I adore facilitating workshops for folk and rock musicians at all levels, ages 9-adult. Scroll down for sample workshop titles and descriptions.
If you’re interested in bringing me to your camp, festival, after-school program, or private workshop series, shoot me an email to talk about the possibilities. I look forward to hearing from you!
Bellingham, WA – Workshop: Fancy Fiddling, Texas Style! @ B’ham Folk School
March 31 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Texas style fiddling is a combination of the old-time and Western swing genres. It is fancy, sassy, and totally fun. It uses a lot of:
- bluesy and jazzy sounds mixed in with the more traditional American old-time fiddle tune sounds
- fancy bowing
- double stops
- playing up and down the neck (mostly 1st, 3rd, and sometimes 2nd position)
- complex chord progressions for the guitar players
Come spend an afternoon exploring these Texas tunes!
This is the most advanced class I’ve ever taught in terms of technique. If you aren’t confident with double stops or shifting yet, great! Here’s a chance to work on them.
But if you’ve been playing for under two years, or don’t read sheet music, this class may be frustrating. Ask me if you’re not sure whether it’s a good fit for you.
$30 pre-register (firstname.lastname@example.org); $35 at the door
Sample workshop descriptions
Here are a smattering of workshops I’ve taught in the past, at venues including California Coast Music Camp, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Ted Brown Tacoma’s Live It Out Loud program, Northwest Women’s Music Celebration, the Washington Old-Time Fiddler’s Association Workshop, Whatcom Folk School, and the Bellingham Folk Festival:
Classes for all instruments:
Musical Anatomy (aka Chords & Other Moving Parts) – You can wrap your head around what makes a Db7b5 chord, or what to play in the key of G#m, even if you’ve heard it all before and it hasn’t stuck. (All levels, all instruments)
Music Improv Baby Steps – It’s okay if you’re scared! I want to help you get out of your head so you can be creative on the fly. We’ll do some gentle, silly, fun exercises together to help you find the right mindset. Bring your instrument–or just your voice is okay too. (All levels, all instruments.)
Melodic Backup – How can we as instrumentalists support a singer with melodic fragments, without overpowering the vocals? We’ll talk strategies for coming up with effective fills, as well as what to do to avoid “backseat driving” and distracting from the vocal core of the song. (Open to all melody instruments, all levels.)
Go Ahead and Take a Solo! – Do you usually stick to tunes you know note-for-note, and panic if someone asks you to play a solo on a song you don’t know? Let’s work on that! Topics (depending on who shows up) include not psyching yourself out, hearing a melody and playing it back, working out how to improvise in a particular key, etc. (All levels and instruments)
Reading Sheet Music (Or Reading It Better) – This class will either focus on the basics, or on building sightreading skills, depending on who shows up. There is some room for overlap if both kinds of players are there. (All levels and instruments)
21st Century Acoustic Repertoire – Let’s sing some relatively new songs that deserve to be classics. We’ll mostly pull songs from the indie folk/pop/rock world, at a variety of levels of obscurity. (All levels, all instruments)
Tough Chick Songs in the Bluegrass & Country Tradition – Not every woman in these genres is a “little darlin’” whose “ramblin’ man” never came home… or a murder victim. Empowered women hang around here too, if you look hard enough! Let’s sing ‘em up into the limelight. We’ll do some classics you might have forgotten and some you might not know, some that predate the feminist movement(s) and some newer ones. Singers and instrumentalists of any gender are welcome to participate! (All levels, all instruments)
With Jenna Bean Veatch
Music Improv for the Terrified – Making up music isn’t something only other people can do! Whether you’re a novice or an expert instrumentalist or singer, all you need is bravery and a sense of play. We’ll be using music and movement exercises to get there, and make music ranging from freeform improv to more structured song-like forms. Bring your voice and/or any acoustic instrument (or electric with an amp that can stay at an acoustic volume). This class is taught jointly with Bellingham, WA-based movement instructor Jenna Bean Veatch
Classes for fiddlers:
Fiddle Bow Wrangling – Let’s level up your tone! We’ll do some exercises, and learn a few slow pretty tunes with space to practice your new and improved technique. (For intermediate players. Beginning fiddlers who are advanced players on another stringed instrument are welcome.)
Fiddle Lab: Backing Up Other Musicians – Fiddle can be a rhythm instrument too! Learn cool chops and grooves, as well as how to figure out which chords to play (and how). We’ll also work on creating end-of-line fills to support a vocalist. You’ll never have to play the melody again unless you want to. (For lower intermediate through advanced players.)
Fiddle Lab: Harmony – Come play twin fiddle tunes from a variety of traditions (including, but not limited to: Western swing, old time and bluegrass). We’ll also discuss how to work with others in an ensemble, as well as how to write your own harmony parts. (For lower-intermediate to advanced players.)
Fiddle Lab: Playing in Weird Keys – Let’s get you over your fear of flats and sharps, for good. A world of tunes–and singers to play with–will open up to you! (For intermediate players.)
Really Beginning Old-Time Fiddle – We’ll start from square one! Even if you’ve never picked up your violin before, by the end of class you’ll be on your way to mastering your first old-time fiddle tune–and it won’t sound as scratchy as you might expect. Bring your own instrument. (For absolute beginners and anyone else who wants a review of the basics.)
Guitar Backup for Old-Time Fiddle – It’s different than rock guitar! Learn to provide a driving, genre-appropriate rhythm accompaniment for old-time fiddle tunes such as reels, waltzes and rags. Bring an acoustic guitar and be comfortable switching between basic chords, such as D, A, C and G.
Pilfering from Pianists – So many great songwriters write for piano, and adapting their songs to guitar can be a trick. Let’s work through the process together so we can accompany ourselves singing songs by artists like Randy Newman, Tori Amos and Tom Lehrer. (All levels–we’ll learn to work out arrangements appropriate to a variety of skill levels.)