2017 Pre-Festival Workshops - Wednesday, September 13

2017 Registration Form for Workshops


We have a few handouts that Workshop participants may find useful.

First is a map of campground pick-up locations.

We also have a map of Downtown Winfield lunch options.

Stephen Bennett:  Finger Style Guitar

1. Spend a couple of hours teaching in depth a finger-style arrangement of some classic tune from the 20th century.  At the moment, I'm got Pennies From Heaven in my head but I'll have several other arrangements also ready.  I'll use the tried and true method of playing and explaining a musical phrase for you --- then you repeat it.  Repeat.  And again.  Once more.  Etc.  Gradually, one phrase at a time, most everyone learns most of the tune.  I'll hand out PDFs when we're done because I want you using your ears more than your eyes.

2. Spend a couple of hours teaching one of my tunes.  I'm not sure which one yet but am leaning towards one that utilizes a capo across only some of the strings, possibly Lady Bird.  Alternatively, if attendees contact me with their preference of learning some particular tune of mine, I will take that into account.  If there are multiple requests for a particular tune - and it's one that seems feasible to me in a workshop setting, we'll do that.  I'm pretty flexible.

3. Spend the rest of the time trying to help with musical questions or problems that attendees might have.  And if there is still time left, we'll dig into another tune!

An addendum: if you came to last year's workshop and didn't get the pdfs I promised to send you after the workshop -- it's because I lost the paper with your names and email addresses at some point during the festival.  Sorry about that.  Send me a note and I'll send those materials to you.

This workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with 1-1/2 hour lunch break. Participants should be a solid Intermediate Level. Cost is $80 with maximum of 16 participants.


Nick Charles:  Blues Guitar

Nick has been a multiple winner of the blues artist of the year down under, opened and performed with many of the legends of the genre including BB King, Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Junior Wells and Robin Ford and so he brings a lifetime’s knowledge to this special workshop. You’ll learn new ways to spice up blues progressions, cool ways to solo and improvise and make your acoustic blues sound refreshing, melodic and ever changing. Emphasis will be placed on fingerpicking blues but there will also be some reference to flatpicking approaches and perhaps a little hybrid-picking. You’ll also learn to develop your repertoire and discover the beauty of what the blues can add to all your music. This will be a workshop of value to players of all levels – blues in its simplest forms and its development into the jazz and ragtime influences that can have great value for guitarists. There will be references and examples aplenty with illustrations from the many classic players. (This class is open to all levels but Students should be comfortable with basic chords & skilled players will benefit) Class runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with 1 ½ hours for lunch; Cost is $70.


Gina Clowes:  Banjo

The object of this workshop will be Unlocking the Secrets of Improvisation. My goal is to send you home with the tools needed to help you find your own voice as a banjo player and to break free from the constraints of imitation. Students in this workshop can expect to establish basic foundational rolls for which to build their breaks off of; learn techniques for linking licks; develop basic platforms for up the neck solos; tricks for hearing chord changes; and more. This will be very hands on, lots of pickin’, lots of actually applying what we work on together, and some time dedicated to Q and A….pretty much, this will be an incredible day of musical growth filled with what we love most in this world. Banjos. Recommended for Intermediate and Advanced Students. The Banjo workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with 1 ½ hour lunch break. The cost is $70 per student with a maximum of 30 students.


Betse Ellis:  Help for Frustrated Fiddlers

Want to get beyond the things you think you “can’t” do? This is the workshop for you. Empower your fiddling skills in a friendly and encouraging (and sometimes challenging) class. Old time fiddle tunes offer inspiring insight on music theory, efficient fingering, creative expression, and iconic bowing elements. This class will help you to be more engaged in your practice, jamming, and performing. Class geared toward intermediate to somewhat advanced fiddlers - but all are welcome and all will leave with helpful tools to improve your fiddling! More about Betse at betseandclarke.com/betsebio . This class runs from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm with an hour and a half lunch break. The cost is $70



Bing Futch:  Mountain Dulcimer Delta Blues

2016 International Blues Challenge Finalist Bing Futch offers up this fun and fascinating class on playing authentic Mississippi Delta Blues on the mountain dulcimer.  Three chords and heartbeat rhythms leads to adding layer upon layer of new elements, all while strumming and playing the blues! Work will include counting in both 4/4 and 12/8 time to get that "rolling feel" and learn how to open up the rhythm and change to suit the song.  You'll learn the minor pentatonic and blues minor pentatonic scale shapes on the fretboard which you can use to create riffs, solos, bass lines and more.  There'll be a big focus on playing with expressiveness including techniques like muting, damping, vibrato, hammer-ons, pull-offs and string-bending, plus, you'll discover how to craft lyrics for traditional blues tunes and try your hand at writing a tune or two!  Bing won the "Best Guitarist" award in the solo-duo category at the International Blues Challenge while playing the mountain dulcimer and has performed across the country at a number of blues festivals.  He is also author of the best-selling book "Blues Method For Mountain Dulcimer 101"!  (All Skill Levels) Class runs from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm with 1 ½ hours for lunch Cost is $70 with a maximum number of 40 Students


Chris Jones:  Bluegrass Vocals

This vocal class will cover all aspects of bluegrass and bluegrass-related singing. Topics will include: lead singing style and techniques, song phrasing, ornamentation, lyric delivery, history of bluegrass singing, building your repertoire of songs, and listening suggestions. There will be some general discussion of singing technique and vocal care. A major focus will be a hands-on and in-depth discussion and practice of harmony singing, including all parts (even that hard-to-learn baritone part!). We’ll sing as a group and also break it down into smaller duets trios and quartets. We’ll listen to some recorded examples of bluegrass lead and harmony singing through the years.

You’re welcome to have an instrument with you, but it’s not necessary since I’ll do all accompaniment with one guitar so we make sure not to overpower the vocals.

