Levels, Classes, & Instructors for 2015
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 2**
Bluegrass Band— level 3**
Old-Time Band— level 2/3
• Banjo Classes
Bluegrass Banjo— level 1
Bluegrass Banjo— level 2/3**
Old-Time Banjo— level 2/3
• Bass Classes
Acoustic Bass— level 1
Acoustic Bass— level 2/3*
• Dobro Classes
Bluegrass Dobro— level 1/2
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 1/2**
Old-Time Guitar Backup— level 1/2*
Guitar Soloing — level 2/3**
• Mandolin Classes
Beginning Mandolin — level 1
Intermediate Mandolin — level 2
Bluegrass Mandolin — level 3
• Singing Classes
Traditional Bluegrass and Country Singing Styles — level 2/3*
Harmony Singing— 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
Bluegrass Band, level 2 — Jack Tuttle
This class is for all bluegrass players - guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and bass. Jack will work with students to develop and improve playing in a bluegrass band/jam setting. He'll work with students on kick-offs, solos, lead and harmony vocals, backup, fills, timing, dynamics and endings. While considerable time will be spent critiquing the ensemble sound, Jack will also work one-on-one with students and help with areas of need. Students will have a chance to bring in a traditional bluegrass song into the group and we'll work on making it awesome!
Prerequisites: You should be comfortable playing in common bluegrass keys, keeping a steady rhythm and changing chords at a variety of tempos. It's highly recommended that the students have some experience in jamming or playing with other musicians.
Bring: Plan to bring a song or two that you can comfortably play or sing. Capos for banjos, guitars and dobros. A strap so you can stand while playing could be useful.
Jack Tuttle grew up in a musical family in rural Illinois and has been playing music since age five. He has performed professionally in the U.S., Canada, and Japan and has been a member of numerous bands, including the Gryphon Quintet and the Fog City Ramblers. He now performs with The Tuttles with AJ Lee, which features three of his own kids.
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 Band, level 3 — Kathy Kallick
This will be a class about ensemble playing. Bluegrass bands are having a conversation, they are listening and responding, with something meaningful to say. We'll look at the roles of all the instruments, including the voice, and arrange songs with solos, back-up, and harmonies.
Prerequisites: Students should have experience playing in groups and level 3 proficiency.
Bring: Your instrument ready to play, a song to contribute, and any recording device you like.
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 19th album, recordings which include over 100 of her original songs.
Old-Time Band Lab — Bruce Molsky
Playing in a band means using the music you know to help power something bigger. We’ll spend the week learning some great tunes and songs, and working them into our comfort zone. Then the fun really begins with arranging and discovering a unique band voice together. Band practice is where new ideas pop up and musical discoveries are made. The joy is in the journey, and the reward is the music we’ll make together!
Prerequisites: Students should be able to learn and play short phrases of music by ear. Be sure your instrument is in good shape and ready for a week of heavy playing.
Bring: a tuner, recorder, extra strings and picks. . .
Bruce Molsky is "one of America's premier fiddling talents" (Mother Jones) and a twice-GRAMMY nominated artist. On the road over 200 days a year, Bruce tours the world solo, with Andy Irvine and Dònal Lunny’s Mozaik, as a trio with Aly Bain and Ale Möller, with The Old-Time Kozmik Trio, (Darol Anger and Rushad Eggleston), and in a new trio with Tony Trischka and Michael Daves. 1865, a new collaborative CD of Civil War era music with the cappella quartet Anonymous 4, is coming in January. With seven solo CDs behind him, No Depression called Bruce’s latest solo CD If It Ain’t Here When I Get Back, “an album from an absolute master.” Bruce is also Berklee College of Music's first permanent visiting professor in their American Roots Program', and is the go-to guy for the next generation of fiddlers.
