Levels, Instructors, and Classes for 2017
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 2/3
Old-Time Band— level 2/3
• Banjo Classes
Bluegrass Banjo— level 1/2
Bluegrass Banjo— level 2/3 *
Old-Time Banjo— level 1/2
• Bass Classes
Bass— level 1/2
Bass— level 2/3
• Dobro Classes
Dobro— level 1/2
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
Rhythm Guitar — level 1/2
Guitar Soloing — level 2/3 *
• Mandolin Classes
Beginning Mandolin — level 1
Intermediate Mandolin — level 2
Advanced Mandolin — level 3
• Singing Classes
Singing Styles — level 2/3
Intermediate Vocal Harmony— level 1/2
Advanced Vocal Harmony— level 2/3
• Songwriting Class
Songwriting — level 1/2
• Fungrass Class
Bluegrass/Old-Time — level 0/1
NOTE: Classes tend to fill quickly. For the best chance of getting in to your chosen class, send in your registration right away! If the class is full you can be put on a waiting list to get into the class if anyone cancels (it does happen). When signing up for classes you might consider giving a second choice, just in case.
* Classes that are almost full are marked with an asterisk. Send your registration in right away!
** Classes that are full are marked with two asterisks. You can still get on the waiting list for such classes.
CLASS DESCRIPTIONS & INSTRUCTORS
Bluegrass Band, level 2/3 — Bill Evans
This class is for all bluegrass instrumentalists (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro and bass) who want to move beyond slow jamming to playing more challenging tunes at quicker tempos and learn more about bluegrass harmony singing, improvising instrumental solos, band dynamics and arrangements.
The emphasis is on playing music together in a welcoming and fun environment for all participants but as a Level 2/3 class, you should already be familiar and be able to play in a bluegrass style on your instrument.
We’ll first review some of the basic rules and etiquette of bluegrass jamming: how to follow a chord progression, how to kick off and end a song, how to choose a key and use the capo, and how to figure out duet and trio bluegrass harmony parts. We’ll then move on to spend time thinking about how to work up simple instrumental solos on the fly, how to play more challenging material in unusual keys and we’ll work on selected individual tunes in more detail, just as you might do in an actual band, refining arrangements, instrumental solos, backup and harmony singing.
We’ll play a variety of jam favorites, exploring different kinds of songs from fiddle tunes to banjo breakdowns, to waltz time and contemporary bluegrass, based on songs that you already know and like to play. Class participants are encouraged to bring their favorite songs to lead in class.
Participants should two or more years of playing experience on their instruments, have experience playing with others in slow jams or beyond and are comfortable playing basic accompaniment techniques on their instrument. 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 familiarity with using a capo.
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.
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, 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, 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 nine 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 the Chair of the North American Music Roots Program at the California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley. You can learn more about Bill by visiting www.billevansbanjo.com and for questions concerning class content, email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BE the band! Old Time style, level 2/3 — Dan Levenson
All instruments are welcome but old time music is the key. Usually an old time string band consists of fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and occasionally mandolin, harmonica, and a few others. Banjo players should be old time (clawhammer or fingerstyle) style players.
Join Dan of The Boiled Buzzards Old Time Stringband as we build your stringband repertoire and work on your skills at playing nice with others. We will primarily concentrate on instrumental selections BUT we could do some vocal pieces if the skills allow.
Each morning we may take some time to break into groups by instrument and work on the tunes of the day while honing playing skills. Everything from dynamics to performance techniques will be covered as we go from individual to group.
Understanding of Old Time String Band music is helpful here. It is not bluegrass, but is not as narrow as you might think. Students should come in with playing knowledge of their instrument and be able to play several tunes in the regular string band keys of A, D, C and G.
Tuners, metronomes and note taking materials are the basics here. I'd strongly suggest a good recording device. In addition, be ready to name some of your favorite old time bands, and string band musicians from days past – living and passed on. A favorite tune or two could help and some source information (who you listened to and learned from, books you have worked through). It would be good to think about your musical goals as well.
A Southern Appalachian native, Dan Levenson was raised with Old Time Music. He has become a true master musician and teacher in both the Clawhammer Banjo style and Old Time Fiddling.
Dan's string band The Boiled Buzzards was called "The most influential String Band since Highwoods" by Steve Davis of The Devil's Box magazine. His current dance band Squirrelly Dan and The Cat Mountain Rounders is a favorite dance band in Arizona.
