ARRANGING - ACOUSTIC ENSEMBLE

JIM MCLENNAN

Level: 2-4

Anytime a tune is to be performed there are decisions to be made: How should it start? How should it end?  At what tempo should it be? And when there is more than one person performing the song, the possibilities – and the decisions – multiply: Who starts? When do the other instruments come in? Are there instrumental solos? Who plays them? Will there be harmony singing, and if so, by whom?

This class will look at the myriad of things that go into making an effective arrangement of a tune played by an ensemble. Will include discussion of all the above, plus discussion of other devices like key changes, a capella sections, dynamic changes, and a song’s overall structure. We’ll talk, listen to effective arrangements and work out some arrangements of songs the class can play.  We’ll also touch on other related topics as they come up. Bring your thoughts and questions.

All instruments and voices are welcome; the more variety of instruments the better we’ll be. Rudimentary familiarity with the instruments is a pre-requisite.

BASS

RHONDA SHIPPY

Level: 2-3

Have you ever wondered what the glue that holds any band together is? It’s all about the bass, and in this course you’ll learn the BASSics of the coolest of acoustic instruments.

We will review essential left and right hand techniques and stance, as well as fingerboard positions and patterns. We will be playing right away, using songs from various genres to practice the techniques we are learning. Basic music theory will provide a musical foundation for creating simple bass lines while working on good technique and tone.  Thinking about chord progressions and how to move through a song building different textures will be a focus. We will also cover timing, intonation and practice techniques that will benefit players at every level, including metronome and right hand exercises. The class will use mainly pizzicato technique, but also look at other techniques such as slap and arco.

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.

COUNTRY ENSEMBLE

PETER MAY / DIANNE QUINTON

Level: 2-3

Through musical collaboration, playing and discussion, we will gain a deeper understanding of the timeless appeal and qualities of country music.

We will listen to, arrange and play several great country songs.  In doing so, we will share perspectives and gain skills specific to country music in areas such as rhythm, accompaniment, lead and harmony vocals, and basic soloing.

All instruments are welcome – including your singing voices!   The pace of learning will be targeted towards the level of the majority of students.  Technical material and coaching will largely be in the higher L2 to L3 range.  Students at L4 will also find opportunities to learn and be challenged.

Come and join us for a wonderful musical weekend!

DOBRO

DAVE BRADT

Level: 1

This course is for the complete novice. No musical background is required.

This class will introduce participants to playing the Dobro (or resophonic guitar). We will learn the basic chords in the open G tuning and some simple scales to get started on playing melodies. Left hand “bar technique” and right hand picking positions will be presented. By the end of this session participants should be well on the way to playing simple versions of several classic bluegrass tunes.

You’ll Learn:

  • How to hold and tune your Dobro (Standard Open G tuning)
  • Bar Techniques
  • Chord positions
  • Scales, and happy notes!
  • Rolls
  • Reading Tabulature
  • The Slide
  • An appreciation for “A Drawerful of Cutlery”

Players should bring square-neck resophonic guitar, and have a bar, two metal finger picks, and a thumb pick. Recording devices are allowed.

FIDDLE

JARRED ALBRIGHT

Level: 2-3

Come learn some of the ins and outs of the fiddle! As well as learning some new tunes, we’ll discuss the fiddle’s role in a band, what to play when you’re not the melody, how to play over songs, and some basic improvisation ideas and techniques. Beginner theory is helpful but not mandatory.

FOLK MUSIC ENSEMBLE

STEVE & HELEN GOODCHILD

Level: 2-4

There is no “I” in band ….. 

A good way to become a better player is to play with others. The ensemble class gives you an opportunity to play with other people in a comfortable, supportive setting where folks can listen to and learn from each other. 

Instrumental skills and technique for guitars (6 & 12-string and bass), banjo, mandolin family, fiddle & ukelele will be included, but the emphasis will be on how to play as part of a band: 

  • how to arrange songs, interact and support each other;
  • how and when to solo and to “make space” for soloing;
  • singing while playing as well as harmonizing; and
  • taking an active role in the ensemble, controlling their own input in relation to the other musicians, as well as building repertoire.

Songsheets and chord diagrams will be provided and a variety of instruments will also be available in case folks would like to try something new. Bring your willingness to share your talents vocally and on your acoustic instruments of choice – it would be great to have a variety of instruments in the class so we can create full and interesting arrangements. 

Above all, the goal is to make music together and have fun!

GUITAR - INTRODUCTION

SHERI BRAKE

Level: 1

This course is designed for those with little or no experience playing the guitar who want to learn the basics while having fun!

Throughout this course we’ll focus on laying a solid skill foundation that you can use right away or continue to build on as your guitar skills progress. We’ll work on learning basic first position chords in several keys, changing chords evenly, and strumming consistently while working on tone and rhythm. We’ll even explore the fret board a bit!