Bluegrass Banjo, level 1 — Bill Evans
Designed for players with six months or more of playing experience (or for those who just feel like they’ve only been playing that long!), this class will set you on the road to becoming a great bluegrass banjo player. We’ll begin by taking a look at hand positions and playing technique, getting comfortable holding and playing the banjo and how to play with relaxation. We’ll then move on to solidify the basics: drilling roll patterns and fitting them to bluegrass chord progressions, reviewing fretting hand techniques (slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs and bends) and integrating both hands to play licks. We’ll also review basic songs and try out a few new ones while also getting comfortable playing with others using vamping and roll pattern back up techniques. Along the way, we’ll discuss great practice strategies, using your ear, jam strategies and much more.
You’ll take what you already know and utilize the skills from this class to move to your personal best next level. The emphasis is on having fun with lots of hands-on group playing – you’ll never be put on the spot and you also won’t ever be left behind! Tab examples are offered for all topics and songs covered in class.
Prerequisites: As an advanced beginner class, players should know how to tune their banjos, be comfortable playing with fingerpicks and have familiarity with the sound of bluegrass banjo style. You should also be able to play at least a few Scruggs-style roll patterns (alternating thumb, forward, forward-reverse, etc.) while changing between basic chords without stopping. You should also be familiar with fretting hand techniques (slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs and bends) and be able to play a handful classic songs such as “Cripple Creek,” “Banjo in the Hollow,” and “Cumberland Gap.” Being able to play fast and being able to play well is not a prerequisite.
Bring: Your banjo, your strap, thumbpick and fingerpicks, extra strings and a capo are required. I also recommend a lightweight, portable music stand and recording device (such as your smart phone for video and audio). Travel cups are nice to have on hand for morning coffee or water. There is a good bit of walking to do between your car, meal areas and our classroom, so you’ll want to travel lightly around the fairgrounds. Consider a banjo gig bag to lighten your load!
Bill Evans has taught hundreds of thousands of banjo players of all levels from all over the world through his best-selling books and DVDs, hundreds of camps and workshop appearances and private lessons, over a forty year teaching and performing career. His books Banjo For Dummies, Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies and Parking Lot Pickers Songbook: Banjo Edition, along with six Homespun, Murphy Method and AcuTab DVD projects have set the modern standard for bluegrass banjo instruction. After being mentored by Sonny Osborne, J. D. Crowe, Bill Keith, Tony Trischka and Alan Munde, his professional students include Chris Pandolfi (The Infamous Stringdusters), Greg Liszt (Crooked Still, Deadly Gentlemen, Bruce Springsteen), Wes Corbett (Joy Kills Sorrow), Jayme Stone (The Lomax Project), Erik Yates (Hot Buttered Rum) and Snap Jackson. Bill’s 2012 CD In Good Company was a #1 chart release on the Roots Music Report Folk and Bluegrass charts (the only CD to ever top both charts) as well as the Folk DJ-list charts and was named as a “Best of” CD by Pop Matters, Folk Alley, Prescription Bluegrass and Kansas Public Radio, among others. He has performed with David Bromberg, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Hazel & Alice, Tony Trischka and Alan Munde, among numerous other performers.
To learn more about Bill, visit his home page at www.billevansbanjo.com. For more info about the class, email him at email@example.com.
Exploring intermediate bluegrass banjo, level 2/3 — Wes Corbett
In this class we will be working on a few key elements that will help you have a great time jamming, and also help you continue to make progress on your banjo. These elements will include things like; chord shapes and progressions, cool roll patterns and how to use them, and the all important concept of bolstering your bluegrass lick vocabulary so you can construct a break on the fly!
Prerequisites: You need to know a few tunes and should have played with people at least a little bit to have fun in this class.
Bring: A tuner, a recording device, pen, and paper
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Wesley Corbett has been playing the banjo since he was 15, after a split from the classical piano. He has performed with many of the most influential acoustic musicians of our time, including Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Bruce Molesky, Sarah Jarosz, Matt Glaser, and Laurie Lewis, among many others. Additionally, he toured internationally with the Indie-Popgrass band Joy Kills Sorrow. As of 2011, Wes is the Associate Professor of Banjo at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he currently lives. .
Old-Time Banjo, level 2/3: Five Strings to Fun — Joe Newberry
I'm pleased we are going to spend a week together this June. I am delighted to be able to share what I have learned about playing the banjo with others in my musical community.
