Course Descriptions

These courses will be offered on a rotating basis throughout the year. 

 

Banjo

Ensembles

Fiddle

Guitar

Harmonica

Mandolin

Music Biz

Music Theory

Songwriting & Performance

Ukulele

Voice

 

 

Charlie Rose Photo

BANJO

Beginning 3-Finger Banjo with Charlie Rose
This course will cover fundamentals of 3-finger banjo playing in bluegrass and folk music. It is suitable for beginner and intermediate players who want to develop and improve their technique. Students are encouraged to bring a recording device.  Expect to learn basic banjo concepts and their application to classic repertoire.

 

Beyond Beginning Banjo:  Technique, Tunes, and Ideas with Charlie Rose
An opportunity for players to advance to the next level through exploration of advanced 3-finger banjo techniques including single-string, melodic, and Scruggs.  The course will revolve around learning and playing tunes while enforcing elements of good musicianship including taste, timing, and tone.  Other topics of discussion will include practice technique and jamming etiquette.  Some handouts and tablature will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring tunes, ideas, and ask questions.


Slow Jam the Banjo with Charlie Rose

This class provides a low pressure environment for beginner 3-finger (Scruggs/ Bluegrass) banjo players to gain experience in backup and lead playing in a slow jam setting. This class is for students with some banjo experience who are interested in playing tunes and jamming with other banjo players.

 

Irish Tenor Banjo with Matt Heaton

In this class, we will learn tunes on the Irish tenor banjo. The tenor banjo is a four string instrument, played with a pick (not fingerstyle). It is tuned GDAE, an octave lower than a fiddle, and is the preferred plectrum instrument for jigs, reels, hornpipes & other Irish/Celtic tunes. We will work on learning traditional tunes by ear (though music will be available) and learn ornaments & feel that make it "sound Irish". Mandolins, Octave mandolins, tenor guitar and other instruments which use GADE tuning are also welcome.

ENSEMBLES
Americana Ensemble with Various Instructors
If you’ve taken some classes and are ready to start playing with a band, join the Americana Ensemble and get some experience playing with mandolin players, fiddlers, guitarists, vocalists, and more. Singer-songwriters, join us if you'd like to work on arrangements of your songs with a band.
All instruments are welcome. We'll be covering Americana, folk, blues, country, old-time and bluegrass. The specific genres and songs will depend on which instruments are represented in the ensemble. Students should have basic knowledge about chords, chord charts, and how to play their instrument.

Beginner Ensemble with Various Instructors
If you've taken a few classes and are ready for the next step, this beginner ensemble is perfect for you. This class serves as a bridge between the instrumental instructional classes and the more advanced ensembles. Your instructors will lead the class at a comfortable pace and will teach you basic principles of playing in a group with other instruments. This class will give you the tools and experience you need to succeed in the other more advanced, faster paced ensembles.
 

Bluegrass Ensemble with Various Instructors

Join the Bluegrass Ensemble and get some experience playing with mandolin players, fiddlers, guitarists, vocalists, and more. Singer-songwriters, join us if you'd like to work on arrangements of your songs with a band.
All instruments are welcome. This class will focus on Bluegrass tunes, but will also touch on Americana, folk, blues, country, and old-time, depending on students’ interests. We'll be covering Americana, folk, blues, country, old-time and bluegrass. The specific genres and songs will depend on which instruments are represented in the ensemble.  Students should have basic knowledge about chords and how to play their instrument.

Celtic Ensemble with Various Instructors
In this class, we will explore the role of both melody players and accompanists, but more importantly the relationship between these two. We will learn a group of tunes from the Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton traditions and discuss the arranging process as we collaborate on our material. We will learn some theory and discuss chord choices, bass lines, and rhythm.

This class is recommended for intermediate-advanced melody players with some tune repertoire already under your belt.  For accompanists, knowledge of chords and keys will be expected and you should be able to read through a chord chart.  This class is open to any melody instrument as well as guitar and piano. Please bring a recording device and note taking material.

