Levels, Classes, & Instructors for 2016
By clicking on
a class you're interested in (or scrolling down), you will find a class description
along with a bio for the instructor and other
prerequisites are also given, though an open and positive attitude towards
learning in a group setting is really the most important prerequisite for
having a great time at camp!
1: Advanced beginner. By this we mean that you already know the basics of how to
play your instrument (and tune it!) and can play some songs or tunes, if not up
to tempo, at least not agonizingly slowly.
2: Intermediate. By this we mean that you are quite comfortable with your
instrument, and have at least some experience playing with other people. And you tune without even being asked!
intermediate. You should have at least two years of playing experience,
including some experience playing with others in jam sessions or in bands.
you’re uncertain which level is right for you, consider whether you’d rather
take it slow and easy, or be more challenged, and sign up accordingly. If you wish, you can take a class that's above your level (i.e. one where you don't meet all the prerequisites), but the teacher will not be able to take time to teach you the material listed in the prerequisites.
allow for some adjustments as needed the first day.
• Band-Lab / Ensemble Classes
Bluegrass Band— level 1/2
Bluegrass Band— level 2/3
Old-Time Band— level 2/3
• Banjo Classes
Bluegrass Banjo— level 1/2
Bluegrass Banjo— level 2/3
Old-Time Banjo— level 2/3
• Bass Classes
Beginning Bass— level 1
Intermediate Bass— level 2/3
• Dobro Classes
Intermediate Dobro— level 1/2
Advanced Dobro— level 2/3
• Fiddle Classes
Bluegrass Fiddle— level 1/2
Bluegrass Fiddle — level 2/3
Old-Time Fiddle — level 2/3
• Guitar Classes
Guitar with Singing — level 1/2
Old-Time Guitar — level 1/2
Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar — level 1/2
Guitar Soloing — level 2/3
• Mandolin Classes
Beginning Mandolin — level 1
Intermediate Mandolin — level 2/3
• Singing Classes
Bluegrass and Country Singing Styles — level 2/3
Intermediate Harmony Singing— level 1/2
Advanced Harmony Singing— level 2/3
• Fungrass Class
Bluegrass/Old-Time — level 0/1
* An asterisks marks classes that are full or almost full. To attend one of these classes, sign up right away! If the class is full you'll be put on a waiting list to get into the class when and if anyone has to cancel. When signing up for a class with an asterisk you should probably have a second choice, just in case.
Last updated 4/29/15.
CLASS DESCRIPTIONS & INSTRUCTORS
Bluegrass Band, level 1/2 — Bill Evans
This class is for all bluegrass instrumentalists (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and bass) who want to get comfortable playing with others in slow to medium speed jam sessions but aren’t quite ready (or interested) in on-stage performances (or buying matching outfits and hitting the road in an old bus!). If you’re ready to have a blast playing music with others and learn how real jams work, then this is the class for you!
We’ll work on the nuts and bolts of participating in a jam session, including choosing a key and setting a tempo for a song, how to kick off and end songs, understanding chord progressions by ear and even attempting solos (but only if you want to). We’ll try our hands (and voices) at the fine art of bluegrass harmony singing, and experience sharing musical space with others to create dynamic and exciting arrangements in a welcoming and fun environment for all participants.
We’ll play a variety of jam favorites, exploring different kinds of song as we play through these pieces at slow to medium tempos. We’ll cover as many different kinds of pieces as possible, from fiddle tunes to banjo breakdowns, to waltz time and contemporary bluegrass, as we become familiar with the unspoken rules of bluegrass jam etiquette. You are not required to play leads in this class – we will be focusing on using simple accompaniment techniques and using your ear to pick up new songs as fast as possible, just like in a real jam session (and if you do play leads, you’ll have many opportunities to do just that in this class).
Class participants will have the opportunity to present a song to the group. You'll come away from the class knowing your instrument’s role in a jam session and how to begin to play along, even on songs that you have never heard before!
Prerequisites: Participants should have at least nine months to one year of experience on their instruments and know basic accompaniment techniques. Class members should know how to fret the major and minor chords typically used in bluegrass and should be able to play the standard bluegrass rhythm patterns: boom-chick (or bass-strum patterns) for flatpicked guitar; chopping chords on the mandolin; roll patterns or vamping on the banjo. Guitar and banjo players should have some familiarity with using a capo. Come ready to lead the jam by singing or playing a song or tune of your choice! Bill will show you how to do this but it will be helpful to have your piece memorized, including the lead part on your instrument and also the chord progression and lyrics..
Special note: In order to have as many different instruments as possible in this class, no more than three students playing the same instrument will be allowed to register (three banjo players, three guitar players, three mandolin players, etc.). Class size will be limited to 12 participants. Early registration is recommended – guitar and banjo slots tend fill up very quickly for this class.
Bring: Your instrument, along with a capo if you’re a guitar or banjo player. Don’t forget a strap that’s designed for and fits your instrument, a tuner (with extra battery), one or two extra string sets, extra picks and whatever other supplies you think you might need. You will do a fair amount of walking at the CBA Music Camp and a gig bag with backpack straps is a great idea. Reunion Blues has several sturdy options and you can check out their Continental Cases at www.reunionblues.com (and you’re interested in purchasing one, contact Bill).
