SUMMER CAMP—SEMINARS & SEMINAR LEADERS
Level 1 : Beginner // Level 2: Beginner – Intermediate // Level 3: Intermediate // Level 4: Advanced
This class is for beginner guitarists who can play a few basic chords. We’ll learn a bunch of easy songs with two or three chords from the country, folk and bluegrass repertoires. We’ll play songs in a variety of keys to give you the experience of playing different chord combinations. No music reading is required for this class. Although geared to guitarists, other instruments are welcome. Please bring a capo.
Performance Skills from the Bottom Up
Have you been performing for your cat for quite a while and are now ready to move on to humans? Let’s explore the elements of performing: preparation, relaxation, how to connect with the audience, what to do with your hands, what to wear….and more. You’ll have the opportunity to experience performing in a safe and supportive space. Everyone is welcome.
Bluegrass Flatpicking: Level 2 & 3
Flatpicking the guitar over fiddle tunes is a great way to work on left and right hand technique, and to understand how melodies relate to scales and chords. Once you understand some of the building blocks for improvising on guitar, you can have a lot of fun, experimentation and expression during solos. Such as: What chord are we on? Which frets or notes sound “good” over this chord? What scale are we using (major, minor, or blues)? What are the notes or frets of the melody? What is our muse telling us to play? Do we want to use a lick from our bag of tricks?
Let’s look at each of these and then put them all together! We can review some flatpicking technique and have lots of chances for trying out solos.
Intermediate Western Swing Chords
Come spice up your playing repertoire with some guitar swing chords!
They’re great for backing up texas style fiddle tunes and classic Western Swing songs from the likes of Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, Lefty Frizzel, Gene Watson, and of course Red Knuckles and The Trailblazers!
Using some classic songs as templates we will go through some standard chord progressions, so the 6-2-5-1 can be as familiar to you as the Nashville 1-4-5.
We will talk about some of the rhythmic nuances that give this genre its infectious groove. We will look at some cool chord inversions that can lead to bass lines up and down the big E string, or playing all the chords while barely moving your hand.
We will explore how the diminished chord and extended chords can be your friends. If there is time we can get into some improvising with chords or other licks and tricks over some standard songs. Hopefully, students will have already tried some closed 4 note chord shapes like G6 or Am7 or D7. I will provide some song and chord shape handouts.
Be open to a little theory, but it won’t be too cerebral, we can build a couple more concepts on what you already know. In most cases it will be showing how something you already know can be applied somewhere else. Let’s Swing!
Karin’s Vocal Workout
Just as our bodies require exercise to remain limber and flexible so too do our voices if we wish to sing with ease. Your vocal muscles will soon respond, and you’ll have more ability to sing the songs you wish to sing no matter what genre of music you enjoy. A technique class for all levels. We will include some swing, some classical and some folk melodies.
Together in Harmony– the joy of sharing songs with others
We will explore some simple ideas for taking familiar solo songs and turning them into catchy and enjoyable duet and trio arrangements. How do you find keys that work for everyone? What else helps create an interesting duet/trio? What might you look for and listen for within the songs you are arranging?
Country Blues Fingerpicking in Open Tunings: Level 3 – 4
We will spend class time looking at open tunings that were commonly used in Country Blues guitar in the period 1925–present. We will look at least at Spanish and Vestapol tunings (open G and open D tunings, respectively), and as time permits, will also look at Cross-note tuning (open D minor) and G tuning, DGDGBE, focusing on the left hand in these tunings, chordal positions for them, and the kind of songs that suit them best. We’ll learn one song per tuning. Previous experience fingerpicking with an alternating or monotonic bass required.
Intro to Open Tuning
Open tunings make unique sounds and chord voicing available to a guitarist, and quite often can simplify things for the fretting hand. They are versatile, too, and have been used for everything from Country Blues to Celtic and Joni Mitchell’s music. We’ll look at Open D, Open G, DADGAD and Open Bb tunings and discover an easy and practical way to figure out chord voicing in open tunings.
Blues for any Instrument: Level 1 – 2
The blues is a musical approach that forms the bedrock for many musical styles. This is a course for players and singers who would like to learn more about the blues. We will learn some simple blues songs, look at some variations in chord progressions and learn how you can improvise or create a solo through the use of a melodic motif (riff).
Building on What You Already Know: Level 2 – 3
I spend a lot of my time as a teacher showing my students how they can build on what they already know – how they can ‘recycle’ what they have already learned to create new things. I will start with written examples but will allow plenty of time to deal specifically with students’ realities as they arise in class. I will help you understand what you are doing, put it in context, and show how you can expand on it. While style of music is not an issue, this class will be most useful to students who have some knowledge of harmony, moving up the neck, or are interested in extending their improvising skills.
Arranging For Fingerstyle Guitar: Level 3 – 4
Developing an instrumental version of a familiar piece of music that retains the integrity of the composition is arguably the ultimate accomplishment in fingerstyle guitar. We’ll go over the steps toward this, which are:
- Finding and choosing a suitable song;
- Choosing a suitable key;
- Working out fingerings to play the melody, bass line and inner voices simultaneously;
- How to practise, such that the song is playable and pleasant to listen to.
Introduction to Improvising Solos and Fills: Level 2 – 4
When someone calls your name to take a solo do you panic? We’ll look at beginning to improvise using three methods:
- Three and four-note chord shapes that can be moved up the neck;
- The pentatonic scale;
- Using licks or phrases you’ve played before.
We’ll work on spontaneously creating solos and fills by combining these elements.
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!
Songwriting: Getting to First Base
We will use a variety of “prompts “ to narrow the focus and get to the heart of an
idea. Our goal will be to find out what works for you. If time permits, we’ll take a
standard musical style and use it as a template for your ideas.
Songwriting: Heading for Home Plate
Have something started, but can’t seem to finish it? We will begin with loosening
up, then focus on individual challenges, considering theme, rhythm, melody, and
Fingerpicking: the basics and beyond
In this class we’ll start off by spending some time playing simple songs, learn the
basics of reading tablature, and then work our way into exploring Travis Picking.
We’ll try out our new skills with the classic Kansas tune “Dust in the Wind.” I’ll
show you how to take what you have learned in my class and use it with other
songs you know.
Fingerpicking is a fun way of playing an instrument that adds
another musical layer into a song…come try it out with me!
In this class, your ukulele is going to sing for you. I often play in ensembles, and I
love it! I want to share the fun I have playing in an ensemble with you. We’ll start
off with some simple well-known songs and go from there into other pieces.
Along the way I’ll make sure that everyone is comfortable with the concept of
reading tablature. Ensemble music can be whatever you want it to be:
instrumental, one type of instrument (yay for ukuleles!), mixed instruments,
instrumental mixed with vocals…this class is designed to give you some
experience in an ensemble setting, and to help you learn to communicate with
your instrument. Let’s let those strings sing!