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Classes & Teachers - 2003



Beyond Beginning Bass (level 2–3)  This class is for bassists who want to increase their command of the instrument. We’ll work on developing accurate intonation, precise timing, increased range of notes, powerful tone production with greater facility, listening skills, and stylistically appropriate playing. Prerequisite: ability to play major scales and roots/fifths in several keys.

Bass Soloing (level 3–4)   Starting with simple melodic and rhythmic phrases, we’ll discover how to structure creative, elegant, expressive solos in various musical styles. We’ll first develop short, pre-composed solos, and work toward the ability to spontaneously improvise in the ensemble setting.


Beginning Brazilian Guitar (level 3)  In this class you will learn different rhythms and chord construction (harmony). We’ll focus on guitar techniques such as barre chords, scales, arpeggios and slurs, and apply them to Brazilian musical styles.

Advanced Brazilian Guitar (level 4–5)  An ensemble class for intermediate to advanced Brazilian guitarists. Nylon string guitars are preferable but steel string guitars are welcome. The class will emphasize Brazilian rhythmic styles such as bossa nova, samba, choro, baiao, chord inversions and progressions, and advanced hand techniques. 


Fingerpicking Blues Guitar (level 3–4)  This class will use alternating thumb patterns as a foundation to explore everything from rags to country blues. We’ll look at the distinctive styles of Blind Blake, John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, and the jazzier approaches of Oscar Aleman and Lonnie Johnson. Standard and open tunings. Lots of class playing and opportunities for the more adventuresome students to improvise. Tape recorders are encouraged.

Swing Band (all levels)  If you like the idea of playing in a band but find it all to be just a little daunting, this is the class for you. Swingmeister Mike will take the mystery out of band communication, intros, endings, keys, rhythm and syncopation, etc. Students will break out into smaller groups depending upon their abilities and interest. Western swing, hot club style, swing standards, jump tunes—all are possible in this ensemble class. Bring your enthusiasm and tape recorders. 


Clawhammer Banjo (all levels)  Bring a banjo and learn to play basic clawhammer style or, if you are a seasoned player, learn new tunes, tunings, songs, and techniques. How will I work with “all levels”? Banjo technique requires a lot of repetitive practice so I’ll take a group and get them started with one technique. While they are “woodshedding,” I’ll work with another group of players and vice versa. 

Bluegrass/Old Time Jam (level 2–4) We’ll jam in large groups and smaller groups, building common repertoire and confidence. Both bluegrass and old-time tune and song repertoire, emphasizing ear training, chord changes, rhythm, timing, and the fun of making music in a group. Guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass, dobro, and assorted other instruments welcome. Bring songs/tunes you’d like to work on, too.



Vocal/Guitar Duet (level 3–5)  Each day vocalists will pair up with guitarists to arrange, practice, and perform jazz, Latin, blues, and popular songs. We’ll cover intros and endings, modulations, rhythm, tempo, accompaniment techniques, and improvisational interplay. 


Jazz Boot Camp (level 4–5)  This class will help you solo in the jazz style. We’ll begin by generating licks, riffs, and motifs using basic jazz harmonies and rhythms (substitutions, altered harmony, syncopation). Then we’ll play our ideas over II-V-I and other cyclical progressions common to standards from the 1950s. Lots of in-class drills, fingerboard calisthenics, and chromatic marching. All instruments welcome.


Bluegrass Flatpick (level 3)  We’ll work on some standard fiddle tunes we play around the Blue Ridge Mountain area. I have an unusual picking technique (fingerpicks on my thumb and forefinger), but you can use fingerpicks or flatpicks. We'll be playing by ear, so bring a tape recorder, and we'll go over the tunes until you get them. 

Advanced Bluegrass Flatpick (level 4)  We’ll play some fiddle tunes I learned from Doc Watson and other pickers near where I live. We’ll work on endings, and three-finger chord shapes that can be played up the neck. Bring a tape recorder. Each student will receive a practice tape of the tunes we work on.


The Jazz Voice (all levels)   We’ll learn to sing some great songs from the jazz repertoire, drawing from standards in the styles of swing, bebop, blues, as well as Brazilian and Latin. We’ll discuss how nuance, phrasing, and technique all come together to help a song come alive through your voice, and we’ll also explore scat singing.

