Banjo Camp North Classes for 2015

Below is a selection of classes slated to run this year.  This list is not yet complete, and we will be posting descriptions and skill levels for each class in the near future.

Please note: classes are subject to change at any time between now and camp.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
You Don't Need to Play Fast to Play Good Music
High-speed tunes are just one part of bluegrass banjo. We’ll focus on tone, taste and timing. (I)

Kickoffs Played Right: How to Start Any Tune
An overview of classic Scruggs style kickoffs and how to apply them to other songs. (I)

Singing With the Banjo: Fill-in Licks to Play Between Vocal Lines
How and when to play short tag licks rather than just vamping when you sing. (I)

How to Play in Time with Other Musicians
Playing in a groove is as much about listening as it is about playing. (I)
Bob Altschuler
Bob Altschuler
Bluegrass Beginner’s Track
Bob presents his comprehensive introduction to BG banjo in five concentrated sessions, spaced throughout the weekend so you have time to also take other classes. You will receive extensive handouts at the sessions, including additional material to work on when you get home. (N-B)
 
Part 1: Getting Started
Foundations of playing bluegrass banjo, including banjo anatomy, tuning, using picks, correct playing and hand positions, reading tablature, basic chords, playing rolls and a slide.
 
Part 2: Getting Started
Review of Part 1, more basic rolls, essential left-hand techniques including slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, a basic two-chord song, and practice exercises.
 
Part 3: Putting It All Together- Review of Foundations and More
Review of Parts 1 and 2, plus additional playing techniques, timing, practice exercises, a three-chord song, and an overview of bluegrass banjo styles.
 
Part 4: Bluegrass Rolls and Left-Hand Techniques for Beginners
Explore the most useful rolls and left-hand techniques that create licks. Bob will guide you in playing slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs and chokes added to basic rolls to begin to create the licks and patterns that form the basis of Scruggs-style playing.
 
Part 5: Basic Backup and Chord Shapes
Foundation and theory of backup, from simple techniques using barre chords and basic rolls to an overview of moveable "F" and "D" chord shapes, vamping, hand position, and tone. This session will provide the tools to start playing effective backup right away.
Steve Arkin
Steve Arkin
Two- and Three-finger Rolls for Old Time Banjo
Whether you are playing rhythmically or melodically with two or three fingers, old-time and bluegrass finger style banjo consists of a variety of rolls and patterns. There are thousands of possibilities but five or six are all you really need.  We’ll cover those in this course. (I)

Crooked Modal Tunes of Kentucky and West Virginia (With Adam Hurt)
Some of the most soulful and popular old-time fiddle tunes come from the mountains of West Virginia and Southeast Kentucky.  They’re fun to play and delightful to listen to, but they are also challenging to learn.  This class provides clawhammer strategies and techniques for picking them up on the fly in a jam situation and for playing them with authority. (I) 

Postwar Fiddle and Three-Finger Banjo
(With Paul Brown, Rich Stillman, and Terri McMurray)
Paul immersed himself in the world of WPAQ Radio in Mount Airy, NC when he worked at the station in the early 1980’s.  During that time he became a big enthusiast of “crossover” fiddle styles, comprising both old time and bluegrass motifs and repertoire.  To this day he loves playing tunes in those styles with both three-finger and clawhammer banjo accompaniment.  Terri, Rich and Steve love to provide the backup.  Come hear some of this music, observe banjo approaches, try them out and ask questions. (All)

Great Scruggs-Style Licks that Earl Never Thought Of
Earl Scruggs catapulted the banjo into an exciting new era with his driving roll-based style and his amazing vocabulary of inventive licks.  But others also made mighty contributions to the canon of driving Scruggs-style banjo.  Here are some of the very best, from Allen Shelton, J.D. Crowe, Don Stover, Bill Keith and others (I)


