American Roots (2017 Listing)

These are classes from 2017. Stay tuned for the 2018 listings.

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Supported by Ft Knox/Kinross
Dale Durrwachter
Shannon & Wilson
CoordinatorRyan Bowers (rbowers@alumni.berklee.edu)

Feelin' the Blues

Price: $80

Days: MT (week 2),

Times: 2:00–4:00pm

Instructor: Joe Craven

Location: UCPC Gym

The blues are truly a foundation and inspiration for most traditional and contemporary vernacular American music. This adventure is open to all bowed instruments. We’ll listen to historical references from early recordings to the present. We’ll play basic forms (the 8, 12 and 16 bar and grill). We’ll feel the grooves from ballads to stomps, rumbas to shuffles, hand jive to swing. We’ll reference the melodic guidepost of the human voice, bending long and short tones and learn some tunes/songs that reflect them. [more]

Intro To Roots-Style Bass (for all levels)

Price: $60

Days: MTW (week 2),

Times: 9:00–10:00am

Instructor: Ryan Bowers

Location: UCPC Sunday School Room 2

This class will introduce bass players to the techniques, music theory, and ear training involved in learning and playing American roots styles by ear. Topics covered will include right- and left-hand techniques, Nashville numbers, identifying sections and parts of tunes and songs, identifying styles, selecting and playing stylistically-appropriate grooves, and maybe—if there's interest—playing while singing.

Brazilian Choro for Violin/Strings

Brazilian Choro for Violin/Strings

Price: $125

Days: MTWThF (week 2),

Times: 1:30–2:45pm

Instructor: Finn Magill

Location: UCPC Sunday School Room 2

Brazilian choro, an entirely instrumental genre originating in Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s has become a national musical language for Brazilian instrumentalists across genres. In this class we will spend a good portion learning the various grooves and rhythms which make up Choro, Samba, Forró and other Brazilian genres. We will learn a choro and learn how to stylize it as a Brazilian musician might: which ornaments to use and where, how to interpret the tune, and how to improvise within the tune.

Creative Improvisation & Composition Techniques

Creative Improvisation & Composition Techniques

Price: $40

Days: Th (week 2),

Times: 10:00–11:30am

Instructor: Finn Magill

Location: UCPC Sunday School Room 1

Ever find yourself in a creative rut? This workshop is meant to keep you inspired so when you begin feeling unmotivated you have an arsenal of techniques to climb out of that rut. We will discuss how to practice creative improvisation. All of us are creative individuals but we don't always know how to cultivate this innate ability. We will look at what other great composers have done, clever ways to keep our practice interesting, various muses, and how to develop a piece of music be it a composition or an improvised solo (and much much more!)

Grooves and Arranging for String Band

Price: $60

Days: WTh (week 2),

Times: 10:30am–12:00pm

Instructor: Ryan Bowers

Location: UCPC Fellowship Hall

Ryan Bowers reaches deep into his combined treasury of knowledge and experience to bring you a demonstration of how to apply basic rhythm grooves, bass lines, and feels to folk songs and original songs commonly played in string bands, both instrumental and vocal. Bring an instrument to try these ideas. We will explore ideas applicable to Americana: singer-songwriter stuff, blues, celtic, reggae, bluegrass and pan-grass.

Learning to play in the C chord and D chord positions on the Banjo

Learning to play in the C chord and D chord positions on the Banjo

Price: $110

Days: MWF (week 2),

Times: 10:00–11:50am

Instructor: Tom Adams

Location: UCPC Sunday School Room 1

With the banjo tuned to an Open G chord for 3-finger style bluegrass picking, playing tunes in the Key of G offers quite the safety net of open strings, and it’s the Key of G where a lot of pickers are most comfortable. Playing in the C chord and D chord positions bring new challenges to the player, and those new Keys can seem mysterious and unwieldy. But singers sing in all Keys. So, to fully enjoy the jamming experience, we’ll take what you already know about playing in G and translate those rolls and licks to make you a solid picker in C and D.

