Levels, Classes, & Instructors for 2014
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. We will
allow for some adjustments as needed the first day.
• Band-Lab / Ensemble Classes
Bluegrass Band— level 1/2
Bluegrass Band— level 3
Old-Time Band— level 2/3
• Banjo Classes
Bluegrass Banjo— level 2
Bluegrass Banjo— level 3
Old-Time Banjo— level 2/3
• Bass Classes
Bluegrass/Old-Time— level 2/3 **
• Dobro Classes
Bluegrass Dobro— level 2
Bluegrass Dobro— level 3
• Fiddle Classes
Beginning Fiddle— level 1
Bluegrass Fiddle — level 2/3
Old-Time Fiddle — level 2/3
• Guitar Classes
Guitar with Singing — level 1
Old-Time Rhythm Guitar— level 2
Guitar Soloing — level 2/3 **
• Mandolin Classes
Bluegrass/Old-Time — level 1
Bluegrass/Old-Time — level 2
Bluegrass/Old-Time — level 3
• Singing Classes
Style — level 2/3
Harmony — level 2/3
• Fungrass Class
Bluegrass/Old-Time — level 0/1
* Single asterisks mark classes that are almost full. To attend one of these classes, sign up right away!
** Double asterisks mark classes that are full. You can still try to get into these classes, but you should probably have a second choice, just in case.
Last updated 4/19/14
CLASS DESCRIPTIONS & INSTRUCTORS
Old-Time Stringband — Masha Goodman & Geff Crawford
Join in the energy and fun of playing in an Old-Time Stringband. We'll learn one or two tunes a day, and also take time to work on right hand techniques and style. Beginning players will learn to find the "fenceposts" of a tune, more advanced folks will learn to add variations drawn from Old-Time tradition. Masha will teach clawhammer banjo methods including basic frailing, drop-thumbing, double-thumbing, the "Galax lick", and where and when to use them. Geff will teach fiddle bowing, rhythms, melody, variation and style. We'll bring fiddles and banjos together to hear how they intertwine, learn some intros and endings, and put together a little band, so other old-time instruments are welcome too. If you're a little shy about playing with others, or joining in a jam, or want to learn to pick tunes up by ear on the fly, join us. There's a reason they call it "Playing" music - come have fun!
Prerequisites: You should be able to tune your instrument and play a couple of old-time tunes. Open to all levels, all instruments (with emphasis on fiddle and banjo). Fiddles will stay in GDAE, banjos will use aDADE, gDGBD, aEAC#E, and maybe aEADE. Tab & written music will be available, but we will help you learn by ear.
Bring: A tuner, a recording device (recommended but not mandatory), banjo capo, extra strings, chocolate, and a good joke.
Masha Goodman Crawford has been playing Old-Time banjo, Irish tinwhistle, singing, calling dances, and flatfoot clogging since the late 1970's. One of the original founders of the Chicago Barn Dance Company, she has performed & taught at the Strawberry Music Festival, Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, University of Chicago Folk Festival, Wheatlands Folk Festival, Old Town School of Folk Music, Eastbourne Folk Festival, and many more venues across the US and in Europe.
Geff Crawford has been playing Old-Time fiddle for over 30 years, and banjo, guitar, ukulele & mandolin, too. He has studied & played with such masters as Melvin Wine, Charlie Acuff, Mike Seeger, John Hartford, Clyde Davenport, Paul David Smith, Earl Collins, Art Stamper, Frank George, Tom Paley, Walt Koken and others. The author of the "Old-Time Rambler" column for the CBA website, Geff is a regular performer at the Strawberry Music Festival, teaches fiddle, plays for barndances, and does school programs and assemblies.
Masha & Geff perform together as a duo called "Old Soles" and with their band, "Orange Possum Special". They've taught at the CBA Music Camp every year since 2009, and are known for their patient, supportive, and light-hearted teaching style.
