Avram Siegel is widely regarded as one of the most original and exciting banjo players to emerge from California. Avram keeps his playing fresh and exciting while capturing the essence of the traditional Scruggs style. Avram’s stylistic versatility and rhythmic drive has placed him in a wide variety of bands, from the Vern Williams Band and Peter Rowan to the Kathy Kallick band and True Blue and has influenced countless musicians.
CLASS: Novice/Intermediate guitar with Avram Seigel
So you want to play some Bluegrass? It looks so simple but seems so hard. Bluegrass uses a very specific guitar style that is simple in many ways and yet elusive to even experienced players of other musical styles. This class will be an introduction to the techniques and skills used to get that sound. We’ll make sure you know your basic chords and have the ability to move between them. We’ll concentrate on how to create a solid rhythm and get into some basic bluegrass lead playing. If time allows, I would also gladly get into how the notes and chords are structured on the fretboard.
ELECTIVE: Harmony Singing with Avram Seigel
ELECTIVE: Bluegrass Banjo with Avram Seigel
Being able to play with solid timing, to create your own breaks, and to improvise fluently, are some ultimate goals in to learning to play the banjo. In this class you will add to, and build on what you’ve already learned in order to do just that. We will see how melody, harmony, and rhythm work and learn, technically, about how to present ideas effectively.
Topics to be covered in this class will be, among other things:
- Working up your own solos and licks
- Playing rhythm and backup and learning more about fitting the banjo into a band setting
- Playing in unfamiliar keys
- Learning your way around the fingerboard
- Learning some specifics of right and left hand technique to improve your tone, timing and speed
- Learning to break away from arrangements picked up from tabs is often the big challenge for people wanting to move their playing to a new place
Students must have familiarity with the basic open and closed chord shapes, and have proficiency changing between them. They should know some of the standard repertoire of bluegrass songs and Scruggs arrangements and licks on the banjo. Also, students should be comfortable with basic roll patterns associated with the style.
Of course you will need a 5 string banjo, a set of fingerpicks, a thumbpick, and a capo. It is also advisable to bring a notebook and writing utensil.