Accordion

GREG RUMPEL

Level: 1-2

This class will be all about playing the piano accordion. We’ll learn about the buttons and how to play an accompaniment pattern with the left hand. With the right hand we’ll learn some simple melodies. Then we’ll learn about the operation of the bellows and we’ll put it all together to play a tune. We’ll also learn about melodies and chords and how to play along with a group. Depending upon the interests of the group we can also explore music theory, playing in different keys, different time signatures, different musical styles, playing backup, taking solos and other topics of interest.

BASS

RHONDA SHIPPY

Level: 1-2

Have you ever wondered what the glue that holds an acoustic band together is? It’s all about the bass, and in this course you’ll learn the BASSics of the coolest of acoustic instruments. From left and right hand techniques and stance to fingerboard positions and patterns, you’ll be playing right away. Basic music theory will provide a musical foundation for creating simple bass lines while working on good technique and tone. We will also cover timing, intonation and practice techniques for beginner through post-beginner players.

Non upright basses are welcome; included with the other elements of the course will be the role of amplified vs non-amplified acoustic instruments, style of playing and how to use amplification in ensemble settings. Students will also go home with study tools, both as a booklet and in a digital format, and learn about ways to support their learning such as computer programs and applications.

BLUES ENSEMBLE

TIM WILLIAMS

Level: 3-4

Gain further knowledge of the Blues scale and its’ use; regional styles and differences; knowledge of chords with added notes; how to solo and how to accompany vocalists or other soloists. We may, if time allows, also delve into the basics of finger-style Blues guitar…the function of the thumb, how to play a roll with thumb and fingers, and more.

FIDDLE

SHELLY GROVES

Level: 1-2

The fiddle can be a beast of an instrument to learn. Using a lot of humour and repetition games, we will break down the basics step-by-step in order to start taming this beast. Once a comfortable bow hold and fiddle hand are set, we will work on learning a few scales and arpeggios in fiddle-friendly keys, listening and being able to correct pitch on the fly, and staying together as a group. Then, it’s off to the races! We’ll cover a handful of fun, easy tunes, learn how to fake it when our fingers fail us, and learn how to play a simple backup to songs we don’t know yet.

FIDDLE

KARL SOMMERFELD

Level: 2-3

In this class we will be learning to play a few Bluegrass / American Old-Time fiddle tunes. The class will focus on the sound that makes these styles distinct. We will also review the technique needed to play these tunes well including tone production, bowing technique and the use of double stops using open strings to achieve the Old-Time sound. The class will not specifically focus on Bluegrass improvisation, but we will explore the basics of adding some theme and variation to basic melodies.

GUITAR - BEGINNER

TYNAN GROVES

Level: 1-2

Beginner guitar is for the person that has always been afraid to ask those foundational questions but has never had an opportunity. In this class you will learn the basics of chords, from how to read chord diagrams to how chords are built. We will also explore single string natural notes, or in layman’s terms – we will be learning the note names up and down the neck of the guitar. In addition to chords and note names our class will learn foundational scales like the major, minor, and pentatonic scales. The goal of this class is that if you are never able to take another guitar lesson again you will be able to get by and enjoy your instrument. Of course the class will also explore songs and repertoire through the chords and scales that we learn with practical application of all of the concepts.

GUITAR - FINGERSTYLE

BARRY TRUTER

Level: 1-2

Feeling like you’re stuck in a fingerstyle rut? Here’s your chance for some freewheelin’ fingerstyle fun! We’ll learn fundamental techniques that will open the door to playing hundreds of songs in folk, blues, and pop genres. And we’ll use our newly acquired fingerstyle skills to experiment with rhythm, tempo, and time, to appreciate how that affects groove and feel.

GUITAR - FLATPICKING

AL LAMONACA

Level: 2-3

In this class Al will be covering the Four T’s of guitar playing, Tuning, Tone, Timing and Taste. Tuning: Al will cover using a tuner and general guitar setup. Tone: Course materials will cover the pick, right and left hand techniques, pain and exercises. Timing: Become familiar with using a metronome. Other topics covered include; how to learn, 5 x 5, slow downers and websites. Taste: Topics will include jam etiquette, improvising and composition.

HARMONY SINGING

HORIZON RIDGE

Level: 1-4

If you love to sing with others or want to love to sing with others, then this is the class for you! Join Horizon Ridge for a weekend of harmony singing in a safe, supportive and fun environment. Drawing from songs across a range of styles (which may include a cappella, traditional, folk, country, rock, bluegrass, old time, and gospel) we’ll look at both the basic and finer points of singing harmony. These include: knowing and singing the melody, finding harmony parts, finding the right key for a song, understanding why some parts sound good and others don’t, and learning how to “blend” with other voices in terms of tone and expression. Mostly learning by ear, we will look at 2-, 3-, and 4- part harmonies as well as call and response. You will also get a chance to try out different parts. Just because you have a low voice doesn’t mean all you can do is sing bass parts! As a group with four singers (two female and two male), Horizon Ridge can help all participants with the range of vocal parts that might be appropriate for a song. We will also do some vocal warm-ups and exercises, help you find your vocal range, and understand just enough theory to support your newfound singing prowess!