We’ll try to use written resources as little as possible in this class but it’s still a good idea to bring along a portable music stand if you already own one. If you want to sing (and I hope you do!), you might need a lyric book to remember all of the verses. That’s fine – bring it along! However, reading tabs or music for leads or for chord progressions for tunes will be discouraged in this class, except for the most difficult pieces. Audio and video recording is allowed and don’t forget that your smart phone can usually take care of this. A tripod or stand designed for your phone comes in handy when using it for class recording – that way you don’t have to hold your phone as it records
Bill Evans is the author of Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies and Banjo For Dummies and is the co-author of Parking Lot Pickers Songbook: Banjo Edition. Bill has taught literally thousands of players all over the world in a teaching career that now spans over forty years. Bill’s instruction is hands-on and practical – he wants you to get out there playing as soon as possible and have fun doing it! Bill has performed with many acoustic greats, including David Bromberg, Dan Crary, Dry Branch Fire Squad, David Grisman, Alan Munde, Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, and his own bands and he has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.
He has taught band classes at most every major bluegrass camp in the world, including many CBA Music Camps, American banjo Camp (Washington state), Augusta Heritage Center’s Bluegrass Week (West Virginia), Sore Fingers Bluegrass Week (England), NimbleFingers (Canada), Camp Bluegrass (Texas), and NashCamp (Tennessee). His latest recording is More Fine Time at Fletcher’s House with Norman & Nancy Blake and Fletcher Bright. He has produced seven instructional DVDs for Homespun Tapes, AcuTab Publications and the Murphy Method and teaches banjo and ensemble lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bill is also on the faculty of the California Jazz Conservatory. You can learn more about Bill by visiting www.billevansbanjo.com and for questions concerning class content, email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bluegrass Band, level 2/3 — Jack Tuttle
This class is for all bluegrass players - guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and bass. Jack will work with students to develop and improve playing in a bluegrass band/jam setting. He'll work with students on kick-offs, solos, lead and harmony vocals, backup, fills, timing, dynamics and endings. While considerable time will be spent critiquing the ensemble sound, Jack will also work one-on-one with students and help with areas of need. Students will have a chance to bring in a traditional bluegrass song into the group and we'll work on making it awesome!
Prerequisites: You should be comfortable playing in common bluegrass keys, keeping a steady rhythm and changing chords at a variety of tempos. It's highly recommended that the students have some experience in jamming or playing with other musicians.
Bring: Plan to bring a song or two that you can comfortably play or sing. Capos for banjos, guitars and dobros. A strap so you can stand while playing could be useful.
Jack Tuttle grew up in a musical family in rural Illinois and has been playing music since age five. He has performed professionally in the U.S., Canada, and Japan and has been a member of numerous bands, including the Gryphon Quintet and the Fog City Ramblers. He now performs with The Tuttles with AJ Lee, which features three of his own kids and he has performed on A Prairie Home Companion and at MerleFest. Jack has been teaching full time at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto for 35 years and has built a complete lesson program on banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar. He has taught more than a thousand students over thirty years, many of whom have become top players in the Bay Area and beyond. He’s written twelve instructional books, and developed and taught special seminars in History of Bluegrass, Critical Listening to Bluegrass, and Music Theory for Bluegrass. In 2007 Jack was awarded an honorary life membership from the California Bluegrass Association.
Old-Time Band, level 2/3 — Thomas Sneed
The most impressive and positive addition to a band isn’t always the musician with the fanciest fingers. Your music needs to be at a level that others enjoy it, but being a good bandmate has a lot to with what other ingredients you can bring to the table.
We will explore different ways to contribute to a band using the mechanics of playing great songs and tunes together, but especially building a repertoire that can produce a set of music that exemplifies the many styles of Old-Time music in a band setting.
Prerequisites: It would be good if folks could keep a steady rhythm and be able to change chords at a variety of tempos in a handful of different keys. An interest in the history of the music would be helpful.
Bring: a strap, so you can stand while playing.
Thomas Sneed is a mandolin player and musicologist with an interest in American Roots Music. He is based in Alta, Wyoming where he is the Director of the Targhee Music Camp. For over 30 years, he has participated in music festivals and gatherings around the world. In 1997, he was a founding member of the old-time stringband, Reeltime Travelers, which became a widely known old-time performance band, which included work with producer T-Bone Burnett on the “Down From the Mountain Tour” and the “Cold Mountain” movie soundtrack. Thomas has worked for the Archives of Appalachia, Center for Appalachian Studies and the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. His passion for old music led to friendships and collaborations with National Heritage Fellowship Award winning fiddler, Ralph Blizard (1918-2004) and fieldwork with folklorist, Mike Seeger (1933-2009). He has performed at numerous festivals and venues including the Grand Old Opry, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Kennedy Center. Currently, he performs with New Reeltime Travelers.
Bluegrass Banjo, level 1/2 — Michael Munford
Welcome! In this class we’ll discuss a wide variety of topics to help you improve your technique and get more enjoyment out of playing your instrument. We’ll cover everything from Warm-up to Breakdowns including: tone production, right- and left-hand technique, tuning, timing,backup, blending melodic style with a Scruggs/ Crowe approach, practice tips and more. Questions and issues welcome.
It will be a fun, informative and ear opening experience.
Prerequisites: As an advanced beginner class, players should know how to tune their banjos, be comfortable playing with fingerpicks and have familiarity with the sound of bluegrass banjo style. Being able to play fast or being able to play well is not a prerequisite.
