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Dobro Class

Levels, Instructors, and Classes for 2020

LEVELS

Level 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.

Level 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!

Level 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.

 

If 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.

 

We will allow for some adjustments as needed the first day.

 

INSTRUCTORS

Allison de Groot AprilVerch Brandon Godman Brandon Rickman Cary Black Greg Blake Greg Booth Jack Tuttle Jesse Smathers Joe Newberry John Reischman Joseph Decosimo Joseph Dejarnette Karen Celia Heil Kathleen Rushing Kathy Kallick Keith Little Laurie Lewis Mike Stahlman Patrick M'Gonigle Patrick Sauber Tristan Scroggins

CLASSES

By clicking on a class you're interested in (or scrolling down), you will find a class description along with a bio for the instructor and other information. Recommended prerequisites are also given, though an open and positive attitude towards learning in a group setting is really the most important prerequisite for having a great time at camp!

• Banjo

Mike Stahlman - Bluegrass Banjo— level 1/2

Patrick Sauber - Bluegrass Banjo— level 2/3

Allison de Groot - Old-Time Banjo— level 2/3

 

• Bass

Cary Black - Bluegrass Bass— level 2/3

 

• Dobro

Greg Booth - Dobro— level 1/2/3

 

• Fiddle

Brandon Godman - Bluegrass Fiddle— level 1/2

Patrick M'Gonigle - Bluegrass Fiddle — level 2/3

Joseph Decosimo - Old-Time Fiddle — level 2/3

April Verch - Canadian Fiddle Styles — level 2/3

 

• Guitar

Brandon Rickman - Guitar with Singing — level 1/2

Karen Celia Heil - Old-Time Guitar — level 1/2

Greg Blake - Bluegrass Guitar — level 1/2

Jack Tuttle - Guitar Soloing — level 2/3

 

• Mandolin

Tristan Scroggins - Bluegrass Mandolin — level 1/2

John Reischman - Bluegrass Mandolin — level 2/3

 

• Singing

Jesse Smathers - Singing Styles — level 1/2

Laurie Lewis - Vocal Harmony— level 1/2

Keith Little - Vocal Harmony— level 2/3

 

• Songwriting

Joe Newberry - Songwriting— level 1/2/3

 

• Band-Lab / Ensemble Classes

Kathy Kallick - Bluegrass Band— level 2/3

Joseph Dejarnette - Old-Time Band— level 2/3

 

• Kids

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 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.

 

Prerequisites: Students should have experience playing in groups, level 3 proficiency, and bring a song to contribute.

 

Bring: Your instrument ready to play, a tuner, and any recording device you like.

 

Bio: 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 Lab,  level 2/3 — Joseph "joebass" Dejarnette

 

Get ready to have big fun! In this class you will form a string-band, and we will help you learn to make the best music for square-dancing, flatfooting, jam sessions, and concert performances. We’ll get into the details of what makes a fun and successful group playing experience focused on listening. There will be tips for finding great repertoire and developing a cohesive, fun, interactive, rhythmic pocket/groove. We’ll learn the roles of each instrument in the band and their relationship to one another, and how to pick up new tunes/songs quickly on the fly. We’ll give you some tips on etiquette and how to find a place at festival jam sessions. We’ll discuss interacting successfully in a group, both musically and interpersonally, tailored to the eccentricities of the “old-time” string-band community. Lastly, we’ll dive into some history of the music, examine some amazing field recordings and highlight some lesser known groups that have made extraordinary contributions to the music and culture. We’ll keep the chatter to a minimum and there will be lots of hands on playing time!


This class is open to any instruments you might find in a mountain string band: fiddle, banjo (clawhammer and 3finger welcome), guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bass, washtub bass and of course percussive dancing feet! All are encouraged to sing a little too.

 

Prerequisites: 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. Please note that we will learn and play by ear and there will be no tablature.

 

Bring: A capo (if you play guitar or banjo), a tuner, a strap can be handy for playing music standing up, a few tunes or songs you know well enough to share with a group, and a desire to have fun, learn and make music with other people.

