2016 Pre-Festival Workshops - September 14, 2016

Mail In Registration Form (.pdf)


Stephen BennettFinger Style Guitar

This will be a guitar workshop, without the usual fingerpicking/flatpicking distinction. No matter how you generate the notes from your guitar, finger style or flat pick, we are much more interested in how musical you are. You should be able to play barre chords without any problems. The plan is to bring the melody and chords for 4 or 5 tunes, written out in both standard notation and tab. If you don’t use written notation in any form, then bring your good ear with you and that will work just as well.  We’ll pick one tune to start with and learn the melody and chords to it separately. Next, we’ll talk about how to turn it into a solo arrangement.  I’ll show you how I approached it.  We’ll go into detail and I’ll expect you to ask me lots of questions.  We’ll spend time creating duets.  Finger-style players often tend to be solo players.  It’s not that they can’t play well with others; it’s more that they don’t play with others.  So we’re going to change that. This Intermediate Level workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with 1-1/2 hour lunch break. Cost is $80 with maximum of 16 participants.


Dan CraryFlat Pick Guitar

“OK, all you hairy-armed guys and gentle maidens we’re going to gather in that familiar church for one of the most focused flatpicking experiences you’ll ever have.  This workshop is adapted to a broad range of experience: if you play a little or a lot, c’mon down…. “We aim to get you moving and staying encouraged so you find yourself making music instead of excuses. We are going to boil flatpicking down into just four main issues and show you how to whip all four of them into shape, starting now. To put it another way,  you can learn tunes and songs better and faster, think and play accompaniment much better, create your own improvs and arrangements starting almost immediately, and organize your practice to be much more effective and in much less time. And so help me, you will get started with this before dinnertime. “So you guys better be there… it’ll be a blast!” This All Level workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with 1-1/2 hour lunch break. Cost is $60 with maximum of 50 participants.


Bill Evans:  Bluegrass Banjo

Bill Evans, author of Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies is one of the most in-demand banjo teachers in the world. He will be teaching 2 different classes.  Morning Session: Earl Scruggs Essentials: What Every Player Should Know. In this All Levels Workshop (but ideal for beginner to intermediate), Bill Evans teaches a systematic approach to understanding Scruggs-style banjo. After a quick review of hand technique and roll patterns, Bill will move on to present Earl’s favorite licks used in leads and backup, including Earl’s advanced boogie-woogie “Foggy Mt. Special” style playing. The class will analyze some of Earl’s best-known solos, enabling you to play them just like the master! Tab examples are provided, recording encouraged.  Afternoon Session: Exploring Melodic and Single-String Styles (ideal for intermediate to advanced)  Melodic and single-string banjo styles allow the banjo player to play fiddle tunes and add exciting improvisational elements to lead playing. In this class, Bill unlocks the secrets of both ways of playing with right hand exercises, scale patterns, licks and great tunes in a variety of keys in both melodic and single-string style. We’ll spend a good deal of time mapping out the fingerboard as well as explore how to creatively use melodic and single-string licks to enhance your own solos. Melodic and single-string practice strategies will also be covered! Tab examples will be provided and recording is encouraged. These workshops run from 10:00 am to noon and from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Cost is $40 for each workshop session or $70 for both sessions.


Gary Gallier :  Mountain Dulcimer

Workshop 1 - dAD Tuning - “Flatpicked Dulcimer & the Alternating Pick Stroke - We will focus on playing melody across the strings utilizing the alternating pick technique. Time tested by the greatest guitar players and applied to the dulcimer. Fundamental rules, excercises, and tunes that use the technique will be taught.  Intermediate & Up from 9:30am to 11:30am     Workshop 2 - Playing Cross Key - This class will focus on playing in keys other than the open dAD tuning, without use  of a capo, or the need to retune. Cross string scale study, and several tunes in different keys will be taught.  NOTE: to get the most out of this workshop, it would be best if your dulcimer has a 1.5 fret However, it is not mandatory.  Intermediate & Up, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.  Cost is $40 each class; $60 if you take them both.  Maximum of 15 participants per class.


