Levels, Instructors, and Classes for 2019
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.
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!
3: Upper 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.
Allison de Groot •
Annie Staninec •
Celia Woodsmith •
Charles Clements •
Erin Youngberg •
Evie Ladin •
Gabe Hirshfeld •
George Clements •
Greg Blake •
Ivan Rosenberg •
Jack Tuttle •
John Reischman •
Keith Little •
Keith Terry •
Laurie Lewis •
Maddie Witler •
Mike Stahlman •
Patrick M'Gonigle •
Patrick Sauber •
Richard Brandenburg •
Tatiana Hargreaves •
Mike Stahlman - Bluegrass Banjo— level 1/2
Gabe Hirshfeld - Bluegrass Banjo— level 2/3
Allison de Groot - Old-Time Banjo— level 2/3
Keith Terry - Bass Rhythms— level 1/2/3
Charles Clements - Bluegrass Bass— level 2/3
Ivan Rosenberg - Dobro— level 1/2/3
Annie Staninec - Bluegrass Fiddle— level 1/2
Patrick M'Gonigle - Bluegrass Fiddle — level 2/3
Tatiana Hargreaves - Old-Time Fiddle — level 2/3
Celia Woodsmith - Guitar with Singing — level 1/2
Patrick Sauber - Old-Time Guitar — level 1/2/3
George Clements - Bluegrass Guitar — level 1/2
Jack Tuttle - Guitar Soloing — level 2/3
John Reischman - Bluegrass Mandolin — level 1/2
Maddie Witler - Bluegrass Mandolin — level 2/3
Erin Youngberg - Singing Styles — level 1/2
Laurie Lewis - Vocal Harmony— level 1/2
Keith Little - Vocal Harmony— level 2/3
Richard Brandenburg - Songwriting— level 1/2/3
• Band-Lab / Ensemble Classes
Greg Blake - Bluegrass Band— level 2/3
Evie Ladin - Old-Time Band— level 2/3
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 — Mike Stahlman
This class will focus on the essential skills and knowledge areas that will lead to smooth and confident playing. Topics will include: Right hand techniques and rolls, including the syncopated forward roll and other standard bluegrass rolls; Left hand techniques using the four finger chords and the scales within them; and the mental "picture" that good players use to tie it all together. The emphasis will be on using these three skills to create lead breaks and backup.
Mike's teaching style is to explain and demonstrate the techniques and then have the students play the exercises and discuss them in a relaxed, fun setting. There will be lots of handouts that will illustrate the techniques, and students can record any and all of the exercises for working on later or at home. Also, as part of the class, Mike will be available for "one on one" instruction with students as time and scheduling permits.
The goal of the class will be to give you skills and techniques that will help you be a smooth, confident player in jams and group settings.
Although all skill levels will be welcome, the class will be aimed at players who are late stage beginners ( can play a few tunes and understand and use simple rolls and chords ) through more experienced players who are looking to push their playing to the next level, or overcome "plateaus" they are experiencing.
In addition to the obvious (5 String banjo, picks, capo, tuner) bring along a tune, a break, or a lick that you would especially like to learn, and as a class, we will try to dissect it and learn it together. Also, a recording device of some kind would be good for recording or videoing the techniques and lessons. Finally, be ready to learn and have fun!
Mike Stahlman began playing the 5 string banjo "when Lyndon Johnson was President", and he was heavily influenced by the playing of Earl Scruggs and Alan Munde. He played for many years with such noted Northwest bands as Sunny South, Sawtooth Mountain Boys, and Lee Highway, and recorded extensively with these groups. He taught bluegrass banjo for 18 years at Portland Community College, has taught at the Midwest banjo Camp, numerous workshops at Northwest festivals, and currently teaches regularly at the American Banjo Camp in Port Orchard, Washington. Mike lives in Portland, Oregon and plays with the group Mountain Honey. He works as a Flight Instructor, teaching Private and Commercial flight students at Troutdale Airport near Portland, and yes, he finds many similarities between teaching folks the banjo and teaching them to fly airplanes!
To contact Mike with questions or suggestions: email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bluegrass banjo, level 2/3 — Gabe Hirshfeld
In this class we will talk about some of the different ways for you to take your banjo playing and push it to the next level. We will discuss proper right and left hand technique to relieve tension and allow effortless playing while still achieving the best tone and volume. We will talk licks and ideas from classic Scruggs style runs to more modern melodic style and single string. After this class one will, hopefully, leave with enough knowledge to take the ideas that are running through the banjo in their heads and put it onto the banjo sitting in their lap.
Know all the rolls, major and minor chords and at least several Scruggs style songs or tunes.
Banjo, Picks, Tuner, a recorder if wanted and many questions.