A little background: Originally from Missouri, I have played music most of my life. I started on guitar in my early teens in order to accompany the songs my family always sang. After a brief flirtation with rock and roll, I started playing back-up guitar at fiddle contests. Banjo came next a few years later, and even after all this time, it is exciting and fun to play. I play with Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, and Mike Compton in the Jumpsteady Boys, and I also fill the banjo chair when Red Clay Ramblers founders Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, and Jim Watson get together to perform.
Our class will feature a mix of famous and not so famous (although they should be) tunes. Both are important. While I'm excited to show you some new tunes, I am equally as excited to use familiar tunes as a springboard for some techniques that have served me well. Topics I will cover to that end include: "Putting Drive in Your Playing," "Rhythm Tips," "The Fifth String as a Melody Vehicle," and "The Under-used Second Fret." I also will give you tips on how to match your playing with a fiddler's style, as well as playing in a string band setting. If there is interest, I can also share some banjo songs.
Prerequisites: At least half a dozen tunes played by memory, familiarity with G tuning, Double C/D tuning.
Bring:Tape recorders are very handy when approaching a class such as this, as I will be teaching by ear and not from tablature. Make sure to bring extra strings, because we'll be playing hard, and strings do break. And, don't forget to bring an electronic tuner and a capo.
Joe Newberryis a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. Known far and wide for his powerful banjo playing, he is a prizewinning guitarist, fiddler, and singer as well. Joe plays with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Jim Watson, and Mike Craver, in a duo with mandolinist Mike Compton, and along with Mike, performs with Bruce Molsky and Rafe Stefanini as the Jumpsteady Boys. A frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, Joe is also a noted solo performer. The recipient of the songwriting prize for “Gospel Recorded Performance” at the 2012 IBMA Awards for his song “Singing As We Rise,” and co-writer of the 2013 IBMA Song of the Year for "They Called It Music," Joe writes songs that consistently show up on the Bluegrass charts, does solo and studio work, and teaches and performs at festivals at home and abroad.
I look forward to meeting and playing with all of you. If you have questions that I have not addressed, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write me at 3316 Harden Road, Raleigh, NC, 27607. You can also see photos and learn more about me at www.joenewberry.me
Bluegrass and Old-Time Bass, level 1 — Trisha Gagnon
Right off the bat in this popular class, students will learn to become familiar with their instrument, learning the parts of the stand-up bass and its care - and as well go over some of the challenges of playing such an amazingly large instrument! Then we'll get right into the music and focus on playing by ear. We'll learn techniques that are essential, and a little music theory too. The goal is to send the student home with lots to practice, and the direction to do so. The results will be confidence to play in any key, hearing the chord changes, and to become a bass player that people want to play with!
Prerequisites: Students need to be able to play a lot, so toughen up your fingers by practicing a little every day at least a couple of weeks before camp. Bring a playable acoustic upright bass. (If you don't have one, or can't bring it to camp, contact the directors about borrowing one—we may have some loaners available.) Spend a good amount of time at home with your electronic tuner learning how to tune your instrument, and learning to hear how your bass sounds in tune. Most importantly, bring to class a desire to learn and have fun while you're at it!
Bring: You'll need a playable Upright or Double Bass (same thing) and a tuner.
Trisha Gagnon is a highly respected bass player and singer from the not-so traditional bluegrass land of British Columbia, Canada. A founding member of British Columbia's award winning bluegrass band Tumbleweed, Trisha is currently performing with John Reischman and The Jaybirds, and while anchoring the band with her solid bass playing, she also contributes the unique sound of her masterful voice and song writing. Whether singing back-up harmonies, delivering a traditional lonesome ballad, or belting out a spirited upbeat number, Trisha is truly one of a kind.
She is also a gifted instructor, teaching and inspiring musicians and singers in workshops throughout North America and Europe with her very down-to-earth approach. One of her students was quoted in Bluegrass Now as saying "She presents herself and her lessons in a manner that I can understand and relate to!". Trisha likes getting close to the people that love the music the most.