Melodic Blues Licks for Bluegrass Solos
Hot, bluesy, and little-known licks invented by Steve or learned from such friends as Bill Keith, Allen Shelton, Bobby Thompson, Marty Cutler, and Pete Wernick. This class will show you how to do them—and when to use them. (A)
Mac Benford
Mac Benford
Exotic Old Time Banjo Tunings (All)

Tunes from the Crypt (With Paul Brown and Terri McMurray)
We’ll demonstrate some of the archaic tunes of artists including Norm Edmonds and the Old Timers, The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Matokie Slaughter, Parley Parsons, Luther Davis, Esker Hutchins and more. We’ll consider how the banjo fits with fiddle and band parts, and what techniques and tunings work to make these ancient gems gleam while keeping their rough edges. (All)

Fiddle Tunes of Ed Haley for Clawhammer (A)

The Modal Songs and Banjo Style of Clarence Ashley (I)

Fiddle tunes of Emmitt Lundy for Clawhammer (A)
Paul Brown Paul Brown Old Time Finger Picking in One Hour
This amazing class unlocks secrets of the universe, banishes anxiety about finger picking, and sets you free for intergalactic banjo adventures that will never cease.  If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’d really like to know something about finger picking but don’t know where to start, ” then be sure to attend this fun and enlightening class.  (AB and above)

Tunes from the Crypt (With Terry McMurray and Mac Benford)
We’ll demonstrate some of the archaic tunes of artists including Norm Edmonds and the Old Timers, The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Matokie Slaughter, Parley Parsons, Luther Davis, Esker Hutchins and more. We’ll consider how the banjo fits with fiddle and band parts, and what techniques and tunings work to make these ancient gems gleam while keeping their rough edges. (All)

Three Streams of Appalachian Fiddling
This fun and engaging survey class will cover three major streams of southern traditional fiddling and provide an understanding of their historical contexts. You’ll hear and sample the now-rare old southwest Virginia style with its clear British Isles roots. You’ll tackle a more African-American-influenced approach, heavier on syncopation and blues motifs that developed through the late 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, you’ll try longer-bow radio and square-dance styles that emerged in the 1930s and have continued their development to this day. (I-A for participation, but all levels are welcome to observe.)

Postwar Fiddle and Three-Finger Banjo (With Terri McMurray, Rich Stillman, and Steve Arkin)
Paul immersed himself in the world of WPAQ Radio in Mount Airy, NC when he worked at the station in the early 1980’s.  During that time he became a big enthusiast of “crossover” fiddle styles, comprising both old time and bluegrass motifs and repertoire.  To this day he loves playing tunes in those styles with both three-finger and clawhammer banjo accompaniment.  Terri, Rich and Steve love to provide the backup.  Come hear some of this music, observe banjo approaches, try them out and ask questions. (All)

Banjo Legacy of Tommy Jarrell
North Carolina’s Tommy Jarrell was a truly great old time fiddler. He was an equally impressive banjo player with a fascinating take on the Round Peak clawhammer style of his mentor Charlie Lowe. Jarrell consciously tried to achieve the same effects on the banjo as on the fiddle. Paul Brown studied in depth with Jarrell under a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1980. In this class he conveys the core of what he learned during that memorable year with a brilliant and unusually articulate mentor. (A)
Howie Bursen
Howie Bursen
Banjo and Ballads (With Lorraine Hammond)
Before that pesky Appalachian dulcimer came on the scene, we have evidence that the banjo was a vocal accompaniment instrument of choice in the Southern Mountains. For many of us it is still the instrument of choice. (All)

Making the Jump to Double-Thumbing
UNLEASH THAT THUMB! We’ll get that steady rolling clawhammer, and then move on to adding those sweet notes which pop out when you learn to double thumb. It’s easier than you think! (I)

Singing With the Banjo
The right accompaniment can make your singing performance stronger, or it can work against you. Here’s how to approach the challenge. (AB-I)

Ghost Fingers: Getting the Most Expression from the Fewest Notes
A Great Wise Man once said, “If you play too many notes, each one is worth less.” We’ll look at situations where less is more. Being musical is our aim. (I-A)
Bob Carlin
Bob Carlin
Two Tunes from Kyle Creed

Two Tunes from Joe and Odell Thompson.

