Song is an art form that has baffled the masses for years. In this class, students will examine both the creative and theoretical side of writing and arranging songs. Mild knowledge of musical theory is an asset to be able to get the most out of the class. The course will examine musical and linguistic tools used to make songs more interesting, song structure, rhyme scheme, combining melody and rhythm and examine classic examples of well put together songs to see what makes them tick.



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This course is designed to accommodate bodhran players from beginners with no previous experience to bodhran players who have some previous experience.  The course will start with the basics of holding the “tipper” and positions of the back hand.  We will cover a basic introduction to the bodhran and move into the basic reel and jig patterns.  We will cover triplets and Kerry Style playing as well as Top End style with double sticking.   There will be tutorial manuals as hand outs for students to take with them back to their homes to continue studying the bodhran after the introduction course with FAMI.



This class will cover the basics of playing in an ensemble with a focus on country and roots music. Think Hank Williams Sr., Bob Wills, Sons of the Pioneers, acoustic rockabilly, cowboy, or perhaps a bit of western swing. The style will ultimately depend on the class makeup. It is open to guitar, bass, dobro, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, ukulele and, of course, vocals. If you show up with an accordian or clarinet it’s OK by me if it’s cool with FAMI, and even some light brush percussion could fit in. Djembe and bodhrans won’t work because we won’t be straying into world music or Celtic. It is also not a bluegrass ensemble. Students should be at the intermediate level or above and know the basics of music theory, how to form chords in most keys, and preferably (but not necessarily) take solos, even if they are rudimentary. Flashy playing is not as important as getting a good sound. The focus will be on dynamics, blending instruments, and playing in support of vocalists or soloists. We’ll also explore how to do tasteful fills and harmony.



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 experience with a quality instrument. For information on violin rental options in Calgary, or any questions and concerns, contact me at



The intermediate class will learn some new fiddle tunes and play lots of old favorites as well. Tempo and rhythm will be discussed and applied in the waltz, fox trot, two step, polka, jig and reel styles. Bowing and fingering techniques as well as harmony playing will also be covered during class time. Tunes will be presented both by ear and with written music. Please consider bringing music stands and recording devices to class.



Playing melody and accompaniment on one guitar: Performing instrumental guitar solos. The class will examine stand alone fingerstyle guitar solos using monotone bass, alternating bass and arpeggiated accompaniment techniques to support the melody. Several pieces demonstrating the techniques will be taught. The class will also include an introduction on how to arrange solos for fingerstyle guitar. Students should already be comfortable playing alternating bass fingerstyle accompaniment patterns and reading tablature.



Students will learn a number of right-hand picking patterns, suitable for accompanying singing, and ultimately for the playing of instrumental solos. Will discuss right and left-hand positions, whether to use thumb or finger-picks, and the use of a capo. Students should be familiar and comfortable with standard first-position chords in the keys of C,G,D,A, and E.



This class will cover the basics of playing in an ensemble with a focus on folk/roots music, with a bit of room for rocking out folk-style.  Think Bruce Cockburn, the Beatles, acoustic Led Zeppelin, Gillian Welch, Pete Seeger…  The style will ultimately depend on the class makeup.  Any acoustic instrument is welcome (guitar, bass, dobro, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, ukulele, bodhran, accordion, etc etc), and don’t forget about the voice!  Students should be comfortable playing at the post beginner + level or higher, know the basics of music theory, how to form chords in most keys and how to take a rudimentary solo (though not a pre-requisite).  The class will look at dynamics, blending instruments, listening to each other, knowing when to play simply and when to step it up, and how to play in support of the vocalist or soloist. The class will also explore how to do tasteful fills, how to sing in harmony, and performance techniques.



So you want to play the Guitar eh? Great! Whether you want to be the next Chet Atkins or just a summertime campfire crooner, you got to start somewhere, right? My goal is to get you pickin’ and a grinnin’ within the first hour of the class. First? get in tune, learn to tune your guitar so that all those chords you are going to learn sound as pretty as they can. Then it’s on to chording where I will show you that there are only a few basic chords that you need to know, add to that a few basic strums and Voila! You‘ll be croonin’ in no time. I am looking forward to it! Peppered throughout the class will be some tips on care and maintenance of your guitar including how a guitar should be properly set up to maximize its playability; and things to consider when choosing strings. ome of the things to have in your gig bag are a guitar strap, a capo (that little steel bar you can strap on to the neck to raise the pitch) and a few picks. See you there!



Blues is like Haiku:  it has a rigid form and structure and yet allows seemingly infinite variety.  This course will try to capture and convey the essence of what makes music sound like “the blues”.  We’ll first work on the simple chord progressions and turnarounds that are characteristic in blues.  Then we’ll work on the pentatonic scale, the “blue notes” inside it, and how all those notes work together to make a blues solo.  Finally we’ll explore a few simple variations on the standard “7” chords that will inject some whiskey and cigarette smoke into your sound.  Students should be post beginner + guitar players in any style, but need not have any prior experience playing blues.



This class is fit for the beginner or post-beginner mandolin player.  We will start with the basics of how to hold the instrument and how to hold your pick, etc., but we’ll head pretty quickly into picking melodies, forming chords and strumming rhythms.  You will learn to read tablature and chord charts, and leave with some tunes to practise and plenty of exercises for improving your technique and tone, along with tips and tools for jamming with others, instrument care, and more!



We’re calling the class Uke 101 because we’ll have you playing the Uke in 1.0 Minute &1 second…” and he’s not lying! It’s just that easy. Chords, you bet and lots of them along with a swack of strumming patterns; even the fancy ones. Songs we’ll look at are singalongs, Tin Pan Alley, Folk, Blues, and while we’re at it why not include at least one swing/jazz standard. TAB is the major notation and it’s all so easy-peasy. We dare you not to have a smile on your face the entire weekend and you’ll walk away with the solid impression the Uke is not a toy. Brand new beginners are welcome so are folks with backgrounds in other instruments; we’ll refuse no one.



Participants will learn about and sing different styles of music including old style blues, new folk and the sweet harmonies of bluegrass. They will learn about proper vocal technique, breathing and will experiment with the voice to free it from tension. Everyone can sing, you just need to find your voice!