 

Bio: Bassist and audio engineer Joseph “joebass” DeJarnette was raised in the foothills of the blue ridge mountains on a hodgepodge of strange 78 rpm records, local rock bands, static filled folk and world music from the distant public radio station and a smattering of community concerts. He later made his way north and spent many years living in Brooklyn, NY touring the world with The WIYOS and making occasional appearances with Curtis Eller, New York’s angriest yodeling acrobatic banjo player. After 29 dates with Bob Dylan and WIllie Nelson in 2009, he returned to Virginia and founded STudio808A in historic Floyd, Virginia, a “band and breakfast” recording studio where he has worked with (namedrop artists and labels ad nauseum to taste).

 

www.studio808a.com


Bluegrass Banjo,  level 1/2 — Mike Stahlman

 

This class will focus on the essential skills needed for smooth and confident playing. We will explore right and left hand positions and patterns, common Bluegrass rolls, and backup ideas, with the goal of creating the mental "picture" that good players all use. Mike will introduce 3 or 4 "model" tunes, (simple to medium difficulty Bluegrass standards), to use as practice exercises for the techniques we will be working on. There will be lot's of handouts that will illustrate and explain the techniques, and students can record any or all of the exercises for working on later or at home. Also, Mike will be available for jamming or one on one instruction outside of class as time permits. The goal of the class will be to give newcomers to the instrument, skills and confidence for playing in jams or groups, and do it in a fun, relaxed setting.

 

Prerequisites: The class will be aimed at late stage beginners (can play a few tunes, understand and use simple chords) through more experienced players who are trying to get their playing to the next level. A basic familiarity with tablature, timing, and chords will be helpful.

 

Bring: In addition to your banjo, picks, and a tuner, bring along a tune, a break or a lick that you would especially like to learn, and we will try to work on it together, as a class. Also, bring along a recording device for recording or videoing the lessons and the techniques. Finally, be ready to learn, laugh a lot, and have fun at this!

 

Bio: Mike Stahlman began playing the 5 string banjo in his early teens after hearing Earl Scruggs and falling in love with the sound. Mike played for many years with such noted Northwest bands as Sunny South, The Sawtooth Mountain Boys, and Lee Highway. He recorded extensively with these bands and also recorded two banjo instrumental albums. Mike taught Bluegrass banjo for 18 years at Portland Community College, has taught at the Midwest Banjo Camp, numerous workshops at West Coast festivals, and currently teaches at the American Banjo Camp in Port Orchard, Wash. He lives in Portland, Oregon and plays with the group Mountain Honey. Mike works as a Flight Instructor, teaching Private and Commercial flight students at Troutdale Airport, near Portland.

 

Contact Mike at : m_stahlman@msn.com


Bluegrass Banjo,  level 2/3 — Patrick Sauber

 

This class will focus on building and extending a solid foundation in Scruggs style bluegrass banjo. Right and left hand technique, tone production, timing, instrument setup and alternate tunings will be covered in class. We'll discuss finding the melody to create solos, and how to back up other instruments and vocals. Having fun playing with other people is our overall goal, and having a strong grasp of the fundamentals makes it a lot easier

 

Prerequisites: Students should be comfortable with closed (movable) chords, and should know a number of tunes/songs.

 

Bring: a five-string banjo, picks, tuner, and a capo. The class will be taught by ear, so a recording device is also recommended.

 

Bio: The son of master old time musician Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber grew up surrounded by traditional southern music. Equally adept at banjo, mandolin, and guitar he is an in-demand instrumentalist and singer. Patrick has played or recorded with many musical greats including: Doc Watson, Curly Seckler, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Roland White, John Fogerty, Herb Pedersen and many more. Patrick was also a cast member of the Christopher Guest movie "A Mighty Wind". He can be seen on the road with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, and the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band.

 


Old-Time Banjo,  level 2/3 — Allison deGroot

 

The goal of this class is to learn new repertoire, explore ways to improvise within 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.

 

Prerequisites: comfort with bum-ditty and drop thumb technique

 

Bring: an audio recorder

 

Bio: 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.

 


Upright Bass,  level 2/3 — Cary Black

 

This class will focus on the role of the bass in traditional and progressive Bluegrass, and refer to related Old-Time, Country, Folk, Blues, and Western Swing styles. Timekeeping will be a prime topic. Our work on technique will explore ways to produce a powerful and precise sound, as easily as possible. We’ll also increase our available range of notes, and how to use them to create a steady, supportive, and dynamic pulse in various tempos and meters. We'll find stylistically appropriate ways to add coherence and flow to bass parts by using leading tones, passing tones, bass runs, rhythmic accents, and syncopation. We will investigate the basics of walking and soloing, beginning with composed lines, then going on to explore ideas about building a vocabulary for improvising. We’ll work on listening skills, including how to hear and anticipate both simple and more complex chord progressions; how to listen and watch for audible and visual cues; how to “read” guitar chords, and how to navigate conventional count offs, intros, tags, and endings.