Party Guitar for the 21st Century! (level 2–3)   Make a statement at your next campfire sing-along or beach party! We’ll take fun songs from rock, pop, R&B, reggae, and other sources to help turn you into a lean, mean rhythm machine. You’ll learn about how to use a pick to get a good solid rhythm going (and keep it going!) We will draw extensively on first-position chords, plus you will learn some new ones. The barre chord will become your trusted friend!


Where’s My Home? (all levels)   What do you think of as your cultural identity? This question is not easy to answer in our spread-out, homogenized American society. We are blessed with a culture that’s made up of many cultures, and this is what we will explore. Each day, a guest teacher will share stories and songs from his or her culture, focusing on those that deal with the subject of home or place. Students will learn new repertoire each day and look at their own sense of place in the world.

Perfect Harmony (all levels)   What is perfect harmony? Southern harmony, of course! This class will explore harmony singing in duets, trios, and quartets. Each day we will learn the bare bones of a song and then divide into small ensembles to work on arrangements. Those who are less experienced may choose to learn harmony by rote. Those who are more experienced or adventurous may want to wing it. An informal atmosphere where mistakes are regarded as “discoveries” should make this harmony class fun for all levels.

PAUL KOTAPISH (Camp Instrumentalist)

Celtic Mandolin (level 2–4)   Visit Ireland and the far-flung reaches of the Celtic Diaspora while you absorb a bunch of snappy, fun-to-play jigs, reels, hornpipes, and other dance tunes in a variety of keys and modes. Build your bag of tricks with left- and right-hand ornaments, and develop some new strategies for accompaniment. Improve your groove and learn the secrets that make folks want to dance when they hear you play. Riverdance, schmiverdance, it’s still a lot of fun. Prerequisite: You should be comfortable playing melodies by ear in the keys of D, G, A, and C.


Mexican Song Treasures Introduction (level 2–3)   We’ll cover some of the basics of traditional old-time Mexican music for voice and guitar. Participants will learn to sing both the melody and harmony in Spanish. Guitarists will learn basic rhythms and simple bass runs. We’ll include the waltz, bolero, polka, Yucatecan clave, and serenata and study recordings of Mexican music recorded from the 1920s through the 1940s. We’ll learn about some of the important songwriters and performers from this era.

Mexican Song Treasures (level 3–4)   This class will take the participant beyond the basics of traditional old-time Mexican music for guitar and voice. We’ll learn to sing beautiful two-part harmony songs in Spanish. We’ll cover the waltz, bolero, polka, Yucatecan clave, and serenata. We’ll learn about using tremolo and bass runs and two-finger lead playing for guitar.


Swing Fiddle (level 3)   We’ll learn a few standards, and then work on tone and phrasing and building solos. We’ll cover some theory, but mostly work on “playing what we hear.” There will be a few grueling bow exercises and some riffs will be pounded into you repeatedly. It should be great fun. Reading skills may be helpful but are not required.

Beginning Fiddle (level 2)   We’ll learn some tunes, but will mostly concentrate on skills, covering bowing techniques, double-stops, ornamentation, tone, and phrasing. I’ll pick tunes that represent a couple of different styles, so we can apply different techniques. Music reading skills are not needed.

MARCY MARXER (Camp Instrumentalist)

Beginning Swing Guitar (level 3)   Learn rhythm guitar to songs and tunes from the classic repertoires of western swing and big band swing. Bounce with the rhythm, learn chord changes with moving bass lines that change every other beat and “comping” chords. This class assumes you already play guitar in one or two styles and are fluent at changing chords and keeping a good rhythm.


Beyond Boom Chuck (level 2–3)   Bored with the same old strums? Put some pizzazz into your playing! Learn how to vary your rhythm within a song with lots of new strums, right-hand patterns, runs and fills. We’ll have fun with rhythm exercises in class and arrange songs in a variety of styles. Good for both flatpickers and fingerstyle players.

Your First (Next) Band (level 2 and up)   If you’re playing music alone, you’re missing out on a ton of fun. Learn how to put together a band and arrange a song with solid accompaniment, lead breaks, vocal harmony, and percussion. All instruments and all styles welcome.


