tunes and folk songs from the British Isles. We will cover several tunings, including DADGAD and standard, and will also look a bit at the music of some of the pioneers of this style, such as John Renbourn.

From a Blues musician? You bet! We now know that the claw-hammer technique is traditional among Ghanaian and Senegalese players of what is Ghana is called an akonting, a three-string ancestor of the banjo. Playing claw-hammer transformed my right hand guitar techniques by mobilizing the entire arm in making the sound. A picking technique and instrument directly out of Africa, claw-hammer banjo is unique in American music. This course will concentrate on teaching and solidifying the right hand picking technique and especially looking at the Banjo playing of the Hammons Family of Pocahantas County, WV. Old man Lee Hammons, born in the late 1880s, had special gifts to share. We'll look at them. I will have tablature for some pieces, if needed. Bring a sound recording device and we'll get clean, slow versions of each tune.

The fiddle is a continuous source of amazement, from basic bow-to-string to more elaborate playing. Using familiar and simple southern old-time tunes, we will build the layers, from finding good basic melodies to adding chords, variations, and rhythm. We will explore bowing technique, drawing mostly from old-time styles, and use some characteristic open tunings. The class will be geared so that beginning fiddlers as well as those new to old-time fiddling will enjoy playing and learning.

  • Filling in the Cracks for Guitar
  • Bennett Hammond
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 am

Filling in the Cracks is for any guitar players who do OK but want to spiff it up, for old folkies needing to lose bad habits, for more experienced players looking for a technical boost, or for any who have nothing else to do that period. We’ll get you to play just like yourself, only more so. Drop-ins welcome all week.

  • Fingerpicking Basics
  • Rolly Brown
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Okay, all the SAMW students who always say, "Gosh, Rolly, I'd love to take your class, but I'm just not good enough yet", here's your chance! BASIC!!!! We'll start at the very beginning, and work through the basics of "constant alternate bass" fingerpicking guitar and more. My plan: Have the students play a series of repetitive (but fun) exercises that get this style INTO YOUR HANDS at the most basic level, then send you home with exercises and ideas that will enable you to expand on the basics in your own time.

  • Guitar arranging for Songwriters: Expanding Your Palette of Styles
  • Pete Kennedy
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Did you know that if you've ever learned or written a song, you have the option to play it in a vast array of styles, without changing the chords or the melody? With a little guidance, expertise in folk, swing, blues, country, and even a little jazz and bossa nova is only a workshop away! The purpose of this class is to show you, using right hand techniques and a few new fingerings, how to play a single song in various roots music styles. Once you can do that, two doors are open to you; you can learn new songs in those styles, and you can also compose or re-compose your own songs using a wider palette of colors and grooves. Along the way, Pete will give an informal history of each style, painting you a picture of the guitar's evolution, and showing how each style is available for you to use in your own creative process. Students will have the chance to play their own songs and work on arrangement ideas in class.

  • Harmonica 101
  • Guy Davis
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

This course offers an introduction to basic techniques, styles and approaches to the use of the harmonica in blues and folk music. Topics covered include holding the harmonica, playing in first, second and third positions, and harmonica maintenance. Harmonicas will be available for purchase in the camp store.

  • Improvising and Jamming 101
  • Rolly Brown
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

The basic goal of this class is to help students overcome their inhibitions about improvising. It's probably much more accessible than you think! We'll begin at the most basic level, with one, two, and three note breaks. Topics will include a beginning approach to phrasing with emotional content and simple note choices, how to improvise blues tunes and major scale tunes, and just a touch of advanced discussion about "inside" vs. "outside" sounds and playing it safe vs. going for broke. This will be a "hands on" workshop, with a lot of chance to explore jamming in a supportive atmosphere.

This class will focus on solidifying the basics of good technique, and expand into a survey of the varying roles of the mandolin. Melodic playing, fiddle tunes, improvising a break, and song backup (both playing behind a guitar player and accompanying yourself as a singer) are likely topics, using a repertoire based on a broad range of traditional American roots music.

This playful class is designed to introduce (or perhaps re-introduce) you to this versatile instrument. We’ll cover holding and tuning the mandolin, how to coordinate the pick, and how to play simple chords and lead lines. Then we’ll relax into a week of songs and tunes to strengthen and expand your mandolin playing and overall musicianship.