 

Prerequisites: Basic working knowledge of note names and locations in the lower positions, and some ability to play roots and fifths while chords are being called. Open-minded curiosity, the desire to increase your musical knowledge and skills, and willingness to make mistakes. Much of the class will be designed for aural learning; for those who read music (or would like to), there will be some written materials available, including some standard bass clef notation (no tab).

 

Bring: The Bass. Other items could include note-taking materials, tuner, recorder, and music stand.

 

Bio: Cary Black is well known for his patient, encouraging, intuitive, and coherent teaching. He enjoys accommodating a variety of learning styles while maintaining a relaxed, efficient, and fun class atmosphere. Cary was an adjunct faculty member in Music Theory, Ear Training, and Improvisation at The Evergreen State College from 1994 to 2000. He has taught at music camps throughout the West, including the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Bluegrass Association Grass Valley Camp, California Coast Music Camp, Monroe Mandolin Camp, Colorado Roots Music Camp, Walker Creek Music Camp, Centrum Swing Workshop, Greater Yellowstone Music Camp, Bluegrass at the Beach, B.C. Bluegrass Workshop, and Wintergrass Academy. Described by Alan Senauke in Sing Out! magazine as “a musician’s musician,” Cary is at home in a wide variety of musical settings. He’s been a member of the Kathy Kallick Band since 2013. http://kathykallick.com/ He worked with Laurie Lewis and Grant Street for three years, playing and singing bass on the 1994 IBMA song of the year Who Will Watch the Home Place. He also toured with Laurie and Kathy in support of their Songs of Vern and Ray album.

Other performance and recording credits include work with Howard Alden, Laurindo Almeida, Ernestine Anderson, The Boys of the Lough, Larry Campbell, Petula Clark, Jim Cullum, Mike Dowling, Nokie Edwards (Ventures), Nick Forster, Bob Franke, Mary Gauthier, Nina Gerber, Sylvia Herold, Dan Hicks, Rob Ickes, Harry James Orchestra, Ed Johnson, The Kingston Trio, Scott Law, Keith Little, Rose Maddox, Marley’s Ghost, Carol McComb, John Miller, Alan Munde, Mark Murphy, Scott Nygaard, Mollie O’Brien, Mark O’Connor, Peter Ostroushko, Dean Parks, Van Dyke Parks, Vicki Randle, John Reischman, Del Rey, Raul Reynoso, Peter Rowan, Charles Sawtelle, Paul Siebel, Cyd Smith, Kay Starr, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Linda Waterfall, Ernie Watts, Peter Wernick, The Western Flyers, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, and Glen Yarbrough. Cary has made numerous radio appearances, including The Grand Ol’ Opry and A Prairie Home Companion; and he’s played bass on feature film scores, and programs for the PBS, Netflix, ABC, TNN, Fox, and Comedy Central networks. He’s often been heard playing jazz bass on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, including the 2016 episode featuring President Obama.

 


How to Play the Dobro,  level 1/2/3 — Greg Booth

 

Whether you are just starting or have been playing for years, this class will help reinforce good fundamental techniques and open doors to making sweet music on this most awesome instrument. We’ll figure out how to navigate the fretboard, find major and minor chords, add some nifty licks to your stash and learn some songs together. I’ll make a point to address everybody’s specific areas of interest whether it’s traditional or modern styles, bluegrass to Western swing to country and beyond.

 

Prerequisites: You should be able to tune your instrument and play a simple song without stopping.

 

Bring: A dobro, picks and bar, a tuner. I recommend a recording device, audio or video is fine.

 

Bio: Greg Booth‘s path to the dobro was a winding road that started with the banjo and lessons from banjo legend Bill Emerson. After a few years, Greg’s ambition turned to the pedal steel guitar and the last frontier, Alaska. A thriving music scene during the oil boom of the ’70s and ’80s gave him the chance to play as much as 7 nights a week and 7 hours a night for many years. That much time playing diverse music forged a style that is uniquely his own. When Greg finally picked up the dobro, he hit the ground running, winning the RockyGrass dobro competition after playing the instrument just one year. Interest in Greg’s dobro playing took off with his YouTube channel of 30+ dobro videos. Viewed up to 12,000 times daily it surpassed 5 million views this year with more than 10,000 subscribers. A regular instructor at Rob Icke’s ResoSummit, Greg has also taught at many music camps in the US and abroad. Greg plays dobro and banjo with the Kathy Kallick Band and appears on six of Kathy’s band and solo albums.

 

gregboothdobro.com


The Bluegrass Fiddle Foundation,  level 1/2 — Brandon Godman

 

Have you been playing fiddle or violin for a bit, but are still trying to get a grip on this thing called Bluegrass? In this class we will be focusing on getting a solid footing on Bluegrass fiddling through understanding the various styles that contribute to and exist within the bluegrass sound, learning the history of the music to help in dissecting tunes or solos, and developing technique that will help and not hinder you.

Some goals for the week will be:
+ Learn some iconic kick-offs and solos + Learn tools for backing up vocalists and other instrumentalists + Develop an approach for jamming on a song you don’t know + Learn some classic instrumentals and understand how to add your own touch + Introduction into twin fiddling + Learn some doublestops to build on in the future + Develop your listening skills

When teaching, I try to not only show what I’m playing, but also convey how and why I might be playing it this way. I find learning the process helps you develop the tools to apply to other material you’d like to learn. For example: “Here’s a cool lick. Let’s learn it, but then try to understand where it came from, how that player might have come up with it, and see where it may fit in other songs.”

I will be teaching by ear and will not be providing any written notation beyond chord charts. Be prepared to play as a group, in trios, duos and solo. Anticipate numerous listening opportunities, whether it be live or via example recordings. And most importantly, come with as many questions as you can, as it will help propel us through the week!

 

Prerequisites: Please have basic experience playing. Know how to play in the keys of C, G, D, and A. Have experience learning by ear. Be able to play some material completely up to speed.

 

Bring: Fiddle, bow, shoulder rest, rosin, humidifier, audio recorder.

 

Bio: Hailing from the bluegrass state of Kentucky, Brandon began playing fiddle at the age of 10 in local square dance halls. He developed his skills by playing in various bluegrass, country, and Western swing bands around the tri-state area, and also at fiddle contests throughout the Midwest. His first bluegrass road gig was with Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain at the age of 17. Since then he has performed with various bluegrass and country acts including Karl Shiflett, David Peterson, Dale Ann Bradley, Doyle Lawson, The Band Perry, and Jon Pardi. He is currently performing regularly as part of Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands. Brandon makes his home in San Francisco where he owns and operates his fiddle shop called The Fiddle Mercantile.

 

www.thefiddlemercantile.com


Bluegrass and Modern Fiddle,  level 2/3 — Patrick M'Gonigle

 

In this class we will work to expand our understanding of the fiddle’s role in traditional bluegrass and modern acoustic settings. Working with examples from some of the great fiddle players (Kenny Baker, Darol Anger, Alison Kruass, Stuart Duncan, Benny Martin, Michael Cleveland, Curly Ray Cline, and more) we will unpack some of the different approaches to playing and improvising on the fiddle. We will do lots of listening. This class will devote equal portions of our time on fiddle tunes and songs and will use these forms as access points to develop greater technical fluency, expressive ability, and improvisatory freedom.

I believe it’s important for all musicians to find a healthy balance between technical and creative practice, so we will spend some of our class-time discussing how to practice effectively and identify the areas of your playing that you want to improve most. I really love my metronome and my drones tracks… and I’ll do my best to instill some of that sentiment into your practice routines! The metronome really is the best teacher of them all.

Some of my favorite topics: I love work-shopping the bow arm and will focus on bowing-patterns, groove and right-hand technique. We will workshop movable double stop intervals through chord progressions as well as ways that you can use this beautiful sound in for soloing and accompaniment. We will work on different ways to accompany and back up other instrumentalists and singers (I know… we love to solo… but fiddle can be a great accompanist too!). We will discuss improvising over song and tune forms using both harmonic and melodic improvisatory styles and workshop techniques in ear-training to help guide your solos and develop your own unique voice.