Honky Tonk Ensemble with Various Instructors
Want to sound like Hank or George? We're going to try! Honky Tonk music is one of the most rhythmic and exciting genres out there. Accepting all singers/instruments! This class is going to rock.
 
Mountain Music & Front Porch Pickin' Ensemble with Various Instructors
In this class, we'll get to the source of American folk, old time, bluegrass, and country music- deep in the heart of Appalachia. We'll explore everything from toe tappin' hoedowns & dark ballads that reflected tough times in early America, to the music of the Carter family who were the first to spread their own style of this music over the airwaves.

 

Old Time String Band with Various Instructors
Always wanted to be a part of an old-time string band? Well, here’s your chance! In this class we’ll start building a repertoire of old-time and Appalachian tunes and songs and explore their chords, harmony, variations of the melody. Before you know it, we’ll be playing like an old-time string band. All instruments welcome.


FIDDLE
Fiddle Students
Rhythm Fiddle with Laura Cortese
If you’ve taken a few fiddle classes and you’re ready to explore new ways to play, this is the class for you. In this four week course for intermediate and advanced fiddlers, Laura will teach you how to accompany tunes, songs and generally increase your groove on the fiddle. She’ll open your eyes to the number of roles a fiddle can play, so don’t miss this!  Techniques will be taught by EAR, and students are asked to bring a recording device to class.

Fiddle: From Your Room or the Classroom to Jams, Bands, and Ensembles
Go beyond simple beyond simple melodies and learn how to play in different settings... with OTHERS! We will explore the following: The fiddle's role when playing in groups, rhythm methods/accompaniment (chopping, shuffling, drones, choosing chords), playing fills, easy approaches to solos, reading charts, etc. Other stringed instruments welcome. For intermediate players or advanced players that want to be prepared for jams, ensemble classes, and playing in bands.

 

Intermediate Fiddle Part 3 with Jenna Moynihan

This course is a continuation of Intermediate Fiddle, and Intermediate Fiddle Part 2. Students are expected to have a firm understanding of the instrument, holding the violin, and learning by ear. We will focus on learning popular fiddle tunes by ear, as well as incorporating stylistic ornamentation. We will focus on tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and some American tunes, but you never know what we might throw into the mix! A recording device is required, as tunes will be taught by ear, and there will be no sheet music.


Advanced Fiddle with Hanneke Cassel
The focus of these courses will be to explore traditional and contemporary Scottish and Cape Breton music.  We will learn about the elements that characterize these styles of fiddle music--bowings, grace notes, and others.  Tunes will be taught by EAR, and students are asked to bring a recording device to class. Similar material will be taught in both the intermediate and advanced classes, the difference being the rate at which the students learn.

 

Advanced Fiddle with Jenna Moynihan

This course will explore the tradition and repertoire of Scottish and other Celtic styles of fiddle music. Tunes will be taught at a faster pace than intermediate fiddle, and we'll delve deeper into grace notes, ornamentation, bowing and the like. Tunes will be taught by ear, so it is recommended that students bring a recording device to class each week. This class will mirror the Intermediate in many ways, excepting the rate at which the students learn.

 

Old-Time Fiddle & Song with Mariel Vandersteel

Always wanted to be a part of an old-time string band? Well, here’s your chance! In this class we’ll start building a repertoire of old-time and Appalachian fiddle tunes and songs and explore their chords, harmony, variations of the melody and how we can apply these qualities to ensemble playing. All instruments welcome!


GUITAR
Guitar 1 with Janet Feld
Would you love to learn to play the guitar but wonder if you’re too old, too slow, have no natural musical ability or just too busy?  I’ve been teaching people as young as 3 and as old as 89 lessons for over 20 years and know from experience everyone can learn and enjoy playing the guitar.  This class is for you if you’ve never played guitar before or know just a small amount.  The group format offers a fun opportunity to learn while witnessing the fact that everyone has a learning curve.  Each week we learn a song that utilizes different chords, strumming patterns and some basic sheet music navigation information.  I’ll also help you create a manageable practice regimen.  Please bring a guitar and flat pick. Song list: Amazing Grace, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Scarborough Fair, Hey Jude, Wildflowers (Tom Petty), I Fall To Pieces (Patsy Cline), Drunken Angel (Lucinda Williams), Heart of Gold (Neil Young)

