The following workshop descriptions were updated on November 25, 2017. They are subject to change as we review the interests and skill levels of registrants.
CLICK HERE to view and download a pdf file of the WORKSHOP SCHEDULE.
Claire Lynch – Singing, Songwriting & Band
PREREQUISITE for Claire's Songwriting Workshops: ALL OF CLAIRE'S SONGWRITING WORKSHOPS REQUIRE THAT A LYRIC SHEET (preferably multiple copies) BE PROVIDED IF YOU INTEND TO SHARE A SONG WITH THE CLASS. Part of good songwriting practice is documentation - so go ahead and take the extra step, please!!!
Songwriting 1 - Creative Traits & How We Apply Them to Songwriting: We will cover some common traits of the creative personality which help the songwriter identify parts of their own process. We will then do exercises and share songs or pieces of songs.
Singing 1 - Finding Your Voice and Sharing the Joy: In this workshop, we'll examine our voices and determine how to maximize our output, preserve our health for the future and share our soul's gift to those around us as we sing.
Singing 2 - Bluegrass Harmony: Throw away your sheet music for this class! We will cover the art of stacking vocals the "bluegrass way", parallel harmony, and chordal tricks to create the "high and lonesome" sound!
Band Psychology – A Benevolent Dictatorship: Claire, Mark and Bryan discuss life, governance, decisionmaking, and the process of arranging and presenting music in a working band. Come with questions and gripes, like ‘Car Talk’ for bands.
Songwriting 2 - What a Day for a Daydream: Want to "download a song from the universe"? Here's a class about how you can create a personal atmosphere conducive to doing just that! But bring your instrument and your lyric sheets - we always end class with sharing songs or pieces of songs.
Singing 3 - Sharpening Your Melody Lines: This class will help you hone in on particular notes, riffs, intervals and slurs which will give your song presentation that extra spice.
Mark Schatz – Bass, Hambone & Rhythm
Bass 1 - Technique and getting from one chord to another (All Levels) : We’ll look at right and left hand technique and explore a variety of ways to get from one chord to another in your basic three chord bluegrass song.
Bass 2 - Three four time and walking bass (All Levels): We’ll look at a variety of ways to play songs in three four time. We’ll then move on to walking bass lines and use these principles to play a basic blues progression.
Bass 3 - Slap bass (All Levels): We’ll learn single slap, double slap, and the bossa nova pattern using slap technique. We’ll look at how to apply a straight eighth and swing feel to the slap patterns we learn.
Band Workshop with CLB Trio (Bryan and Claire): See Claire’s description.
Bass 4 Masterclass (All Levels): Merging technique and style. Taught with Nicholas Walker.
Bustin’ Loose with Eileen Carson Schatz: See Eileen’s description below.
Southern Appalachian Flatfooting and Clogging Master Class: A Special Sunday Afternoon Workshop with Eileen Carson Schatz. Calling all you folks who have ever wanted to try clogging! NOTE: THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON CLASS IS NOT INCLUDED IN STANDARD WEEKEND REGISTRATION FEES.
Bryan McDowell – Fiddle, Mandolin & Guitar
Fiddle Basics (Beginner): Find a good place to start with your fiddle. Learn proper technique, some fundamental bowing patterns, and avoid common bad habits.
Fiddler's Repertoire (Intermediate): Learn a bluegrass standard or two, along with potential variations and a discussion of it's underlying chords and structure.
Fiddler's Playground (Advanced): This will be a glimpse into the process of an improvising fiddler. What things to pay attention to, how to self critique while staying optimistic, and how to stay on your toes in real time.
Bluegrass Mandolin (Int/Adv): A look at the varied styles of bluegrass mandolin, some suggestions for developing your own voice, and tips for becoming a more stress free and economic player.
Guitar Phrases (Int/Adv): Examine the layout of the guitar, discover flat picking freedom developed through fiddle tunes, and learn how to unify your ears and hands.
Band Workshop - dynamics/psychology (All Levels): See Claire Lynch description.
Richie Stearns – Old-Time Banjo (Friday)
Old Time Banjo (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate): Richie will teach an advanced beginner/intermediate old-time banjo class
Old Time Banjo (Intermediate/Advanced): Developing your own voice on the banjo. Explore and develop different rhythmic and melodic patterns. Accompanying singers with the banjoy
Old-Time Fiddle and Banjo (All Levels): Richie and Rosie Newton will talk about the relationship between the fiddle and banjo. We will teach a tune and talk about the different ways the banjo and fiddle can play around with the tune in a conversation between the two instruments.
