Acoustic Guitar Roots and Beyond will look at the acoustic guitar techniques shared by Americana, blues and folk-rock. Enrich, enliven and expand your guitar skills by exploring techniques such as alternate chord shapes, walking bass lines and bluesy riffs that move up and down the fretboard. Equally, extend your sound with a toolbox of strumming and picking rhythms, including the blues shuffle, boom-chick, and alternating bass. All techniques will be supported by handouts (TAB and chord charts) and taught through specific songs. This is a fun, hand’s-on workshop with lots of playing, jamming, and singing. It is ideally suited for guitarists who know how to play the basic 1st position chords (e.g. A, D, E, G, C, Am, Em, Dm). Bring an acoustic guitar, picks (if you use them), spare sets of strings and a capo. If you’re looking for new ideas to spice up your guitar playing or original compositions, and if you want to learn some new songs, riffs and chords, then Acoustic Guitar Roots And Beyond is for you!
This class 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.
First time players will learn basic tuning and playing skills, while more advanced players will concentrate on developing accompaniments. Singing adds to the fun, but is not required of participants. The same techniques work for backing up instrumentals. We will have some dulcimers available to loan to students who request them in advance of camp.
The Blues, a major root of the American music tree, has been thriving and evolving for more than one hundred years. This course is an overview of guitar accompaniment as heard in a variety of blues genres, from the jug and string band players of the 20s and 30s, to the hard driving Mississippi “delta” blues, and from the rollicking blues of the Piedmont to the blues of Chicago, Texas and the West Coast. The emphasis will be on rhythms, phrasing, classic arrangements and techniques. We cover 100 years in five days so bring a cushion for your chair and an ice-bag for your fingers. They’re gonna heat up!!
Music in standard and TAB will be provided, and the use of recording devices is strongly encouraged. Most of the playing is in finger-style but you may adapt to a flatpick.
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.
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.
This class concentrates on providing a solid introduction and foundation to the aspiring blues fingerpicker. We’ll concentrate on techniques for developing monotonic, alternating and walking bass lines. We’ll explore how blues players move first position chord shapes up the neck in order add variety to your playing as well as to play in different keys. We’ll also explore how the “CAGED” system of chords can be applied to tradition styles of country blues. We will do all this while learning some key tunes of seminal blues guitarists of the past. All tunes will be in standard tuning. 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 and a steel string guitar is recommended.
This class is intended to introduce basic techniques, styles and approaches to the use of the harmonica in blues and folk music. Topics covered include holding the harmonica, playing in both first, second, and third positions, and harmonica maintenance. We will also explored special effects like bends, trills, fanning, tremolo, and throat pops. We will also address things like accompanying yourself on harmonica with other instruments, etc. Students are required to bring at least one diatonic (10 hole) harmonica in the key of C. Harmonicas will be available for purchase in the camp store.
Slide 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. Participants should bring a bottleneck or other tubular slide (or a selection thereof) and a recording device to class. Slides will be available for purchase in the camp store.
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 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.
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!
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. Please bring a partial Esus capo. The one I would recommend is the Kyser - only because I think it might be cheaper than the Shubb. Capos will be available for purchase in the camp store
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 clawhammer 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.
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.
Here's your opportunity to take your rightful place fearlessly in front of your peers and coworkers. In this interactive and participatory lab we'll transform fear (an acronym for "forgetting everything's all right") into excitement and embrace it as our ally, not see it as our obstacle. Certainly there are nuts and bolts and "how to's and "think agains" - we'll cover those - but what we'll really strive to do is help one another discover our unique strengths and how to make every performance moment count. Bring a song you know by heart, something you can sing a capella, your questions and concerns, a sense of humor, and anything else on topic that you'd like addressed.
In the recent resurgence and revival of old time music, mandolinists have overlooked a rich body of music that was once performed by African-Americans, great “new” material for the American mandolin repertoire. In these session we explore the music of the early string and jug band musicians and the mandolin blues of the post-war era. Exercises and arrangements will introduce the “blues” elements that shaped this music: melody and phrasing, seventh chord voicings and rhythms, as demonstrated in the music of Charlie McCoy, Vol Stevens, Howard Armstrong, Yank Rachell, Johnny Young and more. Music in standard and TAB will be provided, and the use of recording devices is strongly encouraged.
Songwriting is a very subjective and personal experience, and it's available to everyone. This all-levels class is geared especially towards those who are new to the craft but also to those who simply might like to access different perspectives from their own process by looking at songwriting through a different lens. On Day 1 we'll brainstorm compelling themes worth writing about, and as the week unfolds we'll examine and work with the different elements that make our songs click. We'll have fun in the process too. We'll also again use one session to completely co-write a custom-made song for a sick child and his/her family for the Songs of Love Foundation in New York...very meaningful and powerful.
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.
As songwriters we often approach songwriting as such serious business! What if it was just a game? In this class we will remove our ego from the equation and just have fun with our songwriter muscles: we’ll do some song mash-ups, maybe a guided meditation or a co-write, maybe run a 3 legged race to the sappiest love song. Each day we’ll try a new game!
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.