Workshops

Saturday

In this beginner fiddle class, we will explore the basics of good rhythmic dance fiddling and learn some old-time bowing patterns such as the shuffle - as in the 4-beat count-off to kick off a tune, a/k/a “4 potatoes”.  We will learn one or two tunes which are approachable for beginners yet rank among the best of old-time fiddle tunes (there’s a reason we call them “Standards”!).

This class will be taught completely by ear with no paper training or music theory involved.  Bring along a recording device; both audio and video totally allowed. 

Frank has a unique approach to clawhammer playing. Find out how he reinvents right hand techniques like drop thumb and the cluck along with left hand noting and ghosting to get that funky, syncopated, melodic sound. Insights into following a fiddler's style will be shared also.

Everyone who jams often find themselves with other fiddlers who call tunes that they themselves are excited about that they have recently learned and are eager to share. 

 

So they start playing the ‘new’ tune (to you) and its expected that you or somebody will pick up on it and play along. However, not so fast!  We will be heading for a train wreck unless some steps are taken to avoid it yet we must let the tune go on down the track.

Mac Traynham has been in this situation many times with various instruments and has some tips on how to fit in and ride the train successfully rather than wreck it. A little jam etiquette goes a long way.

   

Participants are encouraged to bring a ‘cool’ tune and spring it on Mac.  You can see how he handles it.  Discussion will follow.

 

Players of fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar and bass are welcome.

This workshop is designed to enhance your repertoire of tunes that work well for both contra and square dancing. We will explore tunes in various keys and discuss how they might fit in the folk dance world. Above all, let’s have fun. Bring your recorders. 

As far as Jim's concerned, when it comes to playing in a tight square dance band or just a hot jam session, the guitar player has the best seat in the house. That person is smack dab in the middle
of everything and is in the unique position of being able to lift the music to a whole new level. It’s all about listening, feeling the rhythm, and keeping the beat. In this workshop, we’ll do just
that – focus on listening to other instruments, getting the feel of the rhythm and laying down a steady beat. Jim hopes to get everyone playing, answer any questions that come up, and will try to share
what he's learned - mostly by accident - over the past few decades.

In this workshop, we will explore a few tunes from past and contemporary fiddle and banjo players. Jim will relate some of his adventures visiting older musicians and will demonstrate tunes learned from each of them. This will be an interactive session, and Jim will select a couple of tunes to teach while trying to provide a sense of place and some impressions of the persons from which he learned them. He will also provide some tips that have worked for him in learning to play. He will try to keep this on a beginner level though some degree of proficiency on the fiddle is required.

Wade Ward was a well-documented master player of the banjo in the regional clawhammer style from Grayson County, Virginia. He often came up with unique versions of tunes, using unique traditional tunings and distinctive techniques. He was like a Master Chef in the Clawhammer banjo soup kitchen, sprinkling just the right amounts of traditional spice - including cured ham drippings - to bring out the full flavor of a tune in a performance.

Come see what Mac has figured out about what Wade was doing to play creatively without giving up the basics of precision timing and solid rhythm. This workshop will be a taste test for those who like their Clawhammer Soup to have a traditional flavor yet enjoy spicy variations. Find out why Wade’s sound was also a dance-able sound with a strong link to older styles, where drones and rhythm are mixed in thoroughly with the melody.  Several tunes and tunings will demonstrate showing some of Wade’s use of advanced techniques that can enhance the flavor of your clawhammer banjo performance. The ability to keep "Thyme" is a must. Recommended for intermediate/advanced level players.

Friday

Workshop 1 | Earl White | Fiddle for Beginners

This workshop will focus learning a series of fun, easy to play tunes that will incorporate style and bowing technique to aid on developing the old time sound. Bring your recorders, let’s have fun. We be jamming. 

Workshop 2 | Mac & Jenny |Fiddle & Banjo Duets, Blue Ridge Style

In the region of the Blue Ridge where Mac & Jenny live, flatfoot dancing is a weekly occurrence and the dancers respond enthusiastically when the music driving the dancing is energetic with a solid beat and strong rhythm. The energy makes for a vibrant scene and its an amazing experience to be part of it.

 

To provide a solid sound for dancers and listeners, old time fiddle and banjo can come together with rhythm, slides, drones and timing. Join Mac & Jenny and learn some  techniques for playing the old tunes in a way that compliments each other and creates a tight sound.

Workshop 3 | Dedo Norris | Beginning Fiddle

Workshop 4 | Frank Lee | Frailing Outside the Box

Workshop 5 | Mac Traynham | Playing Tunes You Don't Know

Workshop 6 | Earl White | Intermediate/Advanced Fiddle

Workshop 7 | Jim Nelson |Backup Guitar

Workshop 8 | Jim Collier | Fiddle

Workshop 9 | Mac Traynham | Recipes to Spice up a Traditional Clawhammer Banjo Soup

SUNday

Dedo Norris, Jim Collier and Jim Nelson of the Red Squirrel Chasers will present a repertoire class featuring some of the fiddle tunes that are favorites of theirs.  The tunes will include some classics that should be on everyone’s list, some tunes that are less well known but will broaden your fiddling experience, and some fun, easy tunes that are sure to become your favorites as well.  We will present some of these tunes as an ensemble and some with either Dedo or Jim C fiddling.  We will make sure to play through the tunes at a slower pace to help the students get the basics of the tunes to learn later in detail in the one-on-one sessions.  Bring your recording devices and your instrument for a great opportunity to add some new and interesting material to your own repertoire.

Workshop 11 | Mac & Jenny | Old Time Country Duets

The beauty of singing “old time” songs is that you don’t have to have a “good voice”. In addition, we have found that almost every time we’ve been told by someone that he/she can’t sing, that person actually had a wonderful and unique sound which lended itself perfectly to singing the old time songs.

 

In this workshop we will work with each person to find the best singing key, demonstrate how we listen to and figure out harmonies, teach harmony lines and lay the groundwork for participants to be able to hear the harmonies in recordings that they want to learn.

 

Back up instruments are welcome.

Workshop 10 | Jim Collier, Dedo Norris, Jim Nelson |Repertoire