Announcing our 22nd annual
Blue Ridge Old Time-Music Week
June 9-15, 2013
Conferences and Events
Classes are scheduled Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. until lunch, but the fun doesn’t end there! Workshops are offered after lunch, as well as formal and informal jam sessions. Evenings include concerts by instructors, special guests, and a very special student showcase at the end of the week!
Learning, Laughing, and Living
Students and music lovers of all ages and backgrounds, many of whom have attended the annual Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week for years, come together in this relaxed and supportive environment. During the week, you’re skills will improve; you’ll learn new tunes, and visit with old friends and meet ones who share your passion for old time music.
2013 Class Descriptions
A second Flatfoot and Buck Dance class is now available in the 3pm mini-courses
ADVANCED OLD-TIME FIDDLE – James Leva * COURSE FULL *
We will explore stylistic differences in traditional fiddling from North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky, expanding our understanding of old-time fiddling and developing the different regional techniques and characteristics. We will expand our repertoire with tunes that are representative of each region and focus on fundamental rhythm and melody, bowing and ornamentation in a variety of tunings. We will listen to traditional fiddling from a wide variety of regional styles and will see the way they have evolved over almost 100 years. We’ll take a look at some of the choices and opportunities that knowledge and understanding of traditional fiddling offer a fiddler in the 21st Century.
INTERMEDIATE FIDDLE – Joseph Decosimo * COURSE FULL *
Geared for intermediate players, we will explore some fun tunes and different fiddle
tunings common to old-time music, focusing on the ways we can use the bow to create the right kind of rhythm and feel for old-time music. We’ll learn some breakdowns (and maybe a waltz or slower piece) in G, D, A and maybe C, work on becoming better listeners capable of fleshing tunes out and discuss approaches to learning new tunes. Much of our time will be devoted to getting bows to make the sounds and rhythms that we want to hear. Most of the tunes will be pulled from Western North Carolina, Tennessee, and Cumberland Plateau repertoires. A recording device will be very useful.
ADVANCED BEGINNING FIDDLE – Helen White
We’ll review basic technique but will move through it fairly quickly. Be prepared to learn by ear. Be able to tune independently, play with decent intonation and play at least 5 simple tunes by ear in good rhythm. More experienced fiddlers who have good mastery of technique but need to start the “learning by ear” process are welcome. We’ll learn several tunes during the week applying different bow patterns common to old-time music. In addition to standard tuning, we may explore “cross tuning” in the key of A or G. A fiddle with good working pegs for tuning is required. No notation or tab of tunes will be provided. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BEGINNING FIDDLE – Shay Garriock
The beginning fiddle class is not only a beginning fiddle tutorial, but also an applied introduction to bowing techniques commonly used in Southern Appalachian Fiddling. The class integrates specific starter bowing techniques and timing with traditional tunes that are commonly played at jam sessions. Bowing techniques covered include the basic shuffle, slurring, circle bowing and syncopated bowing. Beginning essentials such as bow holding and control, finger placement for good pitch, learning by ear and methods to improve tone will be covered. Teaching is done patiently at a slow, structured pace. Tablature and recordings of bowing exercises and each tune played slowly will be provided at the beginning of class.
FIDDLE BLUES & RAGS (for intermediate and advancing players) – Mick Kinney
Bluesy syncopated banjo and fiddle melodies have been part of the Old-Time repertoire since the 1800’s and have contributed to the classical compositions of Scott Joplin and W.C. Handy. Raggy rhythms and blue tones are simply the notes "between" the regular meter and scale steps. We will begin in familiar keys with easy pentatonic (5 note) blues mode exploring call and response, and even some improvisation. Starting with historic fiddle tunes such as "G Rag" and "Alabama Trot," that you can play right away in your home sessions, the class will offer some more challenging and quirky pieces. Some important blues and ragtime harmony/chord theory is covered in this relaxed group setting that allows for some individual instruction. No music reading is required, though notation will be made available, and recording is welcome.