Dan was born and raised Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the northernmost city of Southern Appalachia) where he was raised with the music he has come to perform. His father, Fred, called dances and his mother, Naomi, played piano, guitar, and sang in several musical groups in the Pittsburgh area including her temple choir. They even met at a square dance!
Dan has been making his living with old time music, touring domestically and internationally for over 20 years now. In that time he has become a well-known master artist and instructor of the Appalachian style fiddle and old time clawhammer banjo. As a writer and recording artist, he has produced 14 Mel Bay publications including his innovative Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch and 8 recordings both solo and with The Boiled Buzzards. Dan is one of the undisputed influences on today's old time music aficionados. He now makes his home in Tucson, Arizona.
Bluegrass Banjo, level 1/2 — Patrick Sauber
This class will focus on building a solid foundation in the basics of Scruggs style bluegrass banjo. Right and left hand technique, tone production, timing, instrument setup and alternate tunings will be covered in class. We'll discuss finding the melody to create solos, and how to back up other instruments and vocals. Having fun playing with other people is our overall goal, and having a strong grasp of the fundamentals makes it a lot easier.
Students should be relatively comfortable with the closed F and D shape chords, and should hopefully know some tunes/songs.
a five-string banjo, picks, tuner and a capo. The class will be taught by ear, so a recording device is also recommended.
The son of master old time musician Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber grew up surrounded by traditional southern music. Equally adept at banjo, mandolin, and guitar he is an in-demand instrumentalist and singer. Patrick has played or recorded with many musical greats including: Doc Watson, Curly Seckler, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Roland White, John Fogerty, Herb Pedersen and many more. Patrick was also a cast member of the Christopher Guest movie "A Mighty Wind". He can be seen on the road with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, and the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band.
Bluegrass banjo, level 2/3 — Ned Luberecki
I like to take a two part approach to learning the banjo. The first is based on learning the melody and creating a solo around it. We'll start with just the basic melody and use rolls and fill-in notes to work out a basic solo. Then we'll see how common banjo licks can be used to "bluegrass-up" the basic solo. Once we've covered this in the key of G, we'll apply the same techniques to learning to create solos in the keys of C and D (and if there's time, we may even try F, E and Bb).
The second approach is what I like to call "Jam Session Survival". We'll learn how to assess the chord progression to a song and use common licks and moveable chord positions to create solos "on the fly".Ultimately, by combining both techniques, you'll be able to play your own solos, based mostly on the melody and use the survival method to fill in the gaps.
We'll also spend a bit of time on back-up, practice techniques and if there's time and/or interest, we'll get into melodic style and single string style as well. I'm also very open to requests and suggestions, so if there's something special that you want covered in the class, we'll make a list on day one and make sure to get to the top requests!
Students should be familiar with changing chords in the three basic major chord shapes. Students should be able to hold their own playing along in a jam on some basic tunes both playing rhythm and able to take a break at slow to moderate speed.
your banjo (duh!) picks, capo, (some extra strings are never a bad idea) and audio recording is allowed. There will be a few TAB handouts, but reading tab is not necessary. My goal is to get you to play this stuff by ear.
Described by Steve Martin as "an absolutely joyous, riveting, beautifully syncopated example of the beauty of the banjo," Ned Luberecki's new album, Take Five, demonstrates he is a master of his instrument, adept in multiple styles.
As banjo player for the award winning Becky Buller Band; one half of the duo Nedski & Mojo, and host of Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction's Derailed and More Banjo Sunday, he is known not only for his banjo prowess, but for his wit and humor. Respected as both a traditional and progressive player, Ned toured extensively in the United States and Europe as a member of Chris Jones and the Night Drivers for over a decade before joining the Becky Buller Band. He's also been a member of Paul Adkins and the Borderline Band, the Rarely Herd, and Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, and has appeared with such artists as Jim Lauderdale, Tony Trischka, and Ray Stevens.
When not performing and broadcasting, Ned gladly shares his methods with banjo students around the world, having taught at N?ashcamp, Munich Banjo Camp, Camp Bluegrass, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Kaufman Kamp, Midwest Banjo Camp and more. Additionally, he is the author of Alfred Music Publishing's Complete Banjo Method.
Twitter - @NedLuberecki
Clawhammer Banjo, level 1/2 — Allison deGroot
The goal of this class is to send students away with a handful of new tunes, solid technique, ideas on how to practise and of course, have fun!