Gabe Hirshfeld grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. At the age of 15, he heard the great banjo player Earl Scruggs in the theme song of NPR's Car Talk. The sound of the banjo spoke to him in a way that no other sound ever had and it changed his life. After playing and obsessing over the banjo for several years, Gabe attended Berklee College of Music where he cofounded the Lonely Heartstring Band.. He now lives in Brighton, Massachusetts, in a house with an intense number of fiddle players.
Old-Time Banjo, level 2/3 — Allison de Groot
The goal of this class is to learn new repertoire, explore ways to improvise in a tune, work on rhythm and chords and of course, to have fun! Students will learn a collection of tunes, each each having a specific focus such as alternate tunings, regional style, or creating variation. We will play lots of banjo, listen to recordings, and go down some old-time rabbit holes . Tunes will be taught be ear, some tablature will be available if needed.
comfort with bum-ditty and drop thumb technique
an audio recorder
Allison de Groot combines love for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound – unique and full of personality. Her collaborations with Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, Bruce Molsky’s trio Molsky's Mountain Drifters, The Goodbye Girls and Nic Gariess provide spaces to explore the role and depth of clawhammer banjo. Allison has toured all over the world with various groups, performing at events such as Newport Folk Festival, Celtic Connections, Rockygrass, Hardly Strictly, Winnipeg Folk Festival, & Tønder Festival. The music scene in her hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, immersion in Appalachian old-time communities, a performance degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and touring extensively throughout North America and Europe have all shaped her playing.
Bass Rhythms, level 1/2/3 — Keith Terry
In today’s Bluegrass, Old Time and Americana genres the bass has the opportunity for providing new and different kinds of patterns and rhythmic devices to support the music in fresh, contemporary ways. We’ll explore the role of the bass as a rhythm instrument to get you in the groove in a fun, accessible, and non-competitive atmosphere.
In this class we’ll study ways to:
- play in the pocket to promote musical flow
- drive the music without rushing
- create good musical tension by pulling it back without dragging
- incorporate polyrhythms and counter rhythms, as well as simple patterns to punctuate, accentuate and syncopate
- incorporate simple patterns, polyrhythms and counterparts to punctuate, accentuate and syncopate
- find rhythmic ways to bring more emotion to the music
- The ability to play I IV V in the keys of C D G & A
- Your fingers that are in shape and ready to play (it can be challenging if you get blisters on the first day)
- A sense of musical adventure
- A playable upright bass
- A tuner
- A recording device - audio and/or video - (optional)
Keith Terry is a drummer and rhythm dancer who’s played bass in the Old Time and Americana scenes for the past 20 years. He has a diverse musical appetite and has played a variety percussive traditional and roots music, including jazz, Balinese gamelan, Ghanaian and Afro-Brazilian drumming. Keith has studied rhythmic systems from many parts of the world through his extensive experience as a touring musician over the past 40 years. He has performed and taught at a wide range of festivals, universities, community centers and camps, including a 5 year stint as the music faculty for the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. He’s the founding artistic director of the International Body Music Festival (now in its 11th year), which has been produced in North America, Europe, South America, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Self-taught, he’s played bass in the Americana scene with Evie Ladin, the Stairwell Sisters, the Earl White Band, and countless square dances with various old time musicians around the country. Keith has placed twice in the Neo-Traditional Traditional Band Contest at Clifftop.
Bluegrass Bass, level 2/3 — Charles Clements
In this class you will get my take on what it means to be a bass player in the context of a musical ensemble. Throughout this class, we’ll go over the “5 fundamentals of Upright Bass Technique and Expression”: (1) Physical Approach (2) Timing/Groove (3) Tone (4) Rhythmic Development and (5) Note Choice. We’ll use tunes and songs from the Bluegrass canon to have an interactive and hands on conversation that will hopefully leave you with some new ideas to bring to your bass practice and band playing.
Bring a bass, bring a tune, and let’s grow as bass players together!
Double bassist Charles Clements grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts and began playing music at an early age. A 10 year journey through piano, viola, trumpet and electric bass led Charles to the double bass in high school which he began to study privately with Rhode Island Philharmonic bassist Nancy Kidd and play in jazz ensembles and youth orchestras in the Boston area. He attended the New England Conservatory of Music earning his Bacehlor’s Degree studying with Boston Symphony bassist Todd Seeber. Charles went on to receive his Masters Degree at Manhattan School of Music in New York, studying with New York Philharmonic bassist and jazz talent David Grossman. Charles now resides in Boston where he plays with a variety of different classical music ensembles and collaborates on a wide range of projects ranging from American Roots to Barouqe. His band The Lonely Heartstring Band has released two records and tours nationally and internationally.
