Music Workshops

Music Workshops Week 1           Music Workshops Week 2
 

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Week 1 Workshop Course Descriptions
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View the Common Ground on the Hill Catalog as a PDF HERE.

Traditions Week I: June 25 - 30

 

WEEK 1 MUSIC COURSES: Quick Links

Guitar     Fiddle     Banjo     Mandolin     Bass     Harp     Dulcimer    Wind/Free-Reed    

Piano     Band Workshops/Jams     Singing/Songwriting/Music Theory     Percussion     Recording


 

~ Guitar: Week 1 ~

Beginning Guitar

This class is for the true beginner. Learn to tune the guitar and play simple melodies; explore the fretboard; discover the simple mystery of rudimentary music theory; learn the five basic first position chord shapes in standard tuning; use a capo; get started with basