Levels, Instructors, and Classes for 2018
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.
Adam Haynes •
Allegra Thompson •
Curtis Bumgarner •
Danny Roberts •
Edgar Loudermilk •
Eric Thompson •
Heath Curdts •
Jack Tuttle •
Jeff Autry •
John Reischman •
Kathleen Rushing •
Kathy Kallick •
Keith Little •
Kristin Scott Benson •
Mike Witcher •
Molly Tuttle •
Patrick Sauber •
Suzy Thompson •
Tom Gray •
Tom Sauber •
Tristan Scroggins •
Valerie Smith •
Wally Hughes •
• Banjo Classes
Curtis Bumgarner - Bluegrass Banjo— level 1/2
Kristin Scott Benson - Bluegrass Banjo— level 2/3
Heath Curdts - Old-Time Banjo— level 2/3
• Bass Classes
Allegra Thompson - Bass— level 1/2
Tom Gray - Bass— level 2/3
• Dobro Classes
Wally Hughes - Dobro— level 1/2
Mike Witcher - Dobro— level 2/3
• Fiddle Classes
Jack Tuttle - Beginning Fiddle— level 1/2
Adam Haynes - Bluegrass Fiddle — level 2/3
Tom Sauber - Old-Time Fiddle — level 2/3
• Guitar Classes
Molly Tuttle - Guitar with Singing — level 1/2
Eric Thompson - Old-Time Guitar — level 1/2
Jeff Autry - Bluegrass Guitar — level 1/2
Patrick Sauber - Guitar Soloing — level 2/3
• Mandolin Classes
Danny Roberts - Beginning Mandolin — level 1
Tristan Scroggins - Intermediate Mandolin — level 2
John Reischman - Advanced Mandolin — level 3
• Singing Classes
Edgar Loudermilk - Singing Styles — level 2
Keith Little - Intermediate Vocal Harmony— level 1/2
Valerie Smith - Advanced Vocal Harmony— level 2/3
• Band-Lab / Ensemble Classes
Kathy Kallick - Bluegrass Band— level 2/3
Suzy Thompson - Old-Time Band— level 2/3
• Kids Class
Kathleen Rushing - Fungrass — 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.
CLASS DESCRIPTIONS & INSTRUCTOR BIOS
Bluegrass Banjo, level 1/2 — Curtis Bumgarner
Touching on a broad spectrum of topics, this class will begin with the basics of tone, timing, technique and tuning(s) before moving on to the incorporation of various melodic and single string techniques into and around the Scruggs style.
We’ll work on exercises to solidify playing the basic chord shapes and rolls and then explore alternate left and right hand patterns to open up endless possibilities.
Students will learn how to dissect basic licks and turn them into creative new licks they can use while playing solos and backup. How to add power and spice to kick-offs and endings will also be covered.
Students should already have a grasp on the three-finger style and be able to play basic tunes with ease. Handouts containing some tablature for reference will be available, although reading tab is not a requirement.
Five-string banjo, strap, picks, extra strings, tuner. A small, folding music stand would be useful but is not a requirement. A recording device to capture audio and/or video would also be useful but is not required.
Although relatively new on the national bluegrass scene, Curtis Bumgarner has been developing his unique style for decades. He began playing the banjo in 1977 and continued honing his skills throughout his long career as a firefighter and a shorter stint as a wildlife videographer. He has been playing with local and regional bands across the Southeast since the late 70’s. He has also engineered and produced recordings for several bands.
Curtis retired from the fire department in 2009, and in 2013 he decided to put the video business on the back burner. He had finally given in to do what he’d longed to do since he picked up that first banjo, and that was to play in a touring band full-time. Since then he has worked with Adkins and Loudermilk, Dave Adkins Band, Big Shot Jimmy, The James Radford Band, Blue Mafia and is currently traveling with The Edgar Loudermilk Band featuring Jeff Autry.
Bluegrass banjo, level 2/3 — Kristin Scott Benson
We'll cover topics such as playing in different keys, the chord scale, creating solos and variations, understanding chords and intervals, a review of left and right-hand fundamentals, and extensive work on backup (if there is time, we'll talk about low backup, up-the-neck backup, and ideas of what to play on slow songs). If there is interest, we can also spend time learning about the Nashville Number System and reading charts. I welcome suggestions and plan to send a questionnaire beforehand, to get ideas from students.