Bluegrass Band, level 1/2 — Bill Evans
This class is for all bluegrass instrumentalists (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and bass) who want to move beyond slow jams but aren’t quite ready for on-stage performances (or buying matching outfits and hitting the road in an old bus!). If you’re ready to spend more time 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, kicking off and ending songs, learning chord progressions by ear and even attempting solos on the fly. 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 as well as a welcoming and fun environment for all participants.
We’ll play a variety of jam favorites from Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin and others, exploring different kinds of song structures, playing these pieces at medium to medium-fast tempos. We’ll play as many different kinds of songs 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.
Class participants will have the opportunity to present a song in class, just like a real jam session. You'll come away from the class knowing your role in a jam session and how to quickly begin playing along, even on songs that you have never heard before!
Prerequisites: Participants should have at least one year of experience on their instruments and know basic accompaniment techniques (this class is not designed for folks who are beginners on their instruments!). Class members should know how to fret the major and minor chords typically used in bluegrass and should be able to play well a half dozen tunes or more at slow to medium tempos. Guitar and banjo players should also have some familiarity with using a capo.
Bill Evans is the author of Banjo For Dummies, the most popular banjo instructional book in the world, 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 thirty-five 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 bluegrass greats, including Dry Branch Fire Squad, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, Laurie Lewis, Bluegrass Intentions, and his own bands and has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.
He has also taught band classes at most every major bluegrass camp in the world, including the 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 In Good Company topped international folk and bluegrass charts and features such bluegrass luminaries as The Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O’Brien, Joy Kills Sorrow, David Grier, Stuart Duncan, Mike Marshall and many others. He has produced seven instructional DVDs for Homespun Tapes, AcuTab Publications and the Murphy Method. You can learn more about Bill by visiting www.billevansbanjo.com.
Bluegrass Band, level 3 — Jack Tuttle
ack will work with students to develop and improve playing in a bluegrass band 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...
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.
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.
Jack began teaching full time at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in 1979 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. As a performer, Jack has performed at many notable events, including: A Prairie Home Companion, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry Music Festival and Merlefest. In 2007 Jack was awarded an honorary life membership in the California Bluegrass Association.
Bluegrass Banjo, level 2 — Molly Tuttle
In this class we will learn basic solos and backup methods for standard bluegrass tunes and songs. We will focus on achieving a classic Scruggs style sound on the banjo by learning essential licks and vocabulary used in bluegrass. We will spend some time on right-hand technique, with exercises to get rolls up to speed. Some time will be spent learning backup techniques for playing behind singers and other instruments. If you don't have much experience paying with others I hope to give you the tools to feel more confident about jamming and playing in a band setting.
Prerequisites: You should know basic rolls and be able to play a handful of tunes and songs in time on banjo.
Bring: a tuner, banjo picks, a capo and a recording device (optional).
Molly Tuttle is a virtuoso instrumentalist known for her flatpicking on guitar and her accomplished clawhammer and three-finger banjo playing. She’s been performing on stage since she was 11 and recorded her first album at age 13. She’s appeared at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, The Freight and Salvage, and countless other festivals and venues across the country. Molly has been keeping busy with touring, recording, and school since starting at Berklee College of music. In October she performed on A Prairie Home Companion and her song Walden took first place in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in 2012..
Bluegrass Banjo, level 3: Skill, Mastery, Dexterity, Proficiency, and Excellence — Pat Cloud
A class for the ultimate in fretboard understanding. Take the most common bluegrass forms and expand them to include a creative basis for advanced artistic and stylistic distinction. The absolute best ideas for harmonic understanding. If you are an intermediate player ready to take your playing to the next level, this is the class for you!.
Prerequisites: A repertoire of at least 5-10 songs at medium tempo and a basic understanding of standard bluegrass chords.
Bring: An audio recorder, metronome, and note and tab paper..
Pat Cloud was born in Los Angeles California in 1950 and discovered the five-string banjo at age thirteen. By age sixteen, he was playing professionally and toured with the USO Bob Hope Oriental Command tours of 1967 and 1970 and in the early 1970's. He has been a Los Angeles studio musician for 45 years.
In 1972, he began jazz studies with former Nat King Cole guitarist, Horace Hatchett and then with William Thrasher, (co-author of the Joe Pass guitar book), and started to adapt a fluid jazz vocabulary to five-string banjo utilizing melodic technique pioneered by such banjoists as Carrol Best, Bobby Thompson, and Bill Keith.
His instructional book credits are "The Key to Five String Banjo" which addresses the progression from folk and Bluegrass styles and "Straight Ahead Jazz For Banjo" for advanced concepts of jazz composition and improvisation.
The Ins and Outs of Clawhammer Banjo, level 2/3 — Luke Richardson
In this class we will to add to our arsenal of right-hand maneuvers in order to compliment the different bowings of old-time fiddle. We will also explore many of the less conventional tunings such as "Reuben D" or "Sandy River Bell Tuning" and talk about how and why these settings compliment some tunes more than others. The goal is to familiarize ourselves to the banjo and recognize its vast capabilities as a leading and accompanying instrument..
Prerequisites: Students should be able to keep timing with a basic right-hand "bum-ditty".
Bring: Please bring an audio recorder and / or video. Also a banjo with stuffing.
Luke Richardson's music rolls with the arresting and subtle beauty of the hills around his family's farm in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. With an intuitive ability to match the fiddle, Luke manages to push the music along with grace, ease and remarkable drive. His banjo playing has earned him a National Old Time Banjo Championship and a handful of blue ribbons. Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, he is an in-demand old-time musician.
Upright Bass, level 2/3 — Sharon Gilchrist
Bass Level 2/3 will focus on what it means to be a bluegrass upright bass player. We will cover the following topics:
+ basic right and left hand technique
+ the basics of music theory
+ how to create a strong, tight groove and feel in one's playing
+ differentiating between bluegrass bass feel and other genres of music
+ finding patterns on the fingerboard for basic chord progressions (1-4-5) (6-2-5-1)
+ playing standard chord progressions in a variety of keys
+ finding patterns on the fingerboard for the notes within chords (arpeggio tones 1-3-5)
+ how to pull tone from the instrument
+ exercises for developing good pitch
+ how to keep practice sessions for bass interesting
+ walking bass lines
+ constructing bass solos
+ nuances/etiquette of performing and jamming
I am very much looking forward to spending time with everyone working on groove, feel and improving overall musicianship.
Prerequisites: Come with an open mind and ready to have a good time playing music together for a weekend. Hopefully everyone will leave Grass Valley Music Camp refreshed and inspired ready to go home and dig into some clear cut and new ideas for what to practice and how to practice in order to keep their bass playing in the pocket!
Bring: an audio recording device and/or a video recording device. We will take time in class to record any music examples presented in the class. Also, bring something to write on, something to write with and a folder or binder to keep class notes and hand outs organized. Of course, bring an upright bass - and a tuner that works well on basses. Some guitar tuners have trouble picking up the low E-string on bass. You may want to bring a music stand or a stand for your upright bass if that would make class easier or more comfortable for you. Feel free to bring any music recordings with excerpts of bass playing you find inspiring or examples of bands with really great groove you find relevant to our class. I am not sure how many of these we will get to listen to, but it can always serve as inspiration and can help to direct the class towards your specific interests..
Sharon Gilchrist has long held a home in the Americana roots music scene. She grew up in Texas where she performed and toured for six years in a professional bluegrass band playing both upright bass and mandolin. She earned a degree in Mandolin Performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. While in Nashville, Sharon spent five years performing solely on upright bass backing up singer/songwriters and touring nationally and internationally with Rykodisc recording artist Josh Rouse making appearances on the Conan O'Brien show and CanalPlus, a Parisian late-night show. Eventually Sharon returned to roots music and played upright bass with the new-time/old-time band Uncle Earl and joined the Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet on mandolin from 2004-2008. Sharon moved to the Bay Area of northern California in 2012 and has since played bass with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Darol Anger and the Furies, the Kathy Kallick Band, and Bill Evans. She has taught upright bass privately and in music camps within the United States.