Upright Bass, level 2/3 — Sam Grisman
This class is for bass players who have already had some experience on the instrument who want to improve their ability to play in an ensemble. Although Sam will focus mostly on the bluegrass style, approaches to other styles such as country, swing, jazz, and old-time may also be covered. He will discuss right and left hand technique, note choice, dynamics, slap techniques, basic chord construction, and more. The role of the bass player in different musical situations will be explained and there will also be an emphasis on music appreciation and distinguishing between the styles of different bass greats. Everything covered in the class will emphasize the “Four T’s” of bass playing: Tone, Time, Taste, and inTonation. The goal is for all participants to notice improvement in all four categories by the end of the class.
Prerequisites: You should own a bass. You should be comfortable playing in a jam for at least an hour without fatiguing too much. You should be comfortable playing in different keys and be able to follow someone who is calling chords. You should have some knowledge of the fingerboard past the first two positions and should not be afraid to explore up the neck. You should be familiar with the following names: Roy Husky Jr., Bob Moore, Mike Bub, Todd Philips, Mark Schatz, and Dennis Crouch or be willing to search for them on youtube. You should be serious about wanting to improve as a musician.
Bring: Your bass, a tuner, a pad of paper and a pencil/ recorder of sorts if you’d like, some good questions, and your ears!
Sam Grisman is an upright bass player and teacher from Mill Valley, CA. Son of mandolin legend, David Grisman, he began playing a cello tuned as a bass at age four. Growing up with a recording studio in the house, Sam was immediately exposed to his father’s eclectic musical tastes and was surrounded with musicians including masters such as Edgar Meyer, Martin Taylor, Ralph Stanley, John Hartford, Tony Rice, Tim O'Brien, and Del McCoury.
Sam began playing professionally at the age of twelve with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. In addition to performing with the DGBX, he has toured and recorded with The Milk Carton Kids, Sarah Jarosz, Lee Ann Womack, Bryan Sutton, Noam Pikelny, Luke Bulla, The David Grisman Folkjazz Trio, Darol Anger , Scott Law, and Keller Williams among others. Sam has played hundreds of concerts and festivals in the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe, and has taught at camps in Nehalem Oregon, Pagosa Springs Colorado, and Grass Valley California and workshops at the Grey Fox, Wintergrass, and Rockygrass festivals. Currently living in Nashville TN, Sam plays in a band with Dominick Leslie, Alex Hargreaves, and Nat Smith called the Brotet, finds himself recording and performing with many of his musical heroes, and has played on the Grand Ole Opry with Jesse McReynolds and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
Bluegrass Dobro, level 1/2 — 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. I recommend bringing something to take notes with and an audio recorder.
Prerequisites: Have a strong desire for learning about music and the Dobro.
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.
Dobro, level 3 — Sally Van Meter
This class is designed to get you all through the reality check of what playing Dobro is really about: Musicality: melody, lyrical phrasing, tone production, slide bar control, clarity, and again, connecting those fingerboard threads that are so important to be able to solo with ease and confidence. We will work on all of those aspects, plus learn a few songs/tunes, and what to do with them past the initial getting to know the song/tune - meaning how to solo on the fly. Much of the class will be taught by ear, and I will provide some tab, but the tab is for you to spend time with outside of class as much as possible. We will learn some good technical and practice skills and habits you can take home with you as well. We will also spend a short amount of time considering minor scale songs, and have a great time working with the bluesy side of bluegrass Dobro. There will be varying levels of ability in this class, but there is always common ground, and my hope/goal is to fill in some of the blanks for you all.
What you can work on before camp to help you get more out of the class:
-Learn as much of all basic scales possible. G, C, D and A are recommended for getting you comfortable with the where aspect of the G-tuning fingerboard.
-Use a Metronome! I recommend the Wittner MT60, as it is loud enough, and has accented first beats of measures. Start slow and learn to get comfy with the fact that it will feel like it knocks you off beat for a while.
