Seminars 2024

Seminars 2024

To read more about the Seminar Leaders, see our Instructor Bios page.



Michael Burnyeat

Intermediate Fiddle
We’ll learn a couple of fiddle tunes, while focusing on key techniques like ornamentation, bowing, and capturing that ”fiddle feel”. Additionally, we’ll dive into chording on fiddle as accompaniment to fiddle tunes, as well as the art of backing up songs on the fiddle. Mandolins and guitars are welcome, too.

Intermediate Mandolin
We’ll learn a couple of mandolin specific tunes, and touch on techniques including tremolo, string crossings, and basslines. We’ll also touch on chords and strumming patterns, especially regarding backing up tunes. Guitars are also welcome.

Sue Malcolm

Jamming 101 (Beginner +)
This class is for beginners on up, or folks who have little or no experience playing with others. You’ll learn skills to help you communicate, understand the roles of various instruments, play be ear, hear chord changes, choose ‘jam friendly’ songs, and lots more. We’ll practice by playing easy bluegrass, country and folk songs.

Rhythm Guitar Accompaniment for Singers (Advanced beginner/Intermediate)
Learn how to find the best keys to suit your voice, and work out guitar accompaniment. Unlock the mysteries of the capo and the Nashville Number System. We’ll explore basic vocal techniques and experiment with different keys to help you get the most out of your performance. Songs will be supplied, and you’re welcome to bring something you’re working on.


Kristina Olsen

Groove, Grunt and Gimme (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)
Hidden treasures stolen from jazz, funk, and soul to make your blues irresistibly sexy! Dig a groove so deep you don’t know how to climb out of it yourself! Put some grunt behind your right hand to make your blues shout gimme gimme more!! You should be competent at fingerpicking and know basic chord and some barre chords and be able to make chord changes in time for this class.

Songwriting (all levels)
Give your songwriting skills a boost! We’ll do fun creativity games, talk about what makes a song strong and we’ll do exercises to improve your skills on the different aspects of writing, lyrics, melody and rhythm. Be prepared for lots of assignments.


Matt Smith

Group Vocals: Beginner
Group singing is a practice that can come with many rewards. It can also seem a bit intimidating at first! In this course, you’ll have an opportunity to get comfortable with the basics of group singing. Through singing some simple yet satisfying arrangements of songs chosen from a variety of genres, we’ll explore the fundamentals of singing in harmony and learn some strategies for successfully making your way through your part, and helping the others in your group to do the same. We’ll also discuss ways to sing more expressively and meaningfully, breathing life into melodies, chords and lyrics. While notated music will be provided, we’ll be learning by ear– note-reading is not required.

Group Vocals: Intermediate
This course is designed for more experienced singers who may have already done some harmonizing or singing in group settings. We will be looking at arrangements that introduce some more challenging harmonic concepts, and we’ll explore the various ways that individual vocal parts can fit together to create different harmonic textures. We’ll also have an opportunity to discuss concepts like tuning, blend, and balance. While some basic music reading skills would be an asset, they are not required– we will be learning the parts by ear.


Don Fraser

The CAGED system
This course will introduce you to a method of organizing the notes on the fretboard to help in your mastery of the guitar neck. You will learn five interlocking templates that will allow you to find any chord, scale, arpeggio or lick anywhere on the neck. Come and learn the magic of the guitar’s Rosetta Stone!

Flatpicking 101
In this course we will learn the techniques for playing single note melodies with a flatpick on the guitar. Fiddle tunes are a great source of material for this style so we’ll learn a couple of those as well as a couple of guitar “breaks” or solos in the bluegrass style. I would say both these courses are an intermediate level. You should be familiar with basic chords and be able to change easily betwee them and have some familiarity with single notes (playing some bass runs between chords for example).


