SUMMER CAMP—SEMINARS & SEMINAR LEADERS
B: Beginner // I: Intermediate // A: Advanced
Intro to Gypsy Jazz Guitar
We’ll learn a few friendly jammers and look at strumming a few different feels (latin and swing). For those who are ready, we’ll talk through some soloing tips and techniques that you can use in this style.
Tools for Jamming In this seminar we will look at getting the tools you need to join a jam session with confidence. You will learn how to hear what’s going on and what tool to pull out for the occasion.
Secrets of Cross-picking Flatpick Guitar (I)
First, we’ll look at two right-hand cross-picking techniques. Then, we’ll look at several strategies for integrating cross-picking into your guitar arrangements and improvising, including an analysis of fingerboard patterns that you can use for cross-picking melodies.
Flatpicking Rhythm Guitar for Singers (B/I)
This seminar will present ways to back yourself (or someone else) on a song. We’ll start with the basic alternating bass structure commonly played in bluegrass and folk music, and build from there, focusing on dynamics and ways to most effectively frame the song and feature the singer.
This seminar will be helpful for guitarists who have a basic knowledge of triads and want to explore how they fit on the fingerboard in relation to a scale form. We will explore ways of locating triads and their inversions. We will then practise using them to create interesting textures when combined with a basic rhythm being played by another guitar player.
This seminar will explore some soloing strategies. We will take a scale form from the caged system and investigate ways to create tension and release by utilizing scale tones, chord tones, and passing tones. Expect lots of hands on playing.
This seminar will introduce (or review) the fundamentals of clawhammer style banjo, including the basic strum, double-thumb and drop-thumb techniques. Tunings will include open G, G modal, and double C, as well as practice tips and drills to help improve your playing and timing; and how to jam in different contexts. Very hands-on, so expect to play a lot. Tab provided for everything we work on, but we’ll focus on learning by ear. Lots of material to inspire you, and you’ll go home with a handy toolbox of skills to get you through the rainy season.
Old-time and Clawhammer Repertoire
The idea for this seminar came out of last year’s banjo workshop—campers wanting to learn more repertoire (and applying what was learned) than class time allowed for. Here we’ll focus on repertoire—looking at old-time tunes and songs in the tunings taught in the morning class, and include some tips on how to back yourself up (and others) when the singing starts. Other instruments are welcome in this seminar if you want to pick up some new old-time repertoire, but the focus will be on the banjo. Tab will be provided as well as lyric sheets, but the focus in class will be on learning by ear. Wishes do come true!
Your Body as a Rhythm Instrument
We will explore how to break down rhythmic patterns from a physical point of view, similar to how drummers and percussionists work and think but using no instrument other than the body. This can be applied to song writing, band arrangements, and also can be the rhythmic underpinning when learning an instrument. Being able to syncopate your body is the first step in understanding rhythm.
Songwriting from the Beginning
We will explore some of the techniques that top songwriters have relied on since Vivaldi. We will explore the technology behind song composition’s chord progressions, key changes, and how to build a full melody, verse and chorus from one small idea. What to do for writers block, how to make the B section pop, as well as several compositional approaches, and characteristics of different styles. Starting a song is easy; we will work with how to finish it.
Beyond Beginner Swing Rhythm Guitar (I)
Do you already know a few “swing chords” on guitar (chords which use only 4 strings and are moveable up the neck)? I have a logical method for gaining a larger vocabulary of chords, and more importantly and fun: for using them in some cool songs which we’ll sing and play.
Swing/Vocal Repertoire (I)
The Great American Songbook is a vast treasure trove of beautiful songs but it can be daunting if you don’t know where to jump in. I’ll provide a variety of samples from my favourites: swing tunes to ballads to Bossa Novas. Reading music is not required.
For beginners or as a “brush-up” for more experienced singers. Learn about tone quality, flexibility of voice and comprehensive breathing. All will be achieved in a peaceful and safe environment that will enable you to utilize your singing voice to its top potential.
Vocal Master Class
Bring a song to perform in the seminar (self-accompanied, unaccompanied or I can play piano for you). We will explore what can make your performance more polished, authentic and fun! All levels welcome, but students requiring Accompaniment will need to have some type of music chart.
Introduction to Fingerpicking (B/I)
In this session we’ll focus on getting your picking hand going, with your thumb playing an alternating bass line and your fingers picking patterns—from simple to syncopated. We’ll emphasize establishing a steady rhythm and groove, and will learn several fingerpicking patterns to accompany songs. Learn Travis-style alternating bass/finger patterns, as well as some nice blues grooves and licks.
Finger-style Arranging (I/A)
Make your own arrangements! We will take a chordal approach to developing instrumental finger-style arrangements for guitar. With this approach, you will be able to create your own version of tunes by learning key things—like picking a key, attending to the melody and bass line, using alternate chord voicing, and more. We will apply this approach to a few tunes in class so that participants come away with ingredients and strategies for doing their own arrangements of them.
If you’ve ever wished that you could take home some fresh skills in the art of jamming, this workshop brings together several basic approaches to the art of backing up singers and instrumentals so you can quickly put these ideas into practice. The seminar has some fun exercises and everyone gets to join in! Along with some written material on the subject, there will be live and recorded examples to round out the sessions. No need to be able to read music or understand music theory.
Licks and Tricks—Getting New Ideas Into Your Playing (I)
This session is primarily for guitar players although anyone can attend. Often it’s easy not to think about what chord you’re on in a song and just barrel through in a linear fashion. But knowing the chords and the licks that relate to them opens up a lot of potential. We’ll look at: tips for integrating chord knowledge with linear playing in your solos. Scales to know: Major, pentatonic and “the six note scale”; selected chord riffs; tips for a few surprisingly simple ways of upping your practice game. We’ll learn to make the most out of simple ideas.
Move and Groove
A seminar for singers interested in integrating more movement and rhythm into their pieces. Participants will learn bass lines, percussive vocal parts and body percussion arrangements, and get the chance to layer these elements in to a choral piece. Get ready to play and have some fun!
Discover the joy and the fun of vocal improvisation! We will take a curious and playful approach as we explore spontaneous vocal music. Improvisation structures and exercises will be introduced and applied as useful tools in shaping the creative process. This is an accessible approach that will benefit soloists, ensemble singers, composers and instrumentalists alike.
Bass 101 (for all bass instruments)
Upright, guitar, jug, ukulele, tuba, voice…all sizes welcome…just bring it on! Let’s dig into some grooves and play some killa lines! The bass function is a lot of fun to fulfill. Here we can boil it down and just enjoy it.
Music from the Bottom Up
Sounds like what it is—getting to the bottom of it all. Let’s just accept that music is a natural part of being human, like language. Everyone can speak and express themselves in their mother tongue, although not everyone is the next Shakespeare. Music is the same. Once we connect with our natural musical language we can begin to speak. Translating music to the instrument we play involves our voice and humanity and a few very basic principles. It is really as simple, and as complex, as the numbers from one to eight. And it is FUN!