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Classes & Teachers - 2002


Awesome Right Hand Power: Frailing and Thwackery (level 3 and up) Bored with what your right hand is doing? In this intermediate to advanced class we will focus on two innovative right hand techniques that inject life and power into fingerpicking. The “Middle Finger Thwack” is a percussive maneuver that has wonderful ornamental and rhythmic applications. When combined with a simple palm slap it creates a drive that can add a new dimension to fingerpicking. “Frailing” is a banjo-related technique in which the thumb plays on the UPBEAT instead of the downbeat. This simple move instantly injects life and an old-time lilt into guitar picking. If you can do basic fingerpicking, welcome aboard!


Orkney Tuning (level 4) I have often said that the reason CGDGCD has not enjoyed the popularity of its Celtic cousin, DADGAD, is that it is impossible to pronounce. In this class we will just refer to it as Orkney Tuning as we explore its extensive application to Celtic, folk, blues instrumental playing and vocal accompaniment. We will spend some time learning chord shapes and how to pick out melodies and will also do a lot of playing in this class. My goal here is to send you on your way with a solid understanding of this tuning and how to apply it to your own music after camp. Flatpickers and singer songwriters also welcome.


Beginning Upright Bass (level 1–2)  Our topics will include listening, hearing what notes to play, finding the notes on the instrument, producing a dynamic sound comfortably, keeping steady time, playing in tune, and playing appropriately in various
musical settings. By the end of the week you’ll be able to have fun accompanying your friends! 

Swing Bass (level 3–4) We will study how the acoustic bass functions in the swing styles of the 1930s, 40s, and beyond. Through listening, theoretical analysis, and hands on experimentation, we’ll learn how to improvise two-beat and walking bass lines which anchor the harmony and create a compelling groove. Students should be able to play all major scales and to arpeggiate major and minor triads. 


Beginning Fingerstyle Guitar (level 2) Learn the basics of fingerstyle guitar playing. We will begin with simple picking patterns while paying attention to proper hand positioning. Emphasis will be on building good right and left hand technique while exploring rhythm and melodic patterns. Then we’ll learn to apply these patterns to guitar solos and song accompaniments.

World Harmony Singing (all levels) This will be a performance-oriented class. You will learn to apply vocal technique in action as we build our choir. While learning great songs, sung in four-part harmony and in various languages, you will learn to apply elements of tone production, range extension, vocal blending, dynamics and song interpretation. 


Beginning Mandolin (level 1) This class will focus on technique and repertoire. I will suggest what I think is the most economical/ergonomical way of holding the little 8-stringed wonder and the pick. After some exercises illustrating my point, we will begin to build repertoire with a tune or two each class and easy chords. As the week progresses, you will be playing moveable chords, understanding a bit of mando theory, and how to play with other instruments. Tab, music, and chord charts will be provided. Bring a tape recorder, pencil, and a sense of humor. 

Celtic Mandolin (level 2–3) I will teach you jigs and reels and chord options for this powerful and, currently my favorite, style of traditional music. Through my understanding as a Celtic fiddler, I have a deep knowledge of the roots of the music. As a mandolin player, I can show you how to get the flavors, rhythms, and embellishments through learning exciting and beautiful Celtic tunes. Tab, music, and chord charts will be provided. Bring a tape recorder, pencil, open ears and open hearts. 


Vocal/Guitar Duets (level 3-5) Singers and guitarists will form duets each day and practice and perform jazz, swing, and pop tunes. We will discuss rhythms and chord voicings, how to stay out of each other’s way, and how to generate interesting interplay. Lots of practical tips for arranging, trading solos, and interpreting songs. Other chordal instruments welcome.

Improvisation (level 3–5)

This class is for anyone wanting to learn how to solo over swing, blues, rock and pop tunes. We will cover some theory, but the emphasis will be on dynamics, playing by ear, using the melody of the song to build solos, and finding one’s own “voice” on the instrument. All instruments welcome. 