Dobro, level 1/2/3 — Ivan Rosenberg
In this class, we'll work on the skills and strategies you need to figure out your own arrangements to bluegrass, folk, and country songs—and to make you more comfortable and confident at your next jam. We'll discuss and practice the following and more: picking and barring technique; understanding the fretboard; chord progressions and how to strategize playing over them; finding melodies using chord tones and scales; embellishing melodies with ornaments, syncopation, and rolls; playing minor chords and slants; backing up a vocalist; and how to "Dobrofy" a fiddle tune melody so it's playable on the Dobro.
You'll be playing most of the time in this very hands-on class. You'll leave camp with plenty to work on in the months and years ahead, but primarily we'll be covering practical skills and strategies that you can use in jams right away! Plenty of handouts will be provided. I have a lot of experience teaching mixed-level classes and keeping everyone engaged, so whatever your experience level, there will be plenty to learn and practice.
This class is for "advanced beginners" and up. You should have a basic understanding of the instrument: have the locations of the straight-bar chords in G major tuning memorized, know a G major scale, be comfortable with fingerpicks and the bar, and have some experience trying to find melodies and/or playing backup on bluegrass or related music.
Dobro in G tuning, picks and bar, extra strings, audio recording device, all your questions about the Dobro, and a short list of commonly played songs you're interested in learning how to approach on the Dobro.
Now living in Toronto, Ontario, Ivan was a university instructor before becoming a professional musician, and he is well known for his enjoyable and systematic instruction. Ivan has taught at music camps over 70 times, including ResoSummit, Nashville Dobro Camp, Walker Creek Music Camp, Old School Bluegrass Camp, Sore Fingers, Acoustic Music Camp, 108 Mile Cabin Fever, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, California Bluegrass Association Music Camp, and most other notable acoustic camps.
Ivan has released seven solo albums, and his original music has appeared in the background of over 450 television programs and films including The Daily Show and Oprah. Ivan won an IBMA Award for co-writing the 2009 Song of the Year; played Dobro on the CD Southern Filibuster: A Tribute to Tut Taylor (produced by Jerry Douglas); and performed with Chris Coole, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, the April Verch Bigger Band, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Lizzy Hoyt, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, and many more.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 1/2 — Annie Staninec
In this class we'll focus on foundational techniques for achieving good tone and intonation, as well as improving our jamming skills! We'll learn how to quickly find a basic melody to a song, and transpose melodies to different keys, as well as tricks to spice up our solos to make them sound more interesting, rhythmic, and "bluegrassy". We'll also learn how to play some backup licks and double stops to compliment vocalists, and tips to help you navigate through solos for common chord progressions and songs in the traditional bluegrass repertoire. We'll be playing a bunch!
to get the most out of this class, one should be familiar with the A, G, D and C scales in first position, be comfortable using their fourth finger, and be able to play a handful of tunes or songs at a medium tempo with steady rhythm.
a tuner, rosin, humidifier, extra strings, and your enthusiasm and questions!
Annie Staninec is an IBMA Award winning fiddle player who began playing at the age of five, began performing at the age of 12, and now makes her living recording, teaching, and touring across North America and internationally. Annie is currently a full time member of the Kathy Kallick Band, regularly performs with several other groups, and has toured or recorded with countless artists including Peter Rowan, Rod Stewart, John Reischman, Town Mountain, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger, and David Grisman. She also released her own self-titled album which showcases her fluency across multiple genres.
Annie is a highly experienced teacher, having taught at numerous prestigious camps including Kaufman Kamp, the Rockygrass Academy, Darol Anger's Global Fiddle Retreat, Walker Creek Music Camp, CBA Music Camp, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and Cordova Music Camp. She also has an acclaimed instructional book of traditional bluegrass fiddle solos, and has a growing roster of private students across the nation. Annie's exuberance captures the hearts of students and audiences wherever she travels, and she is a musical inspiration whether you are listening to her, playing with her, or learning from her.
Bluegrass Fiddle, level 2/3 — Patrick M'Gonigle
Bluegrass fiddle seems increasingly difficult to define… And that’s good! This class will explore the merging of traditional bluegrass fiddle styles (Kenny Baker, Bobby Hicks, Benny Martin) with modern sounds (Stuart Duncan, Aubrey Haynie, and YOU! among others) and in the process, help you find your voice and work towards stylistic playing and improvisation techniques. We will split our class time into segments exploring new repertoire (both songs and fiddle tunes) and improvisation (again on songs and tunes).
I love double stops! In this class we will workshop movable double stop intervals through chord progressions in several keys as well as how you can use this amazing sound in your own music for both soloing and accompaniment.
