Level: 3-4

This class is about taking acoustic guitar solos in straight forward folk, pop and country songs . We?ll look at a variety of techniques including simple scales, using notes found in the chords, playing the melody and following the rhythm of the song to develop phrasing ideas. We?ll also look at ways to begin and end a solo and some standard licks that can be played in different contexts.Students should have a good working knowledge of most open position major and minor chords. Familiarity with some common barre chords would be an asset.



Level: 2-4

This class will focus on developing a player’s techniques in constructing bass lines and playing melodically. We will pay special attention to technical aspects of playing the bass along with creating music that has a strong sense of motion, direction, and feeling/emotion.To this end, the class will explore topics related to:

  • developing bass lines and playing with in time and with a good feel;
  • creating a sense of forward motion/tension & release within the music;
  • the use of alternate chords (harmonic substitutions) to create interesting bass lines;
  • the use of rhythmic variation (including the use of ghost notes and slapping).
    These topics will be explored within the context of blues, folk music and common jazz changes.

From a technical aspect, we will focus on issues relating to intonation and proper left and right hand techniques with the goal of a good tone and facility around the instrument. We will also discuss the role of the bass in an ensemble and as a solo instrument.

I believe the only way to learn to play the bass is to, well, play the bass. So class will be taught in both a group and masterclass format with lots of hands-on playing and experimenting with different ideas and techniques. Bring your bass and let’s have some fun.



Level: 2-4

Tasty Licks on the Bluegrass BanjoOkay, we know that playing acoustic music is supposed to be about the joy of playing with others, but let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to go into your own little zone. This workshop will go over the basics of bluegrass banjo playing – rolls, pinches, hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides. We will then progress to quintessential bluegrass licks, and finally, how to build your own solo. Other topics such as jamming and reading tab can be covered depending on time and interest.

You’ll need: a 5-string banjo (open-back is okay), a set of finger-picks (for thumb, index and middle fingers) and a tuner.



Level: 2-4

Focusing on the art of single-string soloing and chord accompaniment with a flat-pick, this course will use the blues chestnuts “Stormy Monday” and “Kansas City” to expand the student’s comprehension of blues scales (beginning with the 5-note West African scale the blues is based on) and offer some alternatives to the 1-4-5 chord progression played in the first position, including moving chords up and down the neck and choosing alternate voicings. The student will need a guitar, a tuner, flat picks and a music stand, and needs to have a basic understanding of first position major chord shapes. The objective will be to open up students’ understanding of solos and fills, and chord accompaniment both within the world of blues guitar but also as it applies to folk, pop and rock guitar.



Level: 1-2

Beginner fiddle is for those who have picked up the fiddle and can play a tune or two but need help to develop their Basic techniques. We will spend most our time on left hand and bow arm techniques and throw in a tune or two for fun!



Level: 2-3

Melody, Harmony and Improvisation

This course will offer intermediate and advanced players the opportunity to expand their playing skill by using harmony and improvisation techniques. Using the twelve bar blues as a framework, the class will play with melody lines and create their own breaks. The players will also experience learning some new fiddle tunes with harmonies. As well as your fiddles, consider including a recording device, music stand, music folder and pencils, and a mute (or clothespin).



Level: 2-4

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!? 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:

  1. How to learn a song;
  2. Deciding on a key;
  3. Getting the proper chords;
  4. Singing loudly while playing softly;
  5. How to get out of the way and let the song speak;
  6. Learning a hundred songs by learning one.

Appropriate instruments for this class include: guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, ukulele, dobro, and squeeze boxes.



Level: 1

Beginner Guitar – Making a Friend for Life

This beginner guitar class will be taught predominantly as a strumming self accompaniment, sing along approach to starting out with guitar. We will begin by learning about the acoustic guitar, its parts, a brief history and how to tune it. The class will then proceed with learning the basic chords in the common keys used in folk, country, bluegrass and old time music. Generally speaking the reference is to the I, IV, V chord progressions in the keys of G, D and C. As time permits some minor chords will be introduced, some finger picking style and different strumming techniques. Emphasis will be placed on proper right hand strumming technique and smooth left hand application of the chords. We will apply what you learn to well known songs familiar to most with the expectation that as a student you will immediately begin a relationship with your ‘new’ life long friend. There will be no emphasis on music theory or note reading. Please come with your acoustic guitar, a tuner, a capo, a few picks (different thicknesses please) a music stand and note book and be ready to have some fun.

