Week Two 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.

  • An Introduction to Fingerstyle Blues
  • Eric Schoenberg
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

The usual method of learning the style is to copy existing arrangements from the old masters, yet the blues is really an improvised form. We’ll take it from the beginning, learning the basics of how to create your own arrangements and improvisation. Basic fingerstyle skills are a prerequisite.

First time players will learn basic tuning and playing skills, while more advanced players concentrate on developing accompaniments and arrangements. Great songs and tunes - some playing by the numbers, and some playing by ear.

  • Beginning Flatpicking Guitar
  • Mark Cosgrove
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 am

In this class, we will explore the elements of flatpicking from the basic down-up right hand delivery, to cross-picking, rhythm ideas and back-up guitar techniques. This class will strive for a relaxed atmosphere which will encourage a non-competitive and musical experience in order to show how much fun this very conversational style of guitar playing can be. Written materials will accompany the class.

Tuning the guitar, learning how to hold it, and strumming chords "in rhythm" is where this class will begin. Folks who have never played as well as beginning guitarists are welcome. We will cover playing to accompany songs as well as session tunes. Bass runs and dynamics will also be practiced. Before we are through we hope to get everyone to play a blues run or a rock and roll riff...enough to make you want to play more.

  • Beginning Old Time Banjo
  • Trish Miller
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 am

It's fun! The instrument is ideal for playing chords and easier than many instruments for learning to play melodic accompaniment. This class is for learning basic techniques on the right and left hands, learning tunes and songs 'by ear', basic session essentials and plenty of practice playing in rhythm. As the week progresses, the class will play traditional old-time tunes in several tunings (please bring a capo), look at tablature and try a basic finger pickin' pattern...ring, ring the banjo.

Bottleneck guitar—guitar played with a bottleneck or metal tube on one finger of the fretting hand—is one of the most compelling sounds to emerge from the bluesfields of the American South. This class is directed at advanced-intermediate and advanced students who would like to explore bottleneck playing. We’ll spend the week taking a deep, hands-on look at the subject, talking about tone, intonation, vibrato, right- and left-hand damping techniques, single-string and chord work, and other fundamentals. We’ll also look at different types of bottlenecks (glass, metal, ceramic), tunings, repertoire, and resources. Students should bring a bottleneck or other tubular slide (or a selection thereof; slides will be available at the SAMW store). Students are also urged to bring an audio recorder to class; videotaping will be allowed at the discretion of the instructor.

This is a collaborative songwriting workshop. In the great tradition of the Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley, and Music Row, the sum, as they say, is in the parts! In this fun, social and totally interactive workshop, we’ll look at some practical techniques for writing with others. We’ll practice writing lyrics to existing music. We’ll practice writing music to existing lyrics. We’ll write with each other in large groups and also practice writing in groups of 2-3. Each day a different, hand’s on activity. Overall, we’ll begin to identify our songwriting strengths and try and identify qualities in other writers that will enhance the song. No previous songwriting experience necessary, and open to all who like to sing. Come on and join the co-writing revolution!

  • Early Blues Women: Where It All Started
  • Mary Flower
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

This will be a guitar and repertoire class from the early country and classic blues women where we’ll pay tribute to the ones who started it all…Mamie, Minnie, Bessie, Geeshie, Lucille and more. We’ll pass the lyrics around and share the singing, talk a little history and work on guitar accompaniment. They don’t write ‘em like they used to and we’ll delve into this century old song bag of humor, love gone wrong and double enténdres. All levels welcome. Ability to read tab helpful and audio recording encouraged.

Being from the "loving-all-kinds-of-fiddling-styles" school, I would like to offer a class on the language of fiddle styles. What makes an Irish tune sound Irish? (and how do they make those neat ornamental sounds?), an old-time tune sound old timey? (rhythm with the bow, emphasis on the correct syllable), How do those Quebecois fiddlers do that thing with their feet and fiddle at the same time? All questions answered and new techniques taught to help you on your journey.

  • 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.