Guitar 2 with Janet Feld
This class is a continuation of Guitar 1 and for you if you’re able to play and switch open chords with relative comfort.  As with all of my classes, each week we learn a song or two each of which contains a skill set; new chords, strumming & finger picking patterns, information about navigating sheet music and tabs.  Toward the end of the term I’ll introduce you to bar chords and show you how to make friends with them.  We’ll work on various finger exercises to help build strength and dexterity and I’ll help you create a manageable practice regimen.  Please bring a guitar, flat pick and capo.  Song list: Satisfaction (Rolling Stones), Killin’ The Blues, We’re Gonna Be Friends (White Stripes), Speed of the Sound of Loneliness (John Prine), As Tears Go By (Rolling Stones), Father & Son (Cat Stevens), Sugar Mountain (Neil Young).

Guitar studentsGuitar 3 with Janet Feld
This class is a continuation of Guitar 2 and for you if you’d like to work on making friends with bar chords.  As with all of my classes, each week we learn a song or two each of which contains a skill set; new chords, strumming & finger picking patterns, information about navigating sheet music and tabs.  Toward the end of the term, I’ll introduce you to open tunings and fun ways to explore using them.  We’ll work on various finger exercises to help build strength and dexterity and I’ll help you create a manageable practice regimen.  Please bring a guitar, flat pick and capo.  Song list: She’s A Rebel (Green Day), Trouble In The Fields (Nanci Griffith), Fields of Gold (Sting), Heart of the Matter (Don Henley), Luka (Suzanne Vega), Diamond In The Rough (Shawn Colvin)

Guitar 4 with Janet Feld
This class is a continuation of Guitar 3 and for you if you’d like to continue working with bar chords and open tunings.  As long as you can play bar chords with relative comfort this class should be a good fit for you.  As with all of my classes, each week we learn a song or two each of which contains a skill set; new chords, strumming & finger picking patterns, information about navigating sheet music and tabs.  We’ll work on various finger exercises to help build strength and dexterity and I’ll help you create a manageable practice regimen.  Please bring a guitar, flat pick and capo.  Song list: Born To Be Wild (Steppenwolf), Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young), Forget About It (Alison Krauss), Hotel California (Eagles), The Wind (Cat Stevens) and depending upon the pace of the group: Pinball Wizard (The Who), Judas (Antje Duvekot)

Guitar 5 with Janet Feld
This class is being offered at the request of students who have completed Guitar 4 and wish to continue. If you haven't taken the earlier classes, this one requires that you are comfortable playing both open and bar chords. We'll focus more on using open tunings, as always by learning new songs including at least one instrumental piece. We'll strum, finger pick, hammer-on/pull-off and bend a string or two. Bring a guitar, flat pick and a capo.

All-American Fingerstyle Guitar with Bertrand Laurence
A good finger-picking hand can extract a lot of rhythm and melody from just one chord. Starting gradually from just 1 finger to 4 fingers, from simple to intricate. Exploring the rich geography of American Fingerstyle guitar (Folk, Blues, Ragtime, Swing, Country), we'll combine fretboard basic harmony with real world techniques and patterns from traditional to more contemporary styles. Explore fretboard harmony and song structure with real world Finger-style techniques including accompaniment, instrumentals, strumming, and lead.  All without a pick! Standard notation and tablature are provided. 
Each class will begin with tuning and warm up exercises, including stretching and coordination exercises. The good habits of proper ergonomics will be addressed each time, to foster effortlessness, a precursor to mastery.
We will proceed to examine a style, focusing on particular characteristics.  Time will be reserved for critical listening and questions, going back and forth with hands-on exercises and practice.  Though not needed, students are welcome to bring their own music for listening, and discussion.  The last class will be a performance, by groups and/or solo performers.  Weekly printed materials will include original exercises and transcriptions as well as culled from his personal library including specialized magazines like Guitar Player & Acoustic Guitar and, and books by Mark Hanson, John Stropes, The National Guitar Workshop, The Chet Atkins Appreciation Society etc. We will examine the work of many guitarists, including Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, Leo Kottke, and more. 
 

Fingerstyle Guitar: Basics and Beyond with Bertrand Laurence
Let’s explore the easy way to fingerstyle a guitar, from one finger, to two, to three. This gentle class will foster a sense of relaxed effortlessness by getting rid of tension, observing proper ergonomics, and moving very patiently and gradually from very basic to more sophisticated patterns of finger style guitar. Patterns taken from the traditions of Folk, Blues, Classical, Country, will offer a wide array of colors, moods and textures. In all those styles, soloing and accompanying can be addressed with the direct simplicity of these enduring musical treasures. You will be amazed at how much music can be released from the guitar with just the thumb. Add the index and you can have a band in your hand!
(Basic chord shapes and basic understanding of TAB reading is, however necessary. See Janet Guitar 1,2,3,4).  Add $10 for PDF, MP3's and other materials.


All-American Fingerstyle Guitar Part 2 with Bertrand Laurence
Expanding the playground:
So you have some familiarity with the tablature system, basic finger-style patterns, hammer-ons and pull-offs, as well as the basic chord shapes and also a few movable chord shapes. (If not, starting with All American Fingerstyle #1 would be recommended as a thorough overview.) We will review and move beyond the basics and further explore the various elements introduced earlier.
As you might know, the fingerstyle hand offers a cornucopia of tones, melodic and rhythmic possibilities unmatched by a pick alone: From thumb only to 2, 3, 4 finger delicate patterns to power chords, from strumming to single notes.
In All American Fingerstyle Part 2, we will start applying these fun techniques and sounds to actual chord progressions, and further study the classic American finger-style repertoire.
 Keeping in mind the two handed nature of guitar playing*, we will look at the dialogue between fretting and picking hand. We will take a peek at basic Western Harmony and how it translates on the fretboard, both visually and sonically. This class will be a relaxed journey through the 5 guitar friendly keys. Easy yet musical finger-style exercises and meditations will foster a deeper understanding of the chord/melody relationship.  Personal creativity will be encouraged, while a continued focus on effortlessness, healthy ergonomics and good tone will be sustained throughout.
* Many great guitarists play two handed.

All American Fingerstyle Guitar Part 3 with Bertrand Laurence
Consolidating basic fingerstyle patterns and turning them into actual guitar pieces, we will explore how chord shapes can be broken down and played up and down against the open strings. Playful, creative, improvisational  "Noodling" will be encouraged with given chord systems. This will enable the players to have fun while coming up with original music.  Classic folk chord progressions and patterns will be discussed. Also to continue investigating the guitar friendly keys, a title or two from the works by Mississippi John Hurt will be analyzed step by step. The rock steady Blues styles of Big Bill Broonzy and John Lee Hooker will be introduced as well.
A continuing look at proper ergonomics will be emphasized with exercises focused on extracting the best possible tone out of your guitar, with the least amount of effort.
It is recommended to be familiar, for this class, with the thumbed F chord and Tablature reading.
$10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s.

All-American Fingerstyle Guitar Part 4 with Bertrand Laurence
This Freight Train keeps' a-rolling. Chugging along and moving beyond basics, this fun, efficient and successful class has gathered a life of its own. This course aims to provide a good balance between spontaneity and structure: We learn songs and instrumentals in all guitar friendly keys while following the cycle of 5th.  Methodical drills and workouts will build skill, strength, natural rhythm. Proper ergonomics, the kind that foster effortlessness will be addressed. But time is set aside for fun with simple warm up routines, collective jams, musical games, and group discussions regarding selections of study. In this particular session, we will look at the powerful CAGED system and it's remarkable possibilities. We are also planning to sustain our look at Mississippi John Hurt styles and his influence on the contemporary Folk scene. Studied styles may cover Folk, Blues, Ragtime, Rock/Pop, Travis Picking.
A comfortable familiarity with bar chords and basic finger-style recommended.
* Please read descriptive for All American Finger-style 1, 2, 3. $10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s

