Curriculum Offered

Explore immersion & elective options

Please see the schedule upon arriving for levels and specifics regarding who your instructor(s) will be.

Instructors

Mandolin

Mark Miracle, Steve Smith

Guitar

Peter McLaughlin, Reno McCormick, Chris Brashear, Chris Sanders

Fiddle

Nick Coventry

Banjo

Alvin Blaine, Richard Brown

Upright Bass

Sheila McCormick, Mike Shiner

Singing/Songwriting

Chris Sanders, and most of our instructors

Electives:

Various Instructors (1 hour)

Electives are subject to change based on student needs and desires. This is just a sampling of the types of electives taught. Most are for all levels—check the board at Camp for specifics.

2 & 3 Part Harmony Singing
Fast/slow Jam Classes by level
Guitar Explorations
Fiddle & Mandolin Duets
& More!

Daily Immersion

Mandolin

Novice/Intermediate Mandolin

This courses will reinforce basic skills on the mandolin with a focus primarily on bluegrass styles. We will be exploring how to perform a solid rhythmic chop to back-up others, including simple two finger chords with relative minor chords. We will learn a few simple, but well known tunes that are essential to a standard bluegrass repertoire and that are likely to be played at bluegrass jams throughout the world. Students must be somewhat familiar with their instrument and know how to play basic chords in G, C, and D.

Intermediate/advanced bluegrass mandolin

This class will cover developing mandolin solos and kickoffs for vocals tunes in bluegrass and roots styles. Many mandolin players don’t learn the basics of developing solos based on melodies and they often find themselves in a “deer in the headlights” moment when someone says”take it”. By targeting the chord tones, scales patterns and double stops you can easily find the melody of a tune and shape it to fit the style and arrangement (and your style!). The class will begin every session working on the fundamentals of right and left hand technique to develop and generate your tone, drive and feel for any kind of tune.

Guitar

Novice – Intermediate Guitar

This guitar course is for the novice-intermediate players. You must have a basic understanding of and be able to move between chords in at least 3 keys to enjoy this course (G,C,D and preferably A & E, knowing relative minor chords of each key is helpful but not necessary as we will discuss. Please take IM1 if you are not as confident in these abilities). We will introduce techniques and skills needed to play your chords more efficiently and fluidly in various keys, which will also help you to better accompany yourself while singing. Additionally this course will concentrate on how to create a solid rhythm in order to backup others. In this course you will learn how to practice in order to build a more diverse repertoire and acquire more tools to elevate your playing to the next level of proficiency and pleasure. Time permitting, we will also look into how the notes and chords are structured on the fretboard. Students will be able to benefit from courses taught by several of our fine teachers over the duration of the camp.

Intermediate/Advanced guitar

This course will be co-taught and is for the more advanced player who wants to play with abandon and just crank it up a notch or two. We will discuss the influence of many styles including jazz, blues and acoustic rock, on the acoustic guitar, but primarily focus on bluegrass flatpicking technique. We will work on lead improvisation to develop tasty solos, adapting fiddle tunes to guitar, cross-picking methods, and playing leads out of chord positions up-the fretboard utilizing the whole neck. Additionally we will discuss band dynamics, ways to improve timing and tone, and how to be a better performer. There will also be discussion of some of the “master” flatpickers and their styles. Students will be able to benefit from the co-teaching model and experience various styles, tips and techniques from the many fine, accomplished guitar teachers on premise over the duration of the camp.

Fiddle

Novice/Intermediate Fiddle

Our novice to intermediate fiddle course will focus on developing your current technique and expanding your repertoire of fun fiddle tunes commonly played in jams. The goal is to make your playing more fluid, and build your musical confidence so you are more comfortable playing in a group setting with other instruments. Bringing a recording device will probably be helpful for most students, but more importantly a willingness to dig in and start playing.

Intermediate/Advanced fiddle

In our fiddle class we will learn how to play a bluegrass fiddle break using a simple formula. We will work on the fundamentals that go into a break; a rhythmic “kick”, playing the melody as a single line and as double stop, and using pentatonic and blues scales to finish off with a flurry of notes and strong ending.
We will learn double stops for all levels of player, when and how to play fills, rhythmic backup styles to drive a song or long tones for slow songs.
I want to teach some of my favorite Kenny baker tunes and possibly a swing song or two.
I like to explain harmony purely for functional use in a band situation. We will also work together to write our own fiddle tunes.
Banjo

Intermediate/Advanced Banjo

Some ultimate goals in to learning to play the banjo are being able to play with solid timing, to create your own breaks, and to improvise fluently. 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 together and learn 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 (often the big challenge for people wanting to move their playing to a new place)

Prerequisites:

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.

