Fiddle Week CLASSES - August 4-10, 2013
INTERMEDIATE BLUEGRASS FIDDLE (Bobby Hicks)
In this class for intermediate players, we’ll proceed at a pace that students are comfortable with in learning some of the original tunes of Bill Monroe, such as “Cheyenne” and “Big Mon.” In addition, we’ll learn ‘moving’ double stops/harmonies and twin fiddle technique using tunes such as “Tallahassee.” We’ll cover fill licks (working around a singer), intros and ‘outros’, and useful breaks that are also great finger exercises. We’ll also briefly cover the Nashville Numbering System to assist you in playing with other instrumentalists in jam sessions.
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS FIDDLE (Bobby Hicks)
In this faster-paced class for advanced players we will learn in greater detail a few of Bill Monroe’s tunes, such as “Cheyenne” and “Big Mon.” In addition, we’ll learn ‘moving’ double stops/harmonies and twin fiddle technique using tunes such as “Tallahassee.” We’ll cover fill licks (working around a singer), intros and ‘outros’, and useful breaks that are also great finger exercises. We’ll also briefly cover the Nashville Numbering System to assist you in playing with other instrumentalists in jam sessions.
INTERMEDIATE ROOTS GROOVE TOUR (Darol Anger)
In this class for intermediate players, we will explore the eclectic and groovy world of fiddling using some of my favorite, really spectacular tunes which come from all over the world including blues, bluegrass, Brazilian choro, and Scandinavian polska. The wide-ranging topics will include: Rhythm and Chop – We will analyze the technique, get it under control, look at some different grooves to try, and talk about when to and when NOT to do it. Fiddle Backup– The ins and outs of playing behind a singer or other soloist. The Layers of Interest in any music– rhythmic content, melodic/harmonic content, the players’ attitude, and their phrasing, and tone. Leveraging Practice Strategies– Some ideas about what to practice, and how. We all have limited time and energy to improve: How can we make the most of what we have?
ADVANCED ROOTS GROOVE TOUR (Darol Anger)
This class will cover the same topics as Darol’s Intermediate class but at a pace and level of detail more suitable for advanced players.
INTERMEDIATE SWEDISH FIDDLE (Andrea Hoag)
Rhythms that swirl like snow and nip like fire. Tonalities that conjure the deep forest and the midnight sun. Swedish fiddling is a wonderfully complex tradition with thousands of tunes, and though we can’t learn all of them this week, we’ll spend some time listening and learning about the culture. We’ll explore walking tunes, schottis, hambo, polska, and ceremonial tunes. We’ll also look at harmony parts (a distinctive part of the tradition) and how to create them. Tunes will be taught by ear, with transcriptions provided at the end of the week. No experience with Scandinavian fiddling is expected. Be ready for an adventure!
ADVANCED SWEDISH FIDDLE: POLSKA! (Andrea Hoag)
The polska is the delectable dance form at the center of Swedish fiddling. It’s lyrical, rugged, luscious, transporting. With its many variations on 3/4 rhythm, polska bends the mind and steals the heart. In this class, we’ll take an overview of regional and local styles and then delve deeply into the southern slängpolska and one of the rich variants from Dalarna. Depending on class interest, we’ll work with harmonies as well as melodies. You needn’t have any experience with Scandinavian fiddling, but should be comfortable with trying new bowing patterns and scales, and ready to think outside the box.
INTRO TO OLD-TIME FIDDLE (Michael Ismerio)
This class will focus on identifying, naming, slowing down and playing the exciting rhythms, pulses, and drones that give old-time fiddling its distinctive sound. There will be a heavy emphasis on pointing out and demystifying the half of old-time fiddling that often gets neglected: the bowing hand. I will break down each of the bowing movements or rhythms that I use, teach the group to replicate them and then play them in the context of a melody. Once the group has a handle on the rhythm then we shift the focus to think about how you would teach those rhythms to others, thus creating a community of teachers. It’s part learning, part teaching, and part having fun. Basically, it’s the class I wish I had taken when I first started fiddling. This class is taught by ear and uses mostly your bow hand to get your muscle memory used to playing the rhythms. It’s appropriate for all levels of fiddlers, beginner or advanced, young or old, and anyone who is interested in teaching techniques. Bring a recording device.
