Mando & Banjo Week - August 4-10, 2013
BLUEGRASS MANDOLIN A (Emory Lester)
This class will focus on many subjects designed to improve the clarity and precision of your mandolin playing, including technique (both left- and right-hand), tone, playing with clarity and confidence, crosspicking ideas, playing up the neck, rhythms and rhythm playing at speed, chord inversions, and rehearsal strategy and thoughts for practicing. Handouts will be provided, and tablature will be used in the handouts and in the teaching of this class. Bring your audio or video recording devices if you wish, and lots of questions are always useful and welcome, and often provide interesting and informative topic exploration.
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS MANDOLIN (Emory Lester)
This class will focus on many subjects designed to help to stretch your creativity and improve your musicianship as a mandolin player including creativity, musicianship, basic chord-melody, bass-note study, experimenting with colors, thought process, alternate tunings, chasing down melodies by ear, thoughts on improvisation, and expanding your sound. Handouts will be provided, and tablature will be used in the handouts and in the teaching of this class. Bring your audio or video recording devices if you wish, and lots of questions are always useful and welcome, and often provides interesting and informative topic exploration.
INTERMEDIATE BLUEGRASS MANDOLIN B (Radim Zenkl)
The topics of this class for intermediate level players will include a proper setup of the mandolin, flat-picking technique overview featuring four basic styles of right-hand picking and two left-hand positions, several chord forms organized into systems, various strumming patterns, two kinds of tremolo, cross-picking, tools for developing and maintaining speed, basic scales and arpeggios, improvising solos, jamming etiquette, ideas for backing-up songs and classic bluegrass instrumental repertoire. Several handouts will be available.
MODERN MANDOLIN (Radim Zenkl)
In this class for intermediate and advanced level players we will cover improvisation in blues, bluegrass and jazz, a step-by-step system on how to practice improvisation, scales and arpeggios covering the whole fretboard, ‘modern’ chord forms and chord substitutions, open tunings, odd time signatures, slide mandolin technique and usage of the bottleneck slide in open and standard tunings, chord melody, arranging for solo mandolin, the ‘duo style’ and sound reinforcement ideas. Several handouts will be available.
THE ART OF THE MELODY (Mike Marshall)
We will explore the art of interpreting beautiful melodies. Whether it’s a simple fiddle tune, a Bluegrass classic, a jazz standard or a Brazilian choro, we will work through a variety of musical styles over the course of our week. From developing a beautiful tremolo on a folk ballad to creating variations on fiddle tunes and improvising on some classic bluegrass barn burners, we will dive into some jazz standards, and of course a healthy dose of Brazilian choro classics along our way.
THE ART OF THE GROOVE (Mike Marshall)
From the simplest of folk strums to the bluegrass chop, we will artfully slip into some basic swing syncopations, pop and funk rhythms and the ever-contageous Brazilian choro grooves. Also, I will present you with my own fool-proof way of understanding chord theory on the mandolin and explore how to find almost every chord from three simple chord shapes.
CLASSICAL MANDOLIN BASICS (Caterina Lichtenberg)
This class will bridge the gap between the folk mandolin and the early Baroque and Classical mandolin composers. We will begin by working on the fundamentals of sound production, then move on to some basic mandolin techniques that include cross-picking, some nice exercises and some wonderful melodies. Lastly, we will work on coordination and speed, but we’ll keep the focus on having fun. The ability to read music is helpful, but it is not neccesary for this class.
ADVANCED CLASSICAL MANDOLIN TECHNIQUES (Caterina Lichtenberg)
In this class we will focus on the Romantic and Contemporary periods, and the great Italian masters who pushed the mandolin art form to such a high level. We will focus on developing a good tremolo and then move on to ‘Duo Style,’ where you play two parts at the same time. Then we will break down the art of playing ‘harp arpeggios’ (cross-picking) techniques from these periods. The ability to read music is helpful, but it is not neccesary for this class.
INTERMEDIATE IRISH MANDOLIN (Marla Fibish)
This class will provide a survey course in Irish music in its many forms, and how to approach it on the mandolin. We’ll look at how to get the rhythm and the pulse of Irish music into your playing. This is about understanding the music and focusing on the right hand: learning and practicing picking patterns for various tune types (jigs, reels, polkas, etc.) to create a rhythmic framework on which the tune will sit, better yet, dance! We’ll learn tunes together (by ear) and use those tunes to demonstrate, drill and practice what we learn. Bring a recording device!
