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Classes & Teachers - 2005

Week 1


The Nuts & Bolts of Singing (level 1–2) We’ll start from scratch with how to breathe correctly, and proceed through all the essentials of good singing, including ways to increase your range and volume, build resonance and good tone, stay in tune, warm up, and deal with nervousness. We’ll sing exercises and songs in a bunch of styles. Absolute beginners are more than welcome, as are singers who wish to increase their technical knowledge.  

Fingerstyle Accompaniment (level 2) Your right hand is the focus here. We’ll start with arpeggios, and then learn several styles appropriate for folk, pop, country, and R&B songs. We’ll use songs with simple chords and focus on slow, steady playing to build your fingerpicking confidence. Pre-requisite: ability to move fairly easily between simple non-barre chords (A, E, D, and so on). No flatpicks, please. 


Orkney Tuning Crash Course (level 4–5) Here’s a guaranteed way to spice up your playing. Orkney is versatile and simple and is one of the rare open tunings that allows you to play in several keys. It works for Celtic, blues, folk, jazz, and pretty much any other kind of music. This class is a heavy immersion experience in which participants will emerge with enough exposure to the tuning to apply it to their own musical interests. No prior open-tuning experience required.  

Cure for the Frustrated Right Hand (level 3) Get out of your right-hand rut by learning basic right-hand fingerpicking patterns, including the Carter Family strum, the Travis pick, and basic 3/4 and 4/4. The goal is to emerge with a solid right hand ready for any task it might encounter. 


Introduction to Old-Time Fiddling (level 2) We will learn several fiddle tunes from the Southeastern U.S., paying special attention to bowing patterns and phrasing. We will also discuss ways to learn tunes from recordings—getting them from the source through the ears to the fingers. 

Fiddle Accompaniment to Country and Bluegrass Songs (level 3–4) We’ll cover how to construct an instrumental break in the middle of a song, emphasizing phrasing and expressiveness within the country idiom. We’ll also explore what to play behind a singer and how to work with other instruments in a band. 


Music of the Carter Family (level 2–3) This class will survey the many styles of songs introduced by the first family of country music. A singing class with instruction in the guitar chords, runs, and simple leads that give these classic songs “that sound.”  

Beginning Dobro (level 1–2) Learn how to hold, tune, and string your guitar, and work your picks and slide in this basic class. We’ll work on chording, along with finding easy fills and melodies that will give you the ear training to help you feel at ease jamming and accompanying your singing.  


Beginning Mandolin (level 1–2) Welcome brave souls! What a journey you have begun. I will make efforts to clarify the nature and workings of the beast. Topics include: equipment (picks, strings, mandolin types), how to tune, setup, playing in tune, tremolo, downstrokes, chord forms, how to get good tone, and more. We will also learn an introductory level repertoire of Bill Monroe solos.  

The Mandolin Language of Bill Monroe (level 3–4) We’ll cover a brief history of Monroe’s life and influences. Topics include an explanation of the preferred right/left hand usage, techniques/ devices for reproducing the appropriate sounds in the music, tone, tremolo, triplets, downstrokes, double stops, slides, chord position solos, and melody insinuation. 


Theory Applied to Guitar (level 2–4) Designed to help you play lead and backup guitar, this class uses the C-A-G-E-D method to provide an overview of the fretboard. Learn how to build major scales and then how to alter them to give you the sounds you are looking for. We will go slowly and thoroughly. Speed freaks need not apply.  

Sideperson Strategies: Care and Feeding of a Front Person (level 5) Stressing the concept that “less is more than enough,” this class explores how to approach being the second guitar player for a rhythm guitarist/vocalist. Bring your own guitar licks, as the focus here is how to be a sensitive, tasteful, and thoughtful sideperson. The lovely and talented Kristina Olsen co-teaches this class as our “chick singer.”  


Rhythm Guitar Omnibus (level 3) We’ll spend the week learning rhythm guitar parts to a variety of musical styles, including blues, country, pop, Latin, swing, and rock ’n’ roll. We’ll pay careful attention to right-hand technique, and work on time, syncopation, accents, and dynamics to shape the sound. Other chordal instruments are welcome.  

Jazz Tunes That Should Be Played More (level 4–5) We’ll look beyond common jam session tunes and learn some noteworthy songs by John Lewis, Horace Silver, Rodgers and Hart, and other composers. Each day we’ll play through one to three tunes, discussing how the melody, changes, and time give each selection a unique feel. All instruments are welcome. Players should be familiar with jazz chords.  

ORVILLE JOHNSON (Camp Instrumentalist)


Beginning Rhythm Guitar (level 1) We’ll learn basic chords, as well as how to keep a steady beat, alternate bass notes, hear chord changes, and have fun! We’ll learn songs so that students will be able to provide their own melodies for practice at home and decipher fiddle tunes so we know where the A part ends and the B part starts.  