Singing in the Sean Nós (all levels)   Irish Sean Nós, or “old style” singing, has been enjoying a revival in recent years. Personal stories, political allegory, hopes and fears of countless generations have been preserved in these beautiful songs, which touch us every bit as much today as when they were composed. We will learn songs in Irish using a phonetic system. As this is an oral tradition, the songs will be taught orally with the words provided. We will also explore background and style with the focus on the Donegal tradition. Bring a tape recorder. No previous experience of Gaelic singing required.

The Singer Within (all levels)   For anyone who wants to increase their confidence in singing. Whether you are a seasoned singer or haven’t sung since you were two years old, this workshop will reaffirm your right to claim your voice. In this workshop you’ll learn basic breath and projection techniques, explore your voice (your own unique instrument), sing rounds and chants from different cultures and, most importantly, experience the joy of singing in a supportive non-judgmental atmosphere.


Couple Dances (all levels)   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)   Come learn the seductive sound of the slide guitar! We’ll focus mostly on blues and 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.


The Net of Jewels: The Geography of the Guitar Fingerboard for Celtic Accompaniment and Beyond (level 3-4)   Visualizing the fingerboard as a net of jewels—small chord forms that interlock, overlap, mirror, and transform—we’ll learn to “shape-shift” using a core set of triads, with inversions, voicings, harmonic and modal progressions that move fluidly across and along the fingerboard. We’ll work primarily in standard tuning, later mapping to DADGAD, with extensive handouts to aid later self-directed exploration.

The Guitar as a Songwriter's Tool (level 2+ and up)   Many songs start from chord progressions or just fooling around with sounds on the guitar. This writing-intensive class helps guitarist/songwriters find fresher harmonic, modal, and textural materials for song ideas. We’ll work with in-class, solo and collaborative exercises to generate lyric and melody from progressions and vamps, and to conceive progressions more structurally, playing with, not just on, our guitars.


Classic Country (level 2)   Playing country music without knowing about its pioneers is like talking about religion without the concepts of sin and redemption. In this repertoire class we’ll study: rhythm guitar styles from Maybelle Carter, western swing, honkytonk, and bluegrass; vocal styles ranging from straight, “primitive,” high lonesome to gospel offshoots to modern vibrato; flatpick technique and tone production. Tab handouts and repertoire recordings will be provided. Bring a tape recorder.

Beginning Guitar (level 1)   A class for complete beginners. Hundreds of well-known songs have few chords and aren’t difficult to learn. We’ll learn to tune, play basic chords and strums, use a pick and perhaps, time permitting, how to fingerpick and how to read tablature. Guitar ergonomics, practice habits, and dexterity exercises will be taught. We start with two-chord songs and move to three. Basic scales may be introduced.


Beginning Fingerstyle Guitar (level 2)   We’ll learn some basic fingerpicking patterns and explore their use in fairly simple songs. We’ll use the patterns both to accompany other instruments and singers, and as the foundation for guitar solos. A good class for strummers who lose their flatpicks.

Advanced Fingerstyle Guitar (level 4–5)   This class will focus on fingerstyle techniques and approaches to playing solo jazz and pop tunes. We will look at ways to keep the groove going and create the impression of several parts played all at once. Techniques will include bass line comping, right hand independence, and back beat whacking. 


Beginning Pennywhistle (level 1–2)   This class is designed for absolute beginners as well as students with some pennywhistle experience. We’ll cover all the basic techniques such as hand positions, breathing, overblowing, good tone production, tonguing, vibrato, tremolo, three major and three minor scales, English and Irish ornamentation and ideas on how to practice. We’ll learn a new tune every day. Bring your pennywhistle in the key of D (there will be a limited supply at the camp store).

Advanced Mandolin (level 3–4)   We’ll start this class with a flatpicking technique overview featuring four basic styles of right-hand picking and two left-hand positions. We’ll learn several backup rhythm patterns for bluegrass, swing, and Latin, many chord forms organized into systems, two kinds of tremolo and crosspicking. Next we’ll look at developing and maintaining speed and a step-by-step method on practicing an improvisation. We’ll learn some bluegrass, swing, and Latin tunes.

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