INTERMEDIATE OLD-TIME FIDDLE A (Michael Ismerio)
Focusing on bowing first, melody second, we’ll build your familiarity with old-time music by learning the importance that bowing rhythms play in southern Appalachian fiddle music. Each tune will be taught by first breaking down the various rhythms that would be played in that tune and playing those rhythms in order to build your muscle memory. Once you have the bowing then we move onto joining those rhythms with the melody. The class will also delve into the subtleties and complexities of jamming with others; How do we attract other musicians rather than scare them away? How can you more easily fit into a jam session? This class is taught by ear. Bring a recording device.
INTERMEDIATE OLD-TIME FIDDLE B (Bruce Molsky)
In this class, we’ll survey regional styles, from Texas to North Carolina to Georgia and the Midwest, making stops along the way to dig into some tunes in detail. Emphasis will be on using the bow to make rhythm, on proper phrasing, and just making the fiddle ‘speak.’ We’ll spend some time learning to grab a tune from the air (the aural tradition) and put it on the instrument. If enough folks are interested, we’ll also do a session on singing with the fiddle.
ADVANCED OLD-TIME FIDDLE (Bruce Molsky)
In this class for advanced fiddlers, we’ll take a deep look and listen to some classic old fiddle recordings. The goal is to discover what makes the performances so powerful, and to learn and play those tunes together. We’ll identify and develop the things that make old-time music so strong and unique: ornamentation, intonation, pulse, and language. We may also have a session on harmonizing and accompanying songs with the fiddle.
INTERMEDIATE SWING FIDDLE (Matt Glaser)
This class will examine the playing of great swing fiddlers including Stephane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Svend Asmussen, Joe Venuti, and Claude Williams. Students should spend as much time as possible listening to the swing greats and should be able to play several standards and have a basic understanding of chords and scales. We will analyze transcriptions of these masters playing on standard tunes, and then learn the same standard tunes and apply principles extracted from the solos. We will also work on articulation and rhythm issues, with some time spent on solving the problem of creating a horn-like attack on the violin. All jazz studies must at some point include basic harmony and the transposition of commonly occurring lines to twelve keys. We will also work on harmony through the arpeggiation of 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th chords, as well as common jazz devices including chromatic and diatonic approach tones, and upper structure triads. For the more intuitive (less intellectual) students, as much of this work as possible will be done in a call-and-response setting in which Matt plays a phrase and you play it back by ear.
ADVANCED SWING FIDDLE (Matt Glaser)
This class will examine the playing of great swing fiddlers including Stephane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Svend Asmussen, Joe Venuti, and Claude Williams. Students should have invested extensive hours in listening to swing greats and know at least 5 standard tunes, (melody, chord changes and structure). We will analyze transcriptions of these masters playing on standard tunes, and then learn the same standard tunes and apply principles extracted from the solos. We will also work on articulation and rhythm issues, with some time spent on solving the problem of creating a horn-like attack on the violin. All jazz studies must at some point include basic harmony and the transposition of commonly occurring lines to twelve keys. We will also work on harmony through the arpeggiation of 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th chords, as well as common jazz devices including chromatic and diatonic approach tones, and upper structure triads. For the more intuitive (less intellectual) students, as much of this work as possible will be done in a call-and-response setting in which Matt plays a phrase and you play it back by ear.
INTRO TO IRISH FIDDLE (Jack Devereux)
This class will be geared toward intermediate players who have some technical facility on the fiddle, but haven’t yet delved much into Irish Music. Some tunes will be taught, but the emphasis will be on techniques and stylistic elements unique to Irish fiddle playing. A portion of class time will be spent listening to recordings of both historic and contemporary Irish music, and discussing the changing sound and social context of the tradition. Because we only have a week, my goal is to equip you with skills and knowledge that will allow you to continue your study of this music on your own in an effective and fun way. If you have any questions or specific things you would like to cover in class, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
INTERMEDIATE IRISH FIDDLE (Liz Knowles)
You should have a basic understanding of where all of the notes are in first position, basic bowing patterns, and basic sound production. You may or may not have had specific instruction in Irish fiddling before but hopefully you have heard it before and maybe even play a couple of Irish tunes already. I will cover basics for learning by ear, some technique as it applies to Irish music, practice techniques for ornamentation and bowing in the Irish style and we will learn as many tunes as the general class level allows. I will happily provide sheet music for tunes and anything else we cover in the class. Please come with a recorder of some kind (*most important*), a pencil and your questions. I will send you a tune or two via email at least two weeks before the class. Even if you already know the tune or have heard it before, LISTEN to it as much as you can (in the car, while washing dishes, reading a book, etc). I know it will be hard for some of you but do NOT try and learn it! Just listen. All will become clear in the class!