ADVANCED IRISH MANDOLIN (Marla Fibish)
For those with more experience in Irish music, this class will build on the basics covered in the intermediate class, focusing on both technique and musicality. We’ll look at phrasing and ornamentation, as well as using dynamics and variation to best apply the unique qualities of the mandolin to Irish music, respecting the core of the tradition on this ‘newcomer’ of an instrument. We’ll learn tunes together (by ear) and explore different ways to give those tunes life and lift, applying the concepts and techniques that we learn in class. Bring a recording device!
MANDOLIN FOR THE COMPLETE BEGINNER (Adam Tanner)
This class is for the first-time mandolin player. The focus will be on learning proper right- and left-hand techniques to make the best sounds possible from the mandolin while learning some simple fiddle tunes and chords. Other topics covered will be the importance of solid timing, expressing the feel of a tune with rhythm, and how to seamlessly blend into a jam session even if you don’t know the tunes. Tablature will be provided. A digital video and/or audio recording device is recommended.
INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED OLD-TIME MANDOLIN (Adam Tanner)
Prerequisites: Students should be able to play a few simple fiddle tunes on the mandolin in the keys of G, A, D and C, and the student should feel comfortable picking up new musical information by ear. This class will start with a brief review of fundamental techniques that will enable you to be most comfortable with your instrument and help you to employ ergonomic strategies to best transfer what you hear in your head onto your mandolin. The focus will be on playing the southern Appalachian fiddle repertoire, including tips for approaching melodies in settings in which the fiddle is tuned open (AEAE and other tunings), as well as borrowing sounds and styles from various old-time fiddle bowing techniques and ornaments. Other topics will include chording and melody ideas for participation in an old-time string band ensemble, with side trips into ragtime/blues styles and the mandolin of the early country music duets. Very simple tablature for several of the tunes will be provided. A digital video and/or audio recorder are strongly recommended.
INTERMEDIATE SWING/JAZZ MANDOLIN (Don Stiernberg)
“Chords, Progressions, & Tunes for Fun and Profit” These sessions will focus on chord voicings containing color tones and voice movements in the context of the progressions and tunes favored by swing and jazz players. Learning the fretboard and how progressions work should help you spice up your rhythm part in any style of music. We’ll use tunes from western swing, gypsy jazz, and swing standards, such as “All of Me” and “Sunny Side of the Street,” more involved tunes like “Indiana,” “How High the Moon,” various Django originals, and we’ll learn how to jazzify a blues progression. We’ll learn drills for changing chords smoothly and how to reduce tunes with tons of chords to a few basic tonalities, making them easier to memorize. There will be handouts for reference. In addition to your mandolin and pick, bring a recording device. Familiarity with the harmonized scale and its resulting numbering of chord functions(I-IV-V, ii-V-I, etc.) will be helpful.
ADVANCED SWING/JAZZ MANDOLIN (Don Stiernberg)
“Improvisation Workshop” When it’s your time for a break, do you feel like you’re actually improvising or playing the same things all the time? We’ll broaden our soloing vocabulary by looking at phrases, patterns, and licks that fit with various harmonic situations, emphasizing color tones, connecting chords, substitutions, and alterations helpful for players of all styles. We’ll discuss melodic and harmonic approaches to soloing, how to get a swing feeling, and drills for playing flowing lines over lengthy chord changes. We’ll play for each other and discuss which things sound good and why. There will be handouts including sample solos. We’ll also demystify nasty looking chords and progressions as seen in fakebooks where “it looks like someone wrote G and then their phone number after it” (G7#11b13, Gm7b5, etc). No need to be an advanced improviser, but you should know the fretboard and be a bit familiar with numbered progressions. Bring your mandolin, your favorite jam tunes, and questions about where you’re having trouble or looking for other options. Most importantly, bring your willingness to go for it – we’re all going make mistakes, but in this laboratory no one gets hurt!
