• Classes

  • Blues Music Camp 2019

In this workshop, we will learn about African American spirituals; the oral traditions and meaning, the practice of call and response, the rhythms, melodies, and harmonies. In addition to singing in community and actively pursuing the form/style, participants will light upon how the influence of these African American folk songs is appreciated in subsequent forms…

The banjo was the most popular instrument in America for many generations. Its influence can be felt in many traditional genres. In this class we will explore the different banjo styles and songs as they relate to the blues – from minstrel songs of the late 19th century to Gus Canon.

This one-session class will introduce guitarists to the playing of the legendary Arthur Blake, better known as Blind Blake. Blake was a master musician who’s dazzling music still stuns even experienced guitar players. An exploration of Blake’s amazing right-hand technique will be at the center of this session. All levels welcome.

The “Bentonia” school of blues is best known through the music of Skip James, who utilized open tunings with a distinctive minor tonality that is evocative and eerie. This course will cover the local “crossnote” tuning and songs of the tradition played by Skip James, Jack Owens, and Jimmy Duck Holmes.

Historically there is a lot of crossover between swing & blues music. In this class we will do some listening and learn some beginning swing + jazz chord shapes we can use in context of the blues. We will cover a few basic chord shapes for both dominant 7th chords and major 6th chords in…

There’s a strong mandolin tradition in African-American music going back to at least the turn of the 20th Century. Will Weldon, Charlie McCoy, Yank Rachell, and Johnny Young are just a few of the players known for their mandolin work who left behind classic recordings. We’ll learn the chord voicings and licks to get us…

In this class we will pick a classic blues form, and write our own song using that form. Depending on how big the class is, we will write all together or split off into groups to finish a song within the class period.

In this class we’ll be talking about Memphis Minnie’s role in early acoustic blues. We’ll do some listening as we dig into her repertoire, learning a handful of her tunes each day. We will sing together as we learn songs from the 20s & 30s like “If You See My Rooster” and “Me and My…

Players from the Eastern Seaboard set the bar for blues guitar wizardry in the 1920s and ‘30s. This class will take a look at songs from two players: Willie Walker and Blind Boy Fuller. We’ll tackle Walker’s “South Carolina Rag,” a classic piece, as well as Fuller’s “Weeping Willow Blues.” Both songs will challenge advanced-…

This course will cover using the harmonica as percussion, bass, and/or in the role of a horn section when playing along with other instruments. Students will also learn the practice and tradition of “call and response” between instruments, and its role in blues music and spirituals.

In this course students will learn how to play clear, clean, single notes to create a good tone from their instrument. Students will also learn proper hand technique (shaping notes with your hands) and how to bend notes. The one-four-five chord progression found in many blues songs will be covered using simple melodies, as well…

This course will teach students how the stalwarts of the Hill Country genre – from R.L. Burnside to Robert Belfour to Mississippi Fred McDowell – combined melody with monotonic and alternating bass techniques as seen through their classic songs (in standard and “Spanish” tuning).

Sometimes you hear a recording of your heroes and it seems entirely unattainable.  Sometimes it’s a whole “sound” a musician has and sometimes you covet specific “licks” or a piece of a sound that you want to use in your music like creating a patch-work quilt. And you simply have no idea how to approach…

Students in this class will learn in open D and G tuning; featuring songs of Rev. Robert Wilkins, Charlie Patton and more.

This class focuses on how to better integrate what you bring to any ensemble. From a duo to the classic ‘jam’ situation… to a situation overloaded with one particular instrument. Musicians are very often thrown into performing on (or off) a stage with various instrumentation, vocals, song types, tempos, levels of expertise, methods of band…

Bring a song (preferably blues) you already know or are familiar with. This workshop is for folks who want to develop their Blues vocal technique, style, and improvisation. It will be led in a format with students participating/ collaborating in offering suggestions and insight. As needed, bring/provide your own accompaniment. Also bring an open mind and heart…and water.

Knowing your instrument and its functions is only one half of the equation necessary for a great live performance! Join us for a hands-on examination of the gear that can help you sound good to and for your audience. From microphones, direct boxes, mixers, EQs, and speakers, we’ll help you dial in your own live…

Students in this course will learn about the “Magic 3 Hole” and other “cheap tricks” on the harmonica!

As one who plays what is considered a somewhat non-standard blues instrument (the fiddle), I encounter all kinds of situations. I’ll touch on the history of the blues in this context and share some interesting, rare recordings, talk about my approach to the blues in non-traditional blues instrumentation. But even if you play what is now…

Learn vocal warm-ups and performance techniques to help you tell your story and experience through singing.

The distinctive sound of blues being played on guitar with a bottleneck slide has its roots in Hawaii, the Diddley bow and one stringed ancestors in Africa. In this class we will study the proper technique for holding a slide and intonation. We will learn songs in the style of Blind Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson,…

Traditionally, cultures around the world have accompanied work with songs. These songs help to coordinate work and pass the time. In America, songs were used and developed for many types of labor from picking cotton to hammering railroad spikes. In this class we will explore the history, poetry and beauty of these songs through singing…