ADVANCED IRISH FIDDLE (Liz Knowles)
For this class, we will use tunes you already know (as well as new tunes that I will teach in the class) to explore variations, ornamentation, style, and bowings. You should have more than two years of experience in learning by ear and should have a list of at least 3 Irish fiddle players that you have listened to regularly. We will not cover much basic technique in this class but might touch on specific topics like learning harmony and theory through Irish music, dealing with the issues that arise from learning difficult tunes and some good practice techniques applicable to all styles of fiddling. We will learn at least one tune in a flat key and I will provide some sheet music for specific topics. Please come with a recorder of some kind (*most important*), a pencil and your questions. I will send you a tune or two via email at least two weeks before the class. Even if you already know the tune or have heard it before, LISTEN to it as much as you can (in the car, while washing dishes, reading a book, etc). I know it will be hard for some of you but do NOT try and learn it! Just listen. All will become clear in the class!
CAPE BRETON FIDDLE (Emerald Rae)
This class will focus heavily on the rhythm, tempo, accents and ornamentation that make that Cape Breton “sound.” We will learn some classic tunes and discuss how to go about adding “the dirt”, how to make tunes danceable and how to build your repertoire. The music learned in this class will be entirely by ear, which involves quite a bit of listening, so bring a recording device!
SCOTTISH FIDDLE (Emerald Rae)
In this class, we will cover as much of the wide and varied spectrum of Scottish music as possible, including tunes old & new, from the islands, from the highlands, and a bit about how traditional fiddle music evolved and was influenced by other styles of music over the last few centuries. We’ll tie it all together with a selection of tunes that will build your repertoire and understanding of the style as well as giving you a grasp of how and when to use various types of ornamentation and bowing. The music learned in this class will be entirely by ear, which involves quite a bit of listening, so bring a recording device!
INTERMEDIATE CAJUN & CREOLE FIDDLE (Michael Doucet)
In this class we will make our way through the history of Cajun fiddling and culture from 1929 to the present. We will cover the spectrum of Cajun and creole fiddle styles highlighting fiddlers such as Dennis McGhee, Canray Fontenot, Doc Guidry, Will and Dewey Balfa. We will delve into stylistic variations throughout southwestern Louisiana, such as Texas influence on players like Harry Choats. We will learn aspects of the style including double stops, fiddling as an integral part of song, bowing and rhythm. This class will proceed at an appropriate pace for intermediate fiddle players, and be directed by student interests and experience.
ADVANCED CAJUN & CREOLE FIDDLE (Michael Doucet)
This class will cover essentially the same material as the intermediate section above, but at a pace more appropriate for advanced players, and once again, the class will be directed by student interests and experience.
FEELIN' THE BLUES (Joe Craven)
The blues are truly a foundation and inspiration for most traditional and contemporary vernacular American music. This adventure is open to ALL bowed instruments. We’ll listen to historical references from early recordings to the present. We’ll play basic forms (the 8, 12 and 16 bar and grill). We’ll feel the grooves (from ballads to stomps, rumbas to shuffles, hand jive to swing). We’ll reference the melodic guidepost of the human voice, bending long and short tones and learn some tunes/songs that reflect them. We’ll also tackle how to translate the “feel” of the grease, the groan and the growl of the blues to your instrument, and importantly, we’ll address taking your time sayin’ a bunch (without playin’ a bunch) of notes. Playin’ the blues suggests the “technique” of clarity over correctness – of intuition, release and expression of your personal emotion. Surrender to the feeling and you’ll do it! We’ll have a great time!