Intermediate Dobro, level 2 — Greg Booth
You've been playing dobro for a little while now and you'd like to explore some new ground as well as clean up and improve your technique. We'll look at how to play minor chords and play out of different keys. We'll spend some time playing in D in regular G tuning and learn how not to crash and burn playing fiddle tunes in D. This class will help you with your tone, help get rid of unwanted noise and control notes with both the right and left hands. We'll look at pockets and patterns on the fretboard to help you avoid sour notes 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.
Prerequisites: Have been playing a little while and know a few songs and chords.
Bring:Your dobro, picks and bar. I recommend a recorder, audio or video.
Playing dobro and banjo with the Kathy Kallick band for the last 5 yrs, Greg Booth makes his home in Alaska where he had a long career playing steel guitar in clubs as often as 7 nights a week. 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 million views milestone and continues to accelerate, being viewed around 1600 times a day.
Dobro, level 3 — Mike Witcher
In this class, we will be covering effective ways to practice and get good quickly. Exercises for perfecting right and left hand technique such as rolls, scales, right and left hand damping, bar control (intonation), hammer-ons and pull-offs, slants and many others will be covered. We will map out the fret board and find multiple scale patterns for every key and find the shortcuts for gliding over chord changes. We will talk about improvising, finding simple melodies, and embellishing them with changes in phrasing, rolls, and by adding licks. We will learn the Nashville number system and some simple music theory concepts that will make improvising easier. There will be in-class ear training exercises and a discussion on how to approach figuring out your favorite solos. We will also be covering different techniques for playing rhythm and how to apply them in a tasteful way. We will be learning and playing common bluegrass tunes each day to apply the techniques and concepts learned in class. The class will be tailored to the level of the students. Tablature of songs, exercises and licks will be provided. Students should bring an audio recorder and something to take notes with. Be prepared to ask a lot of questions, do a lot of playing and have a whole lot of FUN!
Prerequisites: 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.
Bring: an audio recorder and something to take notes with.
Michael Witcher grew up the youngest of five in a musical and artistic family in the suburbs of Los Angeles. He found his voice playing the Dobro at the age of fourteen. In less than a year, he was playing with his father Dennis and brother Gabe in their Bluegrass band, “The Witcher Brothers”. Soon he began teaching resophonic guitar and doing session work. A current member of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Michael has also recorded and toured with Dwight Yoakam, Fernando Ortega, Laurie Lewis, Tyler Hilton, John Paul Jones, Sara Watkins, The Gibson Brothers, Dolly Parton, Joan Osborn, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), and Chris Jones, among 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. We’re glad to have him back in California so he can be with us more often.
Fiddle, level 1 — Annie Staninec
In fiddle 1, we'll work on soloing and technique, and concentrate on jam etiquette and tricks so we can have more fun playing with others! We'll use vocal songs to learn to find basic melodies in a variety of keys, and ornament those melodies with slides and grace notes. We'll work on proper technique, and learn some exercises to build strength and control in our bowing arm to achieve the best tone. We'll also learn how to integrate a couple of common shuffles into our playing to emphasize rhythm and drive. The class will focus on both vocal and instrumental pieces in the traditional bluegrass repertoire, and we'll also learn a few tips and tricks to enrich our solos.
Prerequisites: Students should be able to play a couple of fiddle tunes or solos to songs that they're comfortable with at a slow to medium pace. One should also be familiar with the A, D, and G major scales in first position.
Bring: A tuner, paper and pencil or recorder for reminders, extra strings & rosin etc., and questions!