Slide Guitar 101 with Bertrand Laurence
The timeless sounds of Slide guitar never went out of style. Freed from the constraints of the frets, the player can evoke the human speech like few other instruments can.
From haunting blues, soulful Gospel to giddy Hawaiian swing, the slide guitar can eloquently express an infinite range of emotions and subtleties.
Choosing the slide, or "Bottle neck" that is right for you and your guitar. We will hear various materials such as glass, brass, chromed steel, ceramic, and their characteristics.
We will analyze tone and string control technique. Standard tuning, and open E and open G tunings will be mapped out. Blues scales, pentatonic scales will be practiced in a fun, hands-on environment. We will look at Gospel melodies and classics titles of the American Slide Guitar repertoire like:  Mississippi Fred McDowell's  "You gotta Move", Muddy Waters " I can't be satisfied", WC Handy's "St Louis Blues."
Harmony for guitar and fingerstyle experience recommended but not necessary.
$10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s.

Ensemble Students PlayingSlide Guitar 102 with Bertrand Laurence
This class will review the basics seen in Slide Guitar introduction (Please read Slide Intro description) and continue the exploration of various styles such as Robert Johnson, Ry Cooder, Mick Taylor, Jack White, and is open to either Electric or Acoustic guitar. Selected pieces will be drilled methodically, with an emphasis on phrasing, tone and string control. The last section will include a brief introduction to the advanced style of Sonny Landreth.
This course will also offer a chance to look at rhythm, pick versus fingerstyle, and to develop the ability to sustain melody and bass for solo performing. Bring your 3 favorites slide pieces for listening and analysis.
$10 Material fees to cover Print outs, PDF's and Mp3s.

 

Intro to Fretboard Logic: Fun with Harmony! With Bertrand Laurence
Drum roll : yes, learning practical Harmony is fun-damental and easy on the guitar! The guitar neck can be a daunting grid from the outside, but through this course, we'll unlock the not-so-hidden intelligence of its organization by mapping out the neck. True for any style at all, traveling up, down and across the neck with ease can be fluid when thinking globally. So by combining ears and eyes, you can hear, visualize and feel the basic shapes of Western Harmony on the fingerboard. You will turn the guitar neck into a musical playground with addictive ear training games that will sharpen your over all musicianship. We'll look at the famous CAGED system for moving chord shapes and "must-know" chord progressions. Create your own music; arrange your favorite melodies as instrumentals. A familiarity with basic chords shapes and TAB is recommended.

 

Fretboard Logic: Basic Harmony for Guitar Part 2 and 3 with Bertrand Laurence
Drum roll: yes, learning practical Harmony is fun and easy on the guitar! The guitar neck can be a daunting grid from the outside, but through this course, we'll unlock the not-so-hidden intelligence of its organization by mapping out the neck. True for any style at all, traveling up, down and across the neck with ease can be fluid when thinking and hearing globally. You will, for example, discover the "look and sound" of a major/minor third and carry it fearlessly all over the neck. So by combining ears and eyes to hear, visualize and feel the basic shapes of Western Harmony on the fingerboard. You will turn the guitar neck into a musical playground with addictive ear training games that will sharpen your over all musicianship. We'll look at the famous CAGED system for moving chord shapes and "must-know" chord progressions. Create your own music; arrange your favorite melodies as instrumentals. A familiarity with basic chords shapes, bar chords and TAB is requested.

 

Fretboard Logic: Basic Harmony for Guitar, Continued with Bertrand Laurence
Please read descriptions for  Intro to Fretboard Logic & Fretboard Logic: Basic Harmony for Guitar.  In this continuation, we will review the guitar friendly keys, (repetition is *Key*)build their respective chords from scratch and look at lush 7chords. Basic Diatonic, Blues and "Rock harmony' will be explained and applied. The CAGED system will be explored with useful partial chords we can move freely up and down the neck. Simple finger style patterns will turn those exercises into musical, useful and sometimes familiar devices. We will write chord progressions together,  and pick songs to  deconstruct in each key. Composing tips on how to turn a basic idea (guitar doodles and noodlings anyone?) into a fuller guitar composition will help blast through "writer's block. A familiarity with basic chords shapes, bar chords and TAB is requested.