The tunes will be taught by ear and tablature of each piece will be provided at the end of class as an aide. We will build repertoire for jams, explore some unusual tunnings and do some listening of banjo greats. We will take time to explore rhythm, chords as well as jamming concepts. Lastly, we will talk about where to find amazing recordings of old-time music and tools to help your practise throughout the year.
Comfortable with "bum-ditty" pattern and basic "drop thumbing".
a recording device
Allison de Groot
combines love and passion for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound – unique and full of personality. Although firmly rooted in old-time and music, she has shown her ability to collaborate and create outside this genre, pushing the boundaries of the clawhammer banjo. Allison has toured all over the world with various groups and is currently performing with Bruce Molsky's new project Molsky's Mountain Drifters and The Goodbye Girls, among others. She holds a performance degree on clawhammer banjo from Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Bass, level 1/2 — Cary Black
For beginners to intermediates, this class will present the fundamental skills and knowledge you need to progress quickly toward the goal of playing steady, accurate, lively, and supportive Bluegrass and Old Time bass.
You'll learn how to produce powerful sound comfortably, keep good time in various feels and tempos, and hear and find roots, 5ths, 3rds, passing tones, and runs. We'll practice how to identify chord changes by name and number using common bluegrass chord progressions, and discuss strategies for playing unfamiliar songs by ear in a jam situation. We'll examine the role of the bass as it relates to the other instruments in a bluegrass band. We'll play a bunch of music, and you'll leave this class ready to start jamming with confidence!
Open-minded curiosity, attention, a desire to increase your knowledge and skills, and the willingness to make mistakes. If you have access to a bass, play as much as you can before Camp—it will be good to toughen up your hands a bit, so you'll be ready to play a lot.
A playable acoustic upright bass.
A tuner if you have one.
Notepad and pencil, and/or an audio recording device.
As a teacher, Cary Black is well known for his patient, encouraging, intuitive, and coherent teaching style. He enjoys accommodating a variety of learning styles while maintaining a relaxed, efficient, and fun class atmosphere.
Cary was an adjunct faculty member in Music at The Evergreen State College from 1994 to 2000. He has taught at music camps throughout the West, including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Bluegrass Association Grass Valley Camp, California Coast Music Camp, Centrum Swing Workshop, Colorado Roots Music Camp, Greater Yellowstone Music Camp, Bluegrass at the Beach, B.C. Bluegrass Workshop, Walker Creek Music Camp, and Wintergrass Academy.
Described by Alan Senauke in Sing Out! magazine as "a musician's musician," Cary is at home in a wide variety of musical settings. He's been a member of the Kathy Kallick Band for the past four years. He worked with Laurie Lewis and Grant Street for three years, playing and singing bass on the 1994 IBMA song of the year "Who Will Watch the Home Place". He's also recently toured with Laurie and Kathy in support of their "Songs of Vern and Ray" album.
Other performance and recording credits include work with Howard Alden, Laurindo Almeida, Ernestine Anderson, The Boys of the Lough, Petula Clark, Mike Dowling, Nokie Edwards (Ventures), Bob Franke, Mary Gauthier, Nina Gerber, Sylvia Herold, Dan Hicks, Rob Ickes, Harry James Orchestra, Ed Johnson, The Kingston Trio, Keith Little, Rose Maddox, Marley's Ghost, Carol McComb, John Miller, Mark Murphy, Scott Nygaard, Mollie O'Brien, Mark O'Connor, Peter Ostroushko, Joe Pass, Vicki Randle, Johnnie Ray, John Reischman, Del Rey, Raul Reynoso, Peter Rowan, Charles Sawtelle, Paul Siebel, Kay Starr, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Linda Waterfall, Ernie Watts, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, and Glen Yarbrough.
Cary has toured extensively, appearing at festivals and concerts throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He has made numerous radio appearances including The Grand Ol' Opry and A Prairie Home Companion; and he has performed on the PBS, ABC, TNN, and Comedy Central television networks, and on the soundtracks of feature films. In 2016 Cary was heard playing bass on the soundtrack of Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which featured President Obama.
Building Your Bass Know-How, level 2/3 — Chuck Ervin
We'll reinforce the basics but also dig a little deeper to enhance your understanding of the bass and its role in the band. This class will be chock-full of knowledge nuggets including left- and right-hand technique, how to build bass runs, theory for fun (and survival), timing, tone, hearing chord changes, locking in rhythmically with your band, and grinning while picking. Handouts will be provided. Expect lots of in-class playing.