Most of all, we will explore your questions. We’ll use your questions as leaping-off points and work as a class and find new methods and creative solutions to any issues and inquiries you might bring… So bring ALL your questions! Can’t wait to play music with you all!

 

Prerequisites: The ability to play through a handful of fiddle tunes at a reasonable tempo and pick out and play the melody of a standard bluegrass song. Basic knowledge of scales is helpful!

 

Bring: Recording device of some kind, paper and pencil - QUESTIONS!

 

Bio: 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 2009 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. Starting in 2019, he returned to the New England Conservatory to pursue a Doctorate of Musical Arts.

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.


Canadian Fiddle Styles,  level 2/3 — April Verch

 

There are several different regional styles of fiddling in Canada from coast to coast, including Ottawa Valley, Western Canadian, Métis, Maritime, Cape Breton and French Canadian. This class will provide an overview of these different styles and explore what makes each of them unique. We will learn to play tunes distinctive to each style and apply the bowing patterns, phrasings, and ornamentation techniques that correspond to various regions of fiddling in Canada. All of these styles are based on some type of dance tradition, and we will learn a variety of different types of tunes that are common in most Canadian fiddle traditions, including jigs, reels, two-steps, polkas, waltzes, airs, etc. We will discuss the development of your own fiddle style and how the various Canadian fiddle style techniques might be used more broadly. Tunes will be taught “by ear.” We will be mindful of keeping with the roots of this tradition – getting together to make music and have a great time in a relaxed, social environment!

 

Prerequisites: Several years of experience on the instrument, knowledge of basic key signatures, a repertoire of at least 15-20 tunes, a willingness to learn by ear and have fun!

 

Bring: A recording device, resin, extra strings, questions & enthusiasm.

 

Bio: For over two decades, fiddler, songwriter, singer and step dancer April Verch has been recording and captivating listeners worldwide. The Ottawa Valley native has garnered praise from music’s heavy hitters including NPR, Rolling Stone, No Depression and more, for her fresh and feisty approach to deep North Americana. Currently touring the world to share songs from her 12th album (Once A Day), Verch keeps the community-fired celebratory side of her traditional music at the forefront, honing a keen awareness of how to engage contemporary listeners. At the heart lie Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing, a trifecta of talents she brings together simultaneously to jaw-dropping effect. Verch won’t be the one to tell you about her championship titles, nominations, and awards, or the fact that she was one of 6 fiddlers who represented the Canadian fiddle tradition to the world at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, as part of a segment called "Fiddle Nation”. Instead, in speaking with her, you’ll hear about how passionate she is about sharing her music; in small gatherings in remote communities in Iqaluit, to large prestigious concert halls like Mozartsal in Vienna. Even as she plays with the tradition she inherited in her native Ottawa Valley, Verch’s energetic and breathtaking performances speak to the heart of roots music with mature and reflective songwriting, interpreting, and storytelling.

 

aprilverch.com


Old-Time Fiddle,  level 2/3 — Joseph Decosimo

 

Our goal in this workshop is to get some old school and old-time fiddling into our hands and ears so that we can have more fun and confidence playing by ourselves and with others. We’ll delve into some elements of style that make old-time fiddling powerful and moving, including rhythms, ornamentation, bowing nuances, shadings of intonation, and rhythmic play. We’ll focus on capturing the feel of the music and having fun with it, reflecting on how we listen and learn. We’ll also consider how to make the best music possible by ourselves, in jams, and for dancers. We’ll survey some compelling fiddlers and captivating repertoires from the American South, especially from Joseph's experiences in Tennessee and North Carolina. Over the course of our exploration, we'll try out repertoire in a range of tunings (GDAE, AEAE, AEAC#, DDAD) that are a beautiful part of the repertoire. Participants will leave with an appreciation for the region’s diverse, beautiful sounds, strategies and ideas for learning on their own, and a solid feel for a handful of tunes that should be delightful to play solo and with others.

 

Prerequisites: To get the most out of the workshop, folks should be able to play through tunes comfortably, have some comfort learning by ear (picking up short phrases), and be able to play in multiple keys like G, C, D, and A. We will explore some of the alternate tunings that are part of this repertoire—participants should be willing to try these out.

 

Bring: Audio recording devices will be helpful.