Bring: your banjo, your strap, thumbpick and fingerpicks, extra strings, and a capo. A recording device (such as your smart phone for video and audio) is also recommended.
Mike Munford is one of the hidden treasures of the five-string banjo world. Mike grew up in the sixties and seventies in the bluegrass hotbed of Baltimore and D.C. and assimilated just about everything that all the great players in that area could offer but long ago developed his own style. His style can best be described as hard-driving melodic but such a description diminishes what’s actually going on. When Mike Munford plays you hear all things that great banjo player strive to achieve: power, drive, impeccable timing, exquisite tone and jaw-dropping technique. Mike is a walking encyclopedia of banjo trivia. He is an inspiration to countless players in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond.
Born in St. Louis and raised in Baltimore, Mike started playing banjo at age 15. A professional bluegrass musician since 1976, Mike spent many years of experience developing his craft. His fluid style, both tasteful and driving, allows him to easily blend traditional and contemporary influences into his music. Mike currently tours with Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, a highly acclaimed contemporary bluegrass band whose 2014 album “Cold Spell” received a Grammy nomination. In 2013, Mike received the “Banjo Player of the Year” award from the I.B.M.A. (International Bluegrass Music Association)
Bluegrass banjo, level 2/3 — Jeff Scroggins
We will be focusing on ways to move up the neck with confidence, for both soloing and back up. We will explore concepts and ideas through exercises designed to help improve your knowledge of the banjo neck and learn patterns, licks and song arrangements that will allow you to quickly begin including these ideas in your playing. We will also discuss tips, ideas and exercises for improving both left and right hand technique. This will be a “hands on' class; written materials will be provided and the class will spend a lot of time playing through the materials together.
Prerequisites: LEFT HAND: An understanding and ability to play major chords in all three inversions ("F," "D" and "Barre" positions); knowledge of the minor chord inversions will be useful as well.
RIGHT HAND: Competence with common banjo rolls (forward, alternating, forward-backward, etc)
GENERAL: Ability to play bluegrass banjo at an intermediate level; ability to read tablature will be extremely helpful.
Bring: In addition to your banjo, please have if possible a tuner, and a capo. You are welcomed and encouraged to bring audio/video recording devices for recording the classes.
Jeff Scroggins has won numerous contests and awards in his career, including the prestigious National Bluegrass Banjo Championship, and dozens of state, regional and local banjo contests. Jeff’s band, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado features some of the finest bluegrass talent in the West, including Jeff’s 21 year old son and award winning mandolinist Tristan Scroggins and five-time SPBGMA Midwest Guitarist of the year Greg Blake. The band’s third CD, “Ramblin Feels Good” was released in early 2016.
Jeff has performed and recorded with many of the top names in bluegrass, and his work has been featured in movies and television as well as numerous radio and TV commercials. His recording of John Reischman’s “Birdland Breakdown” was featured in the soundtrack of the 2013 documentary “Gasland II.”
Jeff is an internationally known performer and teacher; he has taken his fiery banjo style to stages in Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, etc. Jeff is also well-known as a banjo teacher. He taught for years at the prestigious Swallow Hill Music School in Denver, Colorado, and he has taught at many bluegrass music camps in the US and abroad.
Playing Tunes and Backing Up Songs for Old Time Banjo, level 1/2 — Roy Andrade
This class will focus on backing up fiddle tunes and backing up singers (including yourself as a singer) on clawhammer and fingerpicking banjo. It will mostly be a clawhammer banjo class, but for those interested in fingerpicking, we will touch on some local styles from around where I live, play, and study: upper East Tennessee. We will work on building your repertoire of familiar tunes, and introduce you to a couple that you might not have heard of from southern Appalachia. Also, we’ll talk in depth about how to play with singers in a way that is varied and interesting, and goes beyond simply vamping on a chord using the boom-ditty rhythm. There will be some in depth discussion of technique as it applies to tone and ergonomics, and helpful tips for getting the most out of your practice hours. We’ll do a lot of playing during the week: less talk, more rock!
Prerequisites: You should be familiar with the commonly used tunings in old-time banjo playing: standard G tuning, the double C tuning, and the classical C tuning (gCGBD). I don’t normally teach from tablature, but will send you home with tabs of what we learn during the week so it will be helpful, but not necessary, if you know how to read tab. You should be able to play the basic clawhammer rhythm at a moderate pace (80-90 beats per minute) and feel comfortable changing basic chords and picking out simple melodies.
Bring: Please bring an audio or video recorder - you will use it a lot! Also, a pen and paper for taking notes will be useful.
Roy Andrade is a musician, producer and teacher who has focused his career on Southern old-time banjo music. He was the banjo player for the popular string band Reeltime Travelers, and has played with a number of other ensembles, notably the New Reeltime Travelers and the Blue Ridge Entertainers. His years of fieldwork have led to the release of several recordings, including the Doc Watson Family box set, Milestones (released 2013), of which he is the producer. During this time he spent many hours playing banjo with Watson at his home and absorbed much of Doc’s banjo style. Roy is currently an assistant professor in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University, one of the few schools of higher education that offers a bachelors degree in traditional American music.
Beginning Bass, level 1 — Dan Booth
This class is for the beginning bass player wishing to gain skill and confidence in bluegrass bass methods. My approach to teaching bass is very hands on, and we will have you making music starting at the beginning of the first day. We will cover the three T's of bass playing (Timing, Tone, and Taste, in that order), work on playing with good technique, and apply our freshly-honed skills to some standard bluegrass material. I will also teach you to think like a bass player, including listening sessions with a discussion of the role of the bass in various musical contexts. My goal is to have you come away from this class feeling accomplished and inspired, and to have fun getting there!