Annie Staninechas been playing bluegrass since the age of five, began performing professionally at the age of 12, and now makes her living playing, recording, giving lessons, and touring across North America and internationally. Annie's collaboration with the Kathy Kallick Band showcases her fiery soloing (think Scotty Stoneman meets Benny Martin) and gives her the chance to express lyrical, sensitive backup. Annie won the 2008 and 2009 Fiddle Player of the Year awards from the Northern California Bluegrass Society, as well as the 2006 Outstanding Young Musician award at Djangofest Northwest. Annie has recorded and toured extensively with Town Mountain from Asheville, NC, and has performed with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, David Grisman’s Gypsy Caravan, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, and John Reischman and the Jaybirds. Currently she plays with the Kathy Kallick Band, Mary Gauthier, and Andrew Carriere and the Cajun All-Stars. Her fiddling can be heard on the two latest Kathy Kallick Band albums, as well as John's Reischman's latest solo album, Walk Along John to Kansas. Annie has been giving workshops and private lessons since the age of 16, and has led workshops at the Cordova music camp for three consecutive years in addition to having taught at the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop in 2011 and 2012, Kaufman Kamp in 2013, and the CBA Wintercamp in 2012.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 2/3 — Blaine Sprouse
We’ll explore the exciting world of “traditional bluegrass fiddling,” although we’ll also cover some great old-timey traditional Appalachian Mountain tunes from my native home. Expect to learn how to improve tone and rhythmically drive a fiddle tune. We’ll learn classic Bill Monroe fiddle tunes, a few more obscure ones, as well as lush, beautiful waltzes and tunes from Kenny Baker and others. We’ll also look at techniques for backup in a band, both supporting a vocalist and other instruments taking the lead. We’ll spend some time learning “double stops” and learn how to play in different keys. Also, we’ll spend some time discussing and examining different styles of bluegrass fiddling. Our class objective will be to have fun and learn some new tunes and techniques we can use in the “real world” playing in jam sessions and band situations. We hope to broaden horizons and provide inspiration to continue to learn, grow and develop musically.
Prerequisites: This is an intermediate class. Students should have a pretty good command of the instrument and should have two or more years of playing experience, including some experience playing music with others in jam sessions or in informal bands. Students should be able to play several fiddle tunes at a moderate and steady pace and have some ability to play simple melodies by ear. Familiarity with some classic bluegrass songs is highly recommended, especially those by Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs.
Bring: A recording device is encouraged, although not required, either video or audio. A tuning fork or a tuner is a good idea, as well as a notebook and pen or pencil. Please
come ready to play one or two tunes representative of your playing.
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 with 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. Blaine is currently making special guest appearances with The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, The Roland White Band, and Tim Weed, as well as other ensemble and solo appearances. Born and reared in Berkeley County, West Virginia, Blaine started playing guitar at age 6 with his father, a claw-hammer style banjoist, and then took-up fiddling at age 9. Influenced by Kenny Baker, Vassar Clements, Chubby Wise, Howdy Forrester and Benny Martin, Blaine left home at 17 for Nashville, TN, where his fiddling allowed him to perform regularly at the legendary Grand Ole Opry, tour extensively nationally and internationally and record with such country artists as Alabama, Randy Travis, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Glen Campbell and roots artists such as Hazel Dickens and Robin and Linda Williams. Playing fiddle now for over 45 years, Blaine studied with the legendary bluegrass fiddler, Kenny Baker, whom he later joined in composing tunes and making numerous twin fiddle recordings, including the Rounder recording “Indian Springs.” He has four solo recordings on the Rounder Records and Cumberland Record labels.
Blaine has presented workshops and taught at various bluegrass festivals throughout the United States and internationally, Texas JAAM Camp, near Austin, TX and Stringsfest, Ft. Bragg, CA. He is currently on faculty at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Port Townsend, WA, Lark Camp, Mendocino, CA, and Texas JAMM Camp.