This class is primarily meant to meet the needs of a Level 1 guitarist but, Level 2 players will be easily accommodated. It would be appropriate for those who perhaps received a guitar for Christmas and don’t know where to start, those that may have started to learn and set it aside and for those that have been playing for awhile but feel they have ‘plateaued’ with their knowledge.

Students will be expected to vigorously apply their camp ‘down time’ to practicing and memorizing the lesson content, playing, sharing and jamming with fellow classmates in order to prepare for the class performance. Hard work plus more hard work equals more FUN at FAMI.



Level: 3-4

Jazz is a genre with so much flexibility in its musical form that there are virtually no “rules”. Almost anything goes. It’s like Rock-n-Roll for musicians. There are, however, some musical ideas that one hears frequently in jazz and this class will try to capture and convey them to you. First, we’ll examine the style of the early jazz and swing players who played rhythm for big bands like Count Basie and Bob Wills. Then we’ll cover some of the common chord progressions and expand your chord repertoire with some “fancy” jazz chords, which turn out to be not all that hard to play after all. We’ll talk about how to capture the rhythmic “feel” of Jazz and Swing. Along the way we’ll explore some of the classic standards from the swing era. Players should be post-beginner/intermediate to advanced in any style of music. You should at least be able to transition smoothly through the basic chords that you already know. Prior experience playing jazz or swing is not necessary. The expected outcome is that students will no longer be able to play a simple major chord without feeling like something is missing.



Level: 1-2

This class will focus on developing and improving basic mandolin skills both for playing melodies and for chording to support vocalists or other instruments. Content will be adjusted to the abilities and interests of the students, based on responses to an advance questionnaire and observations in class. Class materials will be provided in both tablature and standard musical notation.

We’ll review basic left and right hand technique, finger to fret assignment and simple open 2-finger chords. Work with moveable 3- & 4-finger chord positions will lead us to use of the Circle of 5ths and the Nashville Numbering system. Songs or tunes in both Bluegrass and Celtic styles will be used to teach and practice specific skills for improving tone, accuracy, chords, rhythm, and backup. Finally, we’ll introduce some approaches to improvising and creating mandolin solos.

The class is suitable for those who have already had some introduction to the mandolin. You should be able to tune your instrument, play 3 or more chords in either 2-finger open or 3 & 4-finger closed position and play a simple melody. Please bring a mandolin in good condition, picks, music stand, and tuner – preferable a clip-on type or with a clip-on pickup



Level: 1-4

Participants are encouraged to bring their favourite percussion instrument. If you can shake, drum or tap it, bring it along! Using those instruments we’ll learn the basics of percussion. Then, using that understanding we’ll learn to apply it in a more melodic sense. We’ll learn how to use percussion to both enhance and highlight a style. We’ll focus on a few musical different styles and on having lots of fun!



Level: 2

The class will focus on developing right hand rhythm techniques for song accompaniment, and on moving smoothly between chords. Additionally we will introduce the use of bass notes in simple strumming and finger-picking rhythm patterns in 2/4, 3/4 (waltz) and 4/4 time. This class is appropriate for students who are able to move comfortably between the I, IV, V chords in the keys of G (G, C, D); D (D, G, A) and C (C, F, G) and are able to maintain a consistent basic strum pattern. Students should have a basic understanding of capo use and be comfortable using a flat-pick and/or thumb-pick – though instruction in both will be provided.

Students can expect to come away with:

  • a broader repertoire of rhythm accompaniment patterns and techniques;
  • an introduction to some “alternative” chord shapes and an understanding of when they may be used
  • an appreciation for these and other means of adding “colour” to song accompaniments.

We will use well known and popular songs to learn and practice the new techniques, and students are encouraged to bring to the class 2 or 3 songs (ideally with 10 copies!) they would like to work-on and/or share with others.

Bring your guitar and your voice; a tuner, a capo, a few picks of your choice, and a music stand and be ready to have some fun!



Level: 1-4

This class will focus on learning to sing harmony within a group setting. Two, three and four-part harmony in folk, blues and bluegrass styles, including how to find interesting chords and arrangements will be discussed. Proper vocal health, maintenance and relaxation will also be taught. This class is appropriate for those of all singing levels and ages: if you can open your mouth and produce some sort of noise you can come to this class!