Instructor:   Steve Goodchild

Course Description:

Level: 2 – 3  (see Playing Experience Level descriptions at the bottom of the page)

Whilst the class title states “Mandolin”, the tools, techniques and general approach is equally suitable for other members of the 8-string family. We will learn about Mandolin history and “family connections” (Mandolin, Mandola, Octave Mandola, Mandocello and related “cousins”) and a variety of instruments will be available to try. Participants are also encouraged to bring their own Mando-variants.

The class is intended for those who are competent with basic chords and scales, can play at the appropriate tempo for different song styles and have an awareness of different time and key signatures. We will cover the key skills to play a variety of styles (folk, country etc) and in an ensemble (band) situation.

You won’t need to know how to read music as lyric & chord sheets will be provided for all songs. By the end of the course students should move fluidly between chords and be more comfortable arranging and accompanying songs with strumming and melody runs. You will be confident in reading Mando-chord charts and will have an expanded repertoire of songs.

A good – and enjoyable – way to become a better player is to play with others. The class provides an opportunity to play with like-minded folks in a comfortable, supportive setting wherein we can listen to – and learn from – each other by:

  • playing, singing (and harmonizing) in a band;
  • arranging songs, interacting with and supporting each other; and
  • learning how and when to solo and to “make space” for soloing.

What To Bring:  Your Mando(s), enthusiasm, smile and a sense of humour!

Steve Goodchild

Steve Goodchild

Steve is a substantially self-taught (“lots of short-cuts and bad habits!”) multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter who got his first 6-string at the age of eleven and had his first professional gig shortly before turning sixteen in 1974, playing guitar and mandolin with the English Folk group “Cuckoo’s Nest”.

With a day job that subsidised a bad case of G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome!) he has been fortunate enough to travel extensively and play in diverse settings from Country Folk with “Just Five” – a 1980s “institution” in Mombasa, Kenya; Country Rock and full-on Rock ‘n Roll with “Rocky Roads” in Sarawak, East Malaysia; regular Folk and Acoustic settings in the UK (with “The Volunteers”, “Full House” and Graham Bellinger & “Root Chords”), Netherlands and Denmark; and Americana and Bluegrass with trio “Across the Water” in Houston, Texas.  Since moving to Calgary in late 2010, Steve has performed solo; with son Christopher, and with “Horizon Ridge”, featuring his wife Helen and fellow FAMI alumni Dianne Quinton and Peter May. He also plays as an instrument & harmony-vocals sideman with The Carolyn Harley Trio and both he and Helen play with Calgary singer/songstress and fellow FAMI instructor Christie Simmons.

Currently counting 6, 9, 12-string, bass, tenor & baritone guitars, dobro, mandolin, mandola & mandocello, bouzouki, cittern, banjo and Appalachian dulcimer in his musical armoury, this jack-of-all strings (and master of none!) has a repertoire encompassing styles ranging from British and American Folk Tradition; contemporary singer-songwriter; country & bluegrass; folk & gospel acapella and good old rock ‘n roll, as well as his own compositions. He has recorded five CDs with Across the Water; a solo album - “Nooks and Crannies” - featuring his own compositions, and two CDs with Horizon Ridge.

Steve lives on Calgary’s west side, builds & repairs guitars & other instruments, and helps to run the Rocky Mountain Folk Club.

WebsiteHorizon Ridge

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.