As a teacher, I emphasize inclusiveness and minimal stress. Though I obviously encourage and facilitate a highly interactive class, I'll never put anyone on the spot, so please come with a light heart and plan to enjoy learning about the instrument we all love so much.
Students should have a grasp of basic Scruggs-style playing, be able to play at a moderate tempo, familiar with all 3 major chord shapes, able to play in-time with others, chop (or vamp) at a slow to moderate tempo, and most importantly, be supportive of others as we learn together. Being able to read tab is helpful, but not a necessity.
Your banjo, picks, and capo. Audio recording is allowed.
Kristin Scott Benson is the four-time International Bluegrass Music Association’s Banjo Player of the Year (www.ibma.org). Since 2008, she has been a member of Grammy-nominated and two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year, The Grascals (www.grascals.com), making an indelible mark on the bluegrass music industry.
Kristin has attained a national identity as one of the top bluegrass banjo players on the scene, exhibiting impeccable taste, timing, and tone. With an attentive ear to back-up, she is known and respected as a true team player among her peers.
Kristin’s latest solo album, entitled Stringworks, on Mountain Home Records, was released in July of 2016. It debuted in the top-ten on Billboard’s Bluegrass album chart and the self-penned opening track, Great Waterton, was nominated for IBMA’s Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year. The record is a mixture of styles, reflecting her tastes, and features original and traditional instrumentals, as well as vocal songs, all showcasing her banjo playing.
As part of the Grascals, Kristin’s media performances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Fox & Friends, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and CBS’ The Talk, among others. The band has also performed for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as accumulating nearly 200 performances on The Grand Ole Opry.
Old-Time Banjo, level 2/3 — Heath Curdts
This is a class for clawhammer players who are comfortable on their instrument and want to take their playing to the next level. We’ll dive deep and focus on the details that make great players sound the way they do, whether playing solo or with others. Working with familiar tunes, we’ll explore how to make a tune your own, creating subtle variations on the fly. We’ll go over practice methods, how to develop better listening skills, and we’ll work on improving right- and left-hand technique. We’ll also explore several beautiful and unusual tunings. For inspiration and insight we’ll listen to samples from banjo masters like Tommy Jarrell, Clyde Davenport, Nathan Frazier, Hobart Smith and Wade Ward.
Expect to have fun and come away with some new tricks and cool new tunes. Don’t expect to master it all in a few short days. I hope to give you material to work on for the next year or more!
Comfortable learning by ear and playing up to speed in at least a couple of common tunings (open G, double C, “sawmill” gDGCD). Ability to keep time using the basic “bum-ditty” rhythm and drop-thumbing.
capo, tuner, audio recorder
Heath Curdts is known as a patient, encouraging teacher who loves passing on what he knows. In the past 35 years he has taught countless players, both individually and at festivals and camps such as the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Pinewoods Camp, Berkeley Oldtime Music Convention, and more than twenty Lark in the Morning music camps.
Heath started playing the banjo as a teenager in Virginia. Initially self-taught, he learned much of his music directly from older traditional players, especially Tommy Jarrell in North Carolina, with whom he studied intensively. He also learned from other greats such as Benton Flippen, Dix Freeman, Robert Sykes and Luther Davis.
Over the years Heath has performed with the Possum Trot String Band, the Blue Mountain Ramblers (with Jody Stecher and Paul Hostetter), Tommy Jarrell, Benton Flippen, Franklin George, Mike Seeger, Dan Gellert and Bruce Molsky. These days he plays in two Northern California bands, the Leg Lifters and the Crane Creek Ramblers, and performs occasionally in a duo with Paul Brown as the Kindly Brothers.
Bass, level 1/2 — Allegra Thompson
In this class we’ll focus on the foundations of good bass playing: learning to hear chord changes AND execute them in a variety of keys (not just D and G!) and to develop a feel for the elusive “pocket” that is the essence of rhythm playing. We’ll practice “reading” guitar chords on the fly and talk about strategies for keeping the groove in unfamiliar jam territory.
When I first started learning to play bass, someone told me this joke, and like most good humor it has a strong current of truth to it:
A dude decides he wants to learn to play bass, so he books a lesson with a local instructor. For the first lesson, the teacher shows him how to play in D. “Practice that, come back next week.” Next week, the guy comes back for another lesson. This time, the teacher shows him how to play in G. “Practice that, I’ll see you next week.” When the student doesn’t come back for another lesson, the teacher wonders what happened. Finally, the teacher gives the student a call. “Is everything OK? Did I go too fast? Have you given up playing?” “Oh, no way, man,” the student replies. “I got too busy. I’m gigging.”