Prerequisites: To be in my class, you must have a bass (can be a loaner), and know how to hold it and tune it. I would suggest trying to play a little bit every day for a good week before the class, mostly to get the callouses on your hands started. We will be spending a good amount of time with our basses during camp, and the probability of getting a blister is high! Think of this as preventative maintenance.
Bring: the bass, a tuner, and a desire to learn. I recommend something to record or take notes with. A smartphone that records audio and/or video is a helpful tool.
Danny Booth has played upright bass for over 20 years, and has taught for the last 10. Born and raised in Alaska to a musical family (see dobro instructor Greg Booth), Danny has traveled across North America and Europe with the Kathy Kallick Band, Spring Creek, 49 Special and most recently with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen. He has taught upright bass at Nimblefingers, the Rockygrass Academy, Walker Creek and the CBA Music Camp, and before that extensively with Bluegrass Camps for Kids.
Building On The Foundation: Bass, level 2/3 — Jeremy Middleton
You’re the king or queen of your jam group, but you’re ready for the next steps forward. How do you get there? We’ll address that in this class with some tips, some tricks, and a lot of fun playing together! We’ll review the fundamentals of proper technique, good tone, and solid time, and then expand on them to reveal some of the tricks behind your favorite players and songs. Then we’ll learn some new ones to help you on your path of developing your own personal style! We’ll examine the influence of bass lines from the blues and jazz, and learn how to use them. We’ll talk about and experiment with our role in a band: how to follow and how to lead. Most importantly, we’ll share our experiences as bass players and learn from one another!
Prerequisites and What to Bring: You should own a bass that is set up for you to play comfortably in a jam session for an hour, with short breaks between songs. You should own and carry a tuner. You should have a basic understanding of chords and numbers, and be comfortable playing with someone who is calling chords and/or numbers.
Born into a musical family from Cincinnati, Ohio, Jeremy Middleton has been a performing musician since childhood. He toured western Europe as a member of the Cincinnati Boychoir at age 10. Upon graduation from high school, he enlisted in the Army Band Program and served on active duty for 10 years. Joining the Navy Music Program in 2003, he was selected as the bassist for the US Navy Band Country Current in 2009. He went on to perform at South By Southwest, IBMA World Of Bluegrass 2012, the 37th Father’s Day Festival in 2012, and on the Grand Ole Opry. Retiring from active duty in 2014, he resides with his wife and 3 kids in Nashville, TN, where he frequently performs as a freelance musician. He is currently the bassist for Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen.
Raising Your Dobro Skills, level 1/2 — Sally Van Meter
This Level 1 and 2 class will help you connect those threads that are so important to be able to play with more confidence- you don’t have to be a fancy player to be good! Playing the Dobro is about musicality: technique, melody, lyrical phrasing, tone production, intonation, and clarity. In this class, we will work on all of those aspects by working on a song or two and learn how to take chances to successfully get past the simple melody to soloing with more dynamics. We will learn some fundamental techniques and practice skills/habits you can take home with you. This class will be taught primarily by ear. I will provide some tab, but the tab is more for you to spend time with outside of class as much as possible and to woodshed at home over the next six months.
Prerequisites for Level 1 - Advanced Beginner:
-You need to be able to tune your guitar (using a tuner and preferably before each class begins).
-You are relatively comfortable using a metronome and able to stay on the beat most of the time.
-You know the basic scales in the keys of G, C, and D.
-You can play a simple song or two, knowing the actual melody, and be able to play at a slower but consistent tempo. A good idea (pre-music camp) is to learn an entire easy for you song melody note for note, as this will you begin to understand the fretboard ahead of attending the camp.
Prerequisites for Level Level 2- Intermediate:
-You tune your guitar before the class begins.
-You have been playing for a while and are comfortable with your instrument.
-You want to explore music beyond your boundaries you are comfortable with.
-You know most of the common bluegrass keys and their basic scales.
-You have some experience playing with others or in intermediate-level jam sessions and can hold your own in moderate tempos.
-A working condition Resonator guitar with proper action, a good tone bar slide, thumb and finger picks. Note: If you are planning on using a regular guitar with low action, this will cause problems for you in class, as this is lap-style slide, not bottleneck style and the bar we use is too heavy for a regular guitar string height. Your local music store can help you with a regular lap-style set up if you do not currently have this set up.
-A notepad, and pencils with erasers, Tablature staff paper
-A digital tuner and/or metronome with accented first beat capability, and an audio recorder only (iPad or tablet, smartphone).
- A patient and kind attitude toward yourself about what you do or do not know on Dobro. Dobro classes tend to level the playing field for everyone- no matter if beginner or more advanced
Since 1977, Sally Van Meter's slide guitar work has garnered high respect and recognition among peers and audiences for her commitment to staying true to playing music with heart and soul. She is well-known for her performances & recorded works ranging from solo work to various collaborations with artists including Jerry Garcia, Chris Hillman, Jorma Kaukonen, Cyril Pahinui, Kate Campbell, Scott Ainslee, Jerry Douglas, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Alison Brown, Taj Mahal, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Kathy Kallick, The Good Ol’Persons, and Maura O'Connell. Sally's work on The Great Dobro Sessions earned the 1994 GRAMMY AWARD certificate for Best Bluegrass Recording from NARAS as a featured performer, as well as an IBMA Finalist Nominee for Dobro Player of the Year from 1990-1997 and in 1996 Sally won two IBMA awards, Best Instrumental Recording and Recorded Event of the Year (The Great Dobro Sessions). For nearly three decades, Sally's musical journeys have taken her from the USA to the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan. Sally’s newest 2015 release Tre Mistiche continues to gather high praise in radio and print media, featuring a rare and fine set of live and studio duet performances on the Weissenborn slide guitar.
