Level: 1-2

Let’s Play Ball ! ah…Bass !

Getting to 1st…walking to 2nd

The combined bass class will be structured to give beginners and those with some experience a solid understanding of the role of bass and learning to play two and three chords songs in two or three different keys. The most dreaded of all musical terms, theory, will be sparingly introduced in order to give students the tools to apply what is learned at FAMI to new and different musical endeavors. Preparation for level one should include learning the names of the strings and as many notes to the fifth position (fret, if you’re used to playing guitar or mandolin) as you can. Please consider bringing a stool if you are playing upright bass as standing becomes tedious. Acoustic guitar basses are welcome.

Level 2 students can expect to be challenged with learning basic walking patterns and chord building for bassists. Diffrent rhythym patters will be played along with learning major and minor scales.Level 2 can be quite broad in context so more advanced students will be accommodated and challenged accordingly. (Bring your own bow, if you have one) Preparation for level 2 should include a solid knowledge of the bass fret board to at least the fifth position and be able to play the major scale in the key of C.

Both bass levels require commitment and hard work, but will always be balanced with having fun at FAMI and taking away from your class what you’re able to. Thank you for your participation. I’m excited to share my passion for the bass with you.



Level: 2-4

This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn and practice the rudiments of playing bluegrass music and jamming in the bluegrass style. Depending on the interests and skills of the class, topics can include an overview of the structure of bluegrass songs, the role of each instrument when playing in a group, how to set up a bluegrass jam, how to create a solo, and ‘how to get that bluegrass sound’.

One of the great appeals of bluegrass music is its accessibility to all ranges of musicianship. Beginners, intermediate and advanced players can all jam together and make a song as simple or as challenging as they choose. Participants should be familiar with basic chords and be able to change between them with relative ease.



Level: 1-2

Whether you are an absolute beginner, or just newly finding your way around a violin, this introductory class will help you find your inner musician. The focus of the weekend classes will be on the basics- how to hold the instrument, technique, some preliminary theory and learning a couple of traditional fiddle tunes. The number of tunes learned by the class will be determined after assessing the skills of the participants. While it may seem economical to purchase a new low cost violin, the student will gain more from their this experience with a quality instrument. For information on violin rental options in Calgary, or any questions and concerns, contact me at



Level: 3-4

Ready to learn some tunes and technique? This class is focused on the intermediate fiddle player and getting a better sound from your violin! We will also be digging into Irish styles, adding harmonies to tunes and working on tunes partially by ear. Ornamentation and bowing styles will be covered in a practical and useful way so that you can take the techniques home to apply them to your repertoire. Getting tunes to sound more danceable by adding Jig feel and rhythm techniques for Reels will be covered as well. Paper copies of tunes will be provided and recording devices are welcome! Expect to bring some new and danceable tunes home with you!



Level: 2-4

Folk/Rock Ensemble (aka “School of Rock for Folkies”)

With voices and instruments working together in a group context, participants will acquire the “tools” necessary for bringing a song to life. Does that sound like fun or what!? Come prepared to rock out folk-style (i.e. taking rock songs and folkin’ them up!). If you sing (untrained more or less) and play an instrument (beyond the beginner stage), then this class is for you. Some of those “tools” mentioned will include: how to learn and arrange a song as a group, dynamics within a song, blending instruments, listening to each other, knowing when to play simply and when to step it up, how to play in support of the vocalist or soloist, and how to get out of the way and let the song speak. We will also explore how to do tasteful fills, how to sing in harmony, and performance techniques. Any acoustic instrument is welcome (guitar, bass, dobro, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, ukulele, bodhran, accordion, etc etc), and don’t forget about the voice!



Level: 1

Whether you’ve just got a shiny new guitar you’re itching to try or you’re fostering vague memories of a few chords and have a dusty guitar begging for attention, this beginner workshop will arm you with what you need to get moving along on your musical journey. You’ll learn how to tune your guitar, will become acquainted with the Nashville numbering system and a number of basic chords and you’ll move through some simple rhythm techniques. By the end you’ll be able to play a handful of songs and will have a good idea for how to tackle heaps more!



Level: 2

For those students who have just learned G, C and D, what now? Here’s where we start working with those chords, plus some handy minors and actually playing some music. The goal is to get a half dozen songs under our belts and the confidence to keep on playing and learning more. We’ll add a few other keys in there. We’ll learn about chord patterns. We’ll learn that there’s more than one way to strum a guitar. We might even learn how to accompany ourselves while singing. All this will be accomplished in a fun atmosphere with opportunities to show off our new skills.



