Banjo - Picking Styles


Level: 1 – 2

Banjo is not just for bluegrass! Beginner-intermediate 3 pick banjo.

Ever wonder how banjo can be used for good as well as evil? Look no further!

This class will explore how to play banjo within different styles of music, including bluegrass, country,  folk and roots. We will cover how to play rolls and chords in different keys and how to adapt the sound into newer music.

Bring a capo, some music that you’d like to adapt to banjo, and your creativity!

Will adapt to all levels of players.



Level: 2 – 4

Ever wonder why the person next to you at the campfire is flailing on their instrument with reckless abandon and you barely have time to strum your next chord once? Why does it look so complicated but sound so good?

Armed with my ukulele and drumming skills, I will deconstruct some classics, breaking them down into basic strum patterns you can see and feel, and then build them back up with strumming patterns, different finger picking techniques, and feels. We will explore the pocket, setting a backbeat, and staying in the groove through the changes. Build rhythm patterns that fit a tune, and work on harmonies and arranging to make your music breathe, lift, and better entertain.

We’re going to have a lot of fun first, and then maybe learn some cool things too.  This ensemble class will include some instruction and lots of rhythm-focused playing.

Bring ANY acoustic instrument along to this class.



Level: 3 – 4

Taught in the aural tradition, this mixed intermediate level class will learn tunes from a mix of styles, focusing on multi-layers, harmonies, back-up groove parts and overall arranging for groups/ensembles.

Sheet music for tunes will be provided at the end of the last class so come with your ears and your audio recorders charged!



Level: 2 – 4

There is a lot great music out there that has been performed or covered by amazing musicians. A terrific song combined with a great arrangement really makes the music stand out.

In our class, we’ll take a number of great songs from various eras and genres and develop arrangements of the songs making them more dynamic and interesting. Sometimes we’ll do some creative rearrangement by switching the song to a minor key, a different time signature or by changing the tempo. Whatever we do will be to serve each song and make our performance of them exciting and moving. We’ll have a lot of fun in the process and by the end of the weekend, you should go home with many inventive song arrangement ideas.

I’ll bring the lyrics and chords to a number of songs. I’ll be in be in touch with class members in advance to solicit suggestions. All you need to bring is your willingness to share your talents vocally and on your acoustic instruments of choice. All instruments are welcome.

Prerequisites: Students should have reasonable proficiency with their instrument as no instruction in how to play the instrument will be given

Guitar - Fingerstyle


Level: 2 – 3

This class will focus on an understanding of basic finger-style guitar, specifically developing an independent right thumb. We’ll look at a number of basic right-hand patterns, and move toward the goal of playing a melody against a steady bass line.

Jim also likes to follow digressions or “rabbit trails,” including such things as chord structure, special fingerings, and ear training as they come up. While the course will have a planned format, the final details will be determined by the class.

Attendees should comfortably know first position chords in the keys of C, G, D, A and E and be able to change chords while keeping steady time.

Guitar - Noodles & Twiddly Bits


Level: 2 – 3

The class offers suggestions to enhance finger-style accompaniment to songs.  It is intended for players who:

  • have a good command of the basic guitar chord shapes and can change smoothly between them;
  • can keep rhythm, play and sing at the same time using songsheets (or not if the song is already familiar!);
  • have an awareness of the different time and key signatures;
  • Who wish to add “colour” to their accompaniments.

The class will cover:

  • Right-hand strumming styles
  • Right-hand finger-picking styles
  • Left-hand hammer-ons and Sus4 chords
  • Left-hand pull-offs and Sus2 chords
  • Walking the bass: bass-line run-ups and run-downs
  • An introduction to alternative tunings

I have always found that learning different techniques comes much easier when working on songs I enjoy singing & playing. To that end, we will structure the course around participants’ suggestions on which songs they would like to play/learn in the sessions we will have at camp. We will start with the basic word-and-chord sheet and play through with a simple strum to get the feel of each song. We shall then start with embellishments (tricks, tips – “noodles & twiddly bits”), focusing primarily on practical “doing” rather than theoretical “explaining”. That said, we will explore and learn some of the theory where a “rule” may apply in several situations (e.g. here’s how to get a Dsus4 chord … and we can apply the same rule to get other sus4 chords). So we add some hammer-ons, pull offs, bass runs, finger pickin’ styles etc. raising the bar bit by bit throughout the weekend and we’ll have a lot of fun in the process!

