Acoustic Rock Ensemble

Instructor:   Doug Leece

Course Description:

Level: 2 – 4  (see Playing Experience Level descriptions at the bottom of the page)

Extending a warm F.A.M.I invite to this year’s acoustic rock ensemble, which started accidentally few years back, preparing the acoustic rock guitar class’s student concert piece. Some one grabbed a double bass, another called in a favour from a drummer and a band was formed on the spot. Once again beginning with the end in mind, we’ll be using acoustic instruments to play some rock and pop songs and use the time together to develop ensemble skills than can be applied to any genre of music.

In keeping with the ensemble tradition all instruments are welcome, singing at any level, lead or backup, is highly encouraged and a percussionist or two would be most welcome.

While there is often talk of “chemistry” good bands never happen by accident, there is a craft and protocol underneath it all, even if the musicians are unaware of it at the time. This class will spend a good deal of time working on a number of different elements that can go into making song performances unique, memorable and entertaining.

Changing out an electric instruments and assorted gear for acoustic instruments requires a bit of rework to recapture the original energy of a full rock band. Dynamics, alternate parts, fills, harmonies, solos and more will all get thrown into the melting pot we call arranging. Since rock was originally never intended to be serious music we’ll have plenty of creative latitude. We’ll learn by doing, using some well-known rock songs from different eras as a starting place for deconstructing the essential elements and reassembling something new with an acoustic rock vibe.

For musicians who primarily perform solo a new experience awaits, for those with lots of group experience this will be a chance to enjoy everything that is great about being in a band. This class will involve lots of playing and every effort will be made to keep things light with enough time to work out more complex parts if needed. That said, to get the most out of this class proficiency with your instrument of choice is recommended.

Doug Leece

After receiving a crystal radio kit about age eight Doug Leece became fascinated with two things, electronics and the music that can come out of them. Several decades later Doug has collected a hybrid of experience performing, recording, writing, producing and teaching but the fascination has not diminished.

Somewhere along the path Doug discovered the joy of helping others bring their musical expression to life and giving them a chance to shine. The roots likely germinated over many years and many bands, teaching others their parts and imparting a little music theory along the way. Things took a little more formal form when he began an adult only 8 week guitar class night school called CampFire guitar. The five year run as guitar teacher morphed into some opportunities to make things a little bigger.

Somewhere during a three year stint as jam session host at the Chestermere Golf & Country club it seemed like a good idea start producing the Summer Music Showcase stage for the Chestermere Water Festival. For three years with the Water Festival, whether he was the roadie, booking agent, sound engineer, performer or side man the priority was always the artist(s), the music and their chance to shine.

A long-time friend of F.A.M.I Doug knows what it is like to be a student as well as a teacher. He brings a heartfelt commitment to every class member’s enjoyment while adding a little more music to a world in need of song.

Playing Experience Levels

These guidelines aim to ensure that all camp participants have an enjoyable experience. They represent what your playing capability should be before you take the class (prerequisites).

Classes are generally designed to pace themselves to match the participants' abilities. Level 1 classes aim to proceed at the pace of the slower students in the class. Level 2 and 3 classes aim to move at the pace of the majority of students in the class. Level 4 classes are designed to push the capabilities of all students and will target the pace of the more capable students  Class descriptions that show a range (Levels 2-3) means the material presented is broadly applicable across that range.

LEVEL 1: You are new or relatively new to your instrument. You may be able to play basic chords or scales slowly. You want to learn the basics of the instrument. You have very little experience playing with others.

LEVEL 2: You are competent with basic chords and/or basic scales. You can keep rhythm and/or play basic melodies and/or sing and play at the same time if the song is familiar. You generally need the chords or melody to be written out in order to play along. You have some experience playing with others.

LEVEL 3: You are reasonably comfortable with most chords, basic major and minor scales, and can play at an appropriate tempo for songs. You are aware of time signatures, song keys, and know that there are chords called 6th, 7th, 11th, etc even if you can’t play them all. You are comfortable maintaining good rhythm and are willing to taking breaks while jamming with others, even if the breaks don't always turn out the way you planned. You may be hoping to take your playing up to the next level of performing with a group or band (beyond jamming) and you want to further improve your technique and speed.

LEVEL 4: You are skilled on your instrument and have a good understanding of musical concepts including scales, arrangements, harmonies and some improvisation. You play lead and back-up with a steady rhythm and can play skillfully with others. You know there is life further up the neck on your instrument and have some capability in that world. You have performing experience, can hold a tune, and can harmonize.