Advanced Dobro, level 2/3 — Greg Booth
You've been playing dobro for awhile now and you'd like to explore some new ground as well as improve your technique and tone. We'll look at various ways to play out of different keys and how to express minor chords. We'll spend some time playing in D in regular G tuning and learn how not to crash and burn playing fiddle tunes. This class will help you get rid of unwanted noise and control notes with both the right and left hands. We'll take a look at my drop E tuning, learn a song or two with it and I'll share a bunch of licks and phrases you can throw into solos and use when jamming. I'll have a pile of tab available from my YouTube dobro videos and more. My classes always feature more playing by everyone and less lecturing by the instructor! Above all we will have fun making music with this awesome instrument!
Prerequisites: Have been playing at least a year and can play songs without having to stop. You should know all the major chord positions.
Bring: Your dobro, picks and bar. I also recommend a recorder, audio or video.
Playing dobro and banjo with the Kathy Kallick band for the last 7 yrs, Greg Booth makes his home in Alaska where he had a long career playing steel guitar full time. All those years of making music contributes to a tasteful dobro style that is unique. Greg won the Rockygrass dobro contest in a challenging field on the one year anniversary of his taking up the instrument. After taking advanced classes at the Rob Ickes Resosummit, Rob invited Greg to join the faculty where he has taught for several years as well as other music camps around the country. The YouTube channel of Greg's dobro playing videos recently passed the two million views milestone and is regularly viewed around 1600 times a day.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 1/2 — Blaine Sprouse
This class is for folks who have been playing fiddle for six months or longer. We’ll explore the exciting world of “traditional bluegrass fiddling,” as well as a couple of great old-time traditional Appalachian Mountain tunes from my native home of West Virginia. Expect to improve intonation, tone and rhythm. We’ll learn classic Bill Monroe fiddle tunes, beautiful waltzes and tunes from Kenny Baker and others. We’ll spend some time talking about useful means of learning and practice techniques to make the most of our practice time. We will examine and discuss different styles of fiddling. Depending on our time and skill level, we may also look at playing in “bluegrass keys”, such as Bb and B natural. Our class objective will be to have fun and learn some new tunes and techniques to improve on what we already know and can use in the “real world,” playing in jam sessions and band situations. I will not put anyone on the spot, nor will I leave anyone behind. It’s my hope to broaden musical horizons, provide inspiration to continue to learn, grow and develop musically, and most importantly, have FUN!
Prerequisites: The ability to tune your fiddle; have been playing fiddle or violin for 6 months or longer and are comfortable in holding and playing your fiddle and bow.
Bring:A recording device, either video or audio is fine. Lots of folks use their iPhones these days; a tuner or tuning fork; a tune or two you that you are comfortable playing; a desire to learn and have fun playing music!
Blaine Sprouse has spent a great deal of his life performing and recording with first-generation bluegrass artists Bill Monroe, known as the Father of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin, The Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse, and legendary country artist Charlie Louvin of the Louvin Brothers. No stranger to more contemporary bluegrass, Blaine joined Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck, Roland White, Mark Hembree and Pat Enright as the Dreadful Snakes to record “Snakes Alive,” and was a co-founding member of The Bluegrass Band with banjoist Butch Robins, Alan O’Bryant, Ed Dye and David Sebring. Currently a member of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band and Rowan’s Twang N’ Groove band, Blaine also performs with The Faultliners and makes special appearances with other bands such as The Roland White Band, James Reams and the Barnstormers, as well as his own ensembles and solo appearances.
In high demand as an instructor as well, Blaine has presented workshops at various music festivals and camps throughout the United States and internationally including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Port Townsend, WA, Lark Camp, Mendocino, CA, the California Bluegrass Association’s Grass Valley Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Port Orchard, WA, Texas JAAM Camp, Austin, TX, and StringsFest, Ft. Bragg, CA.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 2/3 — John Mailander
Hello bluegrass fiddle level 2/3ers! Throughout the week, we will cover many of the essential techniques of playing fiddle in a bluegrass band or jam session setting. Topics will include tone, phrasing, melodic-based improvisation, double stops, accompanying singers, rhythmic techniques and more. We'll work on building confidence, adapting and taking risks, and learn a new tune or two too! The class will be primarily taught by ear, but I will provide sheet music/handouts at the end of each session. We'll have a great time exploring our instruments and making music together this week!
Prerequisites: Students should have at least two years of playing experience, and be comfortable with the Major and Pentatonic scales in common bluegrass keys such as G, D, A and C.
Bring: Your fiddle, bow, rosin, extra strings, humidifier (!), a recording device and a positive vibe!