Bluegrass Flatpick (level 3) We’ll work on some standard fiddle tunes played around the Blue Ridge Mountains area. We will be learning the material by ear, and I’ll go over each lick slowly until you get it. Bring a tape recorder, and I’ll make each student a practice tape of the tunes we work on.

Advanced Bluegrass Flatpick (level 4)

We will work on tunes by Doc Watson and other noted bluegrass players from the region where I live. We’ll cover some endings, chord shapes, and some variations of tunes you can play up the neck. Most students will be flatpickers, but I’ll show you how you can get the same sound using finger picks. Bring a tape recorder.


Fingerstyle Blues Then & Now (level 3–5) This class will cover arrangements of some of the classics by Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Blake, Memphis Minnie, and others, as well as new repertoire and arrangements from contemporary blues artists who are keeping the tradition alive while putting their own unique stamp on the music.

Party Guitar—The New Campfire Favorites! (level 2–3)  In this class you will learn a wide variety of songs covering a wide spectrum of styles: rock, pop, country, r&b, reggae, and even novelty songs. The point of all this is to have some fun around the campfire when yet another version of “If I Had A Hammer” just won’t cut it! We’ll mainly draw on first position chords, though you can expect some unusual (yet easy to finger) ones. The occasional barre chord or two will come to make a visit! 


Southern Vocal Styles (all levels)

This class will use repertoire to explore what singers can do with their voices to get that “southern sound.”

New Songs on the Old Style (all levels)

This will be an active songwriting class. We will determine together what makes a good song, and then we’ll write some! Special attention will be given to using the sounds and structures of traditional music to create new songs.


Beginning Slack Key Guitar (level 3) 

Students will receive the booklet “A Short History of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar,” song sheets, and chord position charts. Come and learn the basics of playing in this beautiful style. By the end of the week you will know several songs in Taro Patch Tuning. Please bring a tape recorder.

Intermediate Slack Key Guitar (level 4)

A bit more challenging than the beginning class, but just as accessible. Students will learn a variety of tunings commonly used in slack key style and several songs, and will receive “A Short History of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar,” song sheets, and chord position charts. Please bring a capo and a tape recorder. 


PETER LANGSTON (Camp Instrumentalist)

Learn to Play the Guitar in 3 Minutes! (level 1)

This is a class for absolute beginners (or anyone who can fake it). We’ll learn enough chords and strums to play lots (hundreds!) of songs by ear. By the end of the week you’ll be able to play the guitar in three minutes, or even less. If we have extra time, we may even learn to tune the guitar.

MICHAEL STADLER (Camp Instrumentalist)

Flatpick Rhythm Under a Song (level 2)

This class will explore flatpick guitar rhythm and its role in supporting a song. We will cover strumming technique, chord voicings and the use of bass runs to compliment and give color to individual songs. Along the way, we will also discuss basic flatpick technique and tone production. Song repertoire will be provided and individual performance encouraged.



Swing Fiddle (level 3)

For people who can already play the fiddle but want to improve their swing chops. Reading skills helpful but not necessary. We’ll go over some standards but work more on tone, phrasing and riffs than building repertoire. We’ll also work on ensemble playing, as well as building solos mostly by ear. Bowing patterns, scales and fingerings will be discussed at no extra charge.

Bluegrass Fiddle (level 2–3)

For fiddlers who want to improve their bluegrass playing. Reading skills not necessary. We’ll cover double-stops, bowings, and backing up other leads or vocals. There will be some jamming in class. Remember, we learn from our mistakes, so let’s make as many as we can! Feel free to bring songs or tunes to share. 


Your Next Band (level 2 and up)

Open to all singers and all instrumentalists. Tons of fun with lots of practical information and experience. Learn how band dynamics work, how to create tasteful arrangements in any style with the instruments and voices you have handy, and how to express yourself musically while others express themselves as well. This year we’ll be adding some mic technique and performing tips.