History of the Banjo in North Carolina

Alternative Tunings

Round Peak Fiddle-Banjo Duets (With Brad Leftwich) (All)
Ryan Cavanaugh
Ryan Cavanaugh
Blues Scales for the Banjo
Tricks and techniques for getting familiar with and applying blues scales to your banjo playing. (I-A)

Basic Jazz Chords for Banjo (With Bill Evans)
Analysis and deconstruction of the types of chords and progressions that make up classic jazz. (A)

Playing Other Genres on the Banjo
Ryan demonstrates techniques from rock, jazz, blues, and other genres that can spice up your playing. (All)

Indian Rhythm for Banjo
Classical East Indian rhythms on the 5-string. Think Mahavishnu Orchestra. (A)
Mark Delaney
Mark Delaney
Bluegrass: Playing the Melody
Finding the melody, putting a roll around it. How is the singer singing the tune? How to have fun with a tune without abandoning the melody. (AB-I)

Bluegrass Backup Workshop
How to use the three basic chord positions to get up and down the neck and how they are used to create the three basic Scruggs patterns for back-up. What to do and when not to do it. Is what I’m doing complementing the song/singer/fiddle/etc. Knowing what my role is in the song at all times. (I)

Bluegrass Chord Voicings
Using triads to bridge over chords; e.g. occasionally playing out of an Am position when in the key of C, Dm for F, etc. String bending and pull-offs while in a closed chord position. (I)

Right-Hand Techniques for Bluegrass Banjo
Changing string patterns without changing the finger patterns (example: If 3-2-5-1= T-I-T-M, then try 4-3-2-1 with T-I-T-M.) How to use a three-finger roll for single string technique. (I-A)
Bill Emerson
Bill Emerson
Bill’s Classic Original Banjo Tunes
Sweet Dixie, Theme Time, Cowboys and Indians, Breaking It Down. (I)

Bill Emerson: Questions and Answers
Bill fields your questions about his time with the Country Gentlemen, Jimmy Martin, and the United States Navy Band, his experiences on the road and in the studio and his own music projects. (All)

Dynamic Back-up
How to vary volume, style and attack to back up singers and other instruments without detracting or distracting. (I)

Getting The Most Out of Your Banjo
How to set up your banjo, get the best tone out of it and keep it in tune. (All)
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Intro to Melodic Bluegrass Style (B/AB)

Basic Jazz Chords for Banjo (With Ryan Cavanaugh)
Analysis and deconstruction of the types of chords and progressions that make up classic jazz. (A)

Playing Fiddle Tunes Melodic Style in D (A)

How To Have Fun At a Jam and Get Invited Back (With Casey Henry) (B-AB)
Bennett Hammond Bennett Hammond The Banjo Style of Bennett Hammond (I)
Lorraine Hammond
Lorraine Hammond
Banjo and Ballads (With Howie Bursen)
Before that pesky Appalachian dulcimer came on the scene, we have evidence that the banjo was a vocal accompaniment instrument of choice in the Southern Mountains. For many of us it is still the instrument of choice. (All)

Banjo Pickin’ Women (With Terri McMurray)
Aunt Samantha Baumgarner, (1878–1960), from Dillsboro, North Carolina, played her banjo for Columbia records in 1924, three years ahead of the Carter Family’s first Bristol, Virginia, session.  Kentuckian Lily May Ledford, (1917-1985), was a member of the original Coon Creek Girls, the first commercially-successful all-female Appalachian string band in the United States.  Learn about these and other early and influential old-time banjo players.  Bring your banjos.  We’ll teach a song or two. (I)

Standard C Tuning for Song Accompaniment
Nope — it's not double C.  This is has been my fallback tuning for song accompaniment in the keys of C and (capoed) D for many decades.  Come get your bearings, and a few good old-timey songs in this very stable tuning. (AB)