Adam Hurt – Old Time Banjo
Adam will teach 6 of 8 of the following sessions. Final selections to be determined based upon attendee interests (by mid-December).
Review of Clawhammer Basics (advanced beginner/intermediate): brush up on the right- and left-hand fundamentals from the basic clawhammer rhythm to drop-thumb, pull-offs, hammer-ons, and slides through a series of fun exercises.
Mapping the Fingerboard for Strong and Efficient Note Locations (advanced beginner/intermediate): locate the relevant major scales in the double-C and open-G tunings and in the process develop the most efficient left-hand roadmap for playing in these tunings.
Dressing Up Simple Tunes (advanced beginner/intermediate): take a skeletal version of a tune and learn to add "connective tissue" notes and moves to create a more musical and fully-realized version of the same tune.
Understanding the Structure of Old-Time Fiddle Tunes and How This Helps Your Playing (all levels): fiddle tunes are often structured in predictable ways; the sooner you recognize repeating patterns, the faster you will be able to learn and play new tunes, including on the fly in jam sessions! Note: this will not be a hands-on tune-learning class but instead will involve lots of listening and discussion.
Be the Banjo Player in the Old-Time Trio (all levels?? or pick whichever level you deem appropriate): join Adam on fiddle and Beth on guitar and play a tune of your choice, at your preferred tempo, in a non-threatening environment with lots of feedback and suggestions on how to make these collaborations as successful as possible.
Introduction to "Sandy River Belle" Tuning (intermediate/advanced): learn the roadmap to this beautiful and traditional alternate tuning for the key of G: gEADE.
The Round Peak Clawhammer Style of Tommy Jarrell (intermediate/advanced): learn a tune or two from the repertoire of this Surry County, North Carolina source musician and some of his characteristic techniques that can dress up other tunes already in your repertoire.
Introduction to Clawhammer Syncopation (intermediate/advanced): break out of the usual rhythmic boxes associated with clawhammer banjo and learn some syncopated patterns that will enhance any tune in your repertoire.
Wes Corbett– Bluegrass Banjo
Harmonized scales in G (Adv Beg/Int): In this session we will cover some simple shapes that make playing melodies way easier. With these two note positions you can unlock classic bluegrass backup and lead playing that will help you jam on just about anything.
Playing melodies with the forward roll (Adv Beg/Int): During this class we will take a look at one of the coolest ways to play simple melodies on banjo. Just play a forward roll and place the melody note on your index finger of your right hand. Okay it's not quite that simple, but it's a great way to use the banjo the way it sounds best. We will learn a great version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" as an example of this technique.
The Magic of JD Crowe (Int/Adv): In this class we will learn a couple classic Crowe breaks and what makes his playing so special.
Guidetone Chord Shapes (Int/Adv): This class is dedicated to two simple shapes that when used correctly can transform your backup. Do you like the classic Scruggs tune "Foggy Mountain Special"? Come learn how to make it sound even better!
Rolls and Licks (Int/Adv): Do you like players like Tony Trischka, Alan Munde, and Greg Cahill? Come check out some of the licks and concepts that make their voices on the banjo so unique.
Note for Note Fiddle Tune in Both Octaves (Int/Adv):: In this session we will learn to play "Road to Malvern" in both registers of the banjo. This tune sits really well in one position at the 12th fret and is a great first tune to play up there.
Judy Hyman – Old Time Fiddle
Teaching Approach: In Judy’s classes you’ll learn a tune (or two?). Judy will teach the basic notes and then focus on bowings for achieving the danceable rhythm and fluid sound characteristic of old-time Appalachian music. You’ll also learn about alternate tunings, phrasing, and ornamentation. The tunes and techniques will be broken down and clearly taught so that you can learn by ear. All levels are welcome to attend. Less experienced fiddlers can stay with the notes of the tune. More advanced players will learn stylistic details. Be sure to bring an electronic tuner, a recording device, and extra strings.
Making the pulse on your fiddle: working your bow and strings
Appalachian fiddling is all about pulsing, fluidity, ringing and roll; these are our lifelong pursuit. Let’s learn fun ways to use our bow (our paintbrush!) to work the strings so we make a groove and keep the instrument singing. We’ll apply these ideas/techniques as we learn a tune.
