Most instructors have provided their workshop descriptions. They are shown below and also listed on their bio pages. We anticipate that we will have all workshop descriptions and a tentative workshop schedule completed before Thanksgiving.
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. To be determined.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 “Chestnuts” (Int/Adv): Learn a couple of classic New England fiddle tunes, which have been played for contra dancing for centuries.
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.
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.