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.

Novice/Intermediate Banjo

In this course we will focus on playing with good tone, good timing, and the right amount of volume. We will learn some specifics of right and left-hand techniques to improve your skills on the banjo, give you more confidence, and help you to develop good practice habits. Concentrating first on learning the melody of a song or tune, we can work in fill notes, which are the foundation to creating simple solos, or what is known in jamming with others as a “break”. In addition to technique we will also discuss the importance of jam etiquette, and dive a little deeper into improvisation which frees students to break away from a tune. Instruction will be in both ear training and tablature. We will also cover backup techniques and how they fit into a band or jam setting.

Prerequisites:

Students must have familiarity with the basic open and preferably some closed chord shapes, and be able to change between chords in basic keys although we will cover this in class. It would be helpful to have a basic understanding standard repertoire of bluegrass songs and Scruggs arrangements and licks on the banjo.

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.

Upright Bass for novice-intermediate in bluegrass and folk with Sheila McCormick, and intermediate to advanced blues, swing and jazz foundation with Mike Shiner.

These courses are for those who want to understand the unique and important role the bass plays in ensemble performing in bluegrass, blues, jazz and other musical forms.

Both classes will work on posture and strength, right and left hand technique including runs. These course will be co-taught so that the instructors can assess students levels and be able to move students into appropriate learning pods based on those levels. Both instructors Sheila McCormick and Mike Shiner are accomplished performers who will lead instruction on the upright bass offering tips and technique on sound, dynamics, and performing in a variety of styles.

* This course is based on demand and may only be offered as a ½ track so students can take other courses of interest such as singing and playing, or other instruments. We need at least 3 students per course to keep it on the schedule.

Electives

Our versatile teachers will be working together in these various electives for an exciting mix of instruction. Please check the schedule during camp for elective descriptions, exact times, and instructors. We will be adding more electives as the camp fills up. If there is an elective you’d like to see, let us know! 

2 & 3 part harmony singing for all levels

These electives will give students an opportunity to sing leads and harmonies on songs from the classic bluegrass repertoire. We share a catalogue of songs left to us by Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, the Stanley Brothers, Hazel & Alice – as well a huge body of songs from earlier predecessors in rural country music like the Carter Family. We will look at vocal style, phrasing, fundamentals of pitch and enough about music harmonies to help you find your way in a duet, trio or quartet.

• Jam Classes (Various levels)

We will offer various levels of jam classes, breaking students into small groups for an intimate, guided jamming experience. Novice students can take Jamming 101 class which will offer instruction on jam etiquette, backup, simple leads, and harmony singing. We will play in a circle (at least 6 feet apart) where you can try out leads in a safe, supportive environment lead by all instructors.

Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A. Fast playing is not expected, nor is the ability to solo required.

Advanced Jam classes will be offered in various styles: bluegrass, swing and blues. These will be facilitated by various instructors with focus on agility, style and presentation, but mostly for big fun!

• Instrumental Explorations (intermediate-advanced)

In these classes we will look into musical styles for various instruments including exploring cowboy and swing chords, gypsy jazz, and more eclectic, creative forms. We will also offer insights into the styles and techniques of some famous influencers like Doc Watson, Django Reinhardt, Tony Rice, Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, and more.

New this year!

Soundcraft with Alvin Blaine (Old Blue Sound master).

Alvin will have a small stage and sound system set up this year for some evening events where he will discuss the ins and outs of sound for acoustic bands. We have to keep things pretty quiet out there, but it will be informative to have these discussions and demonstrations in a “coffeehouse” setting where you can also showcase your own work.

Vocals from the Heart with Chris Sanders.

Chris Sanders will and guide through a series of invigorating and uplifting exercises and explorations to create an experience of singing that is uniquely positive and customized to the groups needs. See instructor pages for complete description. You do not have to play an instrument to participate in this new event which can be purchased as a stand alone course.