With luck, you too will be on your way to gigging by the end of camp—or at least confidently making music with your pals.
Patience and humility—the bassist’s craft often yields little glory, but it is not without its rewards. Courage—fear is the enemy of music-making, but, if you arrive willing, we can conquer it together. Mostly I hope we will have a lot of fun! I suggest that if you have access to a bass before camp, spend some time with it so that your fingers can toughen up—it’s hard to have fun when you’re playing on a blister. Similarly, you will have a better time in this class if you know how to tune your bass and have some bare basics of music theory--note names and time signatures.
A playable upright bass
A tuner – my personal preference is the Pitch Lab spectrogram, an inexpensive smart phone app, but whatever works for you will be fine
A notebook and/or audio recording device (if you choose)
Allegra Thompson's playing and singing is steeped in the roots music of the American South, from the mountains of Appalachia to the Cajun prairie. Her home-grown perspective on American roots music was nurtured by her parents, Eric and Suzy Thompson, who raised her on a steady diet of ragtime, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, and Appalachian old time music.
Allegra is known both for the power and clarity of her singing and for providing a rock-steady rhythm bed on guitar or upright bass, skills she applies faithfully to a wide variety of musical styles. A founding member of the Drifter Sisters and the Bearcat Stringband, she also plays with Skillet Licorice, the Midnite Ramblers, Wendy Burch Steel & Redwood, and of course Eric and Suzy Thompson in their family trio.
Bass, Intermediate to Advanced, level 2/3 — Tom Gray
In this bass class, we will cover the fundamentals of taste, timing, and tone. We will start by discussing the role of the bass in a band and how to support other members of the band. We’ll focus on left- and right-hand technique to enable the student to get the best tone. There’ll be things to keep in mind to help you keep rhythm. Then we will discuss the choice of notes to create tasteful bass lines, such as runs to lead into the next chord or the next line of a song. To help students play solos, I’ll have plenty of advice as well as some tablature and notation. I'll gladly give advice on what to play in certain situations, and welcome any questions and suggestions.
Some experience playing music with others.
1. Your own bass, if you have one, 2. Suggestions for tunes you'd like to work on. 3. Questions about what to play when.
A two-time inductee into IBMA’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame, Tom Gray was voted the best bassist in bluegrass eight times by the readers of three magazines. He is best known for his years as the bassist with two groundbreaking bands, The Country Gentlemen in the 1960s and The Seldom Scene in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s and 2000s, Tom played with Hazel Dickens, John Starling, and Emmylou Harris, among others, appearing on over 140 recordings with numerous artists. He is currently performing with Eddie & Martha Adcock, as well as Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike. In his youth, Tom was famed for his aggressive “walking” bass. The passing years have made him more judicious as to when to play those extra notes, but you can still count on Tom to lay down a strong bass line.
Advanced Beginner / Intermediate Dobro, level 1/2 — Wally Hughes
Welcome to dobro class! In this class we'll cover a wide range of issues to help you improve your sound and improvising (jamming!). We'll review some fundamentals: hand positions, picking and bar techniques, playing in tune and improving your tone. We'll have fun experimenting with phrasing and timing and learn a few songs and licks. Everyone will get to learn something new.
Know how to tune your dobro, know where G, C, and D chords are, and know how put on your picks and hold a bar! Actually, we’ll go over some of that, too.
Your dobro, picks and bar. A tuner. An audio/video recorder is a great idea for retention and practice later. Your phone or ipad also could be used for recording.
Wally Hughes is an excellent singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Delaware, now residing in Northern Virginia. Wally has been playing bluegrass professionally across the US and Canada for over 40 years. In the last 3 years he has also toured with bands in the UK each year. Wally first started playing dobro on stage at 11 years old with the family Bluegrass Band called the Hughes Family and then moved on to the fiddle and other instruments. For a number of years he fronted his own band in Delaware while recording and playing with other groups from the area as well. He recorded and played in a band called Penn Central with Steve Huber in the early 80s and has performed with Mike Auldridge, Bill Emerson, Mike Munford and many other top DC bluegrass musicians since moving to Northern Virginia. Instructor at Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Kids Academy and Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival Kids Academy: Teaching Fiddle, dobro and guitar.