 

Bio: Raised on Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, Joseph Decosimo is recognized as a leading interpreter of the region's rich fiddle, banjo, and song repertoire. He has introduced listeners around the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia to the vibrancy of the region's traditions. Based in Durham, North Carolina, his fiddling and banjo playing can be heard on recordings by Hiss Golden Messenger, the Blue Ridge Broadcasters, and the prize-winning string band, the Bucking Mules. His playing has earned him blue ribbons at the most prestigious fiddle contests in the South, including a National Old-time Banjo Championship and a win in the Clifftop fiddle contest. He has performed with Old-time musicians Cleek Schrey, Mike Bryant, Andy Cahan, and Bob Townsend and studied under master musicians Clyde Davenport and Charlie Acuff. Joseph served on the faculty in ETSU's Bluegrass, Old-time, and Country Music Studies Program, teaching Appalachian Studies and Old-time fiddle and banjo. Besides performing the music, he researches it and holds a PhD in American Studies and an MA in Folklore.

 

josephdecosimo.com


Fungrass,  level 0/1 — KathleenRushing

 

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 3 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.

 

Bio: 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


Singing While Playing Guitar,  level 1/2 — Brandon Rickman

 

Learning to accompany yourself with rhythm guitar. We will be learning how to play and sing at the same time. Learning to accent and embellish your vocal with guitar, without getting in the way of the song.

 

Prerequisites: Be able to play at least 3 chords G-C-D. We can always play songs with more chords if the group wants, but I know we can find enough bluegrass songs with these three chords to keep us busy. D-G-A are also good ones to know if we decide to “change things up.” All are welcome to come learn, as no pressure will be directed toward ANYONE!

 

Bring: Tuner, recorder (if you wish), tunes you would like to learn/rehearse.. Lyric sheets for the tunes you wish to learn will be helpful for the group.

 

Bio: Now in his second stint with Lonesome River band, guitarist and lead singer Brandon Rickman hails from the state of Missouri. A product of a musical family, Brandon grew up playing guitar, but picked up the upright bass just hours before playing his first show as a member of the esteemed bluegrass gospel group, New Tradition. Before first joining the Lonesome River Band, he spent the 2001 season appearing with the award-winning bluegrass singer and songwriter Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time.

His distinctive singing and sturdy songwriting graced two previous LRB releases (Window Of Time and Head On Into Heartache) before he left to pursue songwriting full time in the fall of 2005. The lure of the road must have been too strong, as Brandon returned to Lonesome River Band full time.

June 30, 2009, Rural Rhythm Records released Brandon’s solo album, Young Man Old Soul. This successful album appeared in WNCW Radio’s Top 50 Albums of the Year (2010) and received numerous other honors. Two singles, “Always Have Always Will” and “I Bought Her a Dog” appeared on the Bluegrass Unlimited Top 30 Song chart. The track, “Wearin Her Knees Out Over Me” won the Strictly Country Magazine’s Song of the Year in 2010.

“Rickman’s a compelling singer, and framing himself in stripped down arrangements not only differentiates these tracks from those of the Lonesome River Band, but truly highlights the qualities of his voice as an individual.” Hyperbolium

 

brandonrickman.com
lonesomeriverband.com


Old-Time Guitar,  level 1/2 — Karen Celia Heil

 

Come have fun exploring the basics, as well as the details and subtleties, of Old~Time guitar playing in a hands on, relaxed, participatory environment. We'll look at helping you improve your personal skill set on guitar accompanying Old~Time fiddle tunes and/or songs, be it alone or with others. We will play different tunes and songs each day, working on tone and clarity, connecting one chord to the next with bass runs, supporting the tune, what to listen for, and what works! We might get into some Maybelle style melody playing, as well as accompanying crooked tunes, and those with more complex chord structures. If we have time, we will explore some examples of interesting and great players from the past. Be prepared to have fun playing a lot of guitar!

 

Prerequisites: Be able to tune your guitar, know the basic open position guitar chords and keys, be able make chord changes with ease and in time, and have some experience using a flat pick. If you use a thumb pick instead, that's fine too. Come with an openness towards trying and practicing some new techniques.

 

Bring: A guitar.