You should be able to play simple root-5th technique in a few keys. You should have some experience playing in a group or jam setting, hearing some chord changes, and playing chords by number. Play as much as you can in May and early June to avoid blisters and sore fingers at camp!
Your bass (set up for comfortable playing), a tuner, a music stand, a pen or pencil for making notes, and a recording device, if you like. Don't forget water!
Bassist Chuck Ervin currently performs swing music with the Sylvia Herold Ensemble, folk music with Euphonia, classic country with the Mike Stadler & Mary Gibbons Band, jazz and pop with guitarist Chris Grampp, and is an in-demand bassist in the Bay Area's vibrant jazz and acoustic-music scenes. In a previous century, he fronted bluegrass band Loose Gravel.
He has worked with many area musicians, including Bobby Black, Danny Carnahan, Joe Craven, Ed Johnson, Jinx Jones, Paul Kotapish, Keith Little, Tony Marcus, Jim Nunally, Julian Smedley, and Radim Zenkl. He studied jazz bass with Glenn Richman, bassist for famed vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and teaches bass at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, at music camps, and at his Oakland studio.
Advanced Beginner / Intermediate Dobro, level 1/2 — Greg Booth
Welcome to the easy dobro class! In this class we'll cover a wide range of issues to help you improve your sound and enjoy playing. We'll start with reviewing the fundamentals: hand positions, picking and bar techniques, playing in tune and making nice tone. We'll have fun experimenting with phrasing and timing and learn a few songs and licks. Above all we'll keep in mind that it doesn't have to be hard to be good!
Have been playing for almost a year or more, know how to tune your dobro, know where G, C, and D chords are, and know some songs.
Your dobro, picks and bar. A tuner. A recorder is a great idea for retention and practice later.
Playing dobro and banjo with the Kathy Kallick band for the last 8 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 is approaching 3 million views and averages about 2,000 views a day (see www.youtube.com/user/aksliderdobro).
Advanced Dobro, level 2/3 — Mike Witcher
In this course we will learn the foundations for proper Dobro technique along with fundamental approaches to creating an effective practice routine, learning songs, creating solos and playing back up. Be prepared for a lot of class participation.
This class is for people who can already get around on the instrument (or at least play some tunes) who want to expand their technique and musical sensibility. Students should be familiar with basic scale positions and roll patterns, though we will cover these topics in class, also.
something to take notes with and an audio recorder.
As one of the most prominent voices on the resonator guitar , Michael Witcher has recorded and toured with Dwight Yoakam, Peter Rowan, Sara Watkins, Bette Midler, The Gibson Brothers, Dolly Parton, Joan Osborn, Laurie Lewis, Chris Jones, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), Keith Little, and Ashley Monroe among many others.
Known for his rich tone and lyrical phrasing, Michael is also a highly sought after instructor. He has written two successful instructional books, “Resonator Guitar- Tunes Techniques and Practice Skills”, and “Resonator Guitar-20 Bluegrass Jam Favorites”. Michael can be found teaching at the top acoustic music camps around the world, and has always gotten rave reviews from his students at our camps.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 1/2 — John Mailander
Welcome to beginning bluegrass fiddle! This class will focus on the fundamentals of playing fiddle in a bluegrass jam or band context. We'll begin with working on playing with good tone, technique, and intonation. Throughout the week we will cover a wide range of topics essential to bluegrass fiddling, such as embellishing a melody, double stops, simple improvisation, and playing backup. Bluegrass is an aural tradition, so we'll be learning mostly by ear, but I will provide handouts to take home as well. We'll even learn a couple new fiddle tunes! The goal of our class will be to expand your musical vocabulary so that you'll have even more fun playing music with others!
You should know how to tune up your fiddle, and a few basic scales (G, D, and A major). All are welcome, but at least a year of playing experience is recommended. Most importantly, come with an open mind and love of music!
a recording device, notebook/pen, tuner, humidifier, extra strings, and rosin.
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.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 2/3 — Annie Staninec
Take your bluegrass fiddling to the next level! We'll learn several tips and tricks for easily moving between keys, spicing up your breaks and making them sound more 'bluegrassy', and using syncopation and shuffles to add rhythm and drive to your playing. We'll also work on fills, backup and good technique for supporting vocal tunes. We'll study a few solos in depth from the fiddling masters so we can incorporate their ideas into our own solos, and also learn to compose breaks on the fly for typical bluegrass melodies, so you can be more confident in a jam or performance setting. We'll be playing a bunch!
