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Classes & Teachers - 2004

Week 1



Advanced Blues/Slide (level 4–5) Using tunes from such country blues masters as Mississippi John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, and Tampa Red, we will focus on traditional fingerpicking techniques. Beginning with simple chords, fills, and turnarounds in open D and G, we will add bottleneck slide to show how the simplest lines can sound musical. Bring a bottleneck slide, and have some experience playing alternating thumbstyle. 

Improvising Swing Guitar Solos (level 4–5) For the student with some experience playing swing rhythm, this class will take you to the next level. We will explore riffs, arpeggios, melodic embellishments, and other techniques that will get you started creating your own swinging solos. Bring your imagination and enthusiasm to class and who knows what you will come up with the next time someone says, “Take it!” 


Beginning Mandolin (level 1) Are you ready for fun while developing important fundamentals of good mandolin playing and solid musicianship? With delightful tunes as our vehicle, we will cover left- and right-hand techniques, easy chords, simple ways to play rhythm, and listening and repeating. Printed materials provided. Bring a recording devise and music stand. 

Flatpicking Guitar Chords and Rhythm Playing (level 2) If you can change from basic chord to basic chord and want to utilize them while developing better use of the flatpick, then this class is for you. With tunes from various styles, we will utilize your known chord forms and move along to new forms and rhythms. Printed materials provided. Bring a recording device and music stand.


All-Purpose Rhythm Guitar (level 3) We will practice rhythmic accompaniment patterns over blues, country, pop, swing, rock ‘n’ roll, and other styles of music. Special attention will be paid to right-hand technique, and how both hands work to create accents, stops, syncopation, dynamics, and infectious grooves. Other chordal instruments welcome. 

Vocal/ Guitar Duets (level 3 & up) Each day guitar players will pair up with vocalists to work on songs drawn from an assortment of styles. We will cover time signatures, intros and endings, solo breaks, harmonization, and interplay between voice and instrument. At the end of every class each duet will perform its song for the rest of the class. Other chordal instruments welcome. 


Folk Song Repertoire (level 2–3) English, Irish, and Scottish traditional folk songs will be featured in this singing class, with some forays into gospel and American songs. We will use song journals to help memorize and preserve the songs. If you have already started a songbook, please bring it. If you wish, be prepared to sing a song from memory that has a good, singable chorus. Recording is encouraged. 

Instant Guitar Repertoire (level 2) Stretch your guitar abilities while learning to play fun and easy folk, country, and pop songs. We will incorporate some of the most useful bass runs and discuss use of the pick and different strums. Expect a smidgeon of theory, lots of group singing, and plenty of in-class playing.


An Introduction to Brazilian Guitar Styles (level 3) Immerse yourself in the sensuous rhythms and chord progressions of the varied styles of Brazil. You will learn how to keep a solid rhythmic pattern with the right hand while learning luscious new chords with the left. We will cover bossa nova, samba, baião, and frevo through the songs of Jobim, Nelson Cavaquinho, Ivan Lins, Milton Nascimento, and others.

Acoustic Rock and R&B Band (all levels) Learn to “play well with others” in this fun, interactive class. We will take old and new songs from a variety of styles and divide up parts - rhythm guitar, lead fills, bass, percussion, and lead and background vocals. Our mission: to take the “campfire jam” to new levels!

ORVILLE JOHNSON  (Camp Instigator) 

Dobrology (level 2–3) We will delve into some blues and some bluegrass, concentrating on phrasing, tone, and solo concepts. We will also spend some time on improving our ensemble playing. Let’s make our resonator guitars sing! 


Beginning Guitar (level 1) You supply a guitar and the passion and I’ll provide some songs and a handful of basic chords. We will accompany ourselves singing by the end of the week. I’ll throw in some practice tips so you can continue to grow as a guitarist. 

Nashville Fingerstyle Guitar (level 4–5) We will learn some vintage solos from the Chet Atkins/Jerry Reed/Lenny Breau tradition. We will learn the style by ear. Music and tab will also be provided. We will identify signature ideas so you can continue learning.

PETER LANGSTON (Camp Instigator)

Party Guitar 201 (level 2–3) Ready to add some Louie Louie to your Kumbaya? Or some doo-wop to your boom-chuck? Remember: If you can strum you can shuffle . . . If you can hum you can wail . . . If you can bossa you can boogie . . . And you can groove if you can frail!  At the next soiree or campfire you can be the loud, popular one! Get noticed! Have guitar — we’ll party! (All instruments welcome.)

KEITH LITTLE (Camp Instrumentalist)

Bluegrass Banjo (level 3–4) This class will cover technique, timing, and rhythm, addressing common problems that hold people back. We will also examine how melody, harmony, and the fingerboard relate to soloing. Finally, we will examine backup and rhythm playing, and explore the value of classic material as a basis for developing individual style. 

