Acadian Ensemble


Level: 2-4

A title like acoustic rock lends itself to a number of interpretations ranFrom joyous Quebecois reels, to haunting Cajun ballads, the history of francophones in North America is inextricably tied to a rich musical heritage. In Acadian ensemble, we will engage the traditional music of Quebec and Louisiana through listening, playing, and arranging. Any instrumentation is welcome, although some prior experience playing or accompanying fiddle tunes is recommended. We will follow a chronology of the music through study of the tunes, picking up unique stylistic techniques along the way such as foot-tapping accompaniment and incorporating double-stops into melodies. Once we have built up a solid repertoire, we will experiment with ways in which we can use our unique instrumentation and arrangement ideas to perform music that is as listenable as it is danceable, while retaining the traditional spirit. By the end of the class, you will feel comfortable leading a chanson et repondre, clogging a fast Quebecois reel, or belting out frenglish lyrics to a classic Cajun waltz.



Level: 1

The bodhran course will be designed around Kerry Style Bodhran playing. It will be designed for the very beginner to an intermediate player with some experience but having difficulties. If the student does not have a bodhran, drums and tippers will be provided. The course will be taught with well-chosen CD’s covering Irish Traditional or session music. The selection will be made with proper speed in mind for beginner bodhran players



Level: 2-4

We will spend time gathering some country songs…everybody bring a couple you like or can sing and play, and we will put together a song or perhaps a medley of songs to perform at the student concert. We will include all the instruments played by the students with lead and harmony vocals. In the process we will explore band dynamics and protocol and just generally have a good time. Students should be able to chord along and hopefully some will have some lead experience as well. I’m hoping we will have a representation of several of the stringed instruments to work with. I’m getting a little long in the tooth and to me they stopped writing country music after about 1990…at least I stopped listening to it about then so dig up some good old songs !



Level: 1-2

Beginning fiddle will encompass learning something about the instrument: some history, its parts and how to start to make it sound good. We’ll cover some very basic music theory and work on playing a tune by ear. I will give a handout that will be reference of the important things from this short course.

The student should bring: a fiddle and bow, a shoulder rest or a washcloth and a couple of elastic bands if they don’t have a shoulder rest, a small 3 ring binder or notebook.



Level: 2-4

“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. 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

Beginner Guitar with Ruth Purves Smith is a class for those who want to learn the basics of accompanying themselves on the acoustic guitar. This is for beginners and near beginners. We will learn the essentials of knowing your guitar, including: standard tuning & guitar terms, basic chord forms, some simple techniques to add to chording (ie: runs, hammer ons), using a pick vs fingerpicking, & what it takes to play guitar & sing at the same time. THE goal is to have a fun, friendly environment to explore what YOU want to learn, as a beginner, about the acoustic guitar.

HOT TIP: For those who have never played at all before, I recommend that you get (or rent) a good quality, nylon stringed, “classical” guitar. This is not mandatory…fun is !!



Level: 2-3

This class will be an introduction to the techniques and musical language used in jazz guitar playing. Starting with the blues we’ll discover ways to add some jazz into your playing. Some of the topics covered will include jazz styles, rhythms & phrasing and improvisation. We’ll look at chord voicings that extend beyond major and minor chords and we’ll explore various scales, modes and arpeggios that can be used to improvise on a standard jazz tune. We will analyse songs and identify key centres to aid in the selection of scale choices for improvisation.

Standard jazz tunes in the styles of swing, bossa nova, funk and blues will be played during the course. We will work on playing the melody, improvising on the chord changes and the accompaniment (comping).

Participants should be familiar with major, minor and seventh barre chords and their locations along the guitar neck. A knowledge of some moveable scales would also be helpful and any music theory you have will be utilized.

Prior to the class I will contact participants by email and send some chord voicings and scales which can be reviewed before we meet at camp.



Level: 1-2

The course will be an introduction to playing harmonica. I will go through basic techniques of blowing, sucking and bending notes. We’ll examine dynamics, experiment with improvisation and discover style as well. Be prepared to learn a song or two and get up and solo



Level: 3-4

Taking a handful of classics from the folk and folk blues repertoire, students will learn alternating thumb bass techniques and how to build solos and connect chords to create more diverse and interesting accompaniments, and how to locate, play and harmonize a melody line within a fingerpicked accompaniment.



Level: 1-4

Maybe you have always wanted to play in a band but didn’t know where to start; maybe you enjoy singing and don’t play any instruments; maybe you would like to try singing harmonies with a mandolin player and a tuba player! Whatever your skill level, come and join Magnolia Buckskin in a fun, creative and chaotic class. We will form smaller groups with people who have similar aims. Perhaps one group will focus on playing a solo lead within a group, perhaps another group will be an a capella vocal group, so many possibilities! Come with your instruments, favourite song suggestions, original songs and an open attitude for trying new things.



Level: 1-4

Willie Nelson says, “The truth should come easy. If you overanalyze or torture yourself to bring songs to life, something’s wrong.” Tom T Hall says, “You can’t have both sanity and creativity. They don’t run around together.” Bob Dylan says, “My best songs are songs which were written very quickly. Just about as much time as it takes to write them down.” We will explore the wisdom of some of these great 20th Century songwriters, take a look at songwriting tips from a couple of Nashville’s most prolific writers, and make lots of time to actually write – all while attempting to stay sane and not overanalyze or torture ourselves. Bring your favourite pen or pencil and lots of large sheets of paper. I’m not a fan of tiny little writing notebooks.



Level: 2-4

To play Swing music is to open the door to a spirited and challenging musical form regardless of the instrument. Willie Nelson is quoted as saying that there is a bridge between Swing/Jazz and Country music and there is traffic both ways! In our Ensemble Class you will adapt your present musical knowledge and skills, advancing them ‘further along the bridge’.

Come prepared to learn Swing shapes on your rhythm instrument, fundamentals of improvising a melody, and to sing standards in the repertoire. We will study the functions of the instruments in an ensemble and how to put together the most musical sound possible in a small combo.

You will be asked to prepare for this course by learning some chord shapes and scales appropriate for the genre in advance. Please heed FAMI experience levels.

And did we mention the Fun-Burn! It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing !



Level: 2-3

We will be working on chords and melody combination using finger style, strummed and picked styles.

We’ll also be covering genres of jazz, rock, old time fiddle and paniolo cowboy music – using some old standards like Blue Skies, Yesterday and Ulupalakua in true Hawaiian kana kapila style.

Kana Kapila means “come lets play”



Level: 1-4

This class is for everyone interested in singing. If you’re inexperienced, even afraid to sing, or think that you can’t sing, you’ll discover that if you can speak, you can sing. If you’re an accomplished singer looking for new information or skills or just the simple joy of singing, this is the class. Almost all of our time will be focused on singing a great variety of songs, but also covered will be basic information about the voice, as well as how to develop, maintain and care for this most wonderful of instruments.