Finding Your Key: For Players Who Sing
Ever feel compromised because you have a carefully worked out banjo arrangement and you discover you can’t really sing in that key? Bring banjos and voices and questions and we’ll consider keys and pitches and tunings. (All)
Casey Henry
Casey Henry
Beyond Vamping
How to expand your backup playing beyond just vamping, focusing on fancy up-the-neck Scruggs-style backup. (I)

Kick-start Your Bluegrass Jamming
How to start improvising immediately with simple rolls over the chord changes. (B/I)

How to Have Fun at a Bluegrass Jam and Get Invited Back (With Bill Evans) (B-AB)

Using The Amazing Slow-Downer As A Practice and Learning Tool
We’ll cover making practice loops and slowing down breaks to pick apart the licks. (All)
Marc Horowitz
Marc Horowitz
Pulling Tone: Bluegrass Three-finger Style
In this class we’ll examine the mechanics and physiology of three-finger picking, banjo ergonomics and the parameters of good banjo setup in order to get the best sound. We’ll discuss the principle of "playing relaxed" to achieve speed and fluidity in the picking hand and ways to make fretting easier and more efficient. We’ll also cover positioning and adjusting the fingerpicks to facilitate technique and improve precision, as well as any other topics having to do with the physical aspects of playing three-finger banjo. (I-A)

Precision Clawhammer for Three-Finger Players (With Dave Kiphuth)
Playing Bluegrass banjo clawhammer style can be a very effective way of adding variety to your band's sound. Translate the knowledge of the fret board and the licks you use for Bluegrass banjo to the clawhammer style. In order to do this effectively, we'll examine some commonly used Scruggs licks and melodic passages and translate them to clawhammer style by utilizing the three main right-hand and left-hand techniques of clawhammer banjo. (A)

Driving the Dance: Clawhammer Banjo and Fiddle as the Dance Band (With Alan Kaufman)
The propulsive rhythm of the banjo and the swing of a good bow arm can and does provide all that’s needed to set a crowd's feet to moving. In the early decades of the 20th Century, it was common for a fiddler and a banjo player to effectively propel a dance without a guitar or bass. Fiddles and banjos were common in those settings and locales back in the 20’s and 30’s, but guitars and basses were expensive and sometimes not available. We'll address how to play for a dance with just a fiddle and banjo, as was commonly done in remote communities decades ago. (With Alan Kaufman) (All)

Scruggs, Reno and Keith: The Three Pillars of Bluegrass Banjo (All)
Most banjo fans would agree that Earl Scruggs, Don Reno and Bill Keith are the pillars of style upon which the thousand of players that came after them based their playing. We'll look at the elements that make up each legend's signature sound, how they achieved the tone they got from their instruments and how their disciples picked up the torch and carried the banjo into new and ever-more intriguing territories. (All)
John Herrmann
John Herrmann
Old-Time Guitar for Banjo Players (I-A)

Old-Time Fiddle Ruckus (With Brad Leftwich) (All)

Round Peak Style Banjo (AB-I)

Zen Practice and Playing the Banjo (All)

Playing Tunes You Don’t Know (I-A)
Adam Hurt
Adam Hurt
Introduction to Sandy River Belle Tuning (I)

Fundamentals of Clawhammer Syncopation (I-A)

Mastering the Mechanics of Clawhammer Tone (All)

The Round Peak Banjo of Kyle Creed (I)

Crooked Modal Tunes of Kentucky and West Virginia (With Steve Arkin) (I)
Brad Leftwich
Brad Leftwich
The Clawhammer Style of Wade Ward (I-A)

Old-Time Fiddle Ruckus (With John Herrmann) (All)