We’ll learn some tunes that you can play with just a few chords to enjoy on your own or with friends. We’ll talk about the most important things to consider when playing with others, how you can participate in a jam with just a few chords, and discuss the proper use of basic guitar gear (including guitar straps, tuners, picks, and capos).

GUITAR - CUBAN

MICHEL RIVERO

Level: 3-4

For such a small country Cuba is large when it comes to music, and the diversity of its rhythms. Get ready to explore the musical styles of Son, Bolero, Cha Cha Cha and learn some popular Cuban songs that are internationally known.

You will find this class most enjoyable if you are comfortable playing at Level 3 or 4. Our main focus will be to learn about contra tempo and the different strumming patterns that are used to play alone (without percussion and bass) and still have all the elements that encompass these styles of guitar accompaniment. .

GUITAR - FINGERSTYLE

TIM WILLIAMS

Level: 2-4

Fingerstyle guitar: A medium to advanced level class in developing rolls, licks, and thumb independence, using well-known contemporary folk songs.

Students will need thumb and fingerpicks (highly recommended), capos, tuners.

Prerequisites: Those at level 2 may have difficulty with some concepts.

GUITAR - STRETCHING THE ENVELOPE

BARRY TRUTER

Level: 2-3

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone, stretching the envelope without tearing it? This course will take you beyond I-IV-V open chords, exploring 2nd and 3rd positions, adding occasional notes to primary triads, and making simple chord substitutions. We’ll also experiment with rhythm, tempo, and time, to appreciate how that affects groove and feel. And we’ll apply what we learn to well-known songs in folk, blues, and pop styles. Suitable for both fingerstyle and flatpick guitarists.

MANDOLIN

RICK MOORE

Level: 1-2

Whether you are new to mandolin or have been playing for a while, this Level 1-2 course will set the stage for your mandolin journey.   Therefore, the course will cover a fair bit of ground including:

  • Orienting to the mandolin- checking set ups, straps, holding position, picks, tuning
  • Developing a relaxed wrist for picking
  • Working on rounded fret hand fingers for noting
  • Developing smooth coordination between hands
  • Learning basic major and minor chords
  • Reading tab and notation to initially learn a melody
  • Constructing and playing major and minor scales
  • Basic improvisation
  • Understanding harmony and playing double stops
  • Learning how mandolin fits in a band setting
  • Learning jamming etiquette

You will be offered some pre-course study materials to get a jump on the class.

While each student will be at a slightly different stage on their mandolin development, the overall goal is learning to produce a beautiful sound using the most effective technique. And did I mention that there will be some fun and more than a few laughs!!

PLAYING BY EAR

BARRY LUFT

Level: 2-3

Free at last! Yes, it’s time to lose your dependence on “the page” – that’s not where the music resides, anyway. In other words you are finally getting a divorce from the chord chart in order for your music to take on new life!

Hearing chord changes will be the focus of this class for singers who play chord-types of instruments (guitars, banjos, ukuleles, mandolins, and autoharps). Please note that this class is for those who cannot hear the basic 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 sharpen up your ear 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, “Hey, bring your guitar and sing “Happy Birthday” to Aunt Edna, or “Let’s jam!”

SONGWRITING

CORI BREWSTER

Level: 1-4

Bring your curiosity, courage and open heart to this class. Along with your enthusiasm and passion to dig deep… oh and maybe an instrument, pencil and a bunch of paper.

Our need to express ourselves is an archetypal desire, firstly for ourselves and then possibly if we are feeling brave to share it with others. I hope I can provide some encouragement and helpful suggestions to point you in the direction to improve your stories, songs and share your discoveries.

Songs are a marriage of creativity and craft; if it’s a good marriage it has a few common elements that work. They start in the heart, move to the head, then if you’re lucky back to the heart. Just like a good marriage, it takes work, but mostly it’s about LOVE.

I love songs, often I’ll analyse the great ones (that’s what Virgo’s do…we analyse). In this class we will discuss what makes a song work…structure, rhyme, melody, groove, re-writing. We will spend time on writing exercises to get the juices flowing.

Bring a song you would like some feedback on – we can listen to as many as time permits.

UKULELE

DON GOWAN

Level: 1-2

We will introduce a variety of strumming patterns from various styles including Pop, Rock, Blues, and R&B. We’ll explore basic ear training and basic transposing to put songs in a good key to sing. Some melody playing with learning TAB will be introduced. Participants will form duos and trios to explore singing and playing basic melody and harmony lines. We are very serious about having fun with a fun instrument.

VOCAL HARMONY

JENNY LESTER

Level: 1-4

Bluegrass Harmony

One of the beauties of bluegrass harmony is that there is a solid approach and structure to rely upon that crosses genres and cultures. Together we will learn the melody and work on skills to help strengthen the delivery of each of our unique voices. Then we’ll learn how to create 2, 3, and 4 harmony parts using feeling and theory. Be prepared to laugh as we bump around the process and shiver when it all comes together in harmonic beauty.