Banjo Styles


Level: 2-4

Ever wonder what the differences were between three pick style, melodic style and Clawhammer? In this class we will take a piece from each style and explore the differences. We will also learn to listen to the music and find the style that matches best when playing in a group. We will discuss how to “back up” a soloist using the three basic chord shapes up the neck.



Level: 2-3

Everyone loves the talented guitarist and the singer with the voice made of honey. But do you know who the MUSICIANS love? Yup, you’re right, it’s not just microphones and acoustic blowout sales its:

And that can be you! By joining this class in August you’ll learn such things as:

  • The foundations to bass technique (Upright, acoustic and ukulele)
  • Hearing and identifying common chord progressions
  • Balancing with other instruments
  • Improvising basslines to chord progressions
  • The role that the bass plays in different styles and genres
  • Soloing basics for advanced students
  • Aidan’s four-step approach to improvisation practice
  • Good practice methods and resources

Students will take home some resources from the class to aid them in their future practice. All bass instruments welcome, and we will cover amplification and how to use it properly in class as well. Although not necessary, it will help students to have:

  • Some theory knowledge
  • Some music notation reading skills
  • Experience playing bass in a group
  • Eclectic music taste
  • Overwhelming enthusiasm for the bass (necessary)



Level: 2-3

Fiddle 2-3 students will add to their Canadian fiddle tune repertoire while developing style and technique. Fiddle music and dancing go hand in hand, so expect to move and learn some basic dance steps, including the waltz, 2 step, foxtrot, schottische and more. Please bring a music stand, pencil and paper to class. 



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: 3-4

An extended workshop, where some concepts will be presented (improvising, chord theory, guitar technique, how to practise) and others explored depending on the students’ questions. Add interest to your playing with elegant departures from the norm. Learn to use more interesting chords to colour outside the lines, and let your ears guide your fingers. We’ll immerse ourselves deeply in the guitar world and go where the music takes us.



Level: 2-3

Medium to advanced level class in DADGAD guitar.

Even if DADGAD tuning is totally new to you, it can be pretty easy to make new pleasing sounds quickly. However there are new chord shapes which may be a challenge to less experienced players. DADGAD’s open A, D and G strings are the same as in standard tuning! That means 50 percent of this tuning is completely familiar. The evocative and enigmatic sound of DADGAD is one of the guitar’s best-kept secrets and is a great way to elevate your songs or tune accompaniment.

Please bring a tuner and a capo.



Level: 1

Shhhh! Did you know that learning to play guitar at a basic level is actually pretty easy? And that with a few simple chords you can play tens of thousands of songs?

This course is for those with little or no experience playing the guitar who want to learn the basics while having fun!  Along the way, we’ll address some key questions of many beginning players. Am I too old/young/tall/short to learn to play the guitar? (No). Do I have enough talent to learn to play the guitar? (Yes). Will my fingers ever behave themselves and make an F chord? (Yes). Will I learn to play like Eric Clapton in this course? (No, but you’ll have fun anyway).

You’ll learn some essential first position chords in several keys, and you’ll walk away with materials on additional chords and an understanding of how they’re used. We’ll work on strumming tone and rhythm. We’ll talk about guitar gear and how to use it, including picks, tuners and capos (the almost-like-cheating device that even your mother would approve of).

We’ll learn some tunes to play with your new chords. Lastly, we’ll talk about next steps: how to participate in jams with your new guitar skills, how to build those skills further, and how to apply your new knowledge to all those songs you’ll be looking up on the internet.



Level: 2-3

You’ve been playing guitar for a little while now. You know your basic chords, you know how to play a couple spicy licks, and maybe you know some basic theory. You’re proud of yourself for making it this far, you should be!

However, you know you can still go further. That’s where this class comes in. We’ll be learning some slightly more advanced chords (plus how and when to use them), some cool techniques like fingerpicking, and how to play musically within a group setting. We’ll also be covering some fun riffs and songs to expand your guitar vocabulary.

By the end of this class, you won’t just be a beginner guitarist. You won’t turn slightly red and make excuses about a vicious hangnail when the guitar comes to you around the campfire. You’ll be a solid rhythm guitarist that everybody wants to jam with! And if jamming’s not your thing, you’ll have more tools in your tool kit for your own personal enjoyment on the instrument.