California native John Mailander is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. As an accomplished performer, composer, teacher and recording artist, John has become known for his soulful voice on the fiddle, mandolin and various other stringed instruments. John has shared the stage with renowned artists including the Alison Brown Quartet, Victor Wooten, Tim O'Brien and Christopher Guest. He was the fiddler for Steve Martin & Edie Brickell's musical, Bright Star, for it's debut run in New York.
John currently maintains a busy performance schedule with artists including Tony Trischka, Molly Tuttle, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger and others. As an instructor, John has taught at events including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Augusta Bluegrass Week and Walker Creek Music Camp. He is a dedicated private instructor, teaching students all over the country in person and over Skype. John released his debut solo album, "Walking Distance", in September 2014. He currently lives in Nashville, TN.
Old-Time Fiddle, level 2/3 — Kalia Yeagle
We’ll be spending some quality time with a bunch of beautiful old tunes as we dig into what makes this music magical. We’ll be working with our right hands to get all those drones, dips, pulses, and patterns. We’ll also consider tunes melodically to learn why they move the way they do. Let’s start with some of my favorite tunes from East Tennessee, tunes that help reveal the incredible depth and diversity of old time music. We’ll be trying out some contrasting styles of old-time fiddling, all in an effort to help you develop your own sound and feel.
Prerequisites: You should be comfortable learning short musical phrases by ear and have a few tunes under your belt. But most importantly bring an open mind and enthusiasm for old-time music!
Bring: your fiddle and bow, your preferred note-taking method, a recording device, and a favorite tune. Also be prepared to tell us about a fiddler who inspires you!
Kalia Yeagle is a fiddler, singer, and educator living in Johnson City, Tennessee. Her expressive and versatile fiddling is quickly positioning her at the forefront of a new generation of acoustic musicians. She takes inspiration from her upbringing in Alaska, where long winters and strong, diverse communities have produced a music scene unlike any other. Her music is undeniably of the mountains, both the Chugach and the Blue Ridge. As a scholar of Appalachian Studies, she has the privilege of studying the rich musical heritage of the region with special interest in early country music’s pioneering female artists. Kalia has performed and taught across North America, currently playing with Bill and the Belles and the New Reeltime Travelers.
Guitar with Singing, level 1/2 — Greg Blakes
Whether you're a part of a band, or just enjoy picking up your guitar and banging out chords behind your favorite ol' song for your own personal enjoyment ... we will explore the world of accompanying your singing with bluegrass rhythm guitar, in the context of an ensemble/band or just as a solo performer.
We'll look at a handful of basic strum patterns (including a glimpse at some cross-picking techniques); a few new chord shapes that add a little "color" to the vocal lines; basic runs to not only transition from one chord to another but what "fits best" with song lyrics and mood; and help with finding the best possible key and chord patterns in which to sing your song.
Prerequisites: Just so the entire group can get the most out of our time together, each participant should
1) be comfortable with the basic chord shapes of A7, C, D, Em & G; and
2) be able to change chords without breaking time; and
3) have some singing "experience" - in other words, this class should not be the first time you've tried to sing
Bring: a guitar, a flat pick, a capo, a tuner, and at least one of your "favorite" songs to work on (you may bring a recording device, but it's optional)
Greg Blake is the lead singer and guitarist for high-energy bluegrass group, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado (CBA "Emerging Artist of the Year", 2016). His awards and acknowledgements include: Bluegrass Guitar Performer of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) for five consecutive years (9 nominations); Kansas state Flat-Pick Guitar Champion; nominated twice for Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year (SPBGMA)
Intro to Old-Time Guitar, level 1/2 — Ben Winship
This class will concentrate on the role of the guitar in an old time band, and as the primary back up to a fiddle or a banjo. The class is for players of advanced beginner to intermediate ability. We will concentrate on smoothly connecting chords and using simple runs. We will also introduce the tools of easy chord theory and transposition in order for students to find the most appropriate chord shapes and keys to play simple songs. In addition to technique, we will also work on broadening repertoire - and to that end, it is my hope that students will bring a few songs or tunes that they are comfortable playing and can share with the class. I will also come armed with a wealth of songs to learn and some interesting audio source material to reference. The goal is to keep it fun, relaxed and hands-on.
Prerequisites: If you can tune your guitar, know the basic open position guitar chords and keys, can make chord changes with ease and in time, and have some experience using a flat pick, you are ready for this class. Also, come with an openness towards trying and practicing some new techniques.
Bring: If possible, bring a song or two that you can share with the class so we can build repertoire from within the ranks. A tuner. A recording device. Capo. Picks. Water bottle. Questions.
Please free to write ahead of time if you have questions/requests: email@example.com
Ben Winship is a self-taught musician who has been playing mandolin for over 30 years. He is a versatile player whose musical stew is a mix of bluegrass and old-time, dixieland and blues. Gigs have taken him from Hawaii to Shetland, Anchorage to Equator, with appearances along the way at places like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, A Prairie Home Companion, NYC’s Bottom Line. In addition to playing the mandolin, Ben is also a well respected songwriter, singer & multi-instrumentalist. The Boston Globe called his sound “A further leap from traditional hill country music.” While Tim O’Brien refers to him as "One of the acoustic music scene's best writers.” www.benwinship.com.
Bluegrass Guitar Strumming, Walks and Runs, level 1/2 — Jim Nunally
This class offers an in depth look at strumming patterns, dynamics within strums, and how to use them. We will cover the differences between folk/country strum patterns and the classic bluegrass strums.