Wally currently plays with two bands part-time: East of Monroe and Common Wealth Bluegrass Band and tours with Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike.
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 — Jack Tuttle
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.
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.
Bluegrass Fiddle, Down the Road, level 2/3 — Adam Haynes
In this fiddle class we’ll be working on how to play towards grassy soulful fiddling. We will be working on how to play breaks on your favorite jam tunes and backup techniques. Learn several tunes that add color to your playing. We’ll talk about, tone , timing ,and taste!! We will cover different bowing techniques, key changes and moving licks throughout those keys, double stops, and go through many questions about playing. The goal is to have a Great Time, and expand your playing ability.
You should be able to play several tunes, with a steady tempo. Be used to picking out melodies by ear. All are welcome but 6 months to 1 year playing is recommended.
A fiddle, bow, and a tuner. Also anything you like to use for notes, recording device,(smartphone).
One of the most respected fiddlers of the modern bluegrass generation, Adam Haynes is a multi-instrumentalist that has toured and recorded with GRAMMY, IBMA and SPBGMA, nominated and winning artists James King, Daily and Vincent, Grasstowne, and now a member of THE GRASCALS. Adam has taught at several events, Augusta Bluegrass Week and Steve Gulley’s Acoustic Camp to name a few. Adam is a highly regarded teacher and maintains a busy touring and recording schedule.
Old-Time Fiddle, level 2/3 — Tom Sauber
Old Style Southern Fiddling: In this class we'll add a few tunes to your repertoire, using a variety of the bowing patterns and techniques which give Southern fiddling its drive and inherent syncopation. We'll be using several different shuffles; also "rocking" and "rolling" the bow (it pre-dates the 1950s).
We'll be using a learning approach that's a hybrid of the old traditional style (me playing while offering you no help at all) and the modern "techno-slowdown" approach. We'll play slow enough to "catch" things while noting some subtleties of good playing and some pitfalls to be wary of.
To get the most out of this class, you should be comfortable playing in the keys of C,G,D and A and be able to pick up short phrases by ear.
A functioning fiddle that you can tune and re-tune. Fine tuners are almost a must.
Resin and a bow with enough hair.
Recording device that isn't disruptive (videoing for personal use is fine).
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 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 Tuttle has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. She began performing on stage when she was 11, and recorded her first album, The Old Apple Tree, at age 13. Since then, she’s appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, won first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest, and, 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 — Eric Thompson
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
Eric Thompson began his flatpicking career during his teenage years in the early 1960s as a Black Mountain Boy (with Jerry Garcia), and a New York Rambler (with David Grisman). Over the decades he has added his guitar and mandolin artistry to a wide variety of rootsy musical settings, including the Todalo Shakers, Kleptograss, Bluegrass Intentions, California Cajun Orchestra, his duo with his wife Suzy, and their newest band, Blue Diamond Strings. Eric has taught at PSGW, the Santa Cruz Mandolin Symposium, Kamp Kaufman and has several instruction books and videos available through Mel Bay, Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop, and Backbeat Books.
Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar, level 1/2 — Jeff Autry
We will be discussing and demonstrating in depth the various styles and methods for rhythm guitar as it pertains to accompaniment of an acoustic band/bluegrass band. We will look at chord forms and rhythm patterns for bluegrass, folk and country styles of the most famous guitarists of these genres. We will learn how to make the band sound full and to stay in time together as well as dynamically creating space for vocalists or other instrument soloing.
You should know and be able to smoothly change to and from common bluegrass chords: A, B7, C, D, E, F, G.
Tuner, capo, heavy (1mm+) flatpick, recording device.
Jeff Autry was born on July 4, 1965 in Decatur Georgia. At age 12, began learning chord forms on guitar and playing with his Dad in a local bluegrass band. Jeff began his playing career at age 19 working, with the Georgia based band Clearwater. At age 26, took the guitar and lead vocal position with the bluegrass swing band, The Texas Rangers. This band, which included banjo master Scott Vestal, played an eight month tour of Japan. After returning to the U.S., Jeff joined Rounder recording artist The Lynn Morris Band and toured the bluegrass circuit throughout the U.S.