ADVANCED BANJO – Steve Arkin
This course is for advanced clawhammer banjo players who wish to improve their ability to play with power, style and taste. We will explore how to “lock in” with fiddlers, accompany songs and perform solo tunes. We will cover advanced techniques, secrets of tone and texture, finding the groove, balancing rhythm and melody, alternate tunings and the challenges of playing fast and of playing slowly. We will also explore the meaning of “authenticity” and strategies for creating your own distinctive sound within the tradition. Recording devices (particularly video) are encouraged. Players should be comfortable with playing by ear and have facility in the clawhammer style. A detailed handout and a collection of key source recordings will be provided. In his Old-Time Herald review of Troublesome Creek’s album FAST AS TIME CAN TAKE ME, Pete Sutherland wrote: “Arkin’s adroit playing achieves that most rare combo of beautiful, intricate melody and absolute pedal-to-the-floor drive—he is every bit the wind in the sails of this band.” www.banjohangout.org/my/Steve+Arkin, www.troublesomecreekstringband.com.
INTERMEDIATE BANJO – Hilary Dirlam * COURSE FULL *
Translating a fiddle tune into “banjo language” is one of the challenges you will face once you’re ready to move into playing in a group. In this banjo class we’ll look in depth at various approaches to playing banjo with the fiddle. These approaches include rhythmic backup (including chords and occasional harmony notes), sketching the melody and playing note-for-note with the fiddler. Beginning with listening to a fiddle tune (we’ll have a boom box in class), we’ll explore ways for the banjo to enhance and will have fun with the tune. We’ll also work with a live fiddler. To be in this class you need a solid grasp of clawhammer banjo basics, including common tunings, basic chords, hammer-ons and pull-offs. You should be able to play several tunes comfortably in a couple of tunings. There may be a little tab used in this class. A recording device, paper and pencil will be much more useful. Any questions? Email me at email@example.com
Advanced Beginner Banjo – John Grimm
The advanced beginner banjo class is for players who can play a few tunes on the banjo and are comfortable playing in both the standard G tuning and double C tuning. We will learn new tunes and songs mostly by ear, although tabs will be provided. This will be a relaxed fun class for those wishing to expand their knowledge of basic clawhammer. We’ll learn hammer-ons, pull-offs, drop thumb and a few advanced techniques to integrate into your favorite tunes. Please bring a capo, a tuner and a recording device to facilitate your progress, and don’t forget patience and a sense of humor.
Beginning Banjo – Robby Robertson * CANCELLED * (Private lessons with Bill West available upon request. Please call 828-689-1167 for contact information.)
Beginning banjo class is for the complete beginner. Emphasis will be on the "clawhammer lick,” tuning your banjo, common old time tunings, a few chords and having fun. We’ll learn a basic clawhammer banjo style and as many tunes as we can. Bring a playable banjo, an electronic tuner (or a good ear) and if you have one, a portable recorder. We’ll learn to play the banjo the old timey way
- by listening and practicing.
Advanced Guitar – Rhonda Gouge
Rhonda’s specialty is flat-picking the old time fiddle tunes but enjoys teaching finger-picking styles as well. This class will run through the basic chord series to get a feel for all players’ levels. We will work with lead lines and patterns, learn how they fit into the chords and learn leads for old-time fiddle tunes. Students should be proficient with chords and have a solid foundation on the guitar. A recording device is strongly recommended. Tab will be provided. Be prepared to have fun. Email Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or call 828-688-2043.
INTERMEDIATE GUITAR – Beverly Smith
This class is for people who already know basic chords and can move moderately between them. We’ll learn to back up fiddle tunes in a way that rocks! We’ll learn a lot of handy bass runs and how to get a good sound, groove and chord. We’ll be backing up a fiddler every day, playing tunes in all the common keys, and as time permits learn how to back up songs, crooked tunes and waltzes. I have a huge library of source recordings available for comparing guitar styles and though we will mostly be playing, playing, playing… we’ll also spend some time listening to the great players and learning from them. Please bring a recording device and a tuner. Be ready to have fun!