Mountain Vocal Styles (all levels) We’ll learn what ornaments and stylistic choices give singing that Appalachian sound. We’ll sing a variety of songs, including unaccompanied, gospel, and traditional country. We may even try some harmony. No special requirements for this class—if you can carry a tune, you’re welcome. 


Big Banjo (level 2–4) Expand your banjo horizons in this class, which will take all levels to new plateaus. Emphasis on 3-finger style (Scruggs) picking and good chord knowledge. Arrangements provided in both tab and notation. Bring your portable recording device of choice.  

Where Surf Meets Country (level 3) In this country lead class, you’ll learn the twangy lead guitar style of Buck Owens. Specific lead breaks and intros will be covered. Light strings a plus!  


KEITH LITTLE (Camp Instrumentalist) 

Bluegrass Band Basics (level 2 & up) This interactive class will explore the role each instrument and voice plays in taking an ordinary bluegrass jam to a new level. We’ll look at dynamics, timing, backup, harmony singing, song arrangement, and how they work magic into the overall group sound.  

Bluegrass Vocal Style and Harmony Singing (levels 3–5) Co-taught with Carol McComb. Learn what gives bluegrass singing its distinctive sound and harmonic “buzz.” We’ll explore bluegrass singing technique and learn typical bluegrass ornamentation, paying special attention to tone and blend. We’ll learn harmony parts (and possible variations) to many kinds of bluegrass songs, and explore singing harmony by ear. Lots of opportunity for individual help and experience singing with other class members.


Flatpick Your Way Into a Jam (level 2) Learn how to use a flatpick, how to play many flatpick strum patterns, and how to hold your own in a jam session. Using popular songs from many different styles, we’ll learn how to hear a song’s form and play it by ear, so we can join in without the aid of sheet music. You should know basic first-position chords already, and you’ll need a capo. This will be a fun class with great songs and lots of skill building.  

Bluegrass Vocal Style and Harmony Singing (levels 3–5) Co-taught with Keith Little. Learn what gives bluegrass singing its distinctive sound and harmonic “buzz.” We’ll explore bluegrass singing technique and learn typical bluegrass ornamentation, paying special attention to tone and blend. We’ll learn harmony parts (and possible variations) to many kinds of bluegrass songs, and explore singing harmony by ear. Lots of opportunity for individual help and experience singing with other class members. 


Slide Guitar (level 3) Is your left hand sore? Come learn to make the seductive sound of the slide (no calluses required!). We’ll focus mostly on blues and open tunings. You don’t need any previous experience playing slide, but you should have fundamental guitar knowledge.  

Sideperson Strategies: Care and Feeding of a Front Person (level 5) Co-taught with Nina Gerber. Stressing the concept that “less is more than enough,” this class explores how to approach being the second guitar player for a rhythm guitarist/vocalist. Bring your own guitar licks, as the focus here is how to be a sensitive, tasteful, and thoughtful sideperson.


Intro to Swing Guitar (level 3) If you have been curious about those “swing” chords, then this class is for you! Using common chord progressions, we’ll look closely at 3- and 4-voice “closed” voicings that move up the neck and allow you to play easily in any key. Leave your capo in the case! 

Swing and Jazz Improv (level 4–5) Improvisation is a language, and in this class we will learn the basic vocabulary of the style. Learn to build scales into arpeggios, and how to use these chord tones to create lines based on the chord changes. We’ll also discuss theory, so you can understand the changes and play solos that really address them. Start turning heads at those jams!


Songwriting (all levels) We’ll explore what it means to be a songwriter—that is, the purpose of songwriting. We’ll also define and learn ways of writing better lyrics and melodies, using harmony, and the basics of co-writing. 

Guitar Tunings (level 3) We’ll experiment with various popular (and sometimes obscure) alternate guitar tunings used by artists like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Keith Richards, U2’s Edge, and so on.


Intro to Acoustic Bass (level 1–2) If you’ve been dying to learn more about the upright bass, here’s your chance. Complete beginners are welcome, as are folks who want to brush up on some basic knowledge. We will work on using your left hand as a ruler to find the right notes on the fingerboard, practicing with a metronome to perfect your timing, and how to pull good tone.  

Bluegrass Bass (level 2–4) In this class we’ll examine the unsung hero of the bluegrass band: the bass player. We’ll talk about what makes the best players the best. We’ll talk some about runs and walking lines, but concentrate mainly on the two most important parts of bass playing: timing and tone. You should already be able to play songs with at least 3 chords.


Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar: The Cradle of Civilization (level 2–3) Some of the coolest rhythm moves of any acoustic guitar style have come from bluegrass players. We’ll take a hands-on and entertaining look at them. Topics include bass runs, rest strokes, playing in 3/4 time and backing up simple country songs. If you like to strum bluegrass, folk, or country music on an acoustic guitar, this class is for you.  

Lead Flatpicking: Lifestyles of the Licks Contagious (level 4–5) Skilled leadwork in bluegrass revolves around two things: playing instrumentals and creating solos for songs. We will explore both by listening to memorable examples of each as well as by playing leads. 

Week 2


Beginning Guitar (1) Lay the foundation for a lifetime of making music! Using popular songs, we will explore basic chord vocabulary and simple right-hand techniques. Emphasis on fundamentals, practical ways to get better quickly, self-expression, and having fun playing lots of great songs. Discover the joy of being part of a musical community.

Beginning Fingerpicking (2) If you know basic chords and are looking to add to your right-hand techniques, start fingerpicking! Learn to use your right hand with independence and dexterity, and gain the skills to become a fluent picker in a number of styles. Basic arpeggio and Travis picking will be our focus.


Celtic Jam (level 2–4) Good pub sessions are more than bat-outtahell 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.

Irish Repertoire (level 4) While the Celtic jam stresses group dynamics and tune arranging, this class will focus on repertoire building. We’ll learn cool classics and unusual tunes as efficiently as participants can absorb them. Danny will share his favorite jigs, reels, hornpipes, marches, and more, with daily side-trips to woodshed ornaments and Celtic stylistic flourishes.


Swing Lead Guitar (level 4–5) For the student who has experience playing swing rhythm, this class is designed to help you take your playing to the next level so you’ll be ready the next time someone says, “Take it!” We’ll use repertoire from jump blues to western swing to gypsy jazz to explore riffs, melodic embellishments, and other improvisational techniques that will get you started playing your own creative solos.

Fingerstyle Blues (level 3) This class will expand on basic fingerpicking techniques, while introducing fresh repertoire in a variety of styles. Take basic blues guitar to the next level by refining techniques and learning new skills in the style of Mississippi John Hurt and other masters of the genre. Ability to play alternating thumb style is required.


Beginning Fiddle (level 2) If you want to really “fiddle”—an aural tradition—you’ll need to use your ears and not be tied to the printed page. You’ll learn some simple tunes by ear; we’ll focus on improving tone production and intonation. Feel free to bring in tunes you’re working on.

Fiddling With Tunes and Songs (level 3–4) We’ll pick a few Irish tunes and learn the finger patterns that will help you interpret the tunes in your own style. We’ll talk about adding built-in doublestops and open string drones. We may also explore fiddle backup for country songs. Feel free to bring in tunes you’re working on.


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.

British Invasion (2–3) Let’s go back to the first British Musical Invasion, with special emphasis on the Big Five: the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, and the Hollies. (I promise: No Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls, or Human League.) Collarless suits and fringes optional; guitars and sense of humour essential. Basically a repertoire and rhythm class, with a fair amount of shameless posturing thrown in.


Intro to Swing Guitar (level 3) With just a few of the most useful movable chord shapes, we’ll be able to play many entertaining songs. We’ll keep the pace easy and get through several songs in each session. The focus will be on developing muscle memory and ease with jazz shapes. As the left hand gets familiar with the chords, we’ll turn our attention to the right hand and work on getting in the groove and making it swing. The fun doesn’t stop there: You’ll be encouraged to sing along.

Easy Guitar Repertoire (level 2) You’ll play pop, country, cowboy and folk songs using easy-to-read handouts. We’ll go over any difficult spots before plunging in. Simple but inspiring songs at leisurely tempos will give you an opportunity to practice changing chords, alternating bass notes and trying different ways of strumming the guitar. Learn fun songs in a supportive environment.


Jazz Vocal Harmony (all levels) If you’re ready to try something new in harmony singing, take a plunge into these luscious chords and scintillating rhythms. We’ll work on three-, four-, and five-part arrangements of some great jazz standards. Prior experience singing harmony is strongly recommended.

Latin Jazz Band Lab (level 3–5) In this fun, interactive class, you’ll learn how to work collectively to create the proper grooves for a variety of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. All instruments and vocalists welcome.


Ukulele 101 (level 1–2) This class is for those new to the ukulele, as well as those with some uke experience who want a more authentic sound, a broader repertoire, or just wish to play better! We’ll cover the basics and develop fundamental techniques through repertoire. The songs used to teach ukulele technique will be from varied genres. Just be ready to get down with your bad ukulele self. Students are encouraged to bring a recording device to class.