IMPROVISATION: IN THE MOMENT, WITHOUT A NET (Joe Craven)
How do you make better music in the moment, jam confidently with folks you’ve never met, and/or say something different every time you take a solo? This class for ALL instruments will help deepen one’s connection to spontaneity and flow through organized sound. Joe teaches musical improvisation more from a theater model rather than the requisite model of jazz. Therefore, this is not an ability-based class. Joe connects improvisation to what you already do and moves you forward from there. We’ll focus on ways to think differently about sound, embrace fearlessness, and address the connection between spoken-word language and the language of music. Showing up empty-handed, mimicry, dis-association, “awareness/focus”, “quantity/quality”, “what/how”, mistakes & metaphor, “sending/receiving” and losing control are just some what we’ll apply to our music making in class. Lots of exercises and opportunity to play with others in new ways. The class will stretch you and may well change some of your perceptions of what music is. It’s a fun and enlightening romp!
CONTRA DANCE BAND (David Kaynor)
This class is open to all instruments, but oriented toward intermediate fiddlers who can play at least a reel or jig or two at a moderate tempo, and will focus on fiddle-specific technical details such as bowing for dynamics and phrasing. We will explore dance-related matters including tempos (including how to both set and change them), medleys, fitting tunes to dances, starts and stops, working with callers, and repertoire development. We’ll work mainly by ear while providing information about tunebooks and online transcription sources. Recording devices are strongly recommended. Also strongly recommended: Personal tune lists, which will help us develop common repertoire for some of our work on rhythm, expression, and danceability.
FIDDLE FROM SCRATCH (David Kaynor)
This is a class for folks who have always wanted to play fiddle, but don’t know where to start, and also for fiddlers who want to go back to the beginning and set things right with a patient teacher in a supportive atmosphere. You will learn your first fiddle tune and lots of technique to help move you beyond the “scratch”. We’ll work by ear while providing information about commercially available tunebooks and links to online sources of transcriptions for reference. Recording devices are strongly recommended.
INTERMEDIATE CELLO (Nathaniel Smith)
This class for intermediate players will be a survey of modern cello technique including the chop, finger style pizzicato, and bass lines. These techniques will be reinforced through practical application while jamming and improvising on tunes from various genres such as blues, jazz, bluegrass, celtic, and rock.
ADVANCED CELLO (Nathaniel Smith)
Consider yourself an advanced player if you learn quickly and are comfortable in all cello positions. The advanced class will cover all techniques described in the intermediate class at a faster pace and may also include elements of composition and advanced ear training.
INTERMEDIATE HUASTECO FIDDLE (Juan Rivera)
This class is for intermediate players who want an introduction to Mexican fiddle music. Huapango Huasteco is a style from the Huasteca region of Mexico and is distinguished by its virtuosic fiddle playing, canorous falsetto singing, and poetic improvisation. We’ll learn together some simple songs from the Huasteco style by ear, which is the traditional way of learning this music, but sheet music for some pieces will also be provided.
ADVANCED HUASTECO FIDDLE (Juan Rivera)
This class is for advanced fiddle players who want to explore Mexican fiddle music beyond Mariachi. Huapango Huasteco is a music style from the Huasteca region of Mexico and is distinguished by its virtuosic fiddle playing, canorous falsetto singing, and poetic improvisation. We’ll learn together some of the most important Huasteco tunes by ear which is the traditional way of learning this music but sheet music for some pieces will also be provided. The class will start with simple songs and move quickly into more complex pieces.