Regarded as one of the best guitarist of his generation, Jeff has performed and recorded with many of the bluegrass legends he grew up admiring, including Sam Bush, John Cowan, Vasser Clements, Ricky Skaggs and Peter Rowan. Jeff’s recording credits include the award winning instrumental series Bluegrass 96 through Bluegrass 2001 (Pinecastle), his own solo CD titled “Foothills”(Pinecastle), Freedom Ride – Drew Emmett of Leftover Salmon project, all of the John Cowan recordings from 2000 to 2012 as Jeff toured with The John Band for 14 years.
After the disbanding of The John Cowan Band, Jeff toured with The Traveling McCoury’s. Jeff currently tours with his partner Edgar Loudermilk in the Edgar Loudermilk Band featuring Jeff Autry.
Bluegrass Guitar Soloing, level 2/3 — Patrick Sauber
The goal of this class will be to build tasteful solos that solidly state the melody, but still keep things interesting. We'll examine the playing of pioneers like Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson and Clarence White. Developing a strong right hand technique with good timing and tone will be emphasized. We'll also try to expand the vocabulary of licks and ideas for use in improvisation.
Students should be able to play steady rhythm in all major keys, and be able to play simple melodies.
A tuner, picks and a capo. The class will be taught by ear, so a recording device would be useful.
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, Tim O'Brien 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, Peter Rowan, the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band and John Reischman and the Jaybirds.
Mandolin, level 1 —Danny Roberts
In the Mandolin Level 1 class we will be looking at ways to improve overall knowledge of mandolin playing. We will cover: improving speed, technique, improvising, learning new tunes, and also tips on set-up and instrument care. Look to have a good time while learning new things – playing is supposed to be fun and not a chore!
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.
Bring your tuners, your tunes and your desire to learn and we will work to meet your expectations!
Danny Roberts began playing guitar to back up his friend Jimmy Mattingly (founding member, The Grascals) when the two were growing up on adjacent farms in Leitchfield, KY. Soon he was winning contests on his own as a guitarist and, eventually, mandolin player. In 1982, he co-founded the New Tradition, a dynamic, ground- breaking bluegrass/gospel group that toured the country for close to 20 years (the last ten on a full-time basis), recorded ten CDs, made “Seed of Love,” the first bluegrass video to feature the banjo – it reached #1 on the TNN channel – appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, and helped to bring the bluegrass sound and gospel message to a new generation of fans. When the group dissolved in 2000, Danny went to work for Gibson Musical Instruments, where he rose to the position of plant manager at Original Acoustic Instruments (OAI) as well as being master luthier of the mandolin division. Still, he kept his hand in as a musician, giving workshops with mandolin colleagues like Sam Bush, Chris Thile and Bobby Osborne, making guest appearances with artists such as Marty Raybon, Larry Cordle and Melonie Cannon, and touring and recording with bluegrass/country veteran Ronnie Reno as a member of his band, the Reno Tradition, before reuniting with Mattingly in The Grascals in 2004. His solo recording, MANDOLIN ORCHARD, received extensive airplay and was touted by the Chicago Tribune as one of the Top 10 Bluegrass Releases of 2004 and his latest solo release is entitled NIGHTHAWK on Mountain Home Records, features several duets with many of today’s most accomplished mandolin players.
As a member of The Grascals, Danny has received many accolades including 2-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year, 3 Grammy nominations, IBMA Song of the Year, IBMA Album of the Year and has been named the SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year 7 times. He has also recorded and performed with: George Jones, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Jr., Dierks Bentley, Steve Wariner, Brad Paisley, Tom T. Hall, The Oak Ridge Boys, Aaron Tippin and more as well as having numerous television appearances including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late, Late Show, The Talk, Good Morning America, The Marie Osmond Show, Fox & Friends, and more. In addition to touring all over the United States, Canada…and the world…Danny (The Grascals) has made 200 guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry.
Bluegrass Mandolin, level 2 — Tristan Scroggins
In this class we'll start to take the steps between playing something from memory and playing music. In addition to a general technique brush up and a focus on consistency, we'll learn how to begin to interpret musical ideas with more finesse and build melodic solos. Through exercises we'll learn to improve our tone and timing and move forward on the path to unlocking our ability for self expression.
Students must be:
- able to tune a mandolin
- able to play a handful of tunes, all the way through without stopping
- able to play with somewhat consistent alternating pick strokes (up, down, up, down)
- mandolin accessories (strap, picks, tuner, etc.)