In order to get the most from the class, participants should have experience playing in the common bluegrass keys, be able to play at least a handful of standard bluegrass songs and tunes up to speed at a steady tempo, and should be comfortable using their 4th finger.
a recording device, tuner, extra strings, rosin, humidifier
is an IBMA Award winning fiddle player who began playing at the age of five, began performing at the age of 12, and now makes her living recording, teaching and touring across North America and internationally. Annie is currently a full time member of the Kathy Kallick Band, regularly performs with several other groups, and has toured or recorded with countless artists including Peter Rowan, Rod Stewart, John Reischman, Town Mountain, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger, and David Grisman. She also recently released her own self-titled album which showcases her fluency across multiple genres.
Annie is a highly experienced teacher, having taught at numerous prestigious camps including Kaufman Kamp, the Rockygrass Academy, CBA Music Camp, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Walker Creek Music Camp, and Cordova Music Camp. She also recently released an acclaimed instructional book of traditional bluegrass fiddle solos, and has a growing roster of private students across the nation. Annie's exuberance captures the hearts of students and audiences wherever she travels, and she is a musical inspiration whether you are listening to her, playing with her, or learning from her.
Old-Time Fiddle Deep Dive, level 2/3 — Bruce Molsky
In this class, we'll take do some guided listening to classic old fiddle recordings. The goal is to discover what makes the performances so powerful, and to learn and play those tunes together. We'll identify those things that make old-time music so strong and unique: ornamentation, intonation, pulse, and language. Another goal is to develop the really important skill of learning by ear. The better your knowledge of the technical "nuts and bolts" of the style, the easier it becomes to pick tunes out of the air from recordings and at jam sessions!
If there's interest, we may also have a session on harmonizing and accompanying songs with the fiddle.
Prerequisites: We’ll be learning short phrases of melody by ear, call and response, and then fleshing them out with bowing and all the embellishments. And we’ll be drilling and repeating the phrases. Getting it all into muscle memory is important! If you are new to learning this way, it would be a good idea to practice singing along with your favorite recordings until you feel like you’ve “got it,” then sing them without the recording.
a fiddle that doesn’t mind being tuned to a couple of different tunings. A digital tuner is helpful, especially a contact-type tuner that only picks up your instrument and not everyone else’s around you (Planet Waves NS Violin Microtuner is my favorite - inexpensive and accurate).
An audio recorder is essential. A lot of folks like to take short video clips, and you’re welcome to do that for your own use, but please do not share or post on social media.
One of the most respected old-time fiddlers of his generation, Bruce Molsky plays southern roots and blues music on fiddle, banjo, guitar, and song with a great depth of spirit. Known for his collaborations with musicians of other cultures, his wide-angled approach to traditional folk music has influenced a generation of players and listeners. His new trio “Molsky’s Mountain Drifters” is strong on the scene, and Bruce is a founding member of Andy Irvine & Dónal Lunny’s acclaimed Mozaik. He tours with Aly Bain & Ale Möller. With Fiddlers 4, he was nominated for a Grammy award.
Bruce is also on faculty in the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. His solo concerts and many CDs have become staples for fans of American and world music everywhere.
Guitar with Singing, level 1/2 — Molly Tuttle
This class is for those who have some experience singing and accompanying themselves on guitar but would like to get more comfortable backing themselves up and playing steady and confident rhythm while singing. We will go back to basic rhythm techniques such as the boom-chuck strumming pattern, and from there we will delve deeper into the subtle stylistic elements that make bluegrass rhythm. We will work on bass runs to connect chords and fill spaces during songs, and practice playing them while singing. Time will also be spent on singing techniques, as well as simple guitar leads for bluegrass standards. By the end of camp we will have learned a lot of new bluegrass repertoire to play and sing in jams.
Know basic chords (G, C, Em, D, F, A)
Be able to switch between basic chords while keep a steady rhythm in time
Be able to sing a handful of bluegrass standards while playing rhythm guitar in time
tuner, capo, pick, music stand (optional), and a recording device or phone (optional)
A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly 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, this fall, received a Momentum Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association in the instrumentalist category. 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 is currently gearing up to release her first solo EP.
Old-Time Guitar, level 1/2 — Stash Wyslouch
In this class, students will learn to backup and lead fiddle tunes and songs in the old-time style. This class will primarily focus on developing bass runs and enhancing boom-chuck sensibilities. Concepts include tone, touch and timing and will also touch on picking out basic melodies to further enhance understanding of songs and instrumentals.
