AI-101 Fall Series 2004
Acoustic Instruments 101
This workshop provides opportunities to meet and play with other musicians and to adopt new, effective approaches for learning music!
We devote a large portion of time to practicing and memorizing new material, including:
American old-time music
At times we breakout into small rehearsal groups. We have an excellent setting for doing so, with five separate rooms, and a piano in the main room.
Occasionally we work in a "master class" format, where one member has a short private lesson while the class observes.
How does it work?
I focus on teaching melodies to fiddlers and mandolinists, while teaching accompaniment skills to guitarists -- often I encourage guitarists to learn melodies as well. We work together to memorize pieces, simultaneously exploring various study skills. You can read the treble clef or tablature notation provided, but I encourage people to learn by ear. We practice by ear in a number of ways, primarily breaking the piece into manageable chunks, but we also "chase tunes." When "chasing tunes" we play straight through, and you catch what you can on each pass. It's a challenging way to learn, but it's an important traditional skill that prepares you for joining the many old-time or Celtic sessions in the bay area ... and it can be really fun ... assuming that you're not tired! When trouble ensues we revert to working on chunks.
Players of varying levels are welcome, however you should have a few months of experience, the ability to play a few pieces smoothly, and the ability to read treble clef, tablature notation ... or learn by ear -- a very important way to learn!
We welcome other instrumentalists, anyone who can read treble clef, or who can learn by ear however I only provide tablature notation for fiddle, mandolin and guitar ... perhaps tablature for old-time banjo.
Guitarists should be comfortable strumming with a pick, switching smoothly between basic chords: A, C, D, E, G, Am, Dm, Em ... or be prepared to work pretty hard! Guitarists will need a Shubb capo, or similar type of capo.
What to bring: One or more instruments. Guitarists and banjoists, bring a capo! Tape recorders, Minidisc recorders, and other recording devices are welcome and recommended!
Please bring a music stand to class, and have your instrument tuned and ready to play.
Come and join us! Most people think they're not ready for this class ... that their mere presence will spoil everything for everybody! This mild form of "we're not worthy" syndrome is exactly the type of erroneous thinking that keeps many people holed up home with a bad case of woodshed-itis. We have a consistently wonderful group of friendly, inclusive, even tolerant members.
Besides the simple love of music, the biggest motivators in music are, playing music with people, seeing people play music right there in front of you, performing, and meeting other musicians and being musically creative. In Acoustic Instruments 101, we do all these things!
Bluegrass, American Old-time, Folk, Celtic (Irish Scottish), International ...