Fiddle technique for violinists and violin technique for fiddlers
Judy and Rosie will help violinists get a more fiddle-y sound and fiddlers improve their violin technique. There will be lots individual attention and opportunity for dialogue. Along the way everyone will learn different perspectives on playing the instrument.
DDAD (pronounced Dee Dad), one of the greatest open fiddle tunings
Let’s learn a tune (or 2?) in DDAD. We’ll experience the glorious, droning low string (yes, the G gets tuned to a D) and open ringing harmonics (bliss). Don’t worry if you’re not experienced playing in alternate tunings; Judy will help you get in and out of the tuning, and tuning strings down is not stressful for your violin. If this is your first experience with an open tuning, it’s guaranteed not to be your last.
Open tunings: Appalachian fiddlers play with the fiddle tuned many different ways. When you tune your strings to notes that are sympathetic to each other, your finger patterns change, the sound rings like mad, and your instrument vibrates in new ways ... it’s exhilarating! Let’s learn a tune (or two?).
Rosie Newton – Old-Time & Cajun Fiddle (Friday and Saturday)
Old Time Fiddle (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate): How to learn tunes by ear; learn some basic fiddle rhythms and bowings found in Old Time music and learn a tune.
Old Time Fiddle (Intermediate/Advanced): There are many different fiddle tunings in Old Time music. We will explore a few different tunings in this class, I will play some for you, and I will teach you at least one tune in an unusual tuning.
Old Time Fiddle Master Class (All Levels): Fiddlers Judy Hyman and Rosie will coach students on their technique, style, and answer student questions.
Old-Time Fiddle and Banjo (All Levels): Richie Stearns and Rosie will talk about the relationship between the fiddle and banjo. We will teach a tune and talk about the different ways the banjo and fiddle can play around with the tune in a conversation between the two instruments.
Cajun Fiddle: In the cajun fiddle class we will briefly discuss some basic back up bowing and rhythms which make up the chore of this music, and learn a simple tune.
Cajun Double Fiddle: Guest Fiddler Steve Selin and Rosie will discuss the tradition of double fiddling in Cajun music, will play some tunes and teach a tune and some different back up techniques that go along with it.
Dylan Foley – Irish Fiddle
Irish Fiddle from Scratch (Adv Beg/Int): In this class we will learn some simple melodies, walking through them slowly. We will also get comfortable holding instrument, as well as working on tone and getting the instrument to sing. A recording device, pen, and notepad are needed for this class.
Irish Fiddle Series – 5 sessions (All Levels): In this series of 5 classes we will focus on bowing and ornamentation used in the Sligo and other Irish fiddle styles and apply these to a selection of tunes in various tempos (jigs, reels, hornpipes, slipjigs, polkas and slides). I will adjust the repertoire to correspond to the class levels. This class will be taught by ear (do not be afraid if you think this can’t be done!). A recording device is required for this class.’
Matt Flinner – Mandolin
Bluegrass Style Mandolin (Intermediate): In this class, we’ll learn a bluegrass standard or two and talk about ways of playing the melody using double stops and certain positions on the neck. We’ll learn some “fills” to play behind a vocalist and transpose those fills to keys that one commonly plays in in bluegrass music. We’ll also discuss how to move double stops and licks around the neck to create your own solos and get started improvising.
Improv fundamentals for mandolin (Intermediate/Advanced): This class will focus on learning more about the fretboard while learning some of the basic tools for improvisation. We’ll look at various scales, melodic patterns and arpeggios to help students play over most of the chords we encounter in both bluegrass and swing. We’ll also look at a couple of exercises for ear training that students can take home with them, so that they can more effectively work toward playing what they hear. Some practice routine tips will also be given.
Old time tunes for mandolin (Adv. Beg/Intermediate): This class will focus on groove and tone—and old time tunes. We’ll spend time on some fundamentals including picking exercises for control and better tone, double stops and rhythm playing. And we’ll learn a couple of old-time tunes and discuss using open strings for a “drone” effect, octave variations, and getting that old-time groove.
Chords and backup (Advanced Beginner): In this class, we’ll look at various approaches to playing rhythm. We’ll look at bluegrass “chop” chords in various keys and talk about how to get that percussive Monroe sound. We’ll also look at using open chords (again, in various keys) to create a more guitar-like backup, and we’ll do some hands-on playing to get an idea of when to use which method.