  • Folk Ensemble
  • John Kirk
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

We will study and perform music from the string band traditions of rural America. Additionally Nova Scotia, Quebecois, Irish, New England, Scandinavian, African American, dance, and ballad traditions will also be explored with listening, practice, and performing components. Emphasis on ensemble intuition, playing by ear, and lifetime personal music making skills (transposition, harmonizing, etc.). Violin, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, accordion, concertina, penny whistle, flute, bodhran, harp, ukulele, or piano ~ All Welcome!


 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.

What did Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Willie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Josh White, Sr. , Mississippi Fred McDowell and Rev. Robert Wilkins all have in common? They all knew how to use the language of blues guitar to tell a sacred message. This is a class that focuses on the sacred side of traditional blues guitar. We will explore the CAGED system, principles of finger picking, the use of the relative minor chord and other tools that are essential to getting a sacred sound out of the blues guitar.

This class will cover songs in both standard and alternate tunings, and it will cover both fingerpicked and slide styles. While everyone is welcome to come to the class, a solid knowledge of basic first position guitar chords would be most helpful. Also, since this is a fingerpicking class, the use of a thumb and fingerpicks, a guitar slide and a steel string guitar are recommended

  • Intermediate and Advanced Flatpicking Guitar
  • Mark Cosgrove
  • TBD, 12:00 am - 12:00 am

This class assumes that you have a little knowledge of the fretboard and can play some single note lines as a soloist. Fiddle tunes and fiddle tune variations are a plus but not a necessity as we work through more advanced techniques with ear training and written materials available as a guide to having fun and sounding good.

This class is for old-time banjo players who have a basic handle on the claw-hammer style — the fundamental right-hand technique, maybe some drop-thumbing and the ability to play a basic repertoire of tunes up to speed. We’ll go from there to look at some classic techniques and tunes specific to southern old-time styles, including those of the Round Peak and Galax areas of Northwestern North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia. We’ll play in a few different tunings and focus on some great tunes. Students are urged to bring an audio recorder to class; videotaping will be allowed at the discretion of the instructor.

  • Learning Fingerstyle via Melodies, Level 3
  • Eric Schoenberg
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

We’ll take some melodies that you already know, put them on the guitar in the treble, then add a bass accompaniment to create a solo arrangement. This is an empirical approach, intending to supply the technique of solo fingerstyle from the ground up.

We will explore and practice right and left hand fingering and picking techniques through fiddle tunes and old-time music. Lessons will be provided in Standard and TAB notation. You are welcome to bring a recording device.

We will explore the music of the early string and jug band musicians and the mandolin blues of the post-war era. But I would like to introduce some new ideas and inspirations from the music of other blues musicians. Exercises and arrangements will introduce the “blues” elements that shaped this music and we will work on several pieces in the solo format...like we did in 2014, but all new tunes! Music in standard and TAB will be provided, and the use of recording devices is strongly encouraged.

Sing for energy, 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.

  • Piedmont/Ragtime Guitar Styles
  • Mary Flower
  • TBD, 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

In this workshop Mary will explore left and right hand moves that drive this great feel good, fingerpicking guitar style. She might teach pieces by Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Tampa Red and a little of her own music. In learning these tunes, students will get a taste of movable chords, syncopation and alternating bass. Intermediate/advanced levels. Ability to read tab very helpful and recording the class encouraged.

Songwriting From The Roots is a workshop that looks at the key elements of blues and Americana songs. We’ll examine everything from the structure and the story of the song to the choice of chord voicing and melodies. We will learn timeless classics, like Weepin’ Willow Blues, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Walk The Line or Galveston, and then try our hand at writing our own songs “in the tradition.” Mindful of what’s come before but eager to infuse something new and modern and very much our own into the songs, this is a hand's on workshop. No previous songwriting experience necessary, and open to all who like to sing, each day we'll explore a different song and technique to jump-start our creativity.

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.

Whether you want to sing Opera, Pop, Gospel, Musical Theater, Blues or Traditional Folk, your instrument is your voice, your body, your intelligence and your soul. Learn vocal technique through vocal exercise and breath management. Learn how to use breath energy to produce a free and effortless tone. Charles will share the tips and techniques that have kept him singing for forty years. You will reach into the depth of your own spirit to bring out the music that is unique to you.

Second section of Charles Williams Voice and Vocal Health class.