Brad Kolodner:  Claw Hammer Banjo

Old-Time Banjo rising star, Brad Kolodner has developed an elegant, expressive and dynamic style of playing Clawhammer banjo that is rarely heard on the instrument. In this clawhammer banjo workshop Brad will explore the versatile nature of clawhammer banjo. Kolodner walks the line between the rhythmic and melodic styles of clawhammer banjo playing with an emphasis on pushing the boundaries of what is considered “traditional.” This course is designed for advanced beginners/intermediate players who already have a basic understanding of how to play clawhammer banjo.  However, all skill levels are welcome. Regardless of your skill level, you will walk out the workshop with a handful of new tips and tricks to implement in you’re playing and reinforce the basic technique while learning and applying a handful of more advanced techniques. Topics may include drop-thumb, alternate tunings (Double C, Sawmill), playing up the neck, learning by ear, playing in group settings, and more. This Advanced Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced workshop will be from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, maximum of 20 students. Cost is $40 with maximum of 20 participants.


Ken Kolodner:  Hammer Dulcimer

The two sessions are designed to be cumulative but participants may elect to do one session. Regardless of your skill level, you will walk out the workshop with plenty of ideas. Morning Session: Getting Way Beyond the Melody: Arranging Techniques for Hammered Dulcimer will focus on the application of arranging techniques and ideas (three note chords, valley rolls, bass lines, separation of harmony from melody, tremolos, arpeggio fills, etc) and the development of hammering skills.   Afternoon Session: Backup & Accompaniment Skills for Hammered Dulcimer will focus on the application of chord theory in the pursuit of a wide variety of accompaniment ideas (e.g. super simple to more complex vamps and rhythmic patterns and bass lines, counter melody). Techniques will be applied in an old-time tune and a waltz. The tunes and ideas will be taught through demonstration, by ear and using standard musical notation. Full written arrangements of the tunes also will be provided. Use of a recording device is highly recommended. These All Level workshops run from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon and from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Cost is $45 for each workshop session or $70 for both sessions. 


Steve Spurgin:  Songwriting

Join award-winning songwriter Steve Spurgin for a day of delving into the mystery (and fun) of writing that new tune wandering around in your head. If you are a novice or experienced, or just curious... bring an instrument if you wish, along with questions, difficulties, partially written songs and a sense of adventure. This will be a hands-on participation class where the entire process of creating a song from thin air will be laid bare. Be there when it happens.  This workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with an hour lunch break. Cost is $50 with maximum of 20 participants.


Barry Ward:  Gospel Guitar & Vocals

Has the LORD inspired you to write your thoughts down in the form of a song, but not real sure how to get started? Or maybe you’ve reached a blank wall and don’t know where to go from here? Come and spend the morning with multiple-award winning performer Barry Ward, who has written so many songs his notepads should be overflowing. . . he just doesn’t know where he put them all! And if you are not a songwriter, but instead want to shed some fresh light on some of the traditional old hymns, that’s no problem! He is going to cover that too!  This is not all a one-sided classroom setting! Be prepared to answer questions about your slant on your music; i.e. if you changed a song- why? How did you change it? What was the result? However, please be assured that Barry will in no way, shape, or form try to alter your style of interpretation! There is no wrong way! Your music is a unique God-given gift just for you to express in your own way. Barry is here just to encourage you along that path. If you play an instrument, make sure you bring it. Everyone needs to have a pencil and paper handy though as a thirty-minute breakout for an in-class assignment; concluding with a 90-second performance by each attendee! The Gospel Music Workshop is guaranteed to be a great inspirational and learning time for all, but especially for “The Bear”, Barry Ward! This All Level workshop runs from 9:00 am to Noon. Cost is $30 with maximum of 20 participants.