TONY MARCUS (Camp Instrumentalist)

Introduction to Fiddle Improvisation (level 3) This class is for people who already know some fiddle. We will cover the basics of improvisation, touching on arpeggios, rhythm, extended chords, riffing, and swing feel. Also, we’ll demystify playing with vocalists. We will lay a foundation for wherever you want to go. Lots of playing in class! 


Introduction to Swing (level 3) We will begin with right-hand technique, move a few chords up and down a fret or two, and then try our new skills playing swing, blues, and western swing tunes. You’ll need have some knowledge and facility with chords, and be comfortable using a flatpick. 

Songs of the Singing Cowboys (level 2–3) Seasoned night watchmen sing to their cattle to calm them at night. Singing cowboys entertain around the world with their songs of the American west. Each day we’ll play repertoire from the various eras and styles of cowboy music, from simple melodies, to rich and full harmony, to the wild and fast.


Vocal Troubleshooting (all levels) Are you happy with the sound of your voice? Does it get tired, or suddenly disappear? In this comfortable, safe and informative class, I’ll work with each of you to help you learn how to change the habits that are leading to your vocal problems. Bring a song to sing that gives you trouble. 

Hands-on Harmony Singing (all levels) Harmony singing is one of life’s great delights! We will begin with cool 2-part songs and slowly move our way into singing in 3 parts. In a safe and fun environment, we will explore different styles of harmony singing and exactly how to sing them. Sheet music provided. Please bring a tape recorder.


Beginning Fingerpicking Guitar (level 2) We will start with basic accompaniment patterns, move to alternating thumb patterns for basic Travis picking, and then move to the Travis pattern to play melody-driven instrumentals. We will look at the basic acoustic blues, dabble in drop-D tuning, and expand our chord vocabulary.

Advanced Fingerstyle Guitar (level 4) We will explore a number of alternate tunings for use in contemporary styles and traditional blues. Each student will write an original tune in an alternate tuning during the camp week. And we will play some mainstream jazz chord-melody to expand our style, chord vocabulary , and fingerboard theory.


Swing Band (all levels) We will form small ensembles and learn to arrange, play, and improvise on a different song each day. Repertoire will include: blues, swing “chestnuts,” more obscure swing tunes, and a ballad. Emphasis will be on group development, cooperation and, of course, having as much fun as possible! Class will end each day with performances by formed ensembles. 

Advanced Voice/Jazz Vocals (level 3 & up) We will learn some alternative techniques in producing sound and practice applying them to the songs we sing. Emphasis will be on simple arranging skills, learning swing and jazz vocal repertoire, improvisation, jazz vocal techniques/nuances, and basic performance dynamics.


Singing While Playing While Singing (level 3) We will share skills for arranging songs to support vocals with instrumentals and vice versa. We will cover chord choice, pick/strum patterns, dynamics and styling, and more. Cosy will also demonstrate the use of partial and multiple capos to simulate open tuning and provide striking special musical effects.

Songwriting (all levels) We will explore songwriting from inspirational and technical angles, as we need a bit of both. We will explore rhyme schemes and verse and chorus writing and deconstruct and build melodies. We will be doing lots of in-class writing, with some overnight writing. If you don’t play guitar – don’t worry: this course is still for you.


Bluegrass Band (all levels) How does a bluegrass band work? We will look at how to create a great bluegrass sound including band dynamics, the rhythmic role of the mandolin and bass, how fills and leads are used to complement vocals, soloing and backing up solos. This class will help you discover the fun of playing with others.

Mandolin Magic (level 3–4) This class will examine both melodic and rhythmic components that can take your mandolin playing to new levels. We will look at developing expressive playing using dynamics, building on melodic themes, advanced techniques, and finding your musical voice on the mandolin.


Bluegrass Rhythm and Beyond (level 3) You can hold your flatpick and play steady boom-chuck. Wonder what’s next? Join us as we learn how to enhance our playing with accents, runs, and fills, while creating the right grooves for bluegrass, country, folk, and old-time music. We will even take the leap into some easy lead playing. 

Flatpicking Repertoire and Technique (level 4) We will learn some great tunes and how to create interesting melodic variations on them. We will also work out breaks to songs (bring some of your favorites) and share techniques that enhance tone and timing, and boost the ease and relaxation of both right- and left-hand playing.


Beginning Bass (level 1–2) This course is designed for brand new bass players and folks who might have played a little but have forgotten some of what they learned. We will start at the beginning and see how far we get. We will play simple tunes, do some bass appreciation and have some fun! 

Advanced Swing and Jazz Bass (level 3–4) This more advanced class is for the player who already plays (knows some scales, etc.) and wants to learn walking bass and some Latin styles. Emphasis will be on improvisation over chord charts. Soloing and cool bass tricks are also on the menu! Players of other instruments with an interest in bass are also welcome.

Week 2



Country Blues Guitar Fundamentals (level 3) This class will focus on the skills necessary to play a basic blues song. We will build our chord vocabulary a little, learn to sing while playing, learn to play the guitar “fingerstyle” in a few different regional styles, and most importantly, learn a few great blues songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, and other great country blues legends. 

Country Blues Styles of the Appalachian Piedmont (level 4) This class will explore the regional styles of the Carolina Mountains and surrounding area. Blues legends such as Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Doc Watson, Elizabeth Cotton, Merle Travis, and Brownie McGhee came from this region and popularized a style of country blues that integrates blues, ragtime, and some mountain fiddle music as well. 

DANNY CARNAHAN (Camp Instrumentalist)

Celtic Jam (level 2–4) Good pub sessions are more than bat-outta-hell unison free-for-alls. Learn how to make jigs and reels sparkle and how to enhance a band without drowning others out. Learn tricks to play along with tunes you don’t know, work out chord changes and harmony lines. And learn listening skills and restraint that can make the inevitable bat-outta-hell moments more satisfying.


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. Banjo technique requires a lot of repetitive practice. While one group is “woodshedding,” I’ll work with another group of players, enabling us to meet the needs of all levels of players. 

Flatpicking for Beginners (level 2) Flatpicking is great for country, old-time, bluegrass, and folk rhythm and lead. Assuming you already change chords well in a few keys, you will learn to hold a pick and play solid rhythm for song accompaniment with bass runs, as well as work on right-hand techniques that lead to playing fiddle tunes and lead guitar.



Party Guitar (level 3) This class will give you some tools to start or take part in a party jam that won’t immediately clear the room. The emphasis will be on rock and roll, 60’s pop and soul and having a good laugh. A passing acquaintance with all three guitar chords will be useful. Failing that, just wear a loud shirt. 

A Song A Day (all levels) This class is aimed at songwriters old and new. We will be writing a new song each day. The exercises will be collaborative and fun. If you are a musician looking to add lyrics to your tunes, or a poet who’d like to hear your words set to music, or even a little of both, come on down! 


Swing Vocal Repertoire (all levels) If you have been looking for a place to learn swing standards, look no further. Learn up to three swing classics a day in this inspiring class. We will talk about how to make a song your own, phrasing, arrangements, performance tips, and how to transpose from one key to another. 

Unobtrusive Percussion (all levels) We will explore a variety of rhythmic grooves using a very compact set of percussion tools. Using these skills, we will be able to accompany most of the acoustic music found at camp. Country, R&B, rock, swing, jigs, reels, waltzes and some Latin claves will be covered.


Bluegrass Flatpick (level 3) We will work on some standard fiddle tunes played in the Blue Ridge Mountain area. “Pinch picking” is an unusual technique (fingerpicks on the thumb and forefinger), but fingerpicks or flatpicks are fine. We will be playing by ear, so bring an audio recorder, and we will go over the tunes until you get them. 

Advanced Bluegrass Flatpick (level 4) We will play some fiddle tunes from Doc Watson and other pickers from western Virginia. We will work on endings and three-finger chord shapes that can be played up the neck. Bring an audio recorder. Each student will receive a practice tape of the tunes we work on. 


Introduction to Fingerstyle Technique (level 2) For beginners who want to explore fingerstyle technique, this course will introduce basic fingerpicking using solid principles that can later apply to classical, folk, country or jazz. Emphasis will be on troubleshooting problems as they arise, relaxation and avoiding injury. 

Fingerstyle Arranging Tools (level 4–5) This course surveys options for spicing up your own guitar arrangements. Examples will be presented to demonstrate jazz, country, and classical techniques used by Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Merle Travis and others. 


Slack-Key Guitar (level 3–4) This class will start with basic fingerpicking principles and will include information on the history of the style, its relationship with hula, how the tunings evolved, and some of the influential players. We will work in 2 or 3 different tunings. Beginners will overcome the fear of retuning while the intermediate/advanced player will find some challenges.

Beginning Guitar (level 1) Here’s the starting point for a lifetime of guitar enjoyment. Neil will begin at the beginning, and together the class will go as far as they can! From holding the instrument to the class performance at the Student Concert, here’s a great way to begin. 


Beginning/Intermediate Ukulele (level 1–3) This class is for those new to the ukulele, as well as those with some experience who want a more authentic sound, a broader repertoire, or just wish to play better! The songs used to teach ukulele technique will be from varied genres; just be ready to get down with your bad ukulele self. 