Old-Time Fiddle, level 2/3 — Joseph Decosimo
This class is tailored to intermediate and more advanced players and will explore some fun tunes and tunings with an eye (and ear) towards ways that we can use the bow to create the right kind of rhythm and feel for old-time music from the South. Learning some breakdowns (and maybe a waltz or slower piece), we’ll work on becoming better listeners capable of fleshing out and breathing life into our fiddling. Much of our time will be devoted to figuring out how to get our bows to make the sounds and rhythms that we hear in older recordings. The tunes we work with will likely draw from Joseph's familiarity with Western North Carolina, Tennessee, and his native Cumberland Plateau repertoires.
Prerequisites: This is an intermediate to advanced class, so you should already have good facility on the fiddle (no difficulty keeping up with others in jam sessions or bands), be familiar with the most common keys (A, D, G, and C), and be able to learn short phrases by ear. We’ll use other tunings besides the standard GDAE, and if you do not already incorporate them into your playing, you should be willing to try them out.
Bring: a recording device with extra batteries and extra strings (just in case).
Joseph Decosimo grew up in Signal Mountain, TN and has been studying the fiddle and banjo traditions of the South since first encountering the banjo in seventh grade. Early on, he sought out the older generation of players in the region and learned from them. During high school and college, he studied under and performed alongside fiddlers Charlie Acuff and Clyde Davenport. With musical roots deep in the Tennessee soil, he is recognized as one the leading old time fiddlers of his generation. His fiddling and banjo playing have won him a number of blue ribbons throughout the Southeast, including one at Clifftop in 2010. His band "The Bucking Mules" won the stringband contest at Clifftop in 2012. Joseph has taught and performed at the Swannanoa Gathering, Mars Hill Blueridge Old Time Week, the Augusta Heritage Center, the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He recently taught on the academic faculty of East Tennessee State University's Bluegrass, Old Time, and County Music Studies program. A folklorist by training, he presents the music with an eye towards its deeper cultural significance.
Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar to Accompany Singing, level 1 — Kathy Kallick
We will focus on rhythm guitar with attention to playing while singing. As we learn songs, we'll learn strum patterns in different time signatures, bass runs, and accents that signal chord changes and support the lyrics of the songs.
Prerequisites: Students should kknow basic chords (G, C, D, E, A, B7, and F). Students should be able to change chords without breaking time. Students should be able to sing while keeping a steady rhythm on guitar with a pick.
Bring: A pick, capo, tuner, and recording device (optional).
Kathy Kallick has been in Bluegrass bands continually since 1975. Her career includes touring, recording, teaching, and mentoring, and she's been awarded a Lifetime Membership by the CBA. A bandleader, musician, composer, teacher, and producer, she’s had all her releases with the Kathy Kallick Band reach the upper echelon of the national bluegrass charts, received a Grammy and two IBMA Awards, and last year released her 17th album, recordings which include over 100 of her original songs.
Old-Time Rhythm Guitar, level 2 — Karen Celia Heil
The goal for this class is to have fun exploring the details and subtleties of Old-Time guitar playing, past and present, in a hands on, relaxed, participatory environment. We'll start with a most excellent boom-chuck, addressing everything we can having to do with Old-Time Fiddle tune backup... tone, pick accuracy, timing, bass runs, chord choices, listening skills, etc. Fiddles will be standing by.
In addition, we will listen to and reproduce some very provocative backup guitar parts on selected scratchy recordings. We will look at a couple of Maybelle Carter's signature guitar parts, and some that are less well known. This means we'll do a bit of singing; and cover some Old~Time song accompanimenty.
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: A tuner or pitch fork. A recording device. Capo. Picks. Water bottle. Questions.
Karen Celia Heil has been playing acoustic guitar longer than she cares to admit. She has been in many a band, jam, played in living rooms, porches, stages and recording studios through the years, playing country, swing, Cajun, folk... During the past decade or so, she’s been concentrating on Old-Time Southern Fiddle music, both on guitar and fiddle, learned both from old scratchy field recordings and on yearly pilgrimages to the Appalachian South, mingling with the current players. In addition to her playing with the Bucking Mules, she performs with the San Francisco trio the Knuckle Knockers. She has taught numerous years at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Lark in the Morning Camp, Fiddle Kids Camp, the Berkeley String Band Class, and teaches privately in San Francisco.