-Listen and play along with your favorite players/bands to try to uncover their approach— you can learn so much from doing this! Recommended listening: Josh Graves, Mike Auldridge are the best starting points if you are new to the instrument.
-Please get your resonator in good playing shape, and make sure to have a good tone bar, and comfortable picks.
- A patient and kind attitude toward yourself about what you do or do not know on Dobro. Dobro classes tend to level the playing field for everyone- no matter if beginner or more advanced.
-A good working condition Resonator guitar with proper action, a good tone bar slide, thumb and finger picks. *If you are planning on using a regular guitar with low action, this will cause problems for you in class, as this is lap-style slide, not bottleneck style and the bar we use is too heavy for a regular guitar string height. Your local music store can help you with questions you might have about this.
-A notepad, or binder, a highlighter-pen, and pencils with erasers!
-Tablature staff paper
-A digital tuner and or metronome with accented first beat capability.
-An audio recorder (iPad or tablet, smartphone). Please, no video without my consent.
Sally Van Meter grew ... often.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 1 — John Mailander
In this class we will cover the essentials of playing fiddle in a bluegrass jam or band. Beginning with the basics of technique, tone production and bowing, we'll dig into the fundamentals of bluegrass fiddling! We will expand our repertoire of tunes and songs all while learning the proper technique to help strengthen your playing. Other topics will include extracting/embellishing the melody of vocal songs to construct solos, stylistic double-stops, moving melodies to different keys and playing backup/fills in a band. We will talk about the different schools of bluegrass fiddling, jam-etiquette, and some basic music theory. You will take away new knowledge, techniques and music from this class that will prepare you to go hit the campground jams and begin to find your own unique voices as musicians!
Prerequisites: You should be comfortable tuning your instrument and know the names of each string. More importantly, just come with a love of music and an open mind!
Bring:Your fiddle, bow, rosin, shoulder rest, extra strings, a pen/paper for taking notes and an audio recorder.
John Mailanderis 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. John currently maintains a busy performance schedule with artists including Molly Tuttle, Tony Trischka & Territory, Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, Darol Anger and others. As an instructor, John has taught at events including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Augusta Bluegrass Week, Walker Creek Music Camp and CBA 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.
Traditional Bluegrass Fiddle, level 2/3 — Paul Shelasky
We will learn classic fiddle breaks from the most famous Bluegrass fiddlers--transcribed from their old original recordings.We will begin with the originator of Bluegrass fiddle, Chubby Wise, whose breaks are simple, soulful and technically rather easy to learn. We'll use Chubby's style to analyze how to construct a simple break to songs that are familiar at most jam sessions the student may encounter. We'll progress by gradual steps to more difficult solos by famous fiddlers including Bobby Hicks, Paul Warren, Scotty Stoneman and Kenny Baker. We'll also learn from some younger contemporary fiddlers who play in the older style, such as James Price and Eddie Stubbs. All breaks will be broken down into sections and taught at a very slow tempo to make learning easy. The emphasis of this course is learning by ear just as all the great masters of the style did but there will be sheet music provided for every break given to all who ask. While we will concentrate mainly on breaks to songs and backup to vocals, some tunes will be taught as well.
The degree of difficulty of the course will be adapted to the level of the majority of the students when I see what level each player is at, and if a few are way beyond the others, I will try to give those advanced ones some individual lessons as time permits
Prerequisites: Students should have at least two years of playing experience and be fluent in the first positions of the common Bluegrass key signatures, mainly, A, D, G, C and with some knowledge of F and B Flat.Some jamming experience and some beginning improvising skills would be helpful. Please note that as soon as I meet the students and find out their levels of skill, the course will be adjusted as best I can to the skill levels of the majority of players. Any who are behind or way in advance of the average may ask me for some personal instruction as time permits.
Bring: some type of device to record the lessons. A device that plays CDs would be ideal because I will be distributing CDs that have me playing the breaks at half-speed and in sections. The student may study these CDs to prepare for lessons. Sheet music of all the prepared course will be given to all, and students might want to to bring their own electronic tuner, rosin etc.