A firm knowledge of open chords (G, C, D, A, E, F), knowledge of the names of each string (lowest to highest: E A D G B E) as they will be referred to constantly!
Audio recorder, tuner, notepad
plays guitar in Molsky’s Mountain Drifters along with Allison and Bruce. A solid old-time flat picker and accompanist, he is also is is one of bluegrass’ great young genre-bending pioneers. Stash got his start as a guitarist in metal bands before immersing himself in the structures of roots music as a member of The Deadly Gentlemen. A 2010 Graduate of the Berklee College of Music, he has travelled twice as a US State Department sponsored musical ambassador to countries such as Laos, Timor-Leste, Estonia, Romania and Korea. Stash also leads his own group of original music, The Stash! Band, and is constantly in demand for band and studio recordings.
Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar, level 1/2 — Steve Pottier
This class will be focussed on attaining an even strum and solid bass notes. Learn bass runs (walk ups and walk downs) between chords, when to use them and how to make up your own. Learn how to make your G run more powerful! Learn some of the essential intros and endings expected of a bluegrass guitarist!
You should know and be able to smoothly change to and from common bluegras chords: A, B7, C, D, E, F, G.
Tuner, capo, heavy (1mm+) flatpick, recording device. Also, it's good to think of questions you might have ahead of time. If you want to get in the mood, listen to some Del McCoury, Dudley Connell (Johnson Mt. Boys, current Seldom Scene), Jimmy Martin, Red Allen, Lester Flatt, Tony Rice ( in the Bluegrass Album Band), Larry Sparks. Listen for what they are doing on rhythm guitar - where they do and don't put runs, dynamics of their strums, etc.
has been a fixture in the Bay Are bluegrass scene for many years playing bass, guitar and mandolin. He has played with High Country, Done Gone, Sunset Boys, Frank Wakefield, Laurie Lewis, Earl Brothers and more. He has taught at many music camps, including CBA, California Coast Music Camp, Bluegrass at the Beach, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and Bluegras Camp in Leveland, Texas. He was a regular columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. Steve's recording with Sandy Rothman, "Bluegrass Guitar Duets," has had great reviews ("inspiring music to vacuum the house by..").
Melody-Based Bluegrass Guitar Solos, level 2/3 — Scott Nygaard
Whether you're playing a solo to a song or an instrumental, the melody is the first place you start. In this workshop we'll work on basic flatpicking techniques by learning fiddle tune melodies and explore different ways to embellish and expand song melodies with lead-in runs, crosspicking, melodic variations, place-holder licks, and more to create your own bluegrass guitar solos. We'll also cover fretting-hand technique, simple scales and arpeggios, melody-based improvisation, how to create dynamic and powerful solos, and methods for learning the fingerboard.
Should be able to play steady boom-chuck bluegrass rhythm and have some experience playing melodies in the keys of G and C.
a tuner, flatpick, capo, audio recorder
Grammy-winning guitarist Scott Nygaard is one of the most inventive and original guitarists in the bluegrass/acoustic music scene. Downbeat magazine has called him "a phenomenally talented stylist." He has performed and/or recorded with Tim O'Brien, Joan Baez, Chris Thile, Darol Anger, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, John Reischman, Bill Evans, Sharon Gilchrist, and many others, and has released two solo albums for Rounder Records as well as self-released albums with John Reischman and Sharon Gilchrist, Scott Nygaard and Crow Molly, Roger Tallroth and Scott Nygaard, and the Websters and Scott Nygaard. Scott was the guitarist on three recordings that have proven to be extremely influential on the contemporary acoustic music scene: Chris Thile's Leading Off, Tim O'Brien's Red on Blonde, and Jerry Douglas's Slide Rule. He currently performs with a variety of musicians, including John Reischman, Sharon Gilchrist, Joe K. Walsh, and Alisa Rose, among others. Formerly the editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine, Scott has written hundreds of articles on music, musicians, guitars, and guitarists; authored two bluegrass instruction books and an instructional video; and taught at music workshops from Fairbanks to Finland. Scott also co-founded the roots-music video instruction site Peghead Nation (www.pegheadnation.com), which provides high-quality instruction on roots music instruments with acclaimed instructors/performers.
Mandolin, level 1 —Tom Rozum
Bob Wills called Tiny Moore's mandolin, "the biggest little instrument in the world." It truly is a great instrument, not only as a vehicle for playing beautiful or energetic melodies, but as a wonderful accompaniment device in the right hands. And as Bill Monroe has famously shown us all, it can be a percussive, driving, bad-ass instrument of rhythm.
