Prior to the festival

21, 22, 23 October 2020

Old-Time Music School

2019 Dorrigo Old-Time Music School Workshop Descriptions

(as they appear on the timetable)

A recording device is highly recommended, as well as a tuning device and notebook.

Clawhammer Banjo with Ivy Sheppard

“Put the hammer down” and learn how to frail a banjo. This isn’t your typical drop-thumb melodic playing, but rather hard-driving rhythm that’ll keep your feet moving and the music going as heard in the mountains of East Tennessee. 

Old-Time Rhythm Guitar with David Sheppard

Guitar is the backbone of a stringband and David Sheppard is a master rhythm player. Learn fills, bass runs, and the basics and stylistic techniques of backing up a band and playing behind singing. 

Traditional Bluegrass Mandolin with Jackson Cunningham

This intermediate mandolin class will focus on early traditional Bluegrass mandolin playing, inspired by Bill Monroe and brother duets. We’ll cover form and technique, such as holding the pick, right hand attack, left hand positions, and dynamics. We will also spend time on different aspects of mandolin in bluegrass styles such as chop chords up the neck, tremolo, downstrokes, and fiddle tunes.

Singing in the Old Time Way with Rod & Judy Jones

Old-time duet singing from the mid-30s to the early 50s. Learn about the origins and stylistic elements of the old style ‘brother duets’, practice some helpful vocal techniques and get ready to sing some harmony together.

From Ballads to Bands with Rod & Judy Jones

Listen to the impact that instrumentation can have on a traditional ballad as fiddle, banjo and guitar are added to accompany it, whilst retaining the stylistic features of old-time music. Get ideas about how you can use this information in your own performance.

Mandolin with Andrew Small

This intermediate level workshop will explore the simultaneously melodic and rhythmic role of the mandolin in an old-time string band. We will explore the differences in Bluegrass and old-time mandolin playing and use tunes from the heart of the old-time repertoire as vehicles for demonstration. Topics to be covered will include the importance of rhythmic accents, the shuffle rhythm, tone production, and chord inversions.

Fingerstyle Guitar with David Sheppard

Learn basic country blues fingerstyle guitar playing ala Mississippi John Hurt. We’ll cover alternating bass lines and learn to finger pick an old-time melody. 

Hilltoppers Style Fiddle with Ivy Sheppard

Having learned at the feet of legendary old-time musician Bill Birchfield and traveled for six years on the road with the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Ivy is steeped in the east Tennessee old-time fiddling tradition. She offers insight on the longbow, hard driving sound. 

Clawhammer Banjo as a Band Instrument with Judy Jones

So now you can play some clawhammer banjo and it’s time to join an old-time band. How do you work your playing into the band sound?

Old-time Fingerpicking Banjo with Andrew Small

This intermediate level workshop will demonstrate and outline the foundations of 2- and 3-finger old-time banjo fingerpicking styles. Focusing on traditional thumb and index-lead 2-finger styles from North Carolina, the workshop will also address the pre-Bluegrass 3-finger style of Charlie Poole. We will cover common tunings as well as stylistic techniques such as slides, rolls, and pull-offs that will help players achieve an authentic and nuanced old-time sound.

How To Personalize Your Tunes with the Andrew Collins Trio

Isn’t it great when you hear a new version of a standard tune that really works? In this workshop we will explore a variety of ways to make your tunes truly your own, through chordal changes, rhythmic approaches, melodic variations and more.

Harmony Singing with the South Carolina Broadcasters

Explore the singing styles that define traditional American music, the sounds that comes from the little country church house. Learn songs in the Carter Family tradition, two and three part harmony. We’ll break down songs and show how to find parts in the old-time way. 

Folk Songs of the Virginia-Carolina Blue Ridge (Andrew Small)

This workshop will explore a few favorites from the traditional song repertoire of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We will break down some of the most popular songs of the region as we examine a variety of recorded examples and consider the way these songs have evolved over time. We will also discuss nuances of ornamentation, melodic variation, accent, and harmony.

Old Time Rhythm Mandolin with Andrew Collins

Ever wonder how the mandolin can fit into an old time setting? Wonder no more! In this class, we will focus on ways to seamlessly fit into an old time string band. We will look at some melodic playing, but will focus much more on a variety of ways to add rhythmic spice and excitement to the ensemble.  Starting with the chop we will progressively build on options for creating a deep vocabulary of rhythmic devises including open chords, shuffles, double stops and more.

Bass Workshop with James McEleney
Learn the Right (& Left Hand) Stuff. Upright Bass is the rhythmic & harmonic foundation of Bluegrass & Old-Time bands. The foundation of good bass playing is tuning, timing & tone. This workshop will focus right & left hand techniques as well as posture to improve the 3 T’s. We will also examine note choice & length as they relate to the playing in ensembles.
Old Time fiddle basics with Mike Mezzatesta
In this beginner old time fiddle workshop we will explore some basic techniques to improve our tone and timing, tips for learning simple melodies by ear, and a handful of ideas to bring the music to life and make it our own. We will look at the roles the fiddle traditionally plays in an old time string band context and how that compares to other styles and traditions.

have questions? contact us

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