Beautiful Hawaii (all levels) Learn the repertoire of Hawaiian song! In this class we will learn Hawaiian standards and a few surprises. This class is for ukulele and guitar players, plus anyone who can use chord charts or is willing to play along by ear. Singers are also encouraged to come make Island music.

KEITH LITTLE (Camp Instrumentalist)

Song House (Level 2–3) This vocal- and guitar-based repertoire class will tour the hallways and back rooms of country, bluegrass, and old-time song catalogs. We will pay special attention to material that has interesting melodic and rhythmic variation. Basic vocal technique will be covered, as well as guitar rhythm and its role in supporting and giving color to individual songs.


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 and “comping” chords. You should already play guitar in one or two styles and be fluent at changing chords and keeping a good rhythm. 

Flatpick Leads & Fills (level 4–5) Using an intuitive method of improvisation, you will quickly learn to play your own ideas for lead guitar and create your own instrumentals. Based on chords and scales that you will learn in this course, play from positions that are comfortable, eliminating hand stress and muscle fatigue. Equally suited for folk, blues, country, bluegrass, or early jazz. 


Bluegrass and Carter Style (vocal level 2–3, guitar level 3–4) Wonderful bluegrass and old-time songs complete with instrumental solos. Maybelle Carter’s style of playing lead is one of the easiest to learn. This class is equally suited for fingerstyle players and flatpickers. All solos will be written in tablature. 

Band Aid (levels 2 & up) If you’re making music alone, you’re missing out on all the fun! Vocalists, all instruments, and any style are welcome. We’ll learn how to arrange songs, learn about good band dynamics, and learn how to use a sound system to support your music.


Songs from the Irish Tradition (level 2) The centuries old songs of the Irish tradition – political allegory, emigration, hopes, fears – speak of ordinary people in sometimes extraordinary situations. They touch us every bit as much today as when they were first composed. We will learn songs in Irish using a phonetic system. The songs will be taught orally with lyrics provided. Participants should bring an audio recorder.

Performance Master Class (level 3) You know your material, you are well rehearsed but how do you make the transition from living room to stage? What ingredients make a performance work? How do you deal with stage nerves? We will explore the skills necessary to deliver an effective performance. Participants should have a song prepared. Limited to 10 participants.


Beginning Bass (level 1–2) Our topics will include how to find the notes on the bass, good right- and left-hand techniques, keeping good time, and pulling good tone. We will also delve into ear training and listening tips, and touch on recognizing and anticipating chord changes in bluegrass songs.

Bluegrass Bass (level 2–4) Take an in-depth look at timing, tone, intonation, timing, scales, technique, timing, playing in a band, taking solos, timing, and more. Did I mention timing? It is perhaps the most important topic we will discuss; bring your metronomes! We will also discuss the trials of setting up and amplifying the bass. 


Be Bold and Let Go! (all levels) Are you afraid to sing? Be willing to trust yourself, and trust your voice in exploring tradition of African-American gospel music. This enriching journey will tap into your confidence and courage to express the joy of singing. Minimum requirement: a love of singing. 

Take a Breath and Sing (all levels) Absolutely no sheet music! Shift your perspectives on singing. Learn relaxing techniques, blending harmonies, and developing an ear for listening. This class will help you delve into the power of your voice, having fun using the entire body to sing.


Intermediate Fiddle (level 2–3) For fiddlers comfortable playing in several keys, this class will review techniques for good tone production, enhance basic melodies with old-time bowing patterns, drones, and chords. We will develop shortcuts for learning tunes from a variety of sources. Tunes common to the Appalachian region will be taught by ear in standard and crossed tunings. Students should bring an audio recorder.

Old-Time Jamming (all levels) Open to all – we will pick tunes from amongst us and play! We will talk about jam etiquette and ways to get into the music when you don’t know the tune. Open to all the basic string band instruments (fiddle, banjo, and guitar for starters), we will find something fun for folks of all levels to do (simultaneously!).


Beginning Mandolin (level 1–2) No experience necessary though you will need your mandolin. We will check everyone’s instrument setup to make sure that your mandolin is playable. We will focus on tuning, right-hand techniques for picking and strumming, left-hand positions, tremolo, chords, and backup rhythms, while learning several folk tunes.

Jamming for Intermediate/Advanced Mandolin (level 3–4) We will look at chords organized into useful systems, advanced strumming rhythms, scales, improvisation, and ear training. We will work on jamming in different musical styles, similar to the diverse styles encountered at camp. We will also discuss jam session etiquette, listening to each other, and anticipating many different kinds of musical and social situations.

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