Non-Round Peak Clawhammer from Carroll County, Virginia
There were lots of good banjo pickers from the Blue Ridge in the Virginia-Carolina border area who weren’t from Round Peak, even though they lived nearby. Two of them, Abe Horton and Sidna Myers of Carroll County, Virginia, had distinctively individual and contrasting styles of playing. Intermediate to advanced. (I-A)

Old-Time Fiddle
Learn some of the fundamentals of Southern down-bow style fiddling used by fiddlers from the Appalachians to the Ozarks and beyond. (I)

Seconding: Two-finger Thumb-lead from Carroll County, VA (I)

Round Peak Fiddle-Banjo Duets (With Bob Carlin) (All)
Ned Luberecki
Ned Luberecki
Faking It
Strategies for how to fake your way through a banjo break on tunes you’ve never played before. (B-I)

Playing in Keys Other Than G Without a Capo
How to find the melody and create a break to songs in the keys of C, D, E and F and maybe even Bb! (I-A)

Intro to Single-String Style
Intro to the style and a few exercises and tunes to practice your single stringing. (I/A)

Stuff You Aren’t Supposed To Do On The Banjo
Fret tapping, rock tunes, TV show themes and other useless banjo knowledge. (All)
Terri McMurray
Terri McMurray
Tunes from the Crypt (With Paul Brown and Mac Benford)
We’ll demonstrate some of the archaic tunes of artists including Norm Edmonds and the Old Timers, The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Matokie Slaughter, Parley Parsons, Luther Davis, Esker Hutchins and more. We’ll consider how the banjo fits with fiddle and band parts, and what techniques and tunings work to make these ancient gems gleam while keeping their rough edges. (All)

Banjo Pickin’ Women (With Lorraine Hammond)
Aunt Samantha Baumgarner, (1878–1960), from Dillsboro, North Carolina, played her banjo for Columbia records in 1924, three years ahead of the Carter Family’s first Bristol, Virginia, session.  Kentuckian Lily May Ledford, (1917-1985), was a member of the original Coon Creek Girls, the first commercially-successful all-female Appalachian string band in the United States.  Learn about these and other early and influential old-time banjo players.  Bring your banjos.  We’ll teach a song or two. (I)

Space and Time on the Banjo
Though I am a physics teacher, we are talking about timing and attack here. Some of my favorite tunes have very few notes and a tremendous amount of drive. We’ll look at a couple of these tunes and focus on when not to play notes as well as when to let them ring. The music will be largely inspired by the playing of Tommy Jarrell and Kyle Creed. (I)

Postwar Fiddle and Three-Finger Banjo
(With Paul Brown, Rich Stillman, and Steve Arkin)
Paul immersed himself in the world of WPAQ Radio in Mount Airy, NC when he worked at the station in the early 1980’s.  During that time he became a big enthusiast of “crossover” fiddle styles, comprising both old time and bluegrass motifs and repertoire.  To this day he loves playing tunes in those styles with both three-finger and clawhammer banjo accompaniment.  Terri, Rich and Steve love to provide the backup.  Come hear some of this music, observe banjo approaches, try them out and ask questions. (All)

Uke Can Do It!
This workshop is for all levels of uke players who’d like to learn about closed chord positions that are easy to move around the neck. I’ll also show some simple chords for beginners. We’ll look at a couple of different strumming techniques to help get a steady or syncopated rhythm. Most importantly we’ll spend some time accompanying old-time songs & tunes. (All levels of ukulele)
Michael Miles
Michael Miles
Blues for Clawhammer (I)

Latin Rhythms for Clawhammer (AB-I)

Pete Seeger Banjo Style (With Mike Kropp) (All)

North African Melodies for Clawhammer (I-A)

Composition & Songwriting with Banjo (I-A)
Lukas Pool
Lukas Pool
Learning Melody by Ear on Clawhammer Banjo
In this class we’ll be learning how to pick up tunes by ear. This skill is great for using in jams or by yourself. Come prepared to have fun as we break tunes down and rebuild them together. (I)

Double C Tuning
Mapping and exploring the fingerboard in Double C tuning! (AB-I)

