Level: 2-4

Banjo Nerd Support Group

Okay, 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 review the basics of bluegrass banjo playing – rolls, pinches, hammer-ons, pull-offs and slides. We will then explore quintessential bluegrass licks, more progressive licks, and how to use them, and finally, how to build your own solo. Other topics such as jamming, reading tab, and testimonials about banjo-conversions 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

in this class designed for bass players with some experience up to Level 4, we will be focusing on strengthening the fundamentals of playing the instrument, and the role of the bass in a band. By working thru different styles of music, folk, blue grass, blues, trad fiddle tunes etc. We can look at how bass lines are constructed and work on creating our own lines over different chords and songs. There will also be work on technique, endurance, tone, and playing different styles.



Level: 2-4

Playing music in a group is a way for a room full of people to have a conversation while everyone is talking at once. In this course we will cover the key concepts of playing Blues or Jazz music with other musicians. We’ll discuss what to play and when to play it. More importantly we’ll figure out what not to play and when not to play it! Along the way we’ll also explore some of the fundamentals of these two related genres and learn how to mix them with striking results.

This is an ensemble course so players of any instrument are most welcome and are warmly invited. However, you should be at least at a post-beginner level – able to move around your instrument without having to think super hard about it. We’ll need to break open some chords that are more complicated than simple “1-3-5” major/minor chords, so you should also have some basic familiarity with chord construction or do a bit of homework in preparation.



Level: 2-4

Jack’s class will focus on clean and tasteful playing; reviewing basic technical skills such as hammering on, pulling off, pick blocking, etc., as well as presenting ideas on how to (and how not to) apply the unique qualities of the dobro in typical band situations.



Level: 2-3

Taking Your Fiddle A Step Further.

We will work on improving your tone and playing more with ease. There will be tunes with harmonies and will work on listening when playing as a group. We will add style to different genres of tunes and have a whole lot of fun!



Level: 3-4

Tunes and Tricks on the Fiddle

In this class students will add to their fiddle repertoire 2 or 3 tunes that will feature advanced fiddle techniques. The goal of the weekend will be to improve our overall playing. We will also learn Black Mountain Rag, which sis played by cross-tuning the fiddle. If you have a second fiddle, please bring it!



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: 2-3

Rhythm guitar for song accompaniment (tips, techniques and twiddly-bits!)

Preparing your song, yourself and/or your band for the stage; obligations, essentials and nice-to-haves for that Sing-around/Song-circle, Open-mike or Concert Hall/Arena; how to get the best out of yourself and your audience. Bring your instrument(s), your song(s), your nerves and your stage-fright and get ready to have some fun.



Level: 4

Advanced Guitar: Use Your Hands; Use Your Ears

This class will focus on two main elements:

  1. Expanding your playing technique through the introduction of new chords, additional inversions of common chords and moving up the neck.
  2. Applying chord theory to the guitar, with special emphasis on developing your ear. We will learn to recognize chords by hearing them and will describe them according to their function – I, IV, V etc. This allows guitarists to easily play songs in multiple keys.

Recognizing that this is an advanced course, student should review the level 4 class description and ensure that they meet the requirements for participation. The direction of this class will be in part determined by the desires of the students. Prior to camp, students are invited to correspond with the instructor to help determine the specific topics.



Level: 2-3

This class will begin with the role of the mandolin in music circles and bands. There will be tips on how to ensure that you and your mando are ready to join in music circles and jams. We will take open chords; move them to bluegrass chops, Celtic accompaniment and on to minor chords. There will be a strong focus on scales and variances to scales – how to break the scale monotony and make it fun. We will explore ways and means to get the best tone possible from your mandolin to improve melodic clarity – to get a clean sound – a sound that satisfies your taste. We will do this by improving right hand and left hand techniques. Are you ready to play “up the neck” – we’ll do some of that. We’ll learn how to take a tune (from your favourite key) and move it to a different key. Why would we do this? Well we must remember that in a jam circle – the singer rules what key the tune will be in and we have to adjust accordingly. Oh by the way – we’ll do this without a capo. Hammer-ons, pull-offs, double stops, lead-ins and lead-outs will get attention. There will be a strong focus on “shapes” from double stops – how to move them around and where to use them …… basically this is a technique that will get you to a level where you can “wing it” in most jam circles – it’s easy – come and join us.



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: 2-4

You’re free – free at last! Yes, it’s time to lose your dependence on “the page”. In other words, you are finally getting a divorce from the chord chart. Hearing chord changes will be the focus of this class for instrumentalists and singers who play chord-types of instruments. These include guitars, banjos, ukes, mandolins, and autoharps to name a few.

You will learn how songs and tunes are constructed chord-wise, and class exercises will include ear training with lots of playing and singing in both ensemble and individual contexts. Ability to sing or hum in tune is also a pre-requisite. Never again will you panic when someone says, Let’s jam!



Level: 2-4


If you’re one of those people who has ever said…”Who, …me,… write a Song?…I don’t think so…”, then this workshop just might be for you. Throughout the course of the weekend we will, in a very relaxed atmosphere, explore different aspects of the craft of Songwriting;

  • Where/How we get Inspiration;
  • Different approaches to Writing a Song
  • Team Writing
  • Solo Writing
  • Arrangement
  • All About the Song

Please join us for a weekend of fun, friendship, and creativity.




Level: 3-4

This class will provide an overview of a various ukulele styles (yes, there are more than one) including fingerpicking and tremolo with fingers and with a pick. The class will also learn how to arrange basic melodies for ukulele.