Hawaiian Repertoire: Beautiful Hawaii (all levels) Learn the repertoire of Hawaiian song! You’ll learn Hawaiian standards and some contemporary island songs. Anyone who can use chord charts (including guitar players) or is willing to play along by ear is welcome to join in. Singers are also encouraged to come make island music. Students are encouraged to bring a recording device to class.


Intermediate Fingerstyle Guitar (3) This class will focus on Travis (alternating bass) and other fingerpicking styles for accompaniment and introduction to chord melody. Students will learn right- and lefthand technique, expand chord repertoire, and learn the basics of arranging a song for fingerstyle playing. We’ll explore drop-D and open-G tunings and technical exercises for long-term improvement.

Advanced Fingerstyle Guitar (4–5) Stylistically wide open, this class is aimed at those with fingerstyle experience who want to get out of the rut of playing in only one genre, advance their chord knowledge, explore altered tunings, get pieces to performance level, and work on technique leading to musical clarity and fluidity.


Latin Percussion (all levels) Can you tell a rumba from a mambo, a bossa from a baião, a soca from a xote? In this class we will begin to explore the many Latin rhythms of the Americas. With an emphasis on playing, this class will focus on the rhythms and instruments of the wonderfully rhythmic cultures of Cuba and Brazil.

Worldly Rhythms (all levels) In this shrinking world of ours, music is cross-pollinating at an accelerating speed and musical styles from around the globe are being blended beautifully. In this class we will delve into rhythms and sounds from around the world and explore how they can be used to add new life to the music we play.


Welcome to the Bottom End (1–2) We’ll work on right- and lefthand technique, building strength, learning the fingerboard, getting good tone, and always listening for good intonation. Plus we’ll explore rhythms, work on timing, and creating the groove. Build a solid foundation so you can play your bass with conviction!

Intermediate Bass (3–4) We’ll work on what you need, choosing from such topics as technique, scales, bass runs, walking, playing in any key, tone, choice of notes, different styles, timing, woodshedding with a metronome, and establishing the groove. We can also cover the challenges of playing in a band and being flexible so you’ll be ready for anything—and anything can happen!


Vocal Basics and Troubleshooting (all levels) Learn to extend your vocal abilities and discover new ways to access your singing voice in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Through breathing techniques and working with tone production, you can achieve your vocal goals pain-free! We will also work with some “alternative” singing methods and learn group songs to illustrate newly discovered or recovered vocal strengths.

Pro Vocal Workshop (level 3–5) We will take a variety of song styles and learn what it takes, vocally, to make them work. From blues, jazz, and gospel to Celtic, bluegrass, and “world music,” we’ll research and practice the tricks of the trade. Students should be able to learn songs quickly by ear and have some solo-singing experience.


Stagecraft (all levels) Have you always wanted to play your music for an audience but never quite stepped out under the lights? Do you play at open mics? In this class, we’ll look at the tools of stagecraft as well as the playful, creative inspiration that brings energy and life to a performance.

Songwriting: A Creative Life (all levels) Have you started a lot of songs but aren’t sure where to go from there? How do you turn initial inspiration into a finished song—or even a second verse? We’ll discuss what makes a story compelling, what gives a melody forward movement, when to follow form and structure, and when to boldly try something completely new. This class is for beginners as well as more advanced writers.

MICHAEL STADLER (Camp Instrumentalist) 

ALICE STUART (Instigator)


Flatpicking for Everyone (level 2) Flatpicking is a fun way to add energy and power to your guitar sound. We’ll start with the basics, and use the flatpick to play a variety of different styles and rhythms. We’ll learn tips and techniques to make it easy, and get a solid foundation for both backup and lead playing. Expect to do lots of playing in class!

Flatpick Soloing: Bluegrass, Country, and Folk (level 4) If you enjoy playing in jams, you can boost your fun quotient by adding your own guitar breaks. Using songs and instrumentals, we’ll learn easy ways to create and play leads. We’ll learn ways of getting around the neck and focus on tools, techniques, and musical thinking to make melody-based guitar solos. There’ll be lots of improvising in class in a low-key, supportive atmosphere.


Swing Band Lab (level 3–5) In this fun class, we’ll create new combos each day and tackle a tune (choose from two). Each combo then plays its own unique arrangement for the class. All instruments and vocalists welcome.

Advanced Bass (level 3–4) We’ll focus on applying what we know (scales, modes, and so on) to different grooves and soloing techniques. Class will focus on students’ needs, with the goal of getting everyone to groove and play better.


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

Intermediate/Advanced Mandolin (level 3–4) We will focus on technique development (speed and accuracy) and rhythm feeling. We will look at chords organized into useful systems, advanced strumming patterns, scales, arpeggios, improvisation, and ear training. We will discuss jamming and listening to others as we learn several bluegrass and swing tunes.

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