 

Bio: Karen performs with The Bucking Mules, KC & the MooNshine Band, Plaid Strangers, and with many luminaries of Old~Time music. She is a skillful, fun and enthusiastic teacher, is an expert fiddler and guitarist with a special love of Old~Time Southern American fiddle music. Karen has been part of the teaching staff at Swannanoa Old~Time Week, Ashokan Southern Week, Austin String Band Festival, Minnesota BG and OT Festival, Gainsborough Festival UK, NimbleFingers BC Canada, the Berkeley String Band Class, Lark In the Morning Music Camp, Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and Fiddle Kids Camp in Berkeley CA

 

www.KarenCeliaHeil.com


Bluegrass Guitar,  level 1/2 — Greg Blake

 

In this class, Greg will help you improve your bluegrass rhythm playing with helpful tips for strumming technique and chord formation and transitioning. You will learn to incorporate simple one- and two-note ascending and descending runs to dress up your rhythm playing. You will also be introduced to a BEGINNING paradigm for playing solos in a SLOW JAM CONTEXT.

 

Prerequisites: Be familiar with standard chord shapes for A7, B7, C, D, D7, E, F, G and G7
Be comfortable in a “slow jam” environment

 

Bring: + a desire to learn
+ a favorite song
+ a capo
+ a few medium to heavy flat pick; no thumb pick
+ A tuner
+ music stand (optional)
+ A recording device (optional)

 

Bio: Greg Blake was born and raised in southern West Virginia and has been listening to, playing and performing bluegrass, country, folk and old time mountain music practically his entire life. Greg has recently come into more of the spotlight as a singer and guitar player. He was named SPBGMA’s Guitar Player of the Year for five consecutive years and has received multiple IBMA and SPBGMA nominations for Male Vocalist of the Year and Guitar Player of the Year. He is very comfortable and competent in a teaching context and loves to help students get to the “next level”.

 

www.GregBlakeMusic.com
ecccgreg@gmail.com


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.

 

Prerequisites: Students should be able to play chords with steady rhythm in standard keys and be able to play simple melodies.

 

Bring: A tuner, flatpick, capo and recording devise (smartphone?). Some tablature will be used, so a music stand could be helpful.

 

Bio: 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.

 

www.jacktuttle.com


Mandolin for the Experienced Beginner,  level 1/2 — Tristan Scroggins

 

This is class for if you've are a new mandolin player who isn't quite ready to make the jump to intermediate, or if you are just testing the waters of intermediate. We'll start with the basic two finger chords, add a few new ones to our repertoire, learn minor chords, and talk about different ways to play rhythm. We'll learn a few exercises to add to your practice repitoire. We'll work on an easy tune or two and talk about how to practice effectively. We'll talk briefly about what to do as a beginner in a jam but we'll mostly talk about effective strategies for growing and what you should practice until next year's camp.

 

Prerequisites: You have to already own a mandolin and played for more than a week.

 

Bring: tuner, recorder (if you want), pick

 

Bio: The son of a National Banjo Champion, Tristan Scroggins was surrounded with bluegrass traditions from birth. Having performed everywhere from rural bluegrass festivals to the Grand Ol’ Opry, Tristan was awarded the prestigious Instrumentalist of the Year Momentum Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2017 and the inaugural Freshgrass Mandolin Award in 2019. With a signature raw mandolin groove, bold fashion sense, charismatic yet soft spoken confidence, and keen sensitivity to style and artistic innovation, twenty-four year old mandolinist Tristan Scroggins is quickly becoming a highly influential voice of both music and community in the world of bluegrass. Tristan has taught at camps and workshops across the U.S., Canada, and Europe for the better part of the last decade.

 

tristanscroggins.com


Mandolin,  level 2/3 — 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. The three T’s will be emphasized – Tone, Timing, and technique. We will also add to your repertoire by learning some bluegrass standards like Bill Monroe’s Cheyenne and Bluegrass Breakdown, as well as have some of my originals including Salt Spring and The North Shore.

 

Prerequisites: Students should be able to play a few fiddle tunes at a moderate tempo.

 

Bring: A recording device is recommended.

 

Bio: 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. Reischman toured and performed with seminal bluegrass band The Good Ol’ Persons, cementing his reputation as a powerful mandolinist with an original vision for the instrument.