Speaking of accompaniment, the fiddle is uniquely suited to be an accompanying instrument, counterintuitive as that may seem. We’ll develop varying techniques and concepts to apply to your fiddle playing beyond melodies and solos to elevate the potential of not only yourself, but those you’re playing with as well. I think that this is as important as any element of bluegrass! You’re only ever soloing about 25% of the time, and backing others up can be as rewarding as a great solo break…
We will not only work on the musical “expressive” elements of bluegrass fiddle, but we will also develop your practice routines and approach to technical exercises. Balancing technical with creative practice and identifying weak areas in your playing can be a challenge. In this class, we’ll talk about how you can create your own customized and ever-evolving system of practice and time allotment in order to maximize the effectiveness of your practicing… While also having more fun.
Be sure to bring a recording device and a pad of paper and pen as I teach mostly by ear. I’ll also provide a playlist of musical examples to note as we go. See you soon!
Can’t wait to play some music with you all!
Knowledge of 2-octave scales, minor and major, in G C D A E Bb
Understanding and Nashville number system in relation to chords (I IV V vi etc)
Understanding of building blocks of a chord (to workshop double stops) ie - 1, 3, 5, b7 scale degrees to build a chord.
Recording device, pencil, pad of paper - QUESTIONS!
Patrick M’Gonigle began playing violin at the age of 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied classically with Suzuki-trained violin teacher Yasuko Eastman in Victoria, BC and during this time won several awards for his classical music as both a soloist and member of several String Quartets and small ensembles.
After several years of touring in Canada with an acoustic dance band, Patrick moved to Boston in 2008 to study at the Berklee College of Music. Upon graduation in 2013, he immediately began a Masters degree in Music from the New England Conservatory, graduating Summa Cum Lauda in 2015 with a performance degree from the Contemporary Improvisation department.
In 2012 Patrick formed the Lonely Heartstring Band, a modern acoustic string-band quintet. Since 2012, the band has released an acclaimed record, “Deep Waters” on Rounder Records with a second album “Smoke and Ashes” released in early winter, 2019. In 2015, the Lonely Heartstring Band was awarded a “Momentum Award” of “Best New Band” by the International Bluergass Music Association (IBMA) and in both 2016 and 2017, the group was nominated for the IBMA award for “Emerging Artist of the Year”.
Since 2008, Patrick has toured with the Lonely Heartstring Band, Caleb Klauder Country Band, Lindsay Lou (formerly Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys), the Fretless, and more. Within these groups he’s performed at a top-tier level playing bluegrass, honky-tonk country, traditional Irish music, and swing.
Old-Time Fiddle, level 2/3 — Tatiana Hargreaves
This class will explore various different types of old time fiddle as we learn tunes from different regional styles from Appalachia to the Mid West to Texas. Through learning these tunes, we will work on bowing technique, how to create variations, and how to turn a basic, skeletal melody into a driving old-time fiddle tune. We will use the repertoire as a starting point for creating a method for learning on your own, outside of the camp experience. Please bring recording equipment to class to record the material throughout the week.
Several years of experience on the instrument and some prior knowledge of old time music and repertoire.
Over the past eight years, Tatiana Hargreaves has been on the forefront of an up and coming generation of old time, bluegrass and new acoustic musicians. Since releasing her first solo album “Started Out To Ramble” in 2009, Tatiana has toured with musicians such as Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger, and Bruce Molsky. From being the second woman to place first at the Clifftop Appalachian Fiddle Contest, to her bluegrass fiddling on Laurie Lewis’ GRAMMY-nominated album The Hazel And Alice Sessions, Hargreaves shows a musical fluency that flows between old time and bluegrass worlds with ease.
Performing, Singing, & Strumming, level 1/2 — Celia Woodsmith
In Performing, Singing & Strumming you'll learn how to confidently and effectively back yourself up on the guitar. From picking the right song for your voice to basic strumming patterns, and performance strategies you'll be ready to step confidently onto the stage or into the jam! We'll also delve into tactics for memorizing lyrics, methods of building stage confidence and how to improve your vocal technique. By the end of class, you'll have enhanced your own talent as a singer and guitar player and may have even mastered a couple more bluegrass standards to wow your family with!
You must already be able to perform a song at a beginner or intermediate level.
Please bring a tuner, capo, your guitar and a song you'd like help on (This can be an original or just a favorite.)
Celia Woodsmith is a GRAMMY Nominated performer, vocalist, and songwriter. The daughter of the Vermont based poet Sybil Smith she is influenced by artists such as John Prine, Janis Joplin and Mahalia Jackson. Over time, and without any formal training Celia molded her own vocal style and has been hailed by the Boston Globe as "Unvarnished and intimate (...) but then sounds like she's about to part the Dead Sea".
Woodsmith's performances can be described as "one of a kind: gritty, muscular, folksy and intimate sometimes all at once" (Bluegrass Situation) Not confined by genre she is as comfortable playing Bill Monroe as she is singing an old jazz standard, or a Led Zeppelin rocker.