Beyond Boom-Chuck (level 3)

Tired of the old 1-2-3-4? We’ll explore a wide variety of strum patterns and ways to add rhythmic variation and pizzazz to your guitar playing in a number of styles. Both flatpickers and fingerpickers are welcome.


Vocal Troubleshooting (all levels)

Have you ever sung a song and had your voice get totally tired, suddenly disappear, or perhaps not sound as round and clear as you’d like it to? Well, it turns out there are reasons these nagging problems exist and I have ways to help you fix them! In this very comfortable, fun and informative class, I’ll listen to each of you and help you hear what’s happening with your voices. Then, I’ll help you learn how to change the habits that are leading to your vocal troubles. Bring a song or simply a vocal problem and we’ll figure out how you can feel better about your singing.

Basic Theory (levels 1–2)

No matter what instrument or vocal part you sing, it really comes in handy to know a little bit of theory. We will have a good time in this class as you join me in feeling comfortable understanding notes, note values, time signatures, scales, chords, keys, rhythms and anything else you’ve ever wanted to know about theory. Lots of handouts, lots of patient explanations and lots of fun. 


Couple Dances (all levels)

Did you know you are required to take one PE class at camp? Ha ha, just kidding. Learn universal lead and follow techniques so you can dance with anyone to any music! Musicians are used to moving small muscle groups (fingers) with great precision. Come to dance class and learn to move large muscle groups to the beat. Do you play dance music? A great way to really understand the driving rhythms of dance music is to dance it.

Slide Guitar (level 3 and up)

Come learn the seductive sound of the slide guitar! We’ll focus mostly on blues and mostly on slide played in open tunings. Slide guitar is a great class to take when your left hand fingers are sore; no calluses needed! You don’t need any previous experience playing slide, but you do need fundamental knowledge of the guitar. 


Bluegrass Bass (level 2–3)

In this class, we will delve into the role of the bluegrass bass and with that we will cover one of the most important aspects of bluegrass bass— timing. Bring your metronomes! We will also cover some basic technique, tone, playing in a band, taking solos and more.

Bluegrass Jam (level 2+ and up)

Ever wonder how people in a jam session know when it’s their turn to pick or sing? What should the banjo player do when the mandolinist is soloing? What is a “fill”? The answers to these questions and more in this class. You’ll have lots of fun while we jam together and learn!


Jazz Swing Vocals (all levels)

Let’s sing some great jazz/swing tunes! Emphasis on group growth in jazz stylings, repertoire and “scatting.” All repertoire provided by the instructor

Swing Band Lab (level 3–4)

Learn to play some of the best swing tunes as an ensemble. We’ll learn a song a day and focus on how to “play well” with others. Vocalists and instrumentalists welcome. 


Introduction to Western Swing (level 3–4)

In the process of learning various classic western swing tunes we will explore common chord voicings, rhythm playing, and approaches to playing lead. Bring a tape recorder. Cowboy hat optional.

Swing Lead (level 4–5)

We will look at various approaches to soloing on swing tunes. Will include some theory, but there will be more emphasis on learning how to develop good melodic and rhythmic ideas. Lots of practical tricks and hints on soloing over swing chord changes. 


Beginning Pennywhistle (level 1)

No experience necessary. We will cover all the basic techniques such as hand positions, breathing, overblowing, good tone production, tonguing, vibrato, tremolo, 3 major and 3 minor scales, English and Irish ornamentation and ideas on how to practice. We will learn a new tune every day. Bring your pennywhistle in the key of D (there will be a limited supply at the camp’s store, too.)

Advanced Mandolin (level 3–4)

We will start this class with a flatpicking technique overview featuring four basic styles of right hand picking and two left hand positions. We will cover several strumming patterns, many chord forms organized into systems, two kinds of tremolo and crosspicking. Next is developing and maintaining speed and a step by step method on how to practice an improvisation. We will learn several hot licks and a few bluegrass, swing and Eastern European tunes.

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