 

www.johnreischman.com www.thejaybirds.com


Singing Styles and Vocal Techniques to Help You Thrive,  level 1/2 — Jesse Smathers

 

In this class we will work on different vocal skills such as annunciation and phrasing, how much or how little to sing and how to discover what key is best for you. Along with that we will cover a comfortable volume level and skills to blend with other vocalists. This will help you sing in whatever situation is thrown your way. We will also go over some ear training, and how listening for harmony parts and different ways to sing harmony.

 

Prerequisites: Any and all students are welcome. I’ll go over different techniques and skills that will help anyone.

 

Bring: Plenty of water, song ideas for us to go over, a willingness to learn, and patience to listen and work with others.

 

Bio: Jesse Smathers, mandolin and guitar player as well as lead and tenor singer, from Eden, North Carolina. He began playing the guitar at age 11, mandolin at 15 and was heavily influenced by the music that runs in his blood. Jesse comes from a long line of musicians which he is so proud of. His grandfather, Harold Smathers, and grand Uncle Luke Smathers, recorded for June Appal and were awarded the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1993 for their contributions to North Carolina Folk Music with the Luke Smathers String Band. In 2009, he won the guitar championship of the Virginia Folk Music Association. He also has won at the Charlie Poole Festival and placed 3rd in guitar at The Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Galax. The following year, he began his career as a touring musician with the James King Band playing mandolin and singing tenor and high baritone, and later rejoined the band performing guitar and vocals. In 2013, High Voltage, featuring Jesse as guitarist and lead vocalist, won first place in the bluegrass band category at the Galax Old Time Fiddlerʼs Convention. In 2014, Jesse joined Nothinʼ Fancy. The same year, he was also inducted in Phi Mu Alpha, a music fraternity, as a Sinfonian, joining such greats as John Phillip Sousa, Count Bassie, Duke Ellington, and Andy Griffith. In 2015, LRB welcomed him to the group as a mandolin player, lead and tenor vocalist and in 2017, Jesse won the IBMA Momentum Award for Vocalist of the year. He now resides in Floyd, Virginia.

 

www.facebook.com/jessesmathers1 www.instagram.com/smathdaddy13


Harmony Singing,  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.

 

Prerequisites: 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.

 

Bring: 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.

 

Bio: 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. Currently, she runs Bluegrass in the Gorge, a four-day music intensive camp in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. 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.” She has a number of Grammy nominations to her name, and sang the title cut for the Grammy-winning album, “True Life Blues: the Songs of Bill Monroe.”


Natural Harmony Singing,  level 2/3 — Keith Little

 

Join Keith for this mid level class directed toward vocalists 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 our harmonic sense out "for a spin" on some very basic song material (from various 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.

 

Prerequisites: Students should have a well developed love of singing, and also have developed some skill at "holding" a harmony line.

 

Bring: a small recording device, and a jug of water.

 

Bio: Keith Little - is a nationally recognized 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.

 

www.keithlittle.com


Writing Songs in the Tradition,  level 1/2/3 — Joe Newberry

 

This class will help you focus on making your good songs even better, or get you started if you only have a trunk full of ideas. The class will use examples of different types of songs - ballads, narrative, chorus / verse, free-form - with an eye and ear toward simplifying the words to uncover the heart of the song. Through word play and writing, writing, and more writing, the song in your head can become the song on your lips.

 

Prerequisites: This class is open to all, but writing experience is a plus - journals, songs, short stories, Facebook statuses.

 

Bring: Bring pens, paper, instruments, recording device, examples of songs you like.

 

Bio: IBMA Award-winning songwriter Joe Newberry enjoys writing songs that sound like they come from the tradition. Known around the world for his exquisite clawhammer banjo playing, Joe Newberry is also a powerful songwriter, guitarist, and singer. The Gibson Brothers’ version of his song “Singing As We Rise,” featuring guest vocalist Ricky Skaggs, won the 2012 IBMA “Gospel Recorded Performance” Award. With Eric Gibson, he shared the 2013 IBMA “Song of the Year” Award for “They Called It Music.” A long-time and frequent guest on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, he was a featured singer on the Transatlantic Sessions 2016 tour of the United Kingdom with fiddler Aly Bain and Dobro master Jerry Douglas, and at the Transatlantic Session's debut at Merlefest in 2017. In addition to solo work, Joe performs in a duo with mandolin icon Mike Compton, and also performs in a duo with the dynamic fiddler, singer, and step-dancer April Verch.

 

www.joenewberry.me