Bluegrass Solo and Rhythm Guitar, level 2/3 — Jim Nunally
We will explore the solos I have performed on recordings with David Grisman & Sam Bush, John Reischman, Due West, and Dix Bruce. We'll look into the accompanying rhythm. The exploration will include the concepts behind the solos, including technique and other ideas used in the construction of them. Single note, double stops, and cross picking will be covered.
Prerequisites: Ability to play some basic solos.
Bring: Recorder devices are a good idea.
Jim Nunally is a musician, composer, teacher, recording engineer and producer. He has performed on recording sessions with numerous artists. He’s received two Grammy Award certifications and awards from the IBMA. He's a featured artist on the critically acclaimed CD Tone Poets released in 2005. 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 over 40 CDs. Jim performs with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, and in duos with Nell Robinson, Dix Bruce, Keith Little, and Judy Forrest.
Mandolin, level 1 —John Mailander
This class will focus on the fundamentals of the Bluegrass mandolin style. We will learn about right and left had technique and posture to help you achieve the most comfort with playing your instrument. We'll work on fundamental picking patterns, as well as the basics of playing rhythm mandolin. These will include open and closed chord shapes, strumming patterns and the infamous "chop"! We will discuss topics as a group such as playing/performing in groups, jam etiquette, and the differences in style of various classic and contemporary players. We'll learn a new tune or two, and from there learn how to back up/accompany others on these tunes. Each student will take away new knowledge, techniques and music from this class that will prepare them to go hit the campground jams and begin to find their own unique voices as musicians.
Prerequisites: You should know how to tune your mandolin and the names of each string. Mainly, just come prepared with a love of music and an open mind!.
Bring: A tuner, a pick, extra strings, a notebook and pen/pencil for note taking, and an audio recorder.
John Mailander is a San Diego-based musician and graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Playing in a variety of styles on the fiddle, mandolin, and various other stringed instruments, he has become known for his soulful voice as a soloist, improviser, and writer. John has shared the stage with acclaimed artists including the Alison Brown Quartet, Victor Wooten, Tim O’Brien, and Christopher Guest. He was one of sixteen musicians selected to participate in the Savannah Music Festival’s prestigious Acoustic Music Seminar in both 2012 and 2013. John played fiddle in Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical, Bright Star, for its premier run in New York. He has performed at events including the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops, FreshGrass Music Festival, and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. John currently maintains a busy performance schedule with artists including Tony Trischka & Territory, Molly Tuttle, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, Darol Anger, and others. At Berklee, John studied under the instruction of John McGann, Darol Anger, and Julian Lage.
Mandolin, level 2 — John Reischman
In this class we will learn some fiddle tunes and single note soloing approaches to Bluegrass songs, and the proper right hand picking patterns. Double stops in open and closed positions will be covered as well. We will also look at the bluesy style of Bill Monroe, and a few modern players. Keys of F, Bb, and B will be explored.
Throughout the class we will keep the focus on Tone, Timing, and good Technique- the Three Ts. Oh yeah, there are also Taste, Tuning, and Tremolo..dang, I can't keep all of these T's straight. Okay, we will cover all the Ts!
Prerequisites--students should know all the standard bluegrass closed chop chords, and know some fiddle tunes in a variety of keys and be able to play them at a reasonable tempo.
Prerequisites: Students should be familiar with the basic chop chords, and be comfortable playing simple melodies.
Bring: Students are encouraged to bring a recording device and a tuner.
John Reischman is an internationally renowned mandolinist whose thirty 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.