Paul Shelaskyhas played with a number of fine California-based bands over a 40 year span. They include the Phantoms of The Opry, The Good Ol' Persons, The Coyote Brothers, Lost HIghway, Blue & Lonesome and The David Thom Band (Vintage Grass.) He has toured the USA, Canada, The British Isles, Europe, South Africa, Japan and Taiwan. He has taught at the CBA Music Camp several times and also the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop in Sorrento and the California Coast Music Camp. Paul has written a Bluegrass fiddle column for Fiddler Magazine quarterly since the inception of the magazine. Paul is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the California Bluegrass Association and has played at almost every festival in its 40 year history.
Students can go to YouTube to hear my playing. Just type in my name or look for the bands: Coyote Brothers, Thunder Mt. Boys (at Disneyland) Blue & Lonesome, The David Thom Band and The Good Ol' Persons.
Old-Time Fiddle, level 2/3 — Tom Sauber
"Nashville," "Georgia," "syncopated shuffle," "Kentucky bow," "jazz bow," "rolling (and rocking) bow," "stresses," "pulses," and "jerks" are all terms to describe rhythm patterns and licks. We'll look at them, I'll tell you what they mean to me, then we'll see how they work in a variety of tunes.
Prerequisites: If you like Tommy Jarrell, John Salyer, or the Skillet Lickers, this is the class for you.
Bring: a playable fiddle and bow. We'll be using several different tunings, so be sure all the pegs and fine tuners are in good working order. We'll be learning the bowings and tunes by ear (don't forget your tuner), phrase by phrase, so it's important to bring a recording device; anything is fine as long as it's not distracting to the class. Video is fine, but I'll be a moving target. Your personal videographer is welcome.
Tom Sauber is a master musician in a variety of styles, a multi-instrumentalist (banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin) and singer, well grounded in tradition, with a comprehensive grasp of style and an exceptional ability to teach.
In the 50-plus years Tom has devoted to playing traditional music, the cast of characters with whom he has associated reads like a who’s who in old-time, bluegrass, and Cajun music. He is particularly known for his long-time partnerships with Oklahoma fiddler Earl Collins (with whom he recorded the classic LP That’s Earl) and North Carolina banjo picker Eddie Lowe, both now deceased. Old-time fans have heard Tom’s music on his CD with harmonica virtuoso Mark Graham (Thought I Heard it Blow), on his recording with Dirk Powell and John Herrmann (One-Eyed Dog) or, more recently, through his performances with his son, Patrick, and Mark Graham as The Brainstormers. Bluegrassers know of his work with Patrick, Bill Bryson and Herb Pedersen in Loafer's Glory. He still plays with Alice Gerrard and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad, and Alice and teaches privately at his home in the Los Angeles area.
Tom holds a masters degree in folklore and is an exceptional teacher who is in demand at major traditional music workshops across the country and internationally.
Guitar for Singers, level 1/2 — Jim Nunally
We will explore strum patterns, tone, dynamics, connecting the strums with walks and runs, and finding keys and chord positions to match your voice.
Prerequisites: Knowledge of basic chord shapes: A, B7, C, D, E, F, G.
Be prepared to sing a song you would like help with.
Knowledge of how to use a flatpick is a good idea.
Bring: Capo, Flatpick, and a Guitar with strings (recommended).
Jim Nunally is the guitarist, as well as lead and harmony vocalist, with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Due West, and a host of other California based bands.
Jim is also a songwriter, composer, producer, and popular as a teacher at workshops across North America.
Old-Time Guitar Back-Up, level 1/2 — Rafe Stefanini
This class will concentrate on the role of the guitar in an old time band or as the back up to a fiddle or a banjo, as well as a back up to songs and is designed for players with intermediate ability . There will be a good amount of listening done to old recordings of influential guitar masters such as Riley Puckett, John Dilleshaw, Asa Martin etc. and together we will unravel their secrets. We will be using a flatpick primarily but we will look into the use of thumb and index as well in the styles of Maybelle Carter and Roscoe Holcomb.