JAMMING

MICHAEL HEPHER / KEITH LARSEN

Level: 2-4

This class is open to all styles and all instruments: guitar, banjo, bass; bluegrass, folk, rock, or whatever! This class will be great for people who know their way around their instrument but don’t have a lot of experience playing with others. So many of us practice at home but do not get the opportunity to play with others in a relaxed, supportive atmosphere. We’ll help you grow the skills you need to lead a song at a jam, how to kick off and end a song, set the tempo and talk the tune through for fellow jammers. This class will take you through the etiquette of jamming, tricks for learning to follow, as well as finding your place in the music. For those interested in taking solos, we’ll look at some of the scales and modes that are ‘safe’ for different styles of music and keys, as well as soloing options like trading breaks, finding harmonies and repeating themes. All that and we’re gonna jam–a lot! It’s a great way to build confidence and have fun. Don’t forget to bring a song to jam with the class. We’ll see you there!

PLAYING BY EAR

BARRY LUFT

Level: 2-3

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 and your music will now start to have new life. Hearing chord changes will be the focus of this class for instrumentalists and singers who play chord-types of instruments (guitars, banjos, ukes, mandolins, and autoharps to name a few). Please note that this class is for those who cannot hear the I, IV, V, VIm chords and feel “hopeless ” in accompanying 3-chord songs without visual help no matter how well they can play. 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 prerequisite. Never again will you panic when someone says, “Bring you guitar and sing “Happy Birthday to Uncle Joe”, or, “Let’s jam!”

ROOTS MUSIC THEORY

JIM MCLENNAN

Level: 2-3

Expand your playing through deeper knowledge of these key skills. The class will explain where chords come from, and different ways to use them. The Roman Numeral chord identification system will be introduced and students will learn to think of chord function, rather than just the letter name. We’ll develop the practical skills required when playing with other instruments, when using a capo and when having to transpose to a new key on the spot. The class will consist of theory, playing and ear-training components, where students will learn to recognize chords by hearing them.

SONGWRITING

JOHN WORT HANNAM

Level: 1-4

Songwriting is not a mystery. It’s not some mystical dark art only practiced by a few gifted people. It is a craft that can be honed and improved. But just as no one expects to be a good instrumentalist if the instrument remains in the case, we can’t expect to be good writers if we don’t consistently put pen to paper. I wrote my first song in 1998. It was really bad. I wrote my second song a week later. It was really bad. The third song was really bad. Fourth song? Bad…but slightly better. I’ve written many bad songs since but I’ve also written a handful of songs I’m really proud of. We’ll mix it up but we will spend most of our class time writing. We’ll deconstruct some songs to see why they’re good. We’ll take a look at some writing exercises built around the wise words of great writers such as Cohen and Dylan. We will take some time looking at “lyrical keys” – one of the best songwriting tools I know. We’ll take a stab at a 9-minute start to finish song exercise. But mostly we’ll write and I think you’ll see that there is a path (albeit a tough slog at times) that leads from ‘idea” to “completed song”. Bring a pen/pencil and lots of paper and be prepared for your brain to hurt. It’s hard work but it feels so good when you get there.

SWING ENSEMBLE

RICK MOORE / DON GOWAN

Level: 2-4

In recent years, many FAMI participants have been intrigued by the Swing Music genre. The American Songbook is the major reference to swing music and it opens 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! Thus our common entry point into our material will tend to be Western Swing and Country Blues. Once you get your hands and feet engaged we can pursue other jazzier tunes. In our Ensemble Class you will adapt your present musical knowledge and skills, advancing them ‘further along the bridge’. Come prepared to learn: moveable Swing shapes on your rhythm instrument, 2. fundamentals of improvising a melody to sing standards in the repertoire. the functions of the instruments in an ensemble and how to put together the most musical sound possible in a small combo. And did we mention the Fun-Burn!

UKULELE

ANIE (HEPHER) RADISH

Level: 1-2

It is time to join the ukulele revolution! This class is for brand new and beginning ukulele enthusiasts and will explore the world of: accompanying yourself (as well as your friends, kids, grandkids, classmates, students, family) on your ukulele. We will be learning mainly cheerful ukulele music with some sad and lonely ballads ranging from old traditionals to Elton John favourites. The class focus will be on learning new strums, chords, playing as a group and enjoying singing, playing and laughing together.