Level: 2-3

This course is geared towards Mandolin players who are comfortable with major and minor chord changes in the first position, and basic 4/4 and 3 /4 rhythms.

This course will focus on rhythm pattern variations, chord inversions, scales, solo development and improvisation. The ability to read musical notation and / or tab is helpful but not necessary.



Level: 1-2

Pennywhistle = A simple tube of metal or composite material with six finger-holes, the whistle has an expressive range that can encompass everything from the speed and excitement of dance music to the haunting and emotionally-charged expression of slow airs. Wooden and bird-bone whistles a thousand years old have been found in excavations of Viking Dublin, and today’s pennywhistle is only the most recent in a long line of whistles in Ireland.

Have you wanted to learn how to play the pennywhistle, but don’t know where to start? Or have you played a bit, but struggle with fingering, breathing, or just wonder if there is a “right way” or “wrong way” to play?

Come to this class to learn to play the pennywhistle, a fun and affordable instrument for beginners and seasoned musicians! You will learn how to hold the whistle, fingering, breathing, tonguing, timing, twiddly- bits (ornamentation) and will soon be on your way to playing simple tunes. We will also explore how to play the pennywhistle as a layer instrument in other music genres. Please bring a tin whistle in the key of D and a recording device. Several styles of pennywhistles will also be available to purchase at the class.

Note: You will receive an email prior to camp with tunes to start listening to prior to the class. Familiarity is especially important in learning to play the tunes in a short period of time.



Level: 1-2

Percussion plays a supporting role in creating music that is pleasing to the ear, but it can be much more than that!

In this class we will explore different percussive instruments including cajons, hand drums, tambourines, various “shakers”, a full drum kit, and many others.  We will learn how to create percussion with what we have at hand.  We will focus on common time signatures (4/4, 3/4) but also explore other timings.  We will explore folk, country, rock, swing, reggae, Latin, and other rhythms.  We will discuss how to choose percussion instruments based on the type of music you play most often and the sound you want to achieve. Learn how to tastefully support other players in a band or jam session. Learn the secrets to becoming the percussionist that other musicians want to have around!

This class will go beyond the drum circle into the playful realms of STOMP as we learn how to keep time using our bodies and instruments to enhance or even create a song.



Level: 2-4

Natasha Sayer and Emily Triggs will lead you in a musical adventure to help you explore how to play and sing in groups.  Skills that will be focused on include:

  •  How to communicate your musical ideas in small and larger groups
  • Playing with keys and arrangements of songs
  • Vocal skills; blending, lead singing, harmony singing
  • Exploring instrumentation

Come with your instruments, song suggestions (covers and/or originals) and a willingness to try new things! So many possibilities!



Level: 2-4

Old time music formed into distinct paths of blues, country, jazz, and gospel music between 1900 and 1930. We will play and sing some of the foundation songs, mostly because they are great songs that are simple to learn. As a bonus, each of these songs carries interesting stories about how roots music grew into its current expressions. These songs also reveal a good deal about the social conditions they grew out of.

We will spend time with songs from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rogers, Leadbelly, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Pink Anderson and others.

You don’t need a whole lot of technique coming in but we will explore how to play simple songs with conviction, so they feel authentic. Learn to use your voice, your instrument(s) and the other players to build a groove with this very cool music.

You need to be able to change chords fluidly in two or three keys, and to sing while you are doing it. All instruments are welcome. The course is about building a feeling in a simple song. There won’t be much fancy technique instruction.



Level: 1-4

Are you finally ready to dip your toe in and test the songwriting waters?  Or are you an experienced songwriter who feels like the well is drying up?  Or do you just want some alternatives to using water metaphors? All levels of experience are welcome to join Heather on this exploration into the inspiration and techniques of songwriting.  We’ll share and critique songs in a safe and welcoming environment, explore sources of inspiration, tackle the difficult work of editing for maximum impact, and stretch ourselves to experiment with new methods or directions.  Bring unfinished songs or ideas for songs, or plan to start fresh when you arrive.  Bring a pen and paper and accompanying instrument if you play one.  Leave with a fresh sense of purpose and a couple new songs! 



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.