I will provide lyric sheet handouts for songs we’ll work on, and provide an information sheet with vocal tips and recommended listening. All levels of singers are welcome. If you’re completely tone deaf, just sing very quietly. On the other hand, if you’re too good, prepare to be drafted to sing parts with me! Most importantly prepare to sing a lot and have a good time. The Bluegrass Vocals workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with 1 ½ hour lunch break. The cost is $70 per student with a maximum of 20 students.



Claire Lynch:  Inspiration & Craft in Songwriting

Have you ever heard a successful songwriter say they “downloaded a song from the universe?”  Relaxed, expansive, contemplative, humorous, playful – are these words that describe your songwriting process? Come explore what that creative process can be like. Then, discover what post-inspiration tools to use that will craft your song in a colorful way. Please bring your finished or unfinished songs. The only requirement is that lyric sheets accompany your partial or complete work in at least triplicate!  Claire is a Three-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year, Claire Lynch is an award-winning tunesmith an one of Bluegrass’s most beloved acts. She’s thrice been nominated for a GRAMMY and is the 2012 recipient of the United States Artists Walker Fellowship Award. After seven years as a Music Row songwriter and eighteen years on the Rounder Records label, she co-wrote and recorded Dear Sister for Compass Records and garnered IBMA’s 2014 award for Song of the Year. This All-Levels workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with 1-1/2 hour lunch break. The cost is $85 per student with a maximum of 15 participants.



Tim May:  Tools for Creative Flat Picking Guitar

We'll look at how to develop creativity using the same tools our guitar heroes have used (I'll be referencing Doc Watson, Clarence White, Norman Blake, George Shuffler, Tony Rice, among others, as well as Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt, Maybelle Carter and Jimmy Martin for their rhythm styles).

Vocabulary for flatpickers should include the Big Four: Scales, Folded Scales, Crosspicking and Harmonized Scales: we'll offer examples and give you some hands-on exercises to get a feel for them. We'll 'put the blues in bluegrass': major blues, minor pentatonic, minor blues and mixolydian. We'll look at targeting chord tones both for rhythm and lead improvisation. Also 'neighbor notes', 'tremolo', some technique offered as needed, action-packed and big fun! This Intermediate level class will run from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with a 1 ½ hour break for lunch. The cost is $60 with a maximum number of 25 students.


Adam Miller:  Melodic Autoharp

One of the most sought-after autoharp teachers in North America, Adam Miller has conducted workshops from the Everglades to the Arctic Circle. Adam has developed a dynamic, elegant, and lyrical style that is rarely heard on the autoharp. This one-day master class promises to be among the most focused and enriching autoharp experiences you’ll ever have. No matter what your level of proficiency, this informal, in-depth workshop will improve your melodic fingerpicking abilities. In this All-Levels Workshop (ideal for beginner and intermediate players), we’ll break down right and left-hand techniques that let you learn new tunes better and faster. Build your confidence and your repertoire. Improve your skills for playing-by-ear, orchestration, rhythm, timing, use of bass lines, accuracy of fingering, muscle-memory, dynamics, color chords, octave pinching, posture, open-chording, and melody ornamentation. Learn how to organize your practice time so you find yourself making music instead of excuses. Regardless of your skill level, you will take home handful of new tips and tricks to integrate into your playing. Songs and concepts will be taught through demonstration, by ear, and using tablature handouts in the keys of C and F. Reading standard musical notation is not necessary. Recording is encouraged. Instruments will not be provided. Bring your own tuned chromatic autoharp and music stand. This All-Levels workshop runs from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm with 1-1/2 hour lunch break. The cost is $75 per student with a maximum of 30 participants.



Mark Schatz:  Bass

This class will be open to bass players of all skill levels and we will explore the following: right and left hand technique, various options for getting from one chord to the next to add variety and color to the bass line, walking bass lines, and slap bass. We will also touch on bass set up, amplification, and tips for playing both onstage and in the studio. As time allows I will also address individual requests for information/instruction on any other aspect of bass playing. Of course, throughout the class we will stress the most important aspect of bass playing – making and keeping a groove!

If anyone wants to get a head start on the class they can consider purchasing one or both of my two Homespun bass instructional videos from me. I will waive the shipping cost and charge $25 for one or $45 for both. These will provide a good follow-up reference after attending the class as well. We’ll cover a lot of ground so feel free to bring recording devices or note pads. Looking forward to digging in and having fun, too.

Mark Schatz “He sews the whole mess together” -Rooster Ruley


Recommended for all skill level Students. The workshop runs from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm with
1 ½ hour lunch break. The cost is $85 per student with a maximum of 15 students.



Steve Smith:  Exploring Vocal Tunes: A Two-Part Mandolin Workshop


Part 1. Time 9:30am-12:00pm

In our first session we will work on the building blocks needed to learn and perform vocal melodies in jams and performance. Recognizing the patterns and scales that may make up a melody and where to begin on the fretboard when building kickoffs and solos can be a challenge.  We will learn some standard tunes and use scale patterns, double stops and harmonized scales to reveal common methods to all keys so one can apply the ideas to any kind of tune in any style from Bluegrass to Roots/Americana, Country to Rock.

Part 2. Time 1:30-4:30pm

In the second session we’ll expand the melodic ideas we gained in Session 1 to include Blues and Pentatonic patterns for improvisation ideas and bluesy phrasing used so effectively by today’s modern players. Learning how to comfortably weave in and out of improvisation without losing the melody and chord progression will also be a focus. This will allow a player to move in and out of a melody making solos more fun and interesting whether working up solo or developing improvisation skills.

Recorders and video welcome.

Recommended for all skill level Students. The cost is $40 for one session or $60 for both per student with a maximum of 30 students.