Advancing Beginner Guitar is for players who know their basic guitar chords and not much else. We’ll get up the neck a bit, try out some tunings, fool around with rhythm, and learn some shortcuts and cheap tricks. Bring a capo and a favorite song or tune.
Play-party music, dance tunes, folk songs and ballads are part of the rich Scots-Irish musical legacy of the Appalachians. All instruments welcome, and singers too, as we give fresh voice to this repertoire. Playing by ear, in the folk tradition, will be encouraged, but we will also have notation for much of the music. All levels
Playing familiar songs right from the start, we will learn the basic tools for song accompaniment and playing with others. We’ll cover the basic chords, learn which chords commonly go together, and practice changing chords in rhythm. Basic strumming styles will be taught, with an emphasis on bass/alternate or “boom-chuck” strumming with a flatpick. Simple music theory and other useful tools, such as using a capo, reading TAB and chord diagrams, etc. will be included as desired by participants.
This is an introductory class for people wanting to learn the basics of blues harmonica. Rhonda discusses cross harp in detail, and several beginning tunes are taught. Blues improvisation is discussed, along with techniques such as bending notes, chugging, trills, and specific blues riffs. Students need a working diatonic harmonica, something like a "Marine Band,” in the key of "A" for this class (these will be available for purchase at the SAMW camp store). If you have other keys, bring them along so you can participate in jams. A recording device is also helpful.
This playful class is designed to introduce (or perhaps re-introduce) you to this versatile instrument. We’ll cover holding and tuning the mandolin, how to coordinate the pick, and how to play simple chords and lead lines. Then we’ll relax into a week of songs and tunes to strengthen and expand your mandolin playing and overall musicianship.
Sparky will teach "bottleneck" slide guitar techniques as well as blues fingerpicking styles. He explores the songs and techniques of Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell, John Shines, Blind Boy Fuller, etc. Bring a steel-stringed guitar and one heavy metal slide (glass okay but needs to be heavy glass – we’ll have a few available in the SAMW store); a spark plug socket wrench works. Intermediate
Since its introduction into the world of Celtic music in the 1960s, the guitar has become an integral part of the music, both in accompaniment and as a solo instrument. This class will focus on both of these aspects, primarily through arrangements of traditional Irish and Breton dance tunes and folk songs from the British Isles. We will cover several tunings, including DADGAD and standard, and will also look a bit at the music of some of the pioneers of this style, such as John Renbourn. Intermediate/Advanced
The fiddle is a continuous source of amazement, from basic bow-to-string to more elaborate playing. Using lovely and simple southern old-time and Cajun tunes, we will build the layers, from finding good basic melodies to adding chords, variations, and rhythm. We will explore bowing technique, drawing mostly from old-time and Cajun styles, and use some characteristic open tunings. The class will be geared so that all participants, from absolute beginners to more experienced players, will be offered something new and fun to learn.
Filling in the Cracks is for any guitar players who do OK but want to spiff it up, for old folkies needing to lose bad habits, for more experienced players looking for a technical boost, or for any who have nothing else to do that period. We’ll get you to play just like yourself, only more so. Drop-ins welcome all week. All levels
This class will focus on solidifying the basics of good technique, and expand into a survey of the varying roles of the mandolin. Melodic playing, fiddle tunes, improvising a break, and song backup (both playing behind a guitar player and accompanying yourself as a singer) are likely topics, using a repertoire based on a broad range of traditional American roots music.
Sing for energy and sing for joy. We’ll sing great songs that are easy to learn, and the class will include plenty of vocal warm-ups and wake-ups. Everyone welcome. All levels
Whether you're a singer/songwriter, a backup guitarist, or a solo fingerstylist, it helps to understand something about the inner workings of music. Although people are often intimidated by the phrase "music theory," it's simply a way of getting the music in your head (or on your radio or mp3 player) out to your fingers. This is an "all levels" class designed to help you let yourself make stuff up! Feel free to bring a recording device. All levels
What makes a performance great? Take this class for guidance and inspiration, and then step up to that microphone! All levels
This course is designed to help you learn how to play extemporaneously as a solo flatpicking guitarist. Whether you're backing your own vocals or playing instrumental music as a soloist, you'll learn a series of exercises and techniques for playing without accompaniment. Beginning with simple rhythm patterns, we'll gradually add in elements of syncopation, bass movement, crosspicking, rolls, melodic improvisation, and other devices. By the time we're done, you'll find that your playing has become much more interesting, both for you and your listeners. Suitable for beg/intermediate, and advanced players might even learn a thing or two. Bring a recording device!
We’ll work on intros, endings, bridges, and how to edit your songs so they are more concise.
Learn to develop your guitar accompaniment to enhance your song and strengthen your song performance. Intermediate/Advanced
This workshop is all about getting started-throwing some words and music down-sketching out song notions so that we have something to edit and complete. We often stop ourselves before we've even started by wanting the song to be perfectly formed before we commit pen to paper. I'm hoping everyone who participates in this class leaves SAMW with a new song! All levels
We will learn real world sound skills and wander through some "big picture" theory without getting too technical. Much of what makes good sound is really basic: beat back hums and buzzes, set up your stage well, monitor levels in the right places, have good communication with the stage. Class tips and hands-on experience will come in handy at festivals, coffee houses, and home recording. Class members will be asked to crew on stage and be at the mixer for the final student concerts. All levels
We've been doing extensive research into these powerful story songs. In addition to African American ballads such as John Henry, John Hardy, and Stag-O-Lee, there are other uniquely American ballads like Betty and Dupree (written about a white couple), Tom Dooley, Jesse James, Pretty Saro, and Pretty Polly. Come learn about the stories behind the songs as well as learning the songs themselves. All levels
Sometimes only the banjo will do! Some great banjo driven songs, a few fine tunes, and plenty of fun. Advanced Beginner /Intermediate
The goal here is freedom and fun! Every day, we are presented with situations that call for us to improvise, at work, at home, in line at a store. But we don’t worry about, or fear improvisation in these situations. We just go for it. In this class, we will go for that same sense of winging it. We will play with our voices, through games and improvisations and songs and invented languages and our collective creativity. We will learn songs by ear that we may never sing again, songs that we might put in our pockets for another day. We will do group improvisations based on themes or sounds. We will have a good time! All levels
The Music That Is Unique To You
Whether you want to sing Opera, Pop, Gospel, Musical Theater, Blues or Traditional Folk, your instrument is your voice, your body, your intelligence and your soul. Learn vocal technique through vocal exercise and breath management. Learn how to use breath energy to produce a free and effortless tone. Charles will share the tips and techniques that have kept him singing for forty years. You will reach into the depth of your own spirit to bring out the music that is unique to you. All levels
Second section of Charles Williams Voice and Vocal Health class.
Sometimes a story is the best way to talk about things big and little, funny and sad, life and the universe. The power of music and story together can often speak when nothing else can. Narrative songwriting is learning how to craft the song without getting in the way of the story. Letting the story tell the story and the music carry it along, you never know where you might end up! All levels