INTERMEDIATE BANJO TECHNIQUE (Noam Pikelny)
Noam will cover basic music theory, how it applies to the banjo, and how improving one’s general musicianship greatly eases the path towards conquering more advanced topics on the banjo. Noam will provide introductions to the single-string and melodic techniques and will discuss strategies for creating arrangements and how to improvise. Tab will be provided. Please bring an audio or video recording device. (Class limit: 20)
ADVANCED BANJO TECHNIQUE (Noam Pikelny)
Noam will focus on advanced single-string, melodic and Scruggs techniques and ways of moving fluidly between the styles. There will be an emphasis on music theory in effort to help open up the entire banjo neck. He’ll discuss how to find different voicings of chords, constructing single-string and melodic scales and how these tools can be incorporated to play and improvise with greater musical freedom. We’ll also examine transcriptions of tunes and solos from other instruments and how to apply them to the banjo. Tab will be provided. Please bring an audio or video recording device. (Class limit: 20)
INTERMEDIATE CLAWGRASS BANJO (Mark Johnson)
In this class for intermediate clawhammer banjo players, we will explore the melodies of “Angeline The Baker” in Double D tuning and “Old Joe Clark” using the Clawgrass “roll patterns.” We will begin with a quick review of basic clawhammer right-hand techniques (building blocks) of basic frailing: note, brush, thumb, drop-thumb, and then combine them into the Clawgrass right-hand roll patterns. We’ll also learn how to play more dynamically using clawhammer techniques in a group/ensemble using back-up clawhammer methods in support of other instruments. These back-up methods include using chord shapes, percussion (clawhammer/mando chop) and harmony/counter melodies. Tab and handouts will be provided. Bring a capo, and the use of a small audio recorder and/or smart phone camera is encouraged. (Class limit: 20)
ADVANCED CLAWGRASS BANJO (Mark Johnson)
In this class, we’ll learn banjo techniques to play more dynamically. We will explore the tunes “Clinch Mountain Backstep” in an A-modal tuning and “Hard Times” in the key of D. For “Clinch Mountain Backstep,” we’ll learn how to play the melody in “lead and back-up form” in a hard-driving Clawgrass banjo style and also learn to play backup using counter-melody. For “Hard Times,” we’ll learn to play the melody more dynamically, at a medium tempo, using chord shapes in the “lead” and counter-melodies in the backup. Tab and handouts will be provided. Bring a capo, and the use of a small audio recorder and/or smart phone camera is encouraged. (Class limit: 20)
INTERMEDIATE BLUEGRASS BANJO (Alan Munde)
In this class for intermediate players, we’ll analyze the solos of Earl Scruggs on “Blue Ridge Cabin Home,” “Your Love is Like a Flower,” and “Little Darlin’ Pal of Mine.” We’ll also learn how play backup, by combining chord shapes, rolls, licks, and runs to produce quality bluegrass banjo accompaniment, and learn to combine the rolls and melodies in a stylized fashion that produces bluegrass banjo solos. Tab will be provided, and use of a small audio recorder is encouraged. (Class limit: 20)
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS BANJO A (Alan Munde)
This class for advanced players will cover fretboard stratagems, or “How Do I Know Where to Put My Fingers?” by learning the names of the notes and where they are, diatonic chord systems, intervals, and much more. We’ll learn how to play in keys other than G without a capo, how to create beautiful and interesting back-up and chord solos for slow songs, the melodic style of playing fiddle tunes (and the different way of viewing the fingerboard needed to perform them), and we’ll take a look at some of Alan’s original tunes including “Peaches and Cream,” “Molly Bloom,” “Uncle Cooney Played the Banjo,” and others. Tab will be provided, and use of a small audio recorder is encouraged. (Class limit: 20)
BLUEGRASS BANJO (Tony Trischka)
We’ll discuss timing (working with a metronome, drum machine or tractor), separation of notes (where every note is crystal-clear), and tone. We’ll also get into Playing the Syllables: Playing the True Melody of a Song Like Bill Monroe Would Like You To. In addition, there’ll be analysis of Scruggs solos and devising ways to construct your own breaks. Back-up will be prioritized as well as the history of the melodic style and its techniques. Some attention will be paid to playing in other keys besides the omnipresent G. Improvising will be discussed, and if everyone behaves, a series of ‘hot licks’ will be taught. Tab will be dispensed and recording devices are welcome. (Class limit: 20)
ADVANCED BLUEGRASS BANJO B (Tony Trischka)