Ali Romanow

Welcome to Western Swing
Western Swing is a rich and complex genre that intersects Country, Blues, Jazz, & folk traditions. Repertoire can range from simple two chord songs to full Big Band-esque arrangements. This is a great genre to explore and open up the world of movable chord shapes, harmonized instrumentals and get people dancing.
(Primarily Guitar focused, open to other interested instruments Ukulele, Mando, Fiddle, accordion)

Journey Through Song: Exploring Travel in Iconic Music
Embark on a musical journey through time and space in this workshop dedicated to exploring the poetic use of travel and modes of transportation in iconic songs. From the haunting narratives of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” to the rhythmic wanderlust of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and the dusty highways of Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” we will delve into how these artists employ travel as a powerful metaphor and storytelling device in their music, as well as the musical decisions that highlight and frame the poetry and how to bring this into our own playing.
We’ll do lots of singing, grab iconic riffs and musical ideas from recordings, and go home with a whole range of new and old repertoire full of the universal themes of travel and adventure that resonate across cultures and generations.


Tina Hebner

Let’s Get Picky With It!
In this laid-back class we’ll play music and move up the neck with the songs …yep, you paid for those frets, we’re gonna use them! While we play these songs, we’ll learn the names of the notes as we go. I’ll give you songs to play that you can show your friends, and maybe even use in a ukulele circle!! You should have some experience reading ukulele tablature for this class, but I am here to help you if you don’t.
On day one of this class, we will learn some straightforward melodies and take time getting comfortable with them. On day two I will give you some suggestions about turning these songs into chord melodies, and then you will have some tools to make your chord melodies!
Ukuleles, guitars and baritone ukes are all welcome in the class. I do ask that guitars and baritone ukes please bring a capo with them.

Fingerstyle Blues with Tina
Using chords in the key of A we’ll learn a blues progression, and then apply some fingerpicking skills to it. At the end of this workshop, you should be able to leave with a fingerstyle blues tune that you can relax and play around with (aka make your own blues tune), and you will learn some fingerstyle skills that you can add to your “toolbox” of skills!
No, you don’t need to have fingerpicking experience, just the desire to learn. You should know the chords A, D, and E7, and have some experience reading tab. You should have some experience reading ukulele tablature for this class, but I am here to help you if you don’t.
Ukuleles, guitars and baritone ukes are all welcome in the class. I do ask that guitars and baritone ukes please bring a capo with them.


Neil Fraser

Advanced Improvisation
This class will explore the use of substitute scales, passing tones, chromaticism, harmonized scales (triads and diads) and more. A good knowledge of major scales and some modes of the major scale, as well as the melodic minor would be an asset. We will also explore the artistic side of soloing. As instrumentalists, how do we tell a good story?

We will delve into changing common Maj7, Min7, and Dom7 chords into more colourful sounds (e.g. Maj9, Min9, 13th) as well as chords with raised or lowered 5ths and or 9ths. We’ll also explore how we can use these chords in common turn-arounds. Knowledge of the shapes of Maj7, Min7, and Dom7 chords on the top four strings would be an asset.


Emily Villavicencio

Getting the Most Out of Your Voice (All Levels)
The voice is an instrument, so let’s play! Through exercises, games, and songs, we will explore some of the endless possibilities of vocal improv in a safe and fun space. We will take on different roles like melody, harmony, bass and percussion. Our bodies will get involved, and maybe you’ll take a turn at leading the group. We’ll discover how strong our vocal technique can be when we are busy focusing on creativity and play. Of course, this is an improv class, so that’s just Plan A!

Understanding Rhythm in Music (All Levels)
Rhythm is everywhere – let’s dig in! Come learn songs with interlocking parts that are so satisfying to sing. We’ll also work on embodying the underlying pulse in the music we make, as well as trying out some tips and tricks to be precise with syncopation and complex rhythms. We’ll use both singing and simple hand percussion (shaker, clave, cajon) as vehicles for exploring various aspects of rhythm like groove, feel, beat, pulse, meter, tempo, and accent. We’ll touch on some theory but will mostly focus on having fun while singing, playing, and moving!