Prerequisites: A knowledge of simple chords (old time music doesn't have any fancy ones!) and a familiarity with the genre.
Bring: a thumbpick and a fingerpick if you can, a capo and especially a tuner, there will be a lot of strings to keep in tune. A recording device is recommended.
Rafe Stefanini has been one of the foremost interpreters of American Traditional Mountain Music on fiddle, banjo and guitar and song for nearly three decades, since his arrival to the US from his native Italy in 1983. His work with bands like The Wildcats, The L7s, Big Hoedown, The Rockinghams and his current duo with daughter Clelia has produced over 20 recordings and he has performed all around the US, Southeast Asia, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and many more places near and far. As a teacher he has been a staple at music events such as Ashokan Fiddle and Dance, The Swannanoa Gathering, The Augusta Heritage Foundation, and he has been a judge at the prestigious contest at The Appalachian Mountain Music Festival in Clifftop, W.Va. many times.
The late Mike Seeger once called him “a national treasure”.
He is currently performing with Clelia, solo, and with Jumpsteady Boys.
You can reach him at email@example.com or 215 888 5136
For video clips search www.Youtube.com
Bluegrass Guitar Soloing, level 2/3 — Molly Tuttle
We will learn some basic songs and tunes, and work towards being able to confidently play lead and improvise on guitar. Some of the topics covered will be: proper technique for playing lead, scales and basic improvisation methods, finding melodies by ear, and simple ways to embellish the melody. My goal is to give you the tools to craft a simple but musical solo for any bluegrass song or tune. We will also use pick and finger exercises to build up dexterity, speed and tone when playing.
Prerequisites: Must be able to play simple melodies on guitar in time. Must know how to play a handful of bluegrass standards. Must know basic chords.
Bring:Tuner, pick capo, recording device (optional)
With nearly two million viewers on YouTube and features in Bluegrass Now, Flatpicking Guitar and Acoustic Guitar magazines, Molly Tuttle is making a name for herself in the acoustic music scene. A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals.
Growing up in a musical family, Molly has always been steeped in the bluegrass tradition. Through writing songs she has crafted her own sound that is unique and contemporary, but draws from bluegrass and folk influences. In recent years she has been awarded the Hazel Dickens Memorial Scholarship award from the Foundation for Bluegrass Music in Nashville, Best Female Vocalist and Best Guitar Player by the Northern California Bluegrass Society, music and composition Merit Scholarships to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and 1st place in the prestigious Merlefest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Competition.
Molly has been performing on stage since she was 11 and recorded her first album, The Old Apple Tree, at age 13. She has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, The Freight and Salvage, and countless other festivals and venues across the US, Canada, and Sweden. She is also a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music with an Artist Diploma in Guitar Performance.
Mandolin, level 1 —John Reischman
This is a beginner level mandolin class. Emphasis will be on learning to keep the basics in mind, i.e., playing a song's melody cleanly with good tone and timing. We'll learn some simple but interesting tunes, how to practice wisely, and we’ll also take an introductory look at double stops and fiddle tunes.
Prerequisites: Students should be able to play simple melodies and be able to change basic chords in time with the music. A recording device of some kind is recommended.
Bring: Students are encouraged to bring a recording device and a tuner.
John Reischman is an internationally renowned mandolinist whose 35 years of performing and recording includes time with the Good Ol' Persons and the Tony Rice Unit. He currently leads his own band, The Jaybirds, and has released numerous critically-acclaimed albums. John's extensive teaching experience includes music camps in the US, Canada, and England. He's been a favorite CBA Music Camp teacher since our first year.
Intermediate Mandolin, level 2 — Chris Henry
We’ll be focusing on some practical applications that include rhythm and pocket, minimalism, Monroe-style, power and projection, energy and concept, blues, practice technique, speed training, backup, composition, harmony, and dynamics, among other spontaneous explorations.
Prerequisites: One should be able to play many tunes comfortably and some up to speed to keep up with the pace of this class.
Bring: Please bring a tuner and an audio recorder of some kind (smart phone is fine).
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.This year Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass were chosen as the CBA Emerging Artist for 2015.