This is a beginning class, so we'll emphasize correct left and right hand technique, and some very basic music theory, always stressing good tone production. Paying attention to form now will save you heartaches and frustration down the road. We'll discuss how to approach finding basic melodies, and then what simple things we can do to make them more interesting.
You should be able to tune your mandolin, and be able to play simple melodies as well as be able to change basic chords in time with the music. Come with a strong desire to learn and we'll start you on your own path of mandolin discovery.
Bring to class a mandolin, mandolin strap, a flat pick, a tuner, a recording device (sorry, no videos), a notebook and pencil, and a bottle of drinking water.
has been playing mandolin for 43 years, always favoring musicality over flash. Since joining forces with Laurie Lewis in 1986, they've toured internationally, recorded over 25 CDs together (two of which were nominated for Grammys), and have appeared many times on A Prarie Home Companion, and The Grand Ole Opry.
"A quintessential stylist who creates mandolin breaks with the same passion and precision Monet put into his brush strokes, Tom Rozum ought to be recognized as a mandolinist of the first order." –– Mandolin Magazine
Bluegrass Mandolin, level 2 — Jack Tuttle
Jack will teach various approaches to constructing bluegrass solos, from Bill Monroe to the modern players of today. We'll explore the elements that embellish a melody, from slides and double-stops, to scales and licks. We'll also look at how to inject blues into a solo and to how to use blues scales for simple improvising ideas. Special emphasis on all elements of picking technique and exercises to improve speed and dexterity. Geared to the intermediate player wanting to develop a deeper understanding of bluegrass mandolin and improvising, as well as learn some new songs. We'll use lots of printed handouts with both music and tablature.
Students must be able to
1. Tune their mandolin
2. Have a working knowledge of basic right and left hand technique
3. Play some standard chord shapes
4. Play a number of tunes comfortably without sheet music
5. Be comfortable playing in a group setting at a steady pace
6. Some ability to read tablature or music notation will be very helpful
Recording device, Music stand, and Tuner
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, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the Strawberry Music Festival. Jack has been teaching full time at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto for 37 years and has built a complete lesson program on mandolin, fiddle, banjo and guitar. He has taught more than a thousand students, 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.
Advanced Mandolin, level 3 — Tom Bekeny
We'll learn breaks to standard Bluegrass songs and instrumentals and explore how breaks can be located on a continuum ranging from melody-based (traditional Bluegrass) to less melody-based (contemporary Bluegrass). We'll talk about how to compose breaks in a traditional Bluegrass style and contrast this with contemporary soloing styles that are more based on playing over chord changes. I'll share my thoughts/approach to improvisation, and basic music theory will be touched on lightly whenever useful and relevant. Time permitting, we may get into some special techniques like Jesse McReynold's crosspicking and split string techniques and Bill Monroe's unique mandolinistic approach to fiddle tunes. Although I'll provide written music (tablature) to reinforce what we're working on, I encourage everyone to bring sound recorders and to rely on learning by ear as much as possible.
1. at least two years of playing experience
2. experience playing with others in jam sessions or in bands
3. facility with changing chords in time with music
4. ability to play a few instrumentals and breaks to standard Bluegrass songs
2. sound recorder
is a mandolinist, fiddler, and experienced teacher who has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe for over 40 years. He was the mandolinist in such Bay Area bluegrass bands as Done Gone, Tenbrooks, and an early version of the Grant Street String Band with Laurie Lewis. Tom has played mandolin with the Kathy Kallick Band for 20 years and has held the fiddle spot with California's premiere traditional bluegrass band, High Country, since 1988. He has recorded with all these groups, and the most recent Kathy Kallick Band project was voted the "Top Contemporary Bluegrass CD" of 2016 by Roots Music Report. In addition to having performed with Peter Rowan, the Rowan brothers and David Grisman, Tom also plays in the much acclaimed trad Bluegrass jam band, Bangers and Grass along with west coast Bluegrass luminaries Jim Nunally, Steve Pottier, Bill Evans, and Chad Manning.
In addition to playing Bluegrass, Tom also plays mainstream jazz on his mandolin with his trio The Missing Man Quartet and performs with gypsy jazz guitarist George Cole. He released a CD of straight-ahead jazz in 2013 ("Jazzolin"). He was featured in the Summer 2009 issue of Mandolin Magazine, and has an instructional dvd on beginning mandolin (Music Star Productions).