ADVANCED BEGINNER GUITAR – John Schwab
Old-time music is all about tradition, and the very best of today’s old-time musicians developed their styles by studying older-generation “source musicians” who grew up with this music in their own communities. Our inspiration will be the very best “Master” guitar players from the Golden Age of old-time music, the 1920s and ‘30s. We’ll listen to 78 rpm records and learn the secrets of solid, supportive, and dynamic backup. Bring your guitar, a capo and an electronic tuner. If you can download mp3 files (e.g., to a computer or an iPad), then practicing outside of class will be much easier. If you’re comfortable playing in the keys of G, D, and C, and if you can play at a dance tempo or anywhere close, then you’re ready for this class. We’ll learn to play a solid “BOOM-chick” rhythm, some useful bass runs and learn to anticipate chord changes and the chords to use. Come “Learn From the Masters!” www.L-Century.com; john@L-Century.com
INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED MANDOLIN – Carl Jones
In this week’s advanced/intermediate mandolin class, we’ll take basic 2 string “shapes” and see how they link up on the fingerboard. This along with basic music theory concepts will be our springboard for boosting our comfort zone and demystifying the instrument. We’ll apply our knowledge as we learn a few great tunes, explore some song back-up, and even a bit of how tune writing may be developed. A recording device and notepad are highly recommended. On our “mando” journey, confusion will be embraced with the fun of playing music always as our primary goal.
RHYTHM & REPERTOIRE –
Gail Heil & Bob Bovee (instructor changed due to illness) – Howard Rains
Howard Rains studies early Texas fiddle tunes learned from family, friends, and rare, old recordings. Howard’s unusual tunes come from a lost era of Texas fiddling that took place before the advent of Texas swing and the contest style of fiddling. Tunes will be played slowly at first for recording purposes and then with more speed to give students a chance to play them through a number of times before moving on. "Texas fiddle music is as diverse in its styles as is the nationalities of its people. From cowboy fiddlers to the Mexican conjunto influenced styles south along the Rio Grande to the Cajun and Louisiana influences in the East Texas Piney Woods, Mr. Rains is preserving this rich musical heritage for all to enjoy now and in generations to come." –Ted Branson, Under the X in Texas, KOOP Radio, Austin, TX
RHYTHM & REPERTOIRE – Walt Koken and Clare Milliner
Back by popular demand, Clare and Walt will play and teach fiddle and banjo tunes from their large repertoire, played as fiddle/banjo duets, fiddle or banjo solos, or fiddle duets. Possible guitar chords for the more elusive and obscure tunes will be suggested. Although Walt and Clare will discuss and play the tunes slowly as well as up to speed, the intent is not necessarily to teach the tunes note by note in class, but rather to lay out plenty of material for students to take with them to work on. In addition, Clare and Walt’s important book, The Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes, containing transcriptions of over 1400 tunes, will be available for perusal and purchase during the week. www.mudthumper.com or email at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
DULCIMER – Margaret Wright
All levels of dulcimer skill are welcome. Our focus will be old-time repertoire played with smooth fretting and an energetic strumming style, incorporating fingering skill and dexterity. Ear training is encouraged in a non-threatening manner as needed to play old-time music with enthusiasm and drive. Students will become comfortable with the fret-board, various tunings and keys, chords and melodic patterns. Tunes will be broken down so that new players and more advanced players can succeed and build repertoire. Tablature will be available (if desired), but tunes will be initially taught by rote. Jamming is highly encouraged at all levels, and I am always willing to devote attention outside of class to those who wish or need that. Tape recorders are encouraged and music stands discouraged. Bring a dulcimer capo, chromatic tuner and extra sets of strings and picks. If your dulcimer does not have a 6 ½ fret, please have one added. 936-655-2945 (h) or 936-222-1892; E-mail at email@example.com; www.jerrywrightfamily.com
HARMONY SINGING IN OLD-TIME MUSIC – Pete Peterson and Kellie Allen
Our starting beliefs: Singing is fun. Singing in harmony is even MORE fun! We will work with students to teach principles of duet singing. We’ll start by deconstructing some classic vocal duets from brothers (Monroe Brothers, Delmore Brothers, Blue Sky Boys), husband and wife (Grandpa and Ramona Jones, The Cooke Duet) and even cousins (The Carter Family). Students will learn their own vocal range and how to find a good harmony note. If time permits, we’ll spend a brief period on three and four part harmony arrangements. Bring your voice and a recording device.
