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

Phil Belanger

Swing and Folk Style Accompaniment:
This class will get you groovin’ on the snare drum, hi-hat, and cymbals using brushes and sticks. We’ll explore what makes a rhythm “feel good” and how to support and “lead” the band. Other percussion instruments are welcome as well.

Latin and Brazilian Rhythms:
This course will involve playing the most common rhythms, including the bossa-nova, samba, cha-cha and salsa. We’ll have fun learning the basic playing techniques for congas, shakers, guiro, cowbell, pandeiro, surdo and more!

Laurel Bliss

Beginning Harmony:
Come sing classic harmonies and learn the basics of creating your own, all by ear, in styles including folk, early country, bluegrass and gospel. If you can match pitch and can sing a basic melody, you’ll find this class easy and fun.

Intermediate Harmony:
This is a class for those who have sung some harmony and want the fun and challenge of fine tuning. We’ll learn how to work out harmony arrangements in duets, trios and quartets and perform for each other using folk, early country, bluegrass and gospel songs.

Rick Fines

Slide Guitar (B/I):
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!

Blues Fingerstyle Guitar (B/I):
We’ll explore many blues riffs that work in a Delta Blues style while keeping the bass parts with the right hand thumb.

Bob Franke

Songwriting (B/I):
A lecture, short individual interviews, and their resulting songwriting assignments form a springboard from which creative leaps of faith happen. In a safe, creative environment we’ll write these songs and form a more accurate and compassionate “outer critic” to replace an “inner critic” that may be too destructive without proper training. Discover along the way that songwriting genius is ubiquitous!

Don Fraser

Beginning Fingerpicking (B/I):
Using basic chord changes we’ll learn to play fingerstyle patterns to accompany ourselves or others. We’ll learn how to create interest with alternating basses, bass runs, hammer-ons and pull-offs. If time permits, we’ll work on a simple tune complete with accompaniment.

Things to Do with Two Guitars (I):
We don’t all have to play the same thing! We will develop some strategies for playing together, using a variety of techniques, “capocraft”, open string possibilities, fills and melodic phrases. Bring a song you’d like to work on.

Rueben Gurr

Party Guitar (B/I):
Come and learn a fun selection of classic rock and pop tunes from the 50s to the 80s. Learn repertoire and get tips on jamming, musicianship, arranging and singing. While the emphasis will be on rhythm guitar playing and technique, this class is open to all singers and players. Chord and lyrics charts will be provided.

Tunings (I):
Explore basic to advanced open tunings of G, D, and DADGAD and how these tunings apply to standard folk, blues and classic rock repertoire. There will be plenty of handouts in standard tab-everything from Joni to Muddy.

Sue Malcolm

Beyond Beginner Guitar:
For those with a basic knowledge of these first position chords: G, A, C, D, E. We’ll review these and practice B and F. We’ll also practice strumming and changing chords smoothly with a focus on developing good rhythm. Please bring a capo, and discover how you can play hundreds of songs in many keys with just a few simple chords and this valuable tool!

Slow Pitch Jam:
Develop the skills necessary to create music successfully in a group: communication, timing, dynamics, beginnings and endings, and confidence. Students should have a basic knowledge of chords and be able to change chords smoothly – speed is not necessary.

Craig McGregor

Beginner and Intermediate Flat-picking:
In this class we’ll address specific technique problems of the right hand and try to solve them with cross-picking, pattern picking, and hammer-ons and pull-offs. All techniques will be applied to tunes. In the intermediate class we will also cover sweep picking and “floating” (playing melodic lines alternating between fretted and open strings, creating a harp effect).

Ron Peters

Advanced Improvisation (I/A):
You know your scales, so now what? Learn how to use them to create intervals, arpeggios and other melodic structures that can imply extensions or alterations of the chords and harmony. Scales are like the alphabet, you must learn to spell the words (chords) and write the sentences (musical phrases) to paint your story (improvisation).

Jazz Harmony (I/A):
This advanced class is about learning the subtlety and nuance of jazz harmony. Using standards as a model, we will learn various techniques to put some “colour” into chord progressions to make your playing sparkle and your original tunes get noticed. If you’ve been working on Harmony and Theory but need some new perspectives, then this is your next class. Previous theory experience is required.

Jaime Rokeby-Thomas

French-Canadian Fiddle (B/I):
Fiddlers will enjoy learning (by ear, nice and slow) 3 or 4 traditional Quebecois tunes, including lively stories and demonstrations revealing the history of these tunes and the regions they come from. We’ll introduce the traditional foot percussion accompaniment style, and hand out music (plus chocolate and stickers) at the end of class. Please bring a recording device.

Celtic Fiddle (B/I):
This course will introduce beginning/intermediate fiddlers to the modes, ornaments and bowing patterns of Celtic music through learning 3 or 4 new tunes by ear, at a moderately slow pace. We’ll also learn tunes from the Irish and Scottish traditions, plus a new BC West Coast Celtic tune which will be specially composed for the class. Stories, humour, demonstrations, sheet music, chocolate and stickers will be used as learning tools. Please bring a recording device.

Cyd Smith

Beginning Swing:
We’ll learn a few essential moveable chords that fit into all kinds of swing tunes. We’ll explore the subtleties of swing rhythm, and even learn a song or two. Beyond 1, 4 and 5:
We’ll get into a little practical chord theory here, starting with a familiar three-chord song and experimenting with dressing it up harmonically. Be prepared to get really acquainted with the names of the notes on your guitar neck.

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.