Newgrass mandolin (Intermediate/Advanced): This class will start with modern bluegrass and go from there. We’ll learn a “newgrass” song and talk about how to play rhythm on it, how to play melody and how to improvise. A bit of theory will be touched on, and some practical melodic patterns will be given to help get students started in soloing. We’ll look at ways of navigating through more complex chord progressions and how to play rhythms in the variety of styles one might encounter in “newgrass” music.
Fiddle tunes for mandolin (Intermediate): In this class, we’ll learn a standard bluegrass or old-time fiddle tune or two. Once we learn the melody, we’ll talk about ways of varying that melody—through octave variations, going to different chord tones as the chords change, creating lines to connect high and low octaves, double stops and more. Students will be given suggestions on how to vary the melody on other tunes that they already know as well.
Nicholas Walker – Bass (Sunday only)
Bass Masterclass 1 (All Levels): Merging technique and style. With Mark Schatz.
Bass Masterclass 2 (All Levels): Work with attendees to assess their playing and develop personal strategies for practice, improvement and developing their personal style. I will work with each of the bassists while they play a tune with a workshop assistant on another instrument and offer practical help they can apply in real time. If we took turns, I'm certain those observing would benefit while they wait their tune to play something. My goal is that each player - no matter what their level - can play something with another musician, and my job would be to glean their musical intentions and help them be realized more completely or with less effort.
Eileen Carson Schatz – Movement & Dance
Bustin’ Loose Workshop: Everyone at any level of experience and ability will enjoy moving in this class with easy and fun games and activities designed to tap into the individual's own playfulness and creativity. The class does not require learning a lot of specific moves, so students are comfortable at their own level and are energized and inspired by moving just for the fun of it, especially students who are usually focused on their instrument. Eileen has collected and created activities that anyone can do and presents them in a way that helps participants move beyond inhibitions and inspires creativity. An easy system of movement analysis that explores four different modalities of movement will loosen you up and bring renewed freedom and strength to your physical activities, including playing an instrument. Music will be provided by Mark Schatz.
“Eileen created a safe and comfortable environment for people with varying experience and diverse backgrounds to explore physical movement and experience dance as a community activity, rather than a performance. Everyone should experience this class!” - Student from Common Ground on the Hill
Southern Appalachian Flatfooting and Clogging Master Class: Southern Appalachian music and dance developed when Native American, Irish, Scottish, English, and African music and dance met in those mountains. Flatfooting is the older form of making rhythm with the feet, not for performance, but found in social settings and done for pure enjoyment with individuals improvising. Clogging steps are more structured and sequences are most often danced with others. This workshop will include both styles along with steps from the many masters who influenced Eileen over the years. The workshop will also provide a perfect break for movement along with increased rhythm skills for Bluegrass and Old Time musicians who are sitting most of the day playing and focused over an instrument. Mark Schatz, internationally renowned Americana musician, will be providing the music for the class. Mark and Eileen share the joy of keeping time with your feet and provide a fun and inspiring class. They are both highly skilled at breaking down the steps and making them accessible. Calling all you folks who have ever wanted to try clogging! Please note that this is a separately ticketed event on Sunday afternoon at 2pm that follows the regular camp classes.
Paul Fairbanks – Banjo, Music Theory & Jamming
Basic Banjo Rolls Blown Sky High (Adv Beg/Int): We will look at 4 or 5 basic rolls and see how some minor variations open up infinite possibilities. Open to all all levels of expertise, but it would be good to have these rolls "in your pocket": Forward roll (TMTIMTIM), Alternating Thumb (TITM), Forward Backward (TIMTMITM, Foggy Mt. Roll (IMTMTIMT), G lick roll - sometimes called forward forward backward, (TMTIMITM). Handouts and worksheets galore.
It's Not Music Theory, It's Music Fact: Ever wonder why people shout out numbers at your local jam? What is this I IV V stuff?? This workshop will explore chord construction (major, minor, and dominant 7th), the diatonic scale, the Nashville numbering system, and how you too can learn to transpose almost any song on the fly using 7 letters and numbers! Open to all players. Feel free to bring your instruments, but this will be more of a discussion than a playing opportunity. Handouts galore!
Reviewing the latest in learning software applications: We will focus primarily on Song Surgeon. This app can import streaming music with a microphone or import files from your music library. It will decode the chord structure and allow you to alter pitch and tempo. It also will save "loops" that you keep for learning certain complex passages. We will look at some of the interesting features available in Tabledit, a tabwriting application. Open to all musicians. Handouts galore!