COUNTRY SINGING – Alice Gerrard * CANCELLED *
Singing makes up a good majority of the traditional repertoire, whether it is fiddle tunes with words, an unaccompanied ballad or a good old country song. Singing is fun and can be learned by anyone. We will focus on traditional southern singing styles, both accompanied and unaccompanied. We’ll learn repertoire, how to find and use your voice and explore ways to become a stronger singer. We can develop our natural voices and work on learning to use them to get the sound we want that is in the country style. We will listen to other singers and ourselves. Harmony will not be our main focus, but if the class wishes, we can do some exploring.
Old-time Finger-style Banjo Basics – Steve Arkin * COURSE FULL *
Despite the current popularity of clawhammer styles among old-time players, the vast majority of historic old-time recordings feature two or three-finger banjo styles. This class will focus on a number of these styles—with special emphasis on fingerstyle banjo in a string band context. You will learn right hand patterns, rolls, and licks—and how to make sure that your playing stays in the old-time idiom and steers clear of telltale bluegrass licks and clichés that don’t work in an old-time context. Tabs of basic rolls and patterns will be distributed but students should have some prior experience with finger-picked banjo and/or guitar and be comfortable learning and playing by ear. Fingerpicks are recommended and recording devices (particularly video) are encouraged.
Harmony Singing – Ann Whitley, Jan Smith, Barbara Panter-Connah
The Rosin Sisters are leading a three-part harmony singing experience that will include a variety of song styles, including the Carter family, a cappella, Appalachian gospel and blues. We’ll explore how to find the baritone and tenor harmony parts that compliment the lead melody and discuss techniques to make songs sound authentic. The class will practice finding the right vocal range by breaking up into smaller groups to experiment with pitch and harmony parts. Hand-outs will be provided with lyrics and chords for those who play an instrument. Nothing is needed for the class except the desire to sing and have fun!
Songwriting – Carl Jones
In this class we will examine, explore, and encourage creativity, and one of the great ways to self expression is to write a song. I welcome folks who have never written anything, old pros, and anyone in between to bring an open mind and high expectations for amazing things to spring forth as we invite the X factor in for a visit, allowing the stream of consciousness to flow freely.
Beginning Bass – Rachel Melas
This mini-class will teach us how to play simple back up bass on old-time tunes using the “ones and fives” bass back-up style. If possible, we may move into simple bass runs and different positions on the neck. This course is for upright, acoustic bass playing. Bring your own bass if you have one; there will be basses to share as well. Please bring a recording device.
Beginning Guitar – John Schwab
As the matchbook cover says, “Play Guitar in 7 Days: Surprise your friends and relatives. Enjoy lots of fun and popularity. Be the one who always gets invited to parties.” This class will start from Ground Zero. We’ll learn chords in the most common keys for old-time music and will learn fundamental strums that you can use for breakdowns and waltzes or to accompany songs. Listening is central to learning to play, so we’ll listen to recordings of some really wonderful but straightforward old-time backup guitar playing. Bring your guitar and an electronic tuner. A flat pick is recommended, but you can play backup with finger picks or even without picks.
Songs of the Old West –
Bob Bovee (instructor changed due to illness) – Kellie Allen and Pete Peterson
We’ll delve into traditional Western songs, primarily pre-Hollywood/Sons of the Pioneers approach, focusing on authentic cowboy songs, but others as well. Since this was first and foremost a solo form, usually telling a story in song, we’ll concentrate on learning lyrics, melody and style. Bring your voice and we’ll all put them together on these songs and then try them individually. Instruments are welcome but not necessary..