Music Improvisation for Everyone; In the Moment & Without a Net

Price: $60

Days: WTh (week 2),

Times: 1:00–2:30pm

Instructor: Joe Craven

Location: UCPC Gym

How do you make better music in the moment, jam confidently with folks you’ve never met, and/or say something different every time you take a solo? This class for ALL instruments will help deepen one’s connection to spontaneity and flow through organized sound. Joe teaches musical improvisation more from a theater model rather than the requisite model of jazz. Therefore, this is not an ability-based class. If you’re an advanced player seeking a ‘theory & technique’- oriented foray into improvisation, this class may not be for you. [more]

Next Step After Songwriting or Song Collecting; Interpretation and Musicianship

Price: $80

Days: MTWTh (week 2),

Times: 10:30–11:30am

Instructor: Joe Craven

Location: UCPC Gym

Bring a song or three that you’ve written or are near completion. Joe will listen to what you have and coach where you are and each song is. Need help with lyrics, rhythm, melody, phrasing? Want to make your song bluesier? Folkier? Funkier? Jazzier? Culturally specific? Rather than employing critique, we’ll use the “what if” method to learn fresh approaches to your songs. Even a cover that you would like to remake with your own unique interpretation is welcome. Joe is well known for his arrangement and production skills in music making.  All levels of experience are invited.

Playing solos up-the-neck in G on the Banjo

Playing solos up-the-neck in G on the Banjo

Price: $80

Days: MWF (week 2),

Times: 1:00–2:20pm

Instructor: Tom Adams

Location: UCPC Sunday School Room 1

Classic banjo solos by Earl Scruggs on tunes like Ground Speed and Dear Old Dixie – those tunes feature the upper register of the instrument. If you know the three basic chord shapes – F-shape, D-shape and the Barre-shape, you’re ready to take an up-the-neck solo played in the Scruggs-style. Two key parts to this kind of playing are 1) learning to play partial chords that use mostly two, sometimes three fingers on the fretting hand and 2) moving up and down the fingerboard on two strings rather than moving across the fingerboard on four strings at the same fret. Let’s Pick!

Rolling down-the-neck backup in G on the Banjo

Rolling down-the-neck backup in G on the Banjo

Price: $45

Days: Th (week 2),

Times: 3:00–4:50pm

Instructor: Tom Adams

Location: UCPC Sunday School Room 1

The fast, smooth banjo solos that Earl Scruggs recorded from 1946 – 1969 have drawn countless numbers of folks to pick up the instrument and give it a go. But those lead breaks are just one part (a major part, for sure) of the banjo’s role in a band setting. Equally important is the banjo as an accompanying instrument, contributing to the rhythm and the chordal sound, and it’s something that the banjoist in a traditional bluegrass ensemble does almost 70% of the time. Of all the things that the banjo could play, it’s the rolling down-the-neck backup in G that creates the distinctive, driving bluegrass sound.

Singin’ Country

Singin’ Country

Price: $80

Days: TWThF (week 2),

Times: 11:00–11:50am

Instructor: Ann-Marita Garsed

Location: UCPC Music Room

If your car radio is constantly tuned to your favorite country station, and you sing along to every song, you will enjoy this course! We will look at how country music has evolved through the decades, and with that, how the singing style has changed, also how the vocal style differs from other styles of popular music. Participants will pick one song each and bring sheet music/chord chart, either traditional country, modern country, or Americana. We will work on vocal style, vowels, “twang”, maybe adding a bit of yodel where needed, then performing the songs in a group setting. [more]

The Performing Songwriter

The Performing Songwriter

Price: $60

Days: TWTh (week 2),

Times: 9:00–9:50am

Instructor: Ann-Marita Garsed

Location: UCPC Music Room

Are you a songwriter, aspiring to perform your songs for other people? Then this class is for you. We will perform our songs in a round, and also in a performance setting, with all participants having the opportunity to give constructive feedback and ideas. We will also discuss the various ways a singer/songwriter can build their audience and their following, book their own shows, improve their live performances, and record their own music, among other things. You are welcome to accompany yourself or bring an accompanist.

The Process of Songwriting

Price: $80

Days: MTW (week 2),

Times: 1:30–3:00pm

Instructor: Ryan Bowers

Location: UCPC Student Lounge

Songwriting can seem like magic, even if you do it often, but you can control it! Develop your own writing process to write inspired songs intentionally. This class will focus on skills in critical listening, song analysis, idea collection, framing and development of ideas, and song editing. By the end of this class, you will have listened to and analyzed songs by well-respected writers in a wide variety of musical styles, and you will have written and begun editing a new original song of your own.

Ukulele

Ukulele

Price: $100

Days: MTWThF (week 2),

Times: 6:00–6:50pm

Instructor: Ukulele Russ

Location: UCPC Fellowship Hall

In this class Ukulele Russ will walk you through the make up and operation of the world's most fun instrument, the ukulele. We will discuss open chords and strumming patterns to get you playing your favorite songs in no time. Also Russ will give you a crash course on music theory as it relates to the ukulele so you can figure out songs and melodies on your own. By the end of the week we will try to escape the first 4 frets of the ukulele and explore the real estate up the neck of the uke. [more]

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