Prior to the Festival

23, 24, 25 October 2024

Old-Time Music School

2023 Dorrigo Old-Time Music School Workshop Descriptions

Recommended equipment: recording device, tuning device, notebook, spare strings, capo if instrument requires. 

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Clawhammer Banjo Course with Ian Alexander, 3 Part Class

A 3 lesson class covering technique, tricks and licks. Tunes will be taught as part of this in several standard tunings. A tune will be taught in a special tuning. Banjo setup will be covered. Local Appalachian history of players and tunes will be discussed. Playing along with fiddlers will be emphasised.

Historic old-time Appalachian Banjo players with Ian Alexander

Tunes and techniques from Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham from Nth. Carolina. Also Wade Ward from Virginia. A tune may be taught if time allows. Many internet resources will be supplied to back up this lesson and do further learning.

West Virginia tunes for Fiddle and Banjo with Ian Alexander and Erynn Marshall

Local tunes that come from West Virginia will be played. Local musicians, past and present will be discussed.

Upright bass with Nadine Landry

The bass workshop will be targeted for mostly beginner upright players and will focus on improving tone and timing through playing lots of songs and fiddle tunes in different keys. Participants will get to practice good left and right hand techniques. There will be lots of 1-5 for sure, but we’ll also work on incorporating and understanding bass runs!

Intermediate/Advanced Old Time Fiddle Class with Sammy Lind, 3 Part Class

Sammy will teach 2-3 tunes per class, exploring alternate tunings and emphasising bowing techniques unique to American traditional old time fiddling. Pointers for playing for square dances and playing behind songs will be given as well.

Old-Time Fiddle Bowing with Erynn Marshall

Want an introduction to old-time fiddle bowing? Come join us! We’ll learn a tune that features a few variations on the shuffle-bow pattern that is the bread & butter bow-stroke in old-time fiddling. We’ll include both regular and syncopated slurs. You’ll get some ideas when to lead with up or down bows so that your bowing is done intentionally rather than unconsciously. If we have time I’ll also give you some tips for good tone too (the secret to which is in the bow arm).

The Drone Zone, Intermediate and Advanced with Erynn Marshall

If you’ve ever been interested to know more about alternate tunings on the fiddle and love the sound of drones – this is the class for you! Erynn will show you how easy it is to get into these different tunings and how beautiful they are. We’ll learn some great tunes, bow rocking and the history behind the tunes. This class will help you get a more authentic old-time sound. Recording devices recommended. Rosin up your bow and get ready for the drone zone!

The Art of the Fiddle & Guitar Duet with Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones

In this session we will delve into the interplay of the fiddle and guitar. How can fiddlers help guitar players and visa versa. Tune back-up should be as musical and tasteful as the tunes themselves. Finding the right tempo, dynamics and choice of chords will be discussed along with regional distinctions of tunes. We’ll aim for just the right amount of fiddle-guitar blend and let the tunes lead the way.

Singing with Guitar with Reeb Willms, 3 Part Class

We will spend time singing while backing ourselves guitar. We’ll learn some songs with harmony parts and work to place the melody firmly in our minds with special attention to lyrical and melodic phrasing.We will go over the fundamentals of solid rhythm guitar playing in the old time, & country styles. We will discuss different “feels” on the guitar, and how they lend themselves to different styles of song in the country, bluegrass, and old time genres. We will practice these ideas as we learn several songs that you will be able to take home with you and add to your own repertoire. Bring a notebook & pencil.

Old Time & Country Rhythm Guitar with Reeb Willms and Carl Jones

Let’s practice and develop confident driving dance rhythm to go along with old time fiddle music. And we’ll work on some variations for country music. We can listen for and feel the rhythm, work on cues for hearing and anticipating chord changes, and thoughtfully support the melody instrument or singer. We’ll practice some favourite bass runs, and talk about the importance of dynamics. The space between boom and chuck can offer different “feels”. It’s an awful lot of fun!

Mandolin Intermediate/advanced with Caleb Klauder, 3 Part Class

We will dive deeply into picking patterns for specific fiddle tunes so as to play them with the correct feel. We will develop our double stop vocabulary so as to have freedom around the finger board and be able to move seamlessly through chord changes quickly using a variety of double stop voicings.

Shifty & Slidey with Carl Jones

A famous brother duet from 1930? Not exactly; but 2 great techniques that go together and can spice up tunes and songs you already play. We will learn an exercise to put them into practice.

Harmony Singing with Reeb Willms

The basic idea of harmonizing is to sing along with a lead or melody in a complimentary way that is harmonic. Most anyone can learn to hear and hopefully do this, given some dedicated ear training. In this workshop, we will start with the foundations of harmony singing, breaking it down into a few simple ideas that can be put into practice right away. We work on finding a tonic or root note, then build a chord, find an octave, and practice these exercises in different keys. We will build a repertoire of songs throughout the week using the songs to practice these basic concepts, building confidence by first placing the melody firmly in our minds, and then branching out to sing tenor and baritone harmony parts with special attention to lyrical and melodic phrasing. Bring a song journal, and a recording device if you like.

Carter Family Singing with Nadine Landry and Sammy Lind

Learn some songs from the vast repertoire of the Carter Family. Two and three part harmonies will be taught

Weaving Your Own Song with Carl Jones, 3 Part Class

In this class, Carl hopes to nurture everyone’s creativity as we unravel some threads of our own weaving and turn them into our uniquely, individual songs. We will look at the many ways to coax a song’s beginning and the often times trickier prospect of completing what we’ve begun. Beginning songwriters, accomplished songwriters and everyone in between are invited to join this class in our quest for inspired new songs.

Jam School: Learning to pick up Tunes on the Fly with Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones

Do you play tunes on your own or are a closet picker but are nervous about joining jams and picking up tunes on the fly? This workshop is for you! Find tips on jumping in on jams, playing tunes you don’t know and still sounding good, and how to manage when a tune is played faster than your comfort zone. Get the tools to get you need to join the jam and have fun.

Repertoire Class with Foghorn Stringband

Come and play with Foghorn! We’ll choose easy to learn tunes, start them slow and eventually bring them up to speed.

Stringband Class with Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones

In this old-time ensemble class, Erynn and Carl will play several of their favourite, southern, fiddle-tunes and songs at slow and faster tempos. All instruments are welcome. We will form an all-star stringband – having fun playing tunes from the Virginias, Carolinas, Mississippi and everything in-between. It will be like a tune and song jam with tips on old-time style, rhythm and chord back-up. Repertoire will be taught quickly by ear during each class. Recording devices are recommended. You are invited to join this group of merry music makers! 

Country & Cajun with Foghorn Stringband

Like to know more about country and cajun music? We’ll briefly talk about the origins, then go on to learn a waltz and two-step on your instrument of choice (guitar, fiddle, upright bass, triangle or vocals). If time allows and there is interest, we can even teach you the basic steps to dance a cajun waltz and two-step!

have questions? contact us

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