- recording device if desired
Tristan Scroggins is an award-winning mandolinist and composer from Nashville, Tennessee. Tristan has toured extensively in the US, Canada and Ireland for the last six years with the critically acclaimed bluegrass band Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. At 23 he already has a decade of professional experience as a stage performer, instructor and recording artist. In 2017, Tristan was accepted into the Acoustic Music Seminar run by Mike Marshall as part of the Savannah Music Festival and later that year was awarded the International Bluegrass Music Association's Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year. Son of two-time national banjo champion, Jeff Scroggins, Tristan originally gained notoriety as a young phenom winning multiple state championships before the age of 16. While working with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Tristan has been a featured artist at the International Bluegrass Music Association's Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, The European World of Bluegrass Festival, Merlefest, Rockygrass, Wintergrass, the Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley, RTE Ireland's National Radio, and the World Famous Station Inn. Tristan has one studio recording of all original tunes, one of which was a finalist for the International Acoustic Music Awards Instrumental Song of the Year and one duet record with Grammy Award winning violinist, Alisa Rose.
Advanced Mandolin, level 3 — John Reischman
In this class we will work to improve your playing in all aspects of bluegrass mandolin. We will focus on everything from creating a strong rhythmic chop, to clean single note fiddle tune style playing, to double stops that work well in bluegrass songs. We will also add to your repertoire by learning some bluegrass standards like Bill Monroe’s Cheyenne, David Grisman’s Dawg’s Bull, as well as some of my originals including Salt Spring and The Eighth of February.
Students should be able to play the melody and rhythmic accompaniment to some fiddle tunes at a medium tempo.
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
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.
Singing with control - Lead and Harmony, level 2 — Edgar Loudermilk
Singing with clean phrasing , how much to sing ,how much not to sing ,and exploring harmony vocals . Going through the different styles of harmomy stacks ,and picking keys that fit vocal range . When to do big vocal moves ,and not oversing by exploring dynamics with vocals.
We welcome all levels of singers ,and will try to explore things to help everyone.
Bring yourself, song ideas to look at, and any Questions you may have that we can explore together.
Surrounded by music at an early age, Edgar Loudermilk was only nine when he began playing bass in his family's band. Loudermilk was also exposed to the great music of some of his famous relatives, The Louvin Brothers. He continued to play in his family's band until he was 20 years old when he joined the group Carolina Crossfire. From there it was a small step to playing professionally with a series of great bands:
Rhonda Vincent, Full Circle, IIIrd Tyme Out, Adkins & Loudermilk, and finally the Edgar Loudermilk Band, featuring Jeff Autry. Edgar Loudermilk Band, featuring Jeff Autry's latest album, titled "Georgia Maple" was released in July, 2016, and included banjo player, Chris Wade on the recording. The Edgar Loudermilk Band, featuring Jeff Autry performed throughout the United States and Canada during 2016 and 2017 and recently has been in the studio working on a project to be released in early 2018.
Vocal Harmony, level 1/2 — Keith Little
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.
- 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.
Bluegrass Vocal Harmony, level 2/3 — Valerie Smith
First, Valerie will begin the class by teaching basic vocal production techniques and address any questions concerning singing folk, country or bluegrass music.
Second, Valerie will discuss and demonstrate vocal phrasing techniques.
Third, Valerie and Lisa will teach the dynamics of harmony singing by demonstrating and then having the class perform a variety of songs.
Finally, the class will suggest songs that they would like to learn to sing. This can be an individual or a group function.
Good attitude and a readiness to learn!
Questions, plenty of water, songs with lyrics that you are interested in learning, pencil and paper.
Valerie Smith is originally from Missouri and now based in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, a charming historic town southeast of Nashville. Valerie Smith is an award-winning bluegrass and American roots artist and songwriter. Since 1998 Smith has made thousands of fans and friends with her music, on stages across the United States, as well as in Europe, Canada and the United Kingdom. Valerie has developed a unique style and sound that has rocked the bluegrass world for two decades with a string of national and international tours, critically acclaimed recordings and Grammy, IBMA and Dove Award nominations. Val's vocals are impressive. She has a staggeringly expansive range and the ability to portray an amazing array of emotion. As NPR radio host Dave Higgs has noted, "She can be sassy, sultry, siren-like, sweet, smooth, soothing and smoldering---sometimes during the span of just one song!" Valerie Smith and her band Liberty Pike featuring legendary IBMA Hall of Famer Tom Gray on bass are skilled musicians and consistent audience pleasers. When Valerie walks onstage with her fabulous band expect to be inspired, amused and thoroughly entertained.