We’ll cover Scruggs style, including an historical overview of Earl’s playing from live Opry shows with Bill Monroe in the 1940s through the mid-50s. We’ll also discuss his sophisticated concepts of syncopation. Time will be spent discussing ways of opening up your creativity, as applied to improvisation and composition, and more advanced improv techniques will be demonstrated. Playing the blues on the banjo will also be discussed, as well as more advanced discussions of slow and medium-to-fast back-up. I’ll cover the single-string style, as applied to fiddle tunes, scale patterns, etc. And there is always time for digression when appropriate. Tab will be dispensed and recording devices are welcome. (Class limit: 20)
CLAWHAMMER BANJO TECHNIQUE (Ken Perlman)
Prerequisites: about a year’s clawhammer experience. Expand your playing horizons by focusing on the techniques that go into effective playing. Each day concentrates on a different aspect of technique. On the first day we’ll devote the entire session to attaining strong and effortless right-hand technique, with a special emphasis on being able to use drop-and-double thumbing on any string and on plucking the strings in any conceivable combination. Next we’ll examine the left hand – finding the most ergonomically sound method of holding the neck, how to address the issue of fingering and moving around the neck, and how to maximize the efficiency of hammer-ons and pull-offs (including off-string pull-offs). On the third day we’ll look at fool-proof techniques for playing syncopated melodies and ragtime. Day four covers techniques and concepts for playing up the neck, and we’ll end the week with techniques and concepts for playing backup, clawhammer-style as exemplified by Ken’s duet recording with fiddler Alan Jabbour, Southern Summits.
MELODIC CLAWHAMMER REPERTOIRE (Ken Perlman)
Prerequisites: about a year’s clawhammer experience plus a willingness to think outside the box. “Melodic” clawhammer is the art of playing complete fiddle tunes and other complex melodies in clawhammer style in a rhymthmically powerful, artistically evocative manner. There’s a system involved of course, which we’ll explore as students learn melodic arrangements of southern hoedowns, Celtic jigs and reels, waltzes, and ragtime tunes. It is strongly recommended that those who take the repertoire class should also enroll for the clawhammer technique class.
ROUND PEAK BANJO (Bob Carlin)
Learn to play tunes and arrangements from one of North Carolina’s most vibrant old time music communities. Located between two famous fiddlers’ conventions in Mt. Airy and Galax, Round Peak produced three notable banjo masters – Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham and Kyle Creed – whose echoes can be heard throughout today’s clawhammer playing. Day one will introduce the notable licks found in Round Peak playing, along with a simple tune utilizing those licks. We’ll also have a brief discussion of tablature and how to (and not to) use it to decode the Round Peak (and other) styles. Day two will spotlight Kyle Creed, day three Tommy Jarrell and day four Fred Cockerham. And, because the fiddle/banjo combination is such an important part of the Round Peak style, day five will combine Bruce Molsky’s fiddle class with the banjo class to show off how that combination does and doesn’t work.
BANJO STYLES & STYLISTS (Bob Carlin)
North Carolina has a vibrant banjo tradition and this class explores and celebrates the richness and diversity of old time banjo in the Old North State. Each day we will learn tunes of a different region from a particular regional stylist. Day one will highlight Doc Watson’s father-in-law, Gaither Carlton from western NC. Day two will cover the southeastern Sand Hills stylings of Marvin Gaster. African-American clawhammer from the Thompson Family of the Triangle area will be covered on day three, and the finger-style of Piedmont star Charlie Poole on day four. Finally, we’ll join up with Bruce Molsky’s fiddle class to explore the interaction between the fiddle and the banjo, which is vital to good string band music.
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. (Find this class in the Fiddle 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. (Find this class in the Fiddle Week Schedule)
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! (Find this class in the Fiddle Week Schedule)
ADVANCED SWING GUITAR (Tony Marcus)
This advanced class will study the guitar accompaniment and soloing techniques on recordings by Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, and Jimmy Bryant. We will analyze the distinctive styles of each artist and how they use repeating patterns, syncopation, and harmony to construct a swinging solo and to accompany a singer. Recordings and chord charts of the songs will be provided. (Find this class in the Fiddle Week Schedule)
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.
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.
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.