In the last 14 years Celia has released nine albums of original music most recently with Nashville based bluegrass band Della Mae and her Boston based vintage rock project SAY Darling. In 2014 Della Mae was nominated for a Best Bluegrass Album GRAMMY for their record "This World Oft Can Be".
The all-female Della Mae has performed in 19 countries with the US Department of State's cultural diplomacy program "American Music Abroad". Woodsmith recently spoke about her experiences with travel and music at TEDx Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, NH.
In 2016 Woodsmith took a hiatus from Della Mae to write, listen and reflect about her years on the road. With her husband she biked 1.700 miles from Geneva, Switzerland to Vlorë, Albania, completing a physical task that she was unaware she could accomplish. In that time off she was able to write and record for her debut solo record "Cast Iron Shoes". Since then Woodsmith has continued touring with Della Mae, and will be putting two new records out in 2019!
Old-Time Guitar, level 1/2/3 — Patrick Sauber
Traditional southern rhythm guitar may seem simple, but there is a world of subtlety and nuance to be explored. This class will examine the role of the guitar in a stringband setting. We will focus on old time music of the 20’s and 30’s through the first generation of Bluegrass. We will examine the styles of players such as: Riley Puckett, Jimmy Rodgers, Maybelle Carter, Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt and Paul Sutphin. Our primary goal will be building a strong right hand technique, but we will also cover topics such as runs, right hand rhythm patterns and the thumb and fingerpick playing style.
Students should be comfortable playing in the keys of G, C, D and A.
A tuner, flatpicks (and thumb and fingerpick if you want to try that style) and a recording device. The class will be taught by ear.
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 Tim O’Brien Band and John Reischman and the Jaybirds.
Bluegrass Guitar, level 1/2 - A World of Patterns! — George Clements
Welcome! In this class, we’ll be exploring the amazing, mind-altering, elevating musical patterns found in Bluegrass Music. These patterns include, Right Hand Strumming Patterns, Left Hand Chord Patterns and Bass Runs, as well as the Fretboard Scale Patterns used in popular fiddle tunes to play melodies. Playing the guitar all comes down to understanding these basic patterns of notes and rhythms and how to combine them. Now you may be thinking…”Patterns? That sounds like math to me and that’s not my strong suit.” Well, don’t worry…I flunked trigonometry. It’s a game of connecting the dots. We’ll also discuss mental tools such as visualization, aural imagination, muscle memory and other fun topics that are essential to understanding how human beings make music. I’ll discuss some examples set by great bluegrass guitarists such as Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Tony Rice and Bryan Sutton. Hopefully by the end of my class, you’ll have a firmer grasp on the musical patterns found in Bluegrass and how to effectively practice them so you can see real results and improvement in your playing.
Some experience with Major and Minor chord patterns in the open position (C, G, D, A, F, E, B7, Am, Em, Dm, Bm) and some experience with using a flat-pick would be helpful as well.
Tuner, Flat-pick, Open-Mind!
George Clements is a Boston-based guitarist and singer/songwriter steeped in the folk music traditions. George graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 2014 where he was an active member in the American Roots Music Program. After graduating, he hit the road with The Lonely Heartstring Band, touring to various music festivals and venues across the USA and Canada. After a couple years, the band signed to Rounder Records and released their debut album Deep Waters in 2016. The band has received praise for their inventive arrangements of original songs as well as honoring the bluegrass tradition. In 2016, they won the IBMA Momentum Award and have gone on to tour in Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and New Zealand. The band is set to release their second record, Smoke & Ashes, in 2019. When he’s not on the road, George teaches out of his home studio in Boston.
Guitar Soloing, level 2/3 - Essential Bluegrass Guitar — Jack Tuttle
Bluegrass guitar has a distinctive sound all its own and we'll explore the essential elements. We'll cover finding melody by ear, adding in standard bluegrass embellishments, using scales, arpeggios, licks, and blues notes. We'll look at the mechanics of pick technique and how to practice to improve speed, accuracy, and tone. Also included will be an intro to bluegrass rhythm guitar and what makes it unique from other styles. Some tablature will be used.
Students should be able to play chords with steady rhythm in standard keys and be able to play simple melodies.
A tuner, flatpick, capo and recording devise (smartphone?). Some tablature will be used, so a music stand could be helpful.
Jack Tuttle grew up in a musical family in rural Illinois and began playing guitar at age 5. While in his teens, he immersed himself in bluegrass and added banjo, mandolin, and fiddle to instrumental repertoire. He began teaching full time at Gryphon in 1979 and has taught thousands of students over the years, including his own talented children, Molly (2017 and 2018 IBMA Bluegrass Guitarist of the Year), Sullivan, and Michael. Jack has performed at many notable events including: A Prairie Home Companion, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry Music Festival, and Merlefest.