Improvising and Arranging Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo
Improvising isn’t just for bluegrass banjo. In this class we’ll learn work on improvising and arranging with melody, texture, and reharmonization on clawhammer banjo. (I)

Technology and the Banjo
Q: How many banjo players does it take to change a light bulb? 
A: Three — one to change the light bulb, and two to complain that it’s electric!
Technology can be a great learning tool.  We’ll talk about all the great new ways technology can help us and how it has changed the banjo world. (All)
MikeRiversBCN
Mike Rivers
Getting the Most out of Your Hand-Held Recorder (All)

Sound Reinforcement (All)
John Rossbach
John Rossbach
Jam Etiquette: Plays Well with Others
How to get along musically with others in a variety of jam settings. (All)

Beginning Bluegrass and Old Time Guitar
Learn the basic techniques and concepts for playing this versatile instrument with others in an old time or bluegrass band setting. (B-AB)

Let’s Make a Bluegrass Band! (With TBA)
Join with other campers and experienced instructors to form off-the-cuff combos and receive coaching on playing in an ensemble. (I-A)

Banjo Picker’s Field Guide to Guitar Chord Shapes
Learn to follow the bandleader or guitarist in a jam by recognizing and transposing the guitar chord forms to the banjo. Understanding the commonality and differences between banjo G tuning and guitar standard tuning. (All)

Tuners, Capos, Picks and Axes
Better use of the essential tools of the trade. Novices, beginners and intermediate-level players all can benefit, even if they think they know enough already. (N-B-I)
Tim Rowell
Tim Rowell
Old Time Beginner’s Track, Five Sessions (Novice-Beginner)
Dick Smith
Dick Smith
Bluegrass Backup
A banjo produces plenty of volume, and the staccato eighth notes of Scruggs-style demand listener attention. That’s great when it’s your turn for a kickoff or solo, but what do you do when it’s time for you to step back and be supportive? Learn how to stay out of the way while moving the music forward. (I-A

Make it Sing: Dynamics and Phrasing for Bluegrass Banjo
Think of your banjo as a singer. Dick will show you how to apply the principles of vocal dynamics, phrasing, ornamentation, and breathing to your playing. (I-A)

Listen Better to Play Better
Whether you’re listening to your own practicing, the playing of others in a jam or performance, or recordings and concert performances, paying attention to detail will improve your musicianship. (All)

It Starts With the Melody
If you can sing it, you can play it. That maxim is often illustrated with a handful of nursery rhymes in beginners’ workshops. Well and good, but what do you do with complex bluegrass melodies? Dick shows how to work a song’s melody into three-finger bluegrass rolls. (All)
Rich Stillman
Rich Stillman
Unlocking the Power and Versatility of TablEdit
TablEdit and the free tablature viewer/player TabView are the most popular tools for the creation, sharing and playback of banjo tablature. It’s possible to use TablEdit to write down almost anything that can be played on a banjo, including Scruggs tuner notes and odd tunings and capo positions. The program's ability to create practice loops can even turn it into a song-specific metronome. But TablEdit is not the easiest program to use. This class will reveal some of the secrets to using TablEdit to create your own tabs and get the best use of downloaded tabs, including special tunings, banjo effects, accompaniment and playback control. This class will focus on bluegrass banjo. (All)


Postwar Fiddle and Three-Finger Banjo
(With Paul Brown, Steve Arkin and Terri McMurray)
Paul immersed himself in the world of WPAQ Radio in Mount Airy, NC when he worked at the station in the early 1980’s.  During that time he became a big enthusiast of “crossover” fiddle styles, comprising both old time and bluegrass motifs and repertoire.  To this day he loves playing tunes in those styles with both three-finger and clawhammer banjo accompaniment.  Terri, Rich and Steve love to provide the backup.  Come hear some of this music, observe banjo approaches, try them out and ask questions. (All)


Bluegrass Karaoke (All)