Valerie’s hit single, “Red Clay Halo,” written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, climbed the Bluegrass Unlimited, Country Music and Americana reporting charts, receiving heavy radio airplay for five years. BU included the song in their list of the top 60 songs of the decade.
Valerie holds a Master’s degree in Music from the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and she taught music for seven years in her home state before moving to Nashville.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, commissioned Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike to create a special “Bluegrass in the Schools” program to share bluegrass music and its history with thousands of students in western Kentucky for 15 years. She later developed the “American Roots Music” program, which she continues to present in the United States and overseas.
Bluegrass Band, level 2/3 — Kathy Kallick
This is a class about ensemble playing. It's all about communication! 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.
Students should have experience playing in groups, level 2/3 proficiency, and bring a song to contribute.
Your instrument ready to play, a tuner, and any recording device you like.
Since co-founding the internationally-acclaimed band, Good Ol’ Persons, in 1975, Kathy Kallick has won a Grammy and two IBMA Awards, as well as a Lifetime Membership award from the California Bluegrass Association; had six title tracks and albums each spend a year in the top echelon of the national bluegrass charts; released 20 albums, recording which contain nearly 150 of her compositions; written and recorded award-winning music for children and families; toured throughout North America, Europe, and Japan; and collaborated with the country’s top acoustic musicians – including her fabulous current band.
In addition, Kathy has taught singing, songwriting, guitar playing, and bluegrass band at a number of music camps, including the Rockygrass Academy (Colorado), Augusta Heritage Center (West Virginia), Sore Fingers (England), Nimblefingers (British Columbia), Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (Washington), Bluegrass at the Beach (Oregon), and several in California, including the CBA Music Camp..
Old Time Band, level 2/3 — Suzy Thompson
Open to any instruments you might find in an old-time string band: fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bass, etc. and there will be lots of singing, too.
Old time music encompasses a wonderfully wide variety of moods and modes, and we’ll explore a variety of rhythms (breakdown, waltz, hillbilly blues, ragtime), some sad songs and some silly ones too. We’ll learn and arrange material (both vocal songs and instrumentals) drawn from old time greats like Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole, the Carter Family, some of the early black string bands like the Mississippi Sheiks, and lesser known (but equally amazing) artists. We’ll work directly from source material, which will be provided in advance for your listening pleasure, along with lyric sheets. Suzy will choose the material based on the instruments in the class, and will consider all requests, either for specific songs or artists. Please note that no prior singing experience is necessary, but you should have some facility on your instrument.
You should have some facility on your instrument - be able to change chords easily (if you play a chord instrument) and be open to learning by ear. Advanced beginners who are game to try something new are also welcome. Singing - no experience necessary!
A capo (if you play guitar or banjo), a tuner, a strap can be handy for playing music standing up, and a desire to make music with other people.
Suzy Thompson plays just about anything with strings, but is best known as a fiddler and vocalist. She has taught hundreds of songs in her ongoing (for 7 years now!) String Band Blues class in Berkeley. Suzy has performed and recorded with Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Alice Gerrard, Any Old Time String Band, etc. She has taught her string band class at many music camps including Walker Creek, Alabama Folk School, Bluff Country Gathering, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Centrum’s Blues Week, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and Lark in the Morning. Suzy performs in Thompsonia (with husband Eric and daughter Allegra), in a duo with resonator guitar and ukulele goddess Del Rey, in the Todalo Shakers string band, and in the Aux Cajunals (Cajun band). She is a former Artistic Director of Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and is the founder and director of the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention (Sept. 26-30, 2018).
Fungrass, level 0/1 — Kathleen Rushing
Fungrass is for kids from 4 to 12 or so who are not yet ready for a class situation. We will explore all the bluegrass instruments; learn about them, pet them, play them, and fall in love with them. Class will also include a bit of dancing, singing, tie dye or sun dye t-shirts, crafts, ukulele lessons, lemonade making, hiking around and generally way too much fun.
Students need no prior experience, but if they currently play an instrument, great! Please bring any instrument you have (bluegrass preferably).
Prerequisites: Designed for ages 4 to 12.
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