We will be connecting your strum patterns with walks and runs that make bluegrass rhythm more interesting. This class will delve deeply into the classic bluegrass G-run. We will also learn the theory behind simple walks for connecting chords and how to use them.
Prerequisites: You should know basic chord forms.
Bring: A recording device, a capo, a strap, questions, and your voice to sing!
Jim Nunally is a musician, composer, teacher, recording engineer and producer. Jim has received two Grammy Award certifications and two awards from the IBMA. He's a featured artist on the critically acclaimed CD Tone Poets released in 2005 by David Grisman. He recorded with David Grisman and Sam Bush on the album Hold On, We’re Strummin which was nominated for two IBMA awards. Jim is a two-time Western Open Flatpicking and Master Picking Champion. As a record producer, he has produced and recorded over 100 CDs. Jim plays guitar and sings with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, and performs in duos with Nell Robinson, Dix Bruce, Keith Little. His latest work includes a PBS TV special featuring Jim and Nell Robinson, and their country band, for the music series Music Gone Public to air nation wide in 2016.
Jim is a highly-respected teacher at music camps across the country, including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Bluegrass at the Beach, California Coast Music Camp, California Bluegrass Association Music Camp, Kaufman Kamp, and many more.
Guitar Solos, level 2/3 — Chris Luquette
In this workshop, we’ll take an in-depth look at scales and their application in lead guitar and soloing. Students will then use these tools to build musical solos, improve tone and enhance the tunes they already know. We’ll approach several connecting scale patterns, exercise patterns and warm up approaches used for building speed, clarity and timing. We’ll dissect a popular fiddle tune found in jams and look at adding improvisation and creating solos.
Prerequisites: Students should have moderate experience playing simple lead lines/flatpicking single notes, and should be able to change chords and chord shapes with ease.
Bring: Tuner, capo
"Chris is one of the hardest working musicians from the Seattle music scene. You’d be hard pressed to find another 25-year-old seamlessly switching from International Music to Jazz and from Rock to Bluegrass so comfortably. He has even studied Brazilian Jazz with Seattle-based Brazil music legend, Jovino Santos Neto.
Chris’ musicianship reflects the multitude of musical influences he turns to for inspiration. His acoustic guitar playing really stands out, but this multi-instrumentalist is equally at home playing mandolin, drums, bass, electric guitar, banjo, and Greek bouzouki!"
Beginning Mandolin, level 1 —John Reischman
This is a beginner level mandolin class. Emphasis will be on learning to keep the basics in mind, i.e., playing a song's melody cleanly with good tone and timing. We'll learn some simple but interesting tunes, how to practice wisely, and we’ll also take an introductory look at double stops and fiddle tunes.
Prerequisites: Students should be able to play simple melodies and be able to change basic chords in time with the music. A recording device of some kind is recommended.
Bring: Students are encouraged to bring a recording device and a tuner.
John Reischman is an internationally renowned mandolinist whose 35 years of performing and recording includes time with the Good Ol' Persons and the Tony Rice Unit. He currently leads his own band, The Jaybirds, and has released numerous critically-acclaimed albums. John's extensive teaching experience includes music camps in the US, Canada, and England. He's been a favorite CBA Music Camp teacher since our first year.
Intermediate Mandolin, level 2/3 — Frank Solivan
Mapping the fretboard, the art of tone, illusive improv and how to MAKE music with easy techniques! A hands on clinic touching on traditional bluegrass songs, fiddle tunes, swing standards and country classics. An in-depth study of rhythm fundamentals, chords, scales, arpeggios, and use of fingering patterns to mentally map your fretboard. Students will use these tools to build musical solos, learn and play faster, improve tone and enhance the tunes they already know. Geared to the intermediate player wanting to move forward with tools and new ways to approach the mandolin. Bring a recording device and open mind.
Prerequisites: Students must be able to tune their mandolin, get around on their instrument comfortably using 2-3 octave major and minor scales, must be able to play 3-4 finger chord shapes, must be able to play a number of tunes comfortably without sheet music, must be able to keep up a fast pace if need be, and comfortable contributing in a jam setting.
Bring: Bring an electronic tuner, a recording device (a smart phone should suffice), and a willingness to explore new ideas.
Frank Solivan originally calls the central valley of California his stomping grounds, but adventure drew him to Alaska at the age of 18. In his 8 years there, he mentored and taught at 3 annual music camps and taught 15-20 private students a week. A group of camp counsellors/students he mentored formed the band Bearfoot and subsequently won the prestigious Telluride music festival band competition in 2001. Some now organize and/or teach at many nationally recognized music camps. In 2003 Frank won an audition for an elite position in the US Navy Band's, Country Current. After six years with the Navy, he got out of the service to foster his own creative side with his band Dirty Kitchen. Frank still teaches private lessons from time to time at his home in Alexandria VA when he is not on the road and is frequently requested to be an instructor at music workshops and camps throughout the U.S., Canada and even France.
With their latest release Cold Spell landing a 2015 GRAMMY Nomination for Best Bluegrass Album followed by an eight award sweep at the 2015 Washington Area Music Awards THE WAMMIES, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, IBMA's 2014 Instrumental Group of the Year, can't slow down!
Since Frank Solivan left the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., he's built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. Solivan, with banjoist Mike Munford, 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, award winning guitarist Chris Luquette and bassist Jeremy Middleton, simmer a bluegrass/newgrass stew from instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills so hot, they’ve been named Washington Area Music Association’s Best Bluegrass Band of the Year for four consecutive years.