Handouts will be provided to help you to explore the various techniques in your own time. Lyric & chord sheets and finger-style diagram provided for all songs.



Level: 2 – 3

The mandolin is a versatile and cheerful little instrument, and typically so are the people that choose to play it! Because of its bright character and bold personality, the mandolin can have a steep—but rewarding—learning curve. In this workshop we’ll be working on ways of advancing your tools for getting the most out of your instrument, and finding your place in the music: right and left hand technique, 2 finger chords with movement, rhythm backing, instrumental tunes, tremolo, and improvisation. It’ll be a lot to pack into a weekend, but with the right building blocks in place, and a new quiver of resources, you’ll be able to keep moving forward for months afterwards. 


Students should read the level guide before signing up as a basic level of proficiency will be expected. Attendees should comfortably know basic first position chords and be able to change chords while keeping steady time. Knowing the bones of a couple instrumentals or fiddle tunes would also be an asset.



Level: 1 – 3

When playing drums and percussion, I believe that listening to what is going on around you on the stage is the most important thing you can do. Being a supporting instrument in the band means that you need to fit into the song … For me the song is number one.

When accompanying a singer, songwriter, drums (and tambourines! and shakers!) can be loud and obtrusive when not played with sensitivity.

In this class, I hope to teach you the skills to play dynamically, but also be aware of what everyone else on the stage is doing. Eyes and ears wide-open. We will learn counting, playing together as a percussion ensemble and techniques to play nice with one another.

This class is for beginners and experienced people who want to play better with others.

Playing by Ear


Level: 2 – 4

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 do not know when to change chords  and feel “hopeless” in accompanying 3-chord songs without visual help no matter how well they can play.

Instruction in the Nashville Numbering System will be given as it applies to learning 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!”



Level: 1 – 4

“Songwriting is equal parts art and craft, and involves an alchemy that is impossible to pin down methodologically. Song craft both requires and encourages a healthy dialogue and co-operation between the “left” and “right” brains, the unconscious and conscious mind, and between receptivity to the muse and good old fashioned hard work and “showing up.” This balance is exactly why hearing a great song is so satisfying, and writing one even more so.

“In this class, we’ll make a study of the “craft,” and open up a safe and fertile space for the “art” to emerge: we’ll discuss and analyze various song forms and their histories, along with technical aspects of songwriting such as rhyme and meter, and harmonic and melodic structure; we’ll dive into some writing using prompts and will experiment working within formal constraints; and students will have a chance to share their work and to lend a kind but critical ear to one another’s work.

The Business of Music


Level: 2 – 4

As an independent Canadian performing and recording artist of nearly 20 years, Joal has grown his love for music and performance into a tidy family business over the years. He is thrilled to be joining the FAMI family this year and will be teaching on topics (based on interest) including:

  • Releasing Your Music (writing, recording, distributing, and marketing)
  • Artist Branding (biography, photos, website, and social media)
  • Electronic Press Kits (elevator pitches, live video, testimonials, and career highlights)
  • Radio in Canada (commercial, campus/community, and survey stations)
  • Royalty Collection (performing, neighboring, reproduction rights)
  • Grant Funding (artist C.V.’s, measurable outcomes, and other supplementary materials)
  • Touring & Showcasing (one-sheets, stage plots, and tech riders)
  • Other Artis Resources (music associations, artist groups, and networks)

It is highly recommended that attendees bring a WIFI device (laptop/tablet/cellphone) to follow along and already be signed-up with the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) at



Level: 1 – 4

This class is for everyone interested in singing. If you’re inexperienced, even afraid to sing, or think that you can’t sing, you’ll discover that if you can speak, you can sing. If you’re an accomplished singer looking for new information or skills or just the simple joy of singing, this is the class. Almost all of our time will be focused on singing a great variety of songs, but also covered will be basic information about the voice, as well as how to develop, maintain and care for this most wonderful of instruments.