Old-Time/Early Bluegrass Mandolin, level 1/2 —John Reischman
In this class the 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 will learn some simple but interesting tunes and also take an introductory look at fiddle tunes and old time songs. The fiddle tunes will show the proper right-hand picking patterns. The songs will incorporate double stops. We may also look at the bluesy style of Bill Monroe and other early bluegrass practitioners like Everett Lilly and Pee Wee Lambert. We’ll discuss basic technique, with emphasis on tone production.
Students should be able to play 10 - 20 tunes from memory and in time at an easy to moderate tempo, and know the basic open-position chords in the keys of A, G, D, and C. A concept of closed chords and alternating picking would be beneficial.
Students are encouraged to bring a recording device.
John Reischman is one of the premier mandolinists of his generation. He’s a master instrumentalist capable of swinging between re-inventions of traditional old-time tunes, deconstructions from the bluegrass repertoire, and compelling original tunes, many of which have become standards. He’s also a powerful bandleader, touring his band the Jaybirds all over Canada and the United States. But most of all, he’s an understated visionary, the kind of master craftsman whose music is virtuosic without ever being flashy and who is renowned for his impeccable taste and tone as an artist. John Reischman embodies the true spirit of acoustic music in the 21st century.
Bluegrass Mandolin, level 2/3 — Maddie Witler
In this class I’ll try to give you the tools you need to progress as a mandolin player and musician. The exact content will depend on who we have in the class and what people would like to work on. Part of the class will be done “master class” style, where a student will play something for myself and the class, and we’ll discuss ways to improve grow (don’t worry! I know it sounds scary but it will be fun, and we’ll all learn together!). Throughout the class we’ll focus on developing good technique, we’ll talk about time and playing rhythm, we’ll discuss improvisation, musicianship/playing with others, and I’ll teach a tune or two. This class will mostly be taught by ear, a recording device is recommended.
Be able to play a few tunes, and be able to play backup for those tunes. Have had experience playing in jams or bands.
A tune or piece of your choice to play for me.
A recording device.
Maddie Witler hails originally from LaCrescenta, CA. Maddie picked up the mandolin when she was 14 and fell in love with the instrument and bluegrass music. She spent the next few years studying with mandolinist Evan Marshall, with whom she worked her way through a lot of Bach, Jazz, and other musical styles, as well as bluegrass. Maddie attended the Berklee College of Music from 2010-2014. While in school she studied with some of her musical heroes including John McGann, Joe Walsh, Julian Lage, Mike Compton, Andy Statman, and many others. Maddie met her band mates in the Lonely Heartstring Band while at Berklee, and has been a member of the band since it began in 2012.
Singing Styles, level 1/2 - Find Your Voice! — Erin Youngberg
Join me for a workshop-style class of discovering YOUR voice. What's working and what's not? We'll discuss and experiment with vocal placement, resonance (where are you singing from?), vocal range, and how to sing with emotion! We'll listen to a variety of singers to get stylization ideas, because there's so much more to singing than just singing the correct note. What can you add to make a song really yours? I'd love to help you find out.
Willingness to explore singing with your peers, and the ability to receive and incorporate feedback in a supportive environment. A positive attitude.
A song you feel really comfortable singing. A song you consider challenging to sing.
Erin Youngberg has been playing upright bass since age 9 with her banjo pickin’ daddy growing up in Wyoming. She has toured, recorded, instructed and performed all over the country with various bluegrass, folk, old time and country bands such as Hit & Run Bluegrass; all girl Old-Time Band, Uncle Earl (Rounder recording artists); Bearfoot (Compass recording artists); Austin, TX based Two High String Band, and Honky-Tonk/Country band, The Billy Pilgrims. Her latest project, FY5, is a Bluegrass/Americana band with her husband Aaron Youngberg and singer/songwriter Mike Finders and features some of her original material. She teaches private bass lessons in the Fort Collins area, has been an instructor at a 4-H fiddle and dance camp for kids in Cordova, AK, and teaches in bass and vocal workshops at festivals across the country. She is also frequently featured on recording projects of bands that come through her and Aaron’s Swingfingers Recording Studios.
Vocal Harmony, level 1/2 — Laurie Lewis
OK. So you can sing the melody to a song. Now what? How do those people just launch into harmonies? Singing in harmony is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do, with no other props than your voice. This workshop will teach the skills needed to hear and add harmony parts to classic country and bluegrass songs. We will listen, deconstruct the parts, and put them back together as a group. We'll also break up into smaller groups so that everyone gets the chance to hear themselves blend and phrase together in a small ensemble. Come with plenty of water to drink and a voice ready to sing.
