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B: Beginner //  I: Intermediate //  A: Advanced

Linda Allen

Songwriting: Digging for Diamonds (B):
Where do we find the inspiration and courage to write that first song? How do we write with clarity and compassion? What gets in our way? Exercises, tips and tools for beginning songwriters.

Songwriting: Polishing the Stones (I, A):
How do we push beyond “good enough” to “Wow!”? This is an opportunity to bring in unfinished songs or to write new ones. Linda provides exercises, resources, tips, challenges, and unrelenting support!

Phil Belanger

Rhythm Basics:
This course will help to demystify rhythm, with a hands-on approach to listening, feeling, playing and counting. You will get a look at rhythm tablature and traditional notation style and, depending on class interests, we’ll have fun exploring Brazilian samba and Cuban son.

Rhythm Accompaniment:
This class will sharpen your ability to “fit in” to any musical situation. You will learn basic playing techniques for some of the more common percussion instruments, including shakers, cowbells, hand drums (conga, djembe and doumbek), stick, brush, snare drum and whatever else we may find.

Keith Bennett

Blues Harmonica:
From the store to the first song can take so little time if you have the right guidance. Let me fill in the gaps and have you playing in no time. Great for guitarists that want another instrument to solo while they play. Bring a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C. Guitarists bring a harp rack.

Getting the Most Out of a Song:
Why should we listen to you? Learn the components that make song delivery memorable and engaging: dynamics, phrasing, accompaniment, interpretation, arrangement, pacing, beginnings and endings. Bring a song to interpret.

Rosemary Campbell

Swing Guitar Basics:
Learn to make familiar songs really swing. We’ll work on movable chords that will allow you to play in any key and we’ll add a few simple chord substitutions to spice up your arrangements. There will be lots of playing and singing in class!

Freddie Green Guitar Style:
For more than 50 years, Freddie Green’s guitar playing laid the foundation for the harmonic groove of the Count Basie Orchestra. Using 3-note chords, he was able to create a powerful sense of harmonic movement. In this class you’ll learn some of these chords and see how it all works.

Bruce Clausen

Soloing (I, A):
How to make coherent and convincing music on the fly. We’ll offer various approaches to improvisation using blues, country and swing tunes, how to work from the melody, the chords, and the key areas, phrasing and rhythmic articulation. Participants should know a little about scales and chords, but emphasis is on using our EARS.

Brazilian Guitar Styles:
For finger-style players, nylon or steel. Basics of rhythm playing for samba, bossa nova and choro styles, with lots of syncopation and jazzy chords. Lead-playing opportunities for good readers and improvisers. We’ll make our own arrangements and play them as a band—there’ll be something for players at all levels to do.

Michael Dunn

Hot Club Swing:
We’ll explore the rhythmic styles of Django Reinhardt: the chords, right hand techniques, turn-arounds and tone production characteristic of the hot club sound. This course is suitable both for novice Django-style players and those with more experience.

Hawaiian Guitar:
Aloha! Learn to play Hawaiian guitar. Imagine a soft breeze on a sandy beach at sunset as you learn to play traditional tunes from the 1920s. This course will cover right-hand picking and left-hand slide techniques involving vibrato and “the slant”. You’ll need a lap-style guitar and a steel bar for this class.

Rick Fines

Slide Guitar:
We’ll look at techniques essential to slide, such as vibrato, left- and right-hand muting, hammer-ons and pull-offs. We’ll play together, exploring these techniques and basic principles of pitch and right-hand fingering. Both open and standard tuning will be used as we coax sounds from our bottleneck ranging from sweet and melodic to the sting of Muddy Waters. Bring your slide!

Open Tunings:
We’ll approach D and G open tunings from a blues background, however there will be a lot that will apply to any style of music. We’ll examine the new intervals and chord shapes that tend to intimidate those new to open tunings and see ways that these tunings help to free us from some of the constraints of standard tuning.

John Hough

Introduction to Travis Picking:
Named after guitarist Merle Travis, this style has been adapted by many others in country and folk music. It is a finger-style of picking characterized by an alternating bass line familiar in the music of Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, and Peter, Paul and Mary. We’ll learn the basics of the picking pattern and how to apply it to some familiar songs.

Canadian Folk Song Workshop:
We’ll explore songs from a few well-known and inspiring Canadian songwriters. Various instruments and/or voices are welcome as we learn the intricacies of rhythm, picking patterns, chord progressions, vocal phrasing and harmonies.

Craig McGregor

Flat-picking Canadian Fiddle Tunes (B):
This class will emphasize basic flat-picking technique (alternate picking, hammer-ons and pull-offs). We will also cover how to practise and ways to correct recurring problems. All these techniques will be applied to some great old time Canadian tunes that you will be able to play by the end of the course.

Flat-picking Canadian Fiddle Tunes (I):
This course will build on the techniques covered in level 1 and will be applied to more advanced tunes (waltz, jig, reel and novelty) all from the Great White North.

Earle Peach

Beginner’s Harmony:
Have you always wondered how those clever harmony singers do it? Now learn how! We’ll be taking a practical approach starting with rounds, that will have you making up harmonies to tunes you know by the end of the second day.

Gospel Singing:
There’s more to Gospel than meets the ear: unique ways of learning, harmonizing and sharing. The aim is to learn these special qualities of the music, as well as some beautiful, lively, spirit-based music. No music reading required.


Accompaniment (B and I):
Accompaniment: concomitant, complement, added for embellishment, for completeness. We’ll learn to create parallel motion to a melody, let the guitar be the vehicle for the motion, and thus accompany the voice adequately. Hammering away will get you there but accompanying using turnarounds, passing chords and other techniques is a courteous, artful route.

Anne Weiss

Sing, Sing More, Sing Better, Sing Fabulously, Sing Your Head Off:
This class will address technique: breathing, phrasing, physiology, tone, vibrato, warm ups, and how to make different styles of sound at will—gospel, bluegrass, opera, folk, blues! We’ll do problem-solving and use songs or pieces of songs from around the world to help us employ our new singing techniques.

Blues, Blues, Blues:
In this multilevel blues guitar class we will approach the three major blues styles: Piedmont, Delta and Chicago, learning at least one song in each style. More advanced students will learn embellishments, lead, voicing and arrangement, while new students will have a chance to learn the basic chords. Attention will be paid to blues history, rhythm and feel.