Sing-a-long and Slow-er Jams : We used to call these "slow jams" but they've morphed into a slightly more moderate pace with lots of singing. Stop by even if you don't play an instrument. Help us harmonize and remember the words to those long forgotten standards! It's a great way to start your day with zero pressure and lots of fun. We are a judgment-free zone!!
Quinn Bachand – Guitar & Fiddle
Accompaniment on Celtic Guitar - Level I (Adv Beg/Intermediate): This class will focus on both the left and right hands of the guitarist. We will look at the rhythm and harmony that goes along with fiddle tunes and how you can bring your own personal touch to them. We’ll study feel, chords, and specific time signatures found in the music.
Accompaniment on Celtic Guitar - Level II (Intermediate/Advanced): This class will build on the information presented above but be aimed at more experienced players and move at a faster pace
Celtic Flatpicking - Level I (Adv Beg/Intermediate): This class will look at the guitar as a solo/melody instrument. We will learn common session tunes in the celtic/fiddle vein that you can jam on.
Celtic Flatpicking – Level II (intermediate/advanced): This class will build on the information presented above but be aimed at more experienced players and move at a faster pace
Gypsy Jazz Guitar (intermediate/advanced): This class will look at the music of Django Reinhardt. We will also discuss the specific right-hand technique that Django developed over his life span, a technique that has been taught to gypsy guitarists for the last 60 years. We’ll take a simple gypsy jazz standard, learn the chords and melody, and work on soloing.
Gypsy Swing Violin (intermediate/advanced): This class will talk about the swing violin stylings of fiddlers like Joe Venuti, Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith. We’ll look at a standard swing tune and talk about how to approach soloing over it.
Dave Davies – Guitar & Vocals
Vocal improv (All Levels): Through various informal and fun exercises ranging in styles, the vocal improviser in each participant will be discovered and freed, so that they can apply this new raging talent to all endeavors! Participants should prepare to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment with fun exercises likely using swing, blues, gospel, funk, or totally free grooves.
Swing rhythm guitar (Intermediate): In this intermediate workshop you will learn some basic four-note chords and how to move them around on the neck to accompany standard swing tunes. If time permits we may explore voicings in two octaves, to create interesting arranging possibilities.
Swing Band (All Levels): Join the Falling Waters swing band and arrange a song or two with rhythm, riffs, solos and vocals.
Tim Ball – Guitar & Fiddle
Tim will teach 4 of the following sessions. To be determined based upon review of attendee interests by mid-December.
Fiddle technique (all levels): How to use your instrument efficiently to help the music you like to play sound good. Bowing, tone, intonation, shifting, dexterity, and rhythm are all potential topics - bring difficulties and questions! This will be a mini-lesson session or a workshop depending on interest.
Practical Music Theory (all levels): "Music Theory" sounds scary, but it doesn't have to be - and understanding what's going on in music helps you play it better! We’ll take a hands-on approach to scales, chords, modes, and rhythmic concepts. Bring an instrument, or your voice.
Two fiddles (Int/Adv): Learn some of the many ways that two fiddle players can have fun playing together - unison playing, harmonies, accompaniment textures, and rhythmic techniques. come experiment with us.
Introduction to Improvisation (all levels): A friendly introduction to musical improvisation and creativity, based on the idea that “there’s no such thing as a wrong note”.
New England Fiddle Tunes (Int/Adv): Learn a couple of classic New England fiddle tunes, along with some stylistic elements that make them sound great and work well for contra dancing.
Strategies for Learning Tunes (Int): Discover ways to catch a tune and make it stick. Bring your own ideas to share. And of course, we'll learn some tunes!
Beginning guitar for accompanying fiddle tunes (Adv. Beg/Int): Explore some of the basics of playing guitar for backing up fiddle tunes - good rhythm, chords, and most importantly, listening.
Rick Manning – Mandolin & Fiddle
Camp Director Rick Manning will be available to fill in any scheduling gaps related to bluegrass, contradance and swing mandolin and fiddle. In addition, along with some other mentors (to be announced) he will work with individuals who would benefit from and enjoy private or small class mentoring or classes.
Mandolin Orientation Session (All Levels): I will lead a workshop to help mandolin players warm up, assess their weekend goals and strategies, and learn a tune and some variations on melodic and rhythm variations.
Twin Fiddle (Int/Adv): Taught with Tim Ball.