Level: 2-3

Stretching the Envelope

Are you ready to step out of the I-IV-V rut? This course will take you beyond I-IV-V open chords and into 2nd and 3rd positions. We’ll add occasional notes to primary triads, make simple chord substitutions, and explore progressions that involve II, III and VI chords … stretching without tearing the envelope! And we’ll apply what we learn to well known songs in folk, blues, ragtime and pop styles.

Suitable for both fingerstyle and flatpicking guitarists.



Level: 3-4

Even if DADGAD tuning is new to you it can be very easily picked up once you already have some knowledge of the guitar. This class will explore the rhythms and melodies of Irish/Celtic music. Great accompaniment is a complement to the melody of a tune and highlights its rhythm. Firstly we will familiarize ourselves with the chords of DADGAD and learn their moveable forms and progressions in both major and minor keys. Then we will move on to the different strumming patterns for jigs and reels and learn how to perform more intricate strumming patterns (triplets, off time stops) while still complementing the tune.

Irish music is a very fun style of music and luckily guitarists get a lot of freedom to explore and experiment while enjoying the music. Please be sure to bring along a spring loaded capo (I find the Kyser capo best).



Level: 1-2

Whether you are new to mandolin or have been playing for a while, this Level 1-2 course will set the stage for your mandolin journey. Therefore, the course will cover a fair bit of ground including:• Orienting to the mandolin- checking set ups, straps, holding position, picks, tuning

  • Developing a relaxed wrist for picking
  • Working on rounded fret hand fingers for noting
  • Developing smooth coordination between hands and excellent tone
  • Learning basic major and minor chords
  • Reading tab and notation to initially learn a melody
  • Constructing and playing major and minor scales
  • Pentatonic scales and their use in improvisation.
  • Understanding harmony and playing double stops
  • Learning how mandolin fits in a band setting
  • Learning jamming etiquette

Each student will be at a slightly different stage on their mandolin development. But, the instructor will work these concepts at both the Level 1 and 2 levels.



Level: 1-2

The penny whistle, Irish whistle, tin flute… the straight out ol’ whistle… whatever you call it, the wee six-holed instrument that’s often heard floating above the other instruments in Celtic music is both magically simple and perplexingly capable of sophisticated, deeply moving music. And whether you’re a seasoned musical vet aching to add an new ornament/instrument to your mix or you’re an entire newbie, the penny whistle presents an excellent (and stunningly portable!) opportunity for musical expression. In this class we’ll cover choosing a whistle (including options for various keys), some must-know whistle standards, how to use whistle to accompany other musicians and we’ll investigate some traditional Irish ornamentation. While the ability to read music is an asset for this class, it’s not a requirement. You will need a D whistle (standard tuning).



Level: 1-4

What makes a good song ? Are there rules that can be bent or ignored ? Are there rules that can’t ? Bring a song you’re working on, but haven’t finished. Bring an idea you haven’t put music to. We’ll spend time on individual songs and a group co-write. Come with a song, and come prepared to “play well with others.” We’ll talk narrative, verse-chorus-bridge construction, maybe even basic grammar, but we’ll talk…and we’ll write.



Level: 2-4

The Western Swingers

Here’s your chance to be in a Western swing big band. By the end of the weekend, I guarantee we will be the FAMI camp dance band. This western swing ensemble class is open to guitar, bass, fiddle, dobro, mandolin, even accordion. Don’t be scared, Western swing — or “Hillbilly Jazz” — need not be fancy and complicated. We will keep it fun and simple, but with enough opportunity to challenge more experienced players. Students on guitar should know how to form two basic grips: a moveable “G formation” sixth chord and a C7 chord. These two shapes are enough to play many Western swing songs including two-chord wonders like Take Me Back to Tulsa. Students will be emailed a chart of useful chord shapes prior to class. Hopefully, we will also have some lead solo players and vocalists. Recommended listening: The Time Jumpers, Bob Wills, Asleep at the Wheel, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers (alter ego of the bluegrass band Hot Rize), Spade Cooley, Milton Brown, The Hot Club of Cowtown.



Level: 1-2

If you’ve never played Ukulele before, this class will get you started. If you have some experience (i.e., Level 2), Jake will open the door wider to this fabulous instrument. We will play the ukulele as a simple rhythm instrument, learn some basic strumming patterns (and some more complex ones for those who are ready for that) and finger positions for essential chords, and play some popular songs individually and as a group.

The class is BYOU (Bring Your Own Uke).