  • Meter in Songwriting-It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Anapestic Tetrameter
  • Bob Franke
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Bob will lead a dialogue (and give handouts) about poetic meter and what a powerful tool it is, hoping to develop an awareness in students both of the prevalence of ballad meter in folk song and all of its modern derivatives, and the fact that it's there because it works. With practice and exercise we’ll also become more aware of the meters the class participants generate spontaneously in the first drafts of their songs, and learn to honor those meters and use them, both as guidelines for honing their lines and koans for unlocking their imaginations.

Sing for energy and sing for joy. We’ll sing great songs that are easy to learn, and the class will include plenty of vocal warm-ups and wake-ups. Everyone welcome. All levels.

  • Performance with The Kennedys
  • The Kennedys
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

Pete and Maura Kennedy have performed on stages all over the US and the British Isles, from Royal Albert Hall and the Beacon Theater to Falcon Ridge and the Newport Folk Festivals, but many of the most valuable lessons they have learned in over a thousand live shows have been in the intimate setting of a folk concert, where the audience is attuned to every word and note, and they have learned that the anxiety of performing can be converted into creative energy that lifts up the audience and performer in one collective gesture.

This workshop will involve performing a song for a small, appreciative and compassionate team of fellow students who together with the Kennedys will help you find ways to achieve the rapport that folk performers always seek with their audience

Come have some serious fun! We'll study the nuts and bolts of how music fits together. Emphasis is on understanding diatonic and chromatic scales, simple chord structures, chord progressions and musical vocabulary. All Levels.

  • Songwriting from the Center
  • Bob Franke
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

It's no small thing to write a song well, but there are many resources to help you accomplish this task. We'll enumerate many of them in an opening lecture, then help you overcome obstacles with individual songwriting assignments, attention to meter, and cogent and compassionate critique designed to turn your "inner critic" from a destructive force to a servant of your goals. It's a fun and safe ride.

  • Songwriting One (First Drafts)
  • Kate Campbell
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 pm

This workshop is all about getting started-throwing some words and music down-sketching out song notions so that we have something to edit and complete.
We often stop ourselves before we've even started by wanting the song to be perfectly formed before we commit pen to paper. I'm hoping everyone who participates in this class leaves SAMW with a new song!

  • Songwriting Two (Fixing & Finishing)
  • Kate Campbell
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 am

This is not a class in furniture building and refurbishing, however it is similar in that we will be talking about the "craft" of songwriting or "building" a song after the initial creative impulse. What are some specific tools we can use to "fix" our songs and know when they're complete? Also, what to do when we are stuck and seem to have trouble "finishing" tunes. Hopefully by the end of the week you'll have some music you feel good about and ready to share.

We will learn real world sound skills and wander through some "big picture" theory without getting too technical. Much of what makes good sound is really basic: beat back hums and buzzes, set up your stage well, monitor levels in the right places, have good communication with the stage. Class tips and hands-on experience will come in handy at festivals, coffee houses, and home recording. Class members will be asked to crew on stage and be at the mixer for the final student concerts.

The goal here is freedom and fun! Every day, we are presented with situations that call for us to improvise, at work, at home, in line at a store. But we don’t worry about or fear improvisation in these situations, we just go for it. In this class, we will go for that same sense of winging it. We will play with our voices, through games and improvisations and songs and invented languages and our collective creativity. We will learn songs by ear that we may never sing again, songs that we might put in our pockets for another day. We will do group improvisations based on themes or sounds. We will have a good time!

Singing is fun! Inside each of us lives a beautiful and unique instrument!
In this workshop, we will move our bodies, soften our hearts, open our mouths and let our voices out to play!

With an emphasis on vocal health and self-care, we will use a combination of vocal warm-ups and workouts, to help relax and strengthen the voice - making it more flexible and reliable. Individual attention and support is offered to each person in class as well as for the group as a whole.

Singing is fun! Inside each of us lives a beautiful and unique instrument!
In this workshop, we will move our bodies, soften our hearts, open our mouths and let our voices out to play!

With an emphasis on vocal health and self-care, we will use a combination of vocal warm-ups and workouts, to help relax and strengthen the voice - making it more flexible and reliable. Individual attention and support is offered to each person in class as well as for the group as a whole.