Bluegrass Vocal Styles and Early Influences, level 2/3 — Mary Gibbons
This class will focus on singing bluegrass songs in a compelling, authentic manner. We will listen to and sing songs from the BG canon and learn about the contributions to the style of its antecedent influences—the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, brother duets of the 1930’s, “hillbilly” or “old time” music, and spirituals. We will focus on hearing different harmony parts and learning the secrets of blending and phrasing with a singing partner(s). In addition to delving into the styles of various, notable bluegrass artists, we will also consider how you can make a song your own. Students are encouraged to bring a song they would like to work on. Time allowing, we will venture into “country music” songs apart from bluegrass.
Students should be able to hear and reproduce a melody on pitch.
A music stand and a recording device will be useful. Bring water. Singing is a thirsty business.
has played and sung bluegrass and country music with the Fog City Ramblers, The All Girl Boys, Laurie Lewis and Her Bluegrass Pals, Michael Stadler as the Stadler Gibbons Band, and others. Her playing and singing can be heard on recordings by the above bands as well as other artists.
Described as a “…strong, stylish singer” in Bluegrass Unlimited, Mary is a member of a short list of soulful California-bred, female bluegrass vocalists. Her powerful voice adapts easily to any style, be it emotive country, gutsy blues or straight-ahead bluegrass. Her highly regarded dynamic rhythm guitar playing has earned her teaching slots at major music camps throughout the West and a feature article in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. When the Muse cooperates, Mary is also an accomplished songwriter.
Vocal Harmony, level 1/2 — Laurie Lewis
OK. So you can sing the melody to a song. Now what? How do those people just launch into harmonies? Singing in harmony is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do, with no other props than your voice. This workshop will teach the skills needed to hear and add harmony parts to classic country and bluegrass songs. We will listen, deconstruct the parts, and put them back together as a group. We'll also break up into smaller groups so that everyone gets the chance to hear themselves blend and phrase together in a small ensemble. Come with plenty of water to drink and a voice ready to sing.
If you can sing "Happy Birthday" reasonably in tune, you are welcome to join this class. If you are like my dear brother, and can't do that, then please consider taking a basic singing class first.
an audio recorder, just in case. If you are an instrumentalist, it might help to have your instrument with you in order to find harmony parts, though we will not be using instruments often.
is a dedicated music teacher, having taught fiddle, songwriting, vocal styles, and harmony singing for many many years. She organized and ran Bluegrass Week at Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV, for ten years, and Bluegrass at the Beach in Oregon for fourteen years. The Sacramento News called her "as fine a singer as anyone on the acoustic music circuit, anywhere in the world." Billboard praised her ability to "successfully walk the high wire above esoteric country, combining elements of bluegrass and pure country to form her own seamless mix." Sing Out! magazine recently stated, "It's not too much of a stretch to suggest that if the "Americana" format wasn't invented for her, it should have been." And American folk music icon Utah Phillips boiled it down even further, asserting: "Whatever country music is supposed to be, she's at the center of it." Her latest CD with her band The Right Hands, "The Hazel and Alice Sessions," was nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album this year.
Bluegrass Vocal Harmony, 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.
Ability to sing and carry a simple harmony part on your own.
Drinking water, a portable recording device (optional), and a love of singing.
- Nationally acclaimed musician, recording artist, and composer, Keith performs on guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, 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 compositions 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.
Songwriting Straight From The Heart, level 1/2 — Kathy Kallick
In this class we will conjure "the muse" through prompts, examples, and dialogue. If you've written songs, or bits of songs, or just think you've got a song in you, we'll delve into the process and forget about the "product." Funny or sad, or just telling the story, we'll keep it real and from the heart.
There will be handouts, and you want to bring some means of writing stuff down.
Since co-founding the Good Ol’ Persons, in 1975, Kathy Kallick has won a Grammy and two IBMA Awards; had six title tracks and albums each spend a year in the top echelon of the national bluegrass charts; released 20 albums, containing 150 of her original compositions and arrangements; received a Lifetime Membership award from the California Bluegrass Association; and collaborated with the country’s top acoustic musicians – including her fabulous current band. In addition, Kathy has taught at numerous music camps, including the Rockygrass Academy, Augusta Heritage Center, Sore Fingers, Nimblefingers, and many west coast camps.
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, ukulele lessons, 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, ukuleles, 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