360 Degree Acoustic Guitar with Bertrand Laurence
Ever wondered where and how to start to advance your guitar playing? Well this course is design to give you the widest array of avenues to explore.   As in a any games and art forms, we might enjoy ourselves more when we understand the rules. We can always change them, break them, bend or twist them (or tie them into knots). So part orientation, part open-(fun)house,  this "Best Of" course can serve as an intensive hands-on introduction to all the classes I offer, and at the same time will give you a notion of what and how you can explore on your own. Since every group is different, we can refine the program together, after discussing the needs and questions of each participant.
-Tips on how to teach yourself, how to practice efficiently.
-Strength and coordination
-Applied theory that will make immediate musical sense to your ears
-Finger style basics  (Accompaniment and Solo)
-Ear Training exercises provided by your own guitar.
-Active listening (Start recognizing chords and playing chords in the songs you like)
-Vocal practice warm-ups and work out supported your own guitar.
(Pianists can't have all that fun. Guitarists can also accompany their own vocal warm ups.)
-Chord progressions
$10 for class materials.

 

Guitar and Voice Integrated with Bertrand Laurence
Why spend 30 minutes on your voice, then 30 on your guitar when a combined session can potentially yield greater results than the sum of the two? In this playful but focused course, the guitar becomes your voice coach and the voice your guitar instructor. Guitar playing, ear training and singing will be combined into fun exercises that will strengthen the singer's pitch, breath, ease of flow, while getting a grip on basic harmony and the fret-board's organization. The act of playing and singing will become one thing and second nature.  But behind the fun, those musical exercises can actually be powerful tools to expand your overall musicianship.
In this next installment of this course, we keep going through the guitar keys, with new ear training games and creative, fun vocal warm up and voice conditioning.
It is not necessary to have taken the prior session to benefit from this course.
A familiarity with basic major and minor chord shapes (C,A,G,E,D), doing OK with Bar Chords and a basic understanding of Tablature is recommended.

 

Guitar and Voice Integrated, Continued with Bertrand Laurence
Sometimes multi-tasking does work. Why spend 30 minutes on your voice, then 30 on your guitar when a combined session can potentially yield greater results than the sum of the two? In this playful but focused course, the guitar becomes your voice coach and the voice your guitar instructor. Guitar playing, ear training and singing will be combined into fun exercises that will strengthen the singer's pitch, breath, ease of flow, while getting a grip on basic harmony and the fret-board's organization. The act of playing and singing will become one thing and second nature.  But behind the fun, those musical exercises can actually be powerful tools to expand your overall musicianship.
In this consecutive installment of this course, we keep going through the guitar keys, with new ear training games and creative, fun vocal warm up and voice conditioning.
It is not necessary to have taken the prior session to benefit from this course.
A familiarity with basic major and minor chord shapes (C,A,G,E,D) and a basic understanding of Tablature is recommended.

 

 

Celtic Guitar Accompaniment with Matt Heaton
This class will explore how to give your tune backing the lift & harmonic approach that Celtic fiddle players crave! We'll explore the most common tune types: reels, jigs, hornpipes & even a polka or two. We'll discuss how to choose & voice chords in a way that supports the melody, and how to navigate the world of session etiquette. The class is open to intermediate guitarists of any style. We will primarily focus on dropped D tuning.

 

Introduction to Blues Guitar with Brooks Williams
Which is your shade of blue? Check out a few options in this introduction to blues guitar. Topics include the 12-Bar form, blues shuffle rhythms, and a sampling of blues styles from the Piedmont to East Texas, from Blind Willie McTell (Statesboro Blues) and Blind Boy Fuller (Weepin’ Willow Blues) to John Lee Hooker (Boom Boom) and Big Bill Broonzey (In The Evening). Topics include traditional blues forms, lyric patterns, chord voicings, riffs and walking bass lines. All levels welcome, but many ideas will be geared for the player who knows the first position chords (G, C, D, E, A, B, F, Em, Am, Dm, B7, E7, A7, C7, etc.).

Fingerstyle Guitar with Brooks Williams
Fingerstyle guitar shares a close kinship to the piano in the way chords, melody and rhythms happen simultaneously. In this workshop we will explore some of the techniques needed to play in this style: fingerpicking chord arpeggios, moving chord shapes up and down the neck, and adding melody notes to the chord rhythms. All levels welcome, but many ideas will be geared for the player who knows the first position chords and has a beginning understanding of fingerpicking.
 

Country Blues Guitar (Intermediate & Up) with Paul Rishell

Country Blues features a unique kind of guitar playing that calls on a strong sense of time.  The right hand techniques teach you the skills to play syncopated dance rhythms that you can sing over. Even if you’re not planning on singing, you’ll still learn how to fingerpick, and how to play songs in open tunings with and without a slide.
Some of the techniques you will learn here are alternating bass, walking bass, right and left hand damping, melodic support and counterpoint.  I’ll give you exercises to polish your right hand picking patterns and exercises to improve your slide playing.  I’ll be teaching you these techniques through the songs of masters like Blind Blake, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Son House, Scrapper Blackwell, Tampa Red, Skip James and others.
You should know the names of the strings and some basic chords and barre chords.  A basic knowledge of fingerpicking is helpful.  Bring your guitar, capo, slide and any picks you currently use.  Audio recording is strongly encouraged.

 

HARMONICA

Beginner Harmonica with Annie Raines

Have you ever wanted to play the harmonica, or tried to play and felt like you couldn't progress beyond a certain point?  In this class you're going to learn how to use your body as an instrument and explore the ins and outs of blowing and drawing chords, playing clean single notes, phonetics, basic notation (tab), straight harp melodies, basic cross harp improvisation, blues scales, and rhythm, rhythm, rhythm.  Bring a 10-hole diatonic harmonica (Marine Band, Special 20, Blues Bender, among many other choices) in the key of C.  Audio recording is encouraged.

 

Harmonica Ensemble with Annie Raines

(Mixed level - for advanced beginners and up) A long time ago, in a galaxy very close by but otherwise very unfamiliar today, there was a band of rogues and reprobrates known as the Cambridge Harmonica Orchestra.  Imagine anywhere from 10 - 50 harp players churning out Blues & R&B rhythms at festivals and parades, breathing in perfect synchronization and having the time of their lives.  It could happen again, right here in Cambridge where it started!  It's great training for playing rhythm in a blues band, and a solid aerobic workout!  We’ll work on 2-3 songs per class and review material learned earlier, until we’ll be able to take any open mic in the city by storm!
This class is open to advanced beginners on up to professionals (email me if you're not sure what your skill level is) and you will learn new techniques as we go along. Bring your A, C and D harps


MANDOLIN
Beginning Mandolin with Eric McDonald
In this course, we will start with the basics and give students a solid base of knowledge from which to build upon. We will cover basic technique, chord structures up the neck and improvisation. We will incorporate music theory, but do most of our work by ear. Using a group of simple fiddle tunes and songs, we will build a pallet of ideas that will hopefully inspire students to continue study on their own. We'll talk about practice techniques and learn how to produce good tone on the instrument. We'll work with scales and exercises to increase each student's fluidity on the mandolin quickly, which will allow us to take full advantage of our creativity. Be prepared to use your ears and musical brains, and expect to do some work. Students will be expected to practice for at least one hour per week.

Continuing Mandolin with Eric McDonald
Here we will briefly review concepts from the beginning level, including basic technique and exercises, basic chords and simple tunes. Following review, we will expand up the neck and approach playing in second position. We'll learn about chop chords and closed position chords, and we'll approach some techniques for enriching mandolin accompaniment. We'll also begin to touch on improvisation, and use this as a basis to help students increase their overall fluidity on the instrument. This class requires daily practice time. New concepts are introduced each week that build upon what we have previously learned, so it will be harder to keep up if you don't practice daily. Short stints of regular practice are what we are looking for...practicing for just 10-15 minutes daily can make a big difference!