Exploring Advanced Traditional Bluegrass Mandolin — Chris Henry
This class will focus on study of classic bluegrass mandolin technique, approaches, and comprehension. We will study lots of Bill Monroe style mandolin with emphasis on hardcore, double-stops, broadbrushing, rhythm and melody playing. We will also explore some more advanced improvisational techniques.
Prerequisites: You must be able to play in all keys and be able to play by ear to get the most out of this class, no tab will be used..
Bring: mandolin, tuner, and recorder..
Chris Henry, son of bluegrass musicians Red and Murphy Henry, grew up around the old school sound. After intense study in his formative years, the International Bluegrass Music Association, referring to his mandolin picking, has called him "the premiere Monroe stylist of his generation." After moving to Nashville about ten years ago, Chris was fortunate to develop his singing with great performers like Shawn Camp and Verlon Thompson among many others. He received an IBMA nomination for Song of the Year in 2011 for writing "Walking West to Memphis." Chris also enjoys working as a musical educator, teaching workshops at colleges and camps across the country as well as giving private lessons, and producing recordings from his studio in Nashville.
Singing - Song and Style, level 2/3 — Keith Little
You've been singing for awhile, and have a few favorites you like to do. This class is about making the song your own.., how to be expressive while maintaining good tone throughout a melodic line, and delivering the lyric. We’ll look at vocal range, how it relates to the melody, and how to find a key that works for you, along with how to propel lyrical rhythm, and what it sounds like. We’ll also cover intonation and color, how they relate to the melody, and tips for troubleshooting a melodic line. Basic microphone technique will be covered, and individual performance is encouraged.
Prerequisites: Students should be able to sing the melody to at least 5 songs (without lyric sheets), and have a working knowledge of the basic chords and keys involved.
Bring: A love of singing, a small recording device, and some drinking water.
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..
Harmony Singing, level 2/3 — Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum
Singing 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.
In this class, we'll deconstruct what makes bluegrass singing so special and what differentiates it from other singing styles. We'll be investigating the basic skills that make a good harmony singer—breathing, tone production, phrasing, blend, finding the right key for your voice. We will explore duet, trio and quartet harmony singing, using the greats of bluegrass as examples and inspiration: The Osborne Brothers with Red Allen, Flatt and Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, and of course Bill Monroe. What IS it that makes that chill run down your spine when the Stanleys sing? A sus 4? A 9 chord? We will dissect songs and learn the various harmony parts, then divide up the class and let you all go to town.
Prerequisites: You must be able to sing "Happy Birthday" reasonably in tune.
Tom Rozum has been a professional musician for nearly four decades, playing in bluegrass, country, and western swing bands. Since 1986, he has toured internationally (over 21 countries) with Laurie Lewis, with whom has also recorded three duet CDs (their first being nominated for a Grammy) and has played and sung on most of her other recordings. Tom's also a veteran teacher, having been on the teaching staff of Bluegrass at the Beach, The Rockygrass Academy, The Augusta Heritage Workshops, The Teluride Bluegrass Academy, California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the CBA Music Camp, the Swannanoa Gathering, British Columbia Bluegrass Camp, and others.
Laurie Lewis has been singing and playing bluegrass, old-time, country and traditional jazz for a really long time. A dedicated teacher as well as a performer, she ran "Bluegrass Week" at the Augusta Heritage Workshops for 10 years, and was the coordinator of "Bluegrass at the Beach" for over a dozen years. She has taught at PSGW, CBA Music Camp, British Columbia Bluegrass Week, SAM-W, Telluride Academy, Rocky Grass Academy, Wintergrass Vocal Intensive, and many others. When not touring, she teaches and produces recordings. Recently, she produced the critically-acclaimed "Bittersweet," by traditional music legend Alice Gerrard. Laurie was voted "Female Vocalist of the Year" twice by the International Bluegrass Music Association, has been nominated for numerous Grammys and won one for her singing on "True Life Blues: the Songs of Bill Monroe."
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. - 12:00 pm, 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! There will be opportunities to try out different instruments at the ongoing jam to be led by Erik Kramer-Webb on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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