If you can sing "Happy Birthday" reasonably in tune, you are welcome to join this class. If you are like my dear brother, and can't do that, then please consider taking a basic singing class first.
an audio recorder, just in case. If you are an instrumentalist, it might help to have your instrument with you in order to find harmony parts, though we will not be using instruments often. A notepad and writing utensil may come in handy.
Laurie Lewis is a dedicated music teacher, having taught fiddle, songwriting, vocal styles, and harmony singing for many many years. She organized and ran Bluegrass Week at Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV, for ten years, and Bluegrass at the Beach in Oregon for fourteen years. The Sacramento News called her "as fine a singer as anyone on the acoustic music circuit, anywhere in the world." Billboard praised her ability to "successfully walk the high wire above esoteric country, combining elements of bluegrass and pure country to form her own seamless mix." Sing Out! magazine recently stated, "It's not too much of a stretch to suggest that if the "Americana" format wasn't invented for her, it should have been." And American folk music icon Utah Phillips boiled it down even further, asserting: "Whatever country music is supposed to be, she's at the center of it." Her latest CD with her band The Right Hands, "The Hazel and Alice Sessions," was nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album last year.
Vocal Harmony, level 2/3 - Natural Harmony Singing — Keith Little
Join Keith for this mid-level class directed at players wishing to sing harmony by ear, and essentially "on the fly." We start each session with a bit of group ear training and interval recognition, with the goal of building collective trust in our innate harmonic sense. We then split into groups, and take this new found harmonic trust out "for a spin" on some very basic song material (from unknown sources), with the goal of broadening each singer's awareness of both listening and singing, simultaneously. This is a "hands on" class with plenty of singing.
Students should have a well-developed love of singing, and also have developed some skill at "holding" a harmony line.
a small recording device, and a jug of water.
Keith Little is a nationally acclaimed bluegrass musician, recording artist, and composer. As a vocalist, he’s participated in many top bluegrass recordings, including Dolly Parton’s award-winning albums: The Grass Is Blue and Little Sparrow. Performing on guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle, Keith regularly appears leading the LittleBand, and is also a featured member of the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. His compositions have been recorded by Longview, Tim O’Brien, Claire Lynch, and the Whites (among others), and he is an honorary lifetime member of the CBA.
A dedicated teacher and coach, Keith has taught at the California Coast Music Camp, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Augusta Heritage Workshop, American River Acoustic Music Camp, Shasta String Summit, American Banjo Camp, CBA Music Camp, Kowana Valley Folk School, RiverTunes, and the Sore Fingers Workshop in Sommerset England.
Songwriting, level 1/2/3 - Bluegrass Songcraft — Richard Brandenburg
Are you writing bluegrass songs, or would you like to be? Do you think about what it means to write bluegrass music in 2019, and how you could do it even better than you’re doing it now? In this class we’ll create a safe, thoughtful environment in which to answer these questions and develop your skills as a songwriter.
We’ll listen to samples of traditional and contemporary bluegrass music, look at its various styles and forms, and explore how those styles and forms can inform your own songwriting. We'll discuss what makes a bluegrass song good or not so good and what song elements you can use to best convey your ideas. And we’ll share strategies for moving from ideas to complete songs. We’ll also reflect on how contemporary bluegrass songwriters can use traditional forms and speak in a way that is authentic, current, and meaningful.
This class is a fine opportunity to meet other folks at camp who are writing within bluegrass styes and tradition and to engage together in meaningful conversations about what makes for a great bluegrass song!
Any songwriting experience you have would be helpful, but a genuine curiosity about songwriting process and tradition is essential. The class is designed to help you think about your bluegrass songwriting in relation to tradition and innovation. Don’t feel like you’ll have to write a song during camp. But if the class inspires you to, great. Do plan on getting deeply immersed in the craft of bluegrass songwriting and on having a great time!
Notebook and pen to jot down notes and ideas as we listen to and discuss songs together; finished songs or ideas you’re working on and your instrument and voice to share them.
Richard Brandenburg is a San Francisco Bay Area singer, songwriter, and performer known for his fine, expressive lead and harmony singing and well-crafted songs that reflect his deep love of early country music. His traditionally rooted songwriting has drawn praise for the authenticity and authority of its narrative voice and for its unique, timeless melodies.
His CD “Flickering Dreams” features fifteen of his original songs, with vocal and instrumental accompaniment by Kathy Kallick, John Reischman, Tony Marcus, and Matt Dudman. He has also recently published “Weepers, Sleepers & Keepers”, a compilation of 25 lesser-known bluegrass and country gems. The book includes lyric sheets, notes, and a CD and digital download of Richard singing and playing each song.