Southern Vocal Styles, level 2/3 — Carol Elizabeth Jones
Southern Vocal Styles will focus on what gives great singers their distinctive sounds and how we can incorporate some of their styles into our own singing. We will spend a portion of each class listening to recordings and learning to identify the stylistic turns and phrases that are signature sounds of bluegrass, country, and old-time repertoires. Then we will learn songs that allow us to incorporate those sounds into our singing. We will explore a wide range of material from unaccompanied ballads to the Stanley Brothers to George Jones. We will also cover important topics such as picking the right key for a song, transcribing lyrics, improving your vocal tone and expanding your range, and singing well with others.
Prerequisites: Students should be able to sing in tune and hear a melody. If new to bluegrass, country, and old-time music, students should explore a bit before class to build a familiarity with the sounds.
Bring: a song you can sing that you’d like to polish up with some style. You might also like to bring a recording device to help you remember things from class. Finally, if you don’t already have one, this is a great opportunity to start a songbook. Think ahead of time whether you want a loose leaf binder into which you can add pre-printed sheets, or whether you want to hand-write lyrics into a hardbound book.
Carol Elizabeth Jones has made her mark as a singer of traditional mountain music, a guitar player, and as a writer of new songs in the traditional style. She has many albums to her credit including those with Jones & Leva, Laurel Bliss, and most recently, the New Reeltime Travelers. Rounder Records featured Carol Elizabeth on several anthologies including the bestselling O Sister – Women In Bluegrass collection. She was a member of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet with Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams on A Prairie Home Companion.
Carol Elizabeth toured Africa and Southeast Asia as cultural ambassador for the U.S. Information Agency and has performed and taught at festivals throughout North America. Originally from Berea, Kentucky, Carol Elizabeth now lives in Lexington, VA. Dave Higgs of Bluegrass Breakdown says “…Carol Elizabeth has one of the most haunting and honest voices in acoustic music.”.
Harmony Singing, level 1/2 — Molly Tuttle
We will cover the basics of bluegrass harmony singing, touching on simple music theory, finding harmony parts by ear, and blending with other singers. We will listen to classic bluegrass recordings and analyze the harmony parts before trying them as a class. A lot of the class will be spent singing parts all together as well as breaking up into smaller singing groups. Through listening, analyzing and singing harmony to a variety of bluegrass songs, my goal is to give you the tools to go forward and find harmony parts on your own.
Prerequisites: Must have some singing experience. Must be able to sing on pitch.
Bring: Yourself! A music stand for lyrics if you have one.
A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly Tuttle has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. She began performing on stage when she was 11, and recorded her first album, The Old Apple Tree, at age 13. Since then, she’s appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, won first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest, and, last May, graduated from the Berklee College of Music, which she attended on a Hazel Dickens Memorial Scholarship. Her lovely voice, impeccable guitar playing, and sensitive song writing make her a star on the rise. She has already received more than two million YouTube views and has recently released two EP's with The Goodbye Girls and as a duo with John Mailander. She now makes her home in Nashville and spends time touring, writing and recording.
Harmony Vocals, level 2/3 — Keith Little
Join Keith for an exploration of bluegrass harmony's distinctive sound. This class will cover the basic structure of close harmony duet and trio singing common to bluegrass music, concentrating on blending harmony as well as harmonic note choice. Concepts of harmony style and vocal technique will be built out from there. Songs will be presented, with the eventual goal of singing harmony on the fly. This will be a very nuts and bolts vocal class with plenty of singing.
Prerequisites: Ability to sing and carry a simple harmony part on your own.
Bring: Drinking water, a portable recording device (optional), and a love of singing.
Keith Little - a nationally acclaimed musician, recording artist, and composer, Keith performs on guitar, 5-string banjo, mando and fiddle. Appearing regularly with the LittleBand, Keith is also a featured member of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, and the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. An amazing vocalist, Keith performed on the GRAMMY award winning recordings “The Grass Is Blue” and “Little Sparrow” by Dolly Parton. Keith’s composions have been recorded by Crystal Gayle, Tim O’Brien, Claire Lynch, and the Whites (among others), and he is an honorary lifetime member of the California Bluegrass Association..
Fungrass!, level 0/1 — Kathleen Rushing
Fungrass! is CBA's program designed for children from 4 - 12 (Younger children may be considered if a parent accompanies them) It takes place from 9:00 a.m. - noon, during the regular CBA camp hours. It is a music-based program involving song, dance, musical games, jamming, tie-dye and crafts, water and bubble play, and serendipitous moments of musical fun and learning! We will also be performing at the student concert. If your child already plays an instrument we will incorporate their talent into our concert, and if they don't yet play, you will be surprised with what they learn at Fun Grass!
Prerequisites: Designed for ages 4 to 10.
Bring: Any instrument your chaild might play or be interested in playing. There will be banjos, a couple of fiddles, a small bass, a couple of guitars, and a dobro for the kids to try out also.
Kathleen Rushing is the director of Fungrass!. Kathleen is a retired Kindergarten teacher/music and movement specialist. Currently she visits schools, libraries, and whoever will host her own brand of musical fun, Bingo Schmingo Music. Kathleen also plays mandolin, bouzouki, and banjo in the all-ladies Irish band, Extended Roots, and occasionally stands in with local bluegrass bands!
Questions? Email Kafween@mac.com