BLUEGRASS GUITAR ACCOMPANIMENT (Ed Dodson)
This class focuses on how to play powerful bluegrass rhythm guitar. We will work on alternating-bass styles of playing as well as using bass runs and other motion within the chords to accent your vocals or the instrumentalists you’re playing with. In addition to these basic building-block techniques, we will learn the rhythm accompaniment part to one bluegrass song or tune each day. The class will present songs/tunes that allow you to see the rhythm patterns that work effectively in most of the first position chord families. We will also discuss how to use a capo to get the song in a key to fit your voice. All levels of participants are welcome. Familiarity with guitar chords and knowledge of guitar tablature is helpful, but not required. Participants are encouraged to bring recording devices to class and also encouraged to participate in the Bluegrass Jam that Ed will lead every afternoon, as a way to reinforce the techniques learned in class as well as learn additional songs/tunes. (You will find this class on the Mando & Banjo Week Schedule)
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS GUITAR ACCOMPANIMENT (Ed Dodson)
This course will delve into more advanced forms of bluegrass guitar rhythm playing. In addition to learning our way around the standard “boom-chuck” bass note and strum patterns that form the foundation of bluegrass rhythm guitar, we will explore more advanced moving bass lines, substitute chords and inversions, and even some basic three-note swing rhythm patterns to put some extra “sock” into your playing. Along the way, we’ll highlight the concepts of harmonic theory and how to select chords and chord patterns to strengthen the guitar’s support of the vocalist and instrumentalist. Familiarity with flatpicking and guitar chords, along with knowledge of guitar tablature is highly recommended. While tablature will be provided for most techniques and songs covered in class, participants are strongly encouraged to bring recording devices to class as a memory aid, as we will be covering some fairly challenging material. (You will find this class on the Mando & Banjo Week Schedule)
CELTIC GUITAR (David Surette)
Since its introduction into the world of Celtic music in the 1960s, the guitar has become an integral part of the music, both in accompaniment and as a solo instrument. This class for intermediate/advanced players will focus on both of these aspects, primarily through arrangements of traditional Irish and Breton dance tunes and folk songs from the British Isles. We will cover rhythms, strums, bass lines, drones, modal chords, and stylistic elements, all while keeping a solid groove. We will look at several tunings, including DADGAD and standard, and will also talk about ornamentation and decoration, developing interesting arrangements, improvisation, and using traditional forms and vocabulary as a launching pad for original compositions. Please bring a notebook, and feel free to bring an audio recording device.
AMERICAN ROOTS GUITAR (David Surette)
This new class for intermediate/advanced players will offer a survey of the guitar’s role in traditional American roots music. We will take a look at both flatpicking and fingerpicking, with a repertoire including country blues, traditional folk, old-time, guitar rags, fiddle tunes, and the like. We will start with standard tuning, and will also look at some open tunings, especially for fingerstyle instrumentals. We will also focus on fiddle tune accompaniment, song accompaniment and arranging, improvisation and soloing, and developing new material using traditional vocabulary. Please bring a notebook, and feel free to bring an audio recording device.
INTERMEDIATE SWING GUITAR (Tony Marcus)
This class will teach the use of moveable four-note chord voicings, with a fairly small number of shapes that will allow students to accompany jazz/swing standards. We’ll also work on right-hand strumming to lock into the propulsive 4/4 swing feel. You can expect to come away from the class with enough information to play almost any song in any key. There’ll be lots of playing in class!
ADVANCED SWING GUITAR (Tony Marcus)
This class moves beyond the most common moveable chord shapes, expands the chord vocabulary and also gives an introduction into chord-melody playing. If you already have a good repertoire of three- or four-note chord forms, this can move you to the next level. We may also talk a bit about single note soloing, though this is primarily a chord class.
INTERMEDIATE BASS (Kevin Kehrberg)
This class will cover intermediate principles of bass performance and accompaniment applicable to various musical settings including jazz, swing, and traditional music styles. Topics include bass line construction, following chord progressions, timing and feel, and ear training. Concepts of bass soloing and improvisation will also be introduced. The class will mainly use pizzicato technique, although other techniques may be discussed if applicable (e.g., slap technique, bowing). Students should possess fundamental technical skills and know basic scales.
DAILY BLUEGRASS JAM (Ed Dodson)
In the last hour before supper, Ed will lead a non-threatening bluegrass jam for all levels and instruments. Come have fun channeling your inner Bill Monroe! (No class limit)
BAND SESSIONS (staff)
During the last hour of the day, there will be a special class time for students of any skill level to form bands, along with students from Fiddle Week. With the guidance of instructors, band members arrange and rehearse with the option of performing at the student showcase on Friday evening. (Sign up for band sessions at Orientation, no advanced registration required.)
This year we feature several instrument builders in tandem with Mando & Banjo Week, including mandolin builder Dan Voight, and Jonathan Cooper, the highly respected Maine violin maker, who will be building a violin during the week and will also have finished instruments on hand to sample. Lynn Dudenbostel will once again be on hand to offer repair services.