Richard leads the weekly bluegrass and country jam at Berkeley’s traditional music venue the Freight and Salvage where he also teaches his popular “Singing From Inside the Song” vocal workshop, “Flatpicking Fundamentals” guitar class, and bluegrass and country repertoire courses. Richard has also taught classes and workshops at California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Walker Creek Music Camp, and California Bluegrass Association Music Camp.
"If you're accustomed to thinking, as I sometimes am, that nothing new can ever stand up to the best things that were done in the past, it is exhilarating to encounter present-day work that is comfortably on a par with the classics we love. Richard Brandenburg's work is that good, and I hope you'll seek out his CD and live performances." - John Miller
Bluegrass Band, level 2/3 — Greg Blake
This is a class about the various roles played by each member in a bluegrass ensemble and learning how to play your role while listening/communicating among your other band members. 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, fill and harmonies ... just as you might do in an actual band. We’ll play a variety of jam favorites, exploring different kinds of songs from fiddle tunes to banjo breakdowns, to waltz time and contemporary bluegrass, based on songs that you already know and like to play. Class participants are encouraged to bring their favorite songs to lead in class.
Students should have level 2/3 proficiency on their own instrument. Class members should know how to fret the major and minor chords typically used in bluegrass and should be able to play the standard bluegrass rhythm patterns: boom-chick (or bass-strum patterns) for flatpicked guitar; chopping chords on the mandolin, fiddle and dobro; roll patterns or vamping on the banjo. Guitar and banjo players should have familiarity with using a capo.
your instrument, along with a capo if you’re a guitar or banjo player. Don’t forget a strap that’s designed for and fits your instrument, a tuner (with extra battery), one or two extra string sets, extra picks and whatever other supplies you think you might need. We’ll try to use written resources as little as possible in this class but it’s still a good idea to bring along a portable music stand if you already own one. If you want to sing (and I hope you do!), you might need a lyric book to remember all of the verses. That’s fine – bring it along! However, reading tabs or music for leads or for chord progressions for tunes will be discouraged in this class. Audio and video recording is allowed and don’t forget that your smart phone can usually take care of this. A tripod or stand designed for your phone comes in handy when using it for class recording – that way you don’t have to hold your phone as it records.
Greg Blake sings & plays guitar with Jeff Scroggins & Colorado primarily, but is also know for fronting a number of other ensemble configurations ... all the way from local and regional bands, to national and international touring bands that would include popular, top-level musicians and recording artists such as Sierra Hull, Don Rigsby, Mark Schatz, John Reischman, Blaine Sprouse, Sally Van Meter, Patrick Sauber, etc. Greg has been recognized for both his vocal and instrumental skills by the IBMA (Guitar Player and Male Vocalist nominee) and SPBGMA (Male Vocalist nominee and 5 times consecutive Guitar Player of the Year). His debut solo CD, Songs of Heart and Home, was in the Top Ten Bluegrass CDs list of the Roots Music Report in both 2015 and 2016.
Old Time Band, level 2/3 — Evie Ladin
For intermediate players ready to launch into a band setting, we’ll get into detail of what makes a fun and successful group playing experience in Old Time Music. First, musicality: finding the common or intended repertoire that interests everyone, finding your shared pocket/groove, understanding the roles of each instrument in the band and their relationship to one another, and the variety of songs/tunes included under the title Old Time. Second, purpose: playing for dancing, for background music, for performance - all require different skill sets and have different intentions in a band setting. Third, communicating: basic skills for interacting successfully in a group, both musically and interpersonally, specifically in the old-time milieu. Fourth, Get Your Groove On: challenge yourself to shift your own sound to a group sound, opening your ears to pick up new ideas through new channels. Finally, we’ll explore the misnomers about Old Time bands/music and the wide range of rhythms and approaches to making great music in this genre.
Open to any instruments you might find in an old-time string band: fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bass and of course, vocals!
You should have some facility on your instrument - be able to change chords easily (if you play a chord instrument), keep time, 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, if possible, a few tunes or songs you know well and can share with a group, and a desire to make music with other people.
Banjo player, singer, songwriter, ace flatfooter and square-dance caller, Evie Ladin grew up steeped in traditional folk music/dance, and started performing with her sister Abby at the age of 8. Heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Lincoln Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Celtic Connections, Evie has taken home ribbons in folk song from Mt Airy, NC Fiddler’s Convention, and Neo-Trad Band from the Appalachian Stringband Festival, Clifftop, WV. Based in Oakland, CA, Evie tours internationally with partner Keith Terry and the Evie Ladin Band; and has released 8 CDs and two clogging instructional DVDs. Evie teaches banjo and harmony singing at the infamous Freight & Salvage, online at Peghead Nation and countless camps. A highly entertaining performer and patient teacher, Evie enjoys facilitating arts learning in diverse communities, always connecting the music with the dance, and educating people about traditional Appalachian culture and history.
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 child 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