Flatfoot and Buck Dance – Moonshine * COURSE FULL * — a second Flatfoot and Buck Dance class is now available
Banjo player and 2012 Alabama Tennessee Valley Old-time Fiddlers Convention Buck Dance Champion, Moonshine has a deep understanding of role of foot percussion in traditional music. Her instructional dance YouTube videos have helped flatfoot dance students around the world (www.youtube.com/user/moonshineV?feature=mhee). The workshop will pattern after her MoonshineV instructional videos, using the Tennessee Walking Step to create sound patterns appropriate for old-time tunes. Wear shoes that can slide and make sounds on a wooden surface (wide leather soles ideal).
Ukulele – Charlie Hartness
If you are looking for an instrument that is lightweight, inexpensive, fun and easy on the player, the uke fits the bill. We will focus on basic chords and the freight train strum to provide rhythmic drive support in tune sessions. The ukulele is a great accompaniment to singing and whistling. When you travel and don’t want the hassle of carrying bulky instrument cases, the uke is your pal. If you already play guitar the chord shapes will be familiar to you. Please bring a uke or banjo uke in good playing shape and tuned GCEA, a tuner and a recording device.
Beginner Mandolin – Rhonda Gouge
We will go over beginning chords and put them together in songs and tunes. We’ll learn scale patterns and work our way into a tune or two. A recording device is strongly recommended. Email Rhonda at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or call 828-688-2043.
Shaped-Note Singing – Laura Boosinger
Join us for a cappella shaped-note singing. We will be singing from The Christian Harmony, a seven-shape book traditionally used in Western North Carolina.
Flatfoot and Buck Dance – Paul Anderegg
Straight from the mountains of Appalachia this beginner friendly class introduces the student to the funny stories, history, culture, styles, steps and all-out fun of Appalachian percussive step dance. There will be demonstrations, practice sessions, questions, and music for all to enjoy. No special shoes or partner required. Students learn the Soldier’s March, Jimmy, Mitchell, Bowman, Leaf Shuffle, Zig Zags, Chugs, and Buck Step. Once these steps have been introduced, the six basic compound steps will be added, as well as a variety of motions and substitute sounds to create beautiful and hypnotizing rhythms.
Paul has won numerous awards for his old time style with repertoire of 300+ steps and has traveled widely studying many old time master flat-footers and buck dancers and kept his style native Appalachian. He has danced at the Kennedy Center and for the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
See his dancing at:
|Double Occupancy||Price includes meals, room, and program tuition. Attendees that do not request specific roommate will be assigned one by the BROTMW staff.||
|Single Occupancy||Price includes meals, room, and program tuition||
|Additional charge for air conditioned room (if available)||
|Commuter||Price includes lunch Monday through Friday.||
Non-participant attendee (double occupancy)
|Designed for spouses and/or friends that wish to attend the program but do not wish to attend class or workshops. Price includes meals, room and activity fee (staff concerts, etc.).||
|Mini-class/es (optional)||Afternoon mini-classes at 1:00 and 3:00||
Housing and Meals: Accommodations are provided in campus dormitories. Rooms are a suite arrangement with two bedrooms and a shared bath. All bedrooms have two twin beds and only a few are air-conditioned. Linens are provided. Although single accommodations are available, private baths are not.
Additional Amenities: Attendees have access to campus amenities, including tennis court, walking trails, etc. Meals are exceptional quality, with an all-you-can-eat hot buffet, grill, plus salad, dessert and drink bars.
Transportation: Mars Hill College is located 18 miles north of Asheville, NC, the largest city in the Western NC region. Asheville Regional Airport (code: AVL) is served by Continental, Delta, and US Airways and their regional affiliates. Direct flights are available to and from Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Greenville/Spartanburg, Newark, and Raleigh/Durham. The city also has a Greyhound bus terminal. Shuttle service from the airport or bus station to Mars Hill College may be arranged by contacting Sky Shuttle at (828) 253-0006. Please make shuttle arrangements before arriving in Asheville.