Playing Well with Others Ensemble

Instructor:   Geroge Campbell

Course Description:

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

Mostly we will just play some good songs with enthusiasm and a sense of fun. The sources of the songs will circle around the Folk Revival in the 1960’s, including some great Canadian songs that emerged from it. All the songs will have simple structures (2, 3 or 4 chords) and they will be a mix of old time, blues and country—a folk mash up.

We will dabble in some ideas for playing well with others: how to get and deepen a groove; how to make musical use of silence; how to make room for others to contribute; how to learn a song; how to get rhythm in your singing; how to do some basic things that make the song feel cool; how to open up space for emotion in the song . . . .

The prime objective is to have fun making music together with a range of songs that have different tempos, beats, seriousness levels, and grooves. As a side benefit you will get a better picture of the roots of today’s acoustic music. All instruments welcome, singing will be strongly encouraged.

NOTE:  This class is open to amplified acoustic basses.  You will need to supply your own small portable bass amp. Please see our Amplifier Policy for further information.

George Campbell

George loves the magic involved in playing music with other people. He has performed in a series of trios (currently with The Project, formerly with Blue Rambler &JPG), leads a 20 year old weekly jam, was the FAMI Jam Evangelist, manages two concert series and finds other ways to get people together to play. George came late to the guitar (in his 40’s) and so is keen on shortcuts to make songs musical without too much effort. He also plays harmonica and ukulele.​

George has been teaching adults to work in collaboration his whole career. His courses have lots of engagement, laughter and productive fun. His music workshops have the same elements without the work stress.

George is a long-time FAMI participant and volunteer.

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.