Bluegrass Mandolin, level 3 "Roots and Branches" — Mike Compton
My main objective is to expose the class to a few different styles of mandolin playing that I find interesting in the hope that you will find something new and enjoyable that you weren’t aware of before.
While there is an agenda for this class, it is not closed to other topics desired by the students. Individual instruction will be provided where needed.
Prerequisites: This mandolin class is geared towards the intermediate skill level.
Students must be able to:
1) Tune their mandolins
2) Know chord positions in all major keys
3) Have a working knowledge of right and left hand technique
4) Have a repertoire of songs/tunes that they can play from memory
5) Be able to play at various tempos
It will be helpful if students have some skill in reading standard notation or tablature. It is advisable to bring a personal music stand. Recording devices are acceptable. I will bring some handouts of material from Bill Monroe, country blues artists and some fiddle music from Mississippi. We will cover some basic technique suggestions that are helpful in the bluegrass portions.
Bring: a mandolin and be prepared to play A LOT. The class is NOT intended as a lecture.
Come prepared to ask questions and fully participate.
For anyone who loves bluegrass mandolin, acoustic blues, or watching a musician express himself with incredible mastery of his instrument,
Mike Compton is riveting. Many know Mike from the Nashville Bluegrass Band, John Hartford Stringband, or the kick-off mandolin voice to "Man of Constant Sorrow" from "O Brother, Where Art Thou." A mandolin master able to channel the Monroe-style playing better than anyone (according to Sam Bush), Compton is a preservationist who continues teaching the music that Bill Monroe innovated and which set the standard for generations of bluegrass mandolin players to come. A true bluegrass icon and one of the best players in acoustic music today, Mike Compton is as passionate an advocate for the mandolin as you're ever likely to find.
Traditional Bluegrass and Country Singing Styles, level 2/3 — Carol McComb
This class offers detailed information and individual guidance with lots of singing in traditional bluegrass and country styles, including ornamentation, vocal technique, tone production, exercises to strengthen your voice and increase your range, etc.. Sight reading is not a pre-requisite, but you will receive exact transcriptions of artists like Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, the Louvin Brothers, Ginny Hawker, Roscoe Holcomb and more to help you remember the details of each song. Some harmony singing will be covered, but the focus will be on vocal technique and helping you find the best key for the songs you already know.
Prerequisites: You should be able to sing in tune to take this class. You don't have to already have a great voice. We will work on this together!
Bring: a song that you already know to sing for us, so I can get an idea of what your voice and range sound like. Just a verse and one chorus is fine. Bring an audio recorder or phone with a voice application to help you remember what you've learned. Bring water with you. Singing well requires good lubrication!
Carol McComb is a vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with over 40 years of performing, recording, and teaching experience in bluegrass and other styles. She is a veteran of the Gryphon Quintet (known for their gospel harmonies and Carol's original bluegrass songs) who played in the CBA festival often in the 1980s. Her songs have been recorded by Laurie Lewis, Kathy Kallick, Keith Little, and many others. She has toured with Linda Ronstadt and Joan Baez. These days when Carol is not teaching, she tours as one half of the Elektra Records traditional folk and old-time duo “Kathy and Carol.".
Harmony Singing, level 2/3 — Laurie Lewis & Keith Little
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.
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."
Keith Little - a nationally acclaimed musician, recording artist, and composer, Keith performs on guitar, 5-string banjo, mando and fiddle. Appearing regularly with the LittleBand, Keith is also a featured member of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, and the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. An amazing vocalist, Keith performed on the GRAMMY award winning recordings “The Grass Is Blue” and “Little Sparrow” by Dolly Parton. Keith’s composions have been recorded by Crystal Gayle, Tim O’Brien, Claire Lynch, and the Whites (among others), and he is an honorary lifetime member of the California Bluegrass Association..
Fungrass!, level 0/1 — Kathleen Rushing
Fungrass! is CBA's program designed for children from 4 - 12 (Younger children may be considered if a parent accompanies them) It takes place from 9:00 a.m. - 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