MUSIC BIZ
Computer-based Recording and the Home Studio with Stan Swiniarski
This is an interactive workshop geared for students who have some form of computer recording software (DAWs) such as:  Logic, ProTools, Sonar or Garageband.  We will work hands-on with:

  • Basic multitrack recording
  • Track editing
  • Use of plug-ins for EQ, compression, reverb and effects
  • Software instruments
  • loops
  • Setting up a home studio

NOTE:  We will work hands-on with Pro Tools, Logic Pro and garageband in the workshop.  Students are welcome to bring their laptops in if they are using software products other than these.

MUSIC THEORY
Building Blocks for Celtic Music Accompaniment with Kimberley Fraser
This class is for those interested in how to accompany tunes in the Celtic music tradition. Both accompaniment and melody instruments are welcome. We will start with simple concepts like what is a scale, what is chord, and build our knowledge to learn how to find chords in major and minor keys, what are modes and why they matter in traditional music, and also concepts like creating bass lines and chord substitution.
Bring your instruments since we will play through the ideas we create in class and also remember to bring note taking material. Brining music notation paper would also be useful.

 

SONGWRITING & PERFORMANCE
Songwriting 101 with Janet Feld
If you're not only drawn to listen to music but have also to play it, you're a songwriter; if you've never written a song before it's only because your songwriting "faucet" hasn't been opened yet.  Opening your faucet is what this class is all about.  Each week we will do specific, simple exercises that keep your pen moving and take the mystery out of writing songs.  You'll also learn about basic song structure, creating melodies and simple music theory (the stuff you might feel like you'd have to study at a music school for hundreds of years to understand - thankfully, this is not so!).  Please bring paper and a writing utensil.

UKULELE
Beginning Ukulele with jojo Lazar

Learn how to be the life of any salon, speak-easy or party with Boston's "Burlesque Poetess!" jojo teaches ukulele in a generously comical manner and laid-back pace. Whether you've never tuned your tiny instrument before or just learned some covers, this class aims to give you the skills to get your tiki or rock-kele on, and take it wherever you want. You'll learn basic chords, strums, and learn a few classics and old-timey standards with the class-- as well as the opportunity to work on your own uke goals or tunes.

 

Beginning Ukulele with Tim Mann
With the ukulele revival in full swing, take advantage of a sure fire way to beat the winter blues. Tim Mann teaches beginning ukulele in a fun and relaxed style, and whether you have never played before, or have picked up a uke and strummed a few chords, you'll learn the basic elements of simple uke playing in no time, and before you know it, you'll be the hit at the next party. Tim will demonstrate basic chords, strumming patterns and introduce you to some of your favorite songs adapted for the ukulele.

Continuing Ukulele with Tim Mann
If you've ever thought about playing the ukulele, now is the perfect time. With the ukulele revival in full swing, this little Hawaiian instrument is hotter than a 50s hula hoop. Tim Mann continues his ukulele class with this intermediate course. Going beyond the basics, Tim begins to introduce a greater understanding of the uke with a deeper array of chords and chord shapes, as well as some different rhythms and strumming patterns.


VOICE
Private Voice Lessons with Maria McNeil
Join Maria for 6 weeks of private lessons to get your voice in good shape. If you sing a little bit, but you would like to learn new techniques and learn a healthier, more effective way to sing, these lessons are perfect for you. Maria will help you develop and strengthen your voice while helping you build confidence in your singing. Since this is a private lesson, you will be able to focus on songs and aspects of singing that interest you. This opportunity is appropriate for beginners (including shower singers!) to experienced singers who are looking for more structured practice.
 
Voice Lessons with Lauren Flaherty
Join Lauren for 6 weeks of private lessons to get your voice in good shape. If you sing a little bit, but you would like to learn new techniques and learn a healthier, more effective way to sing, these lessons are perfect for you. Lauren will help you develop and strengthen your voice while helping you build confidence in your singing. Since this is a private lesson, you will be able to focus on songs and aspects of singing that interest you. This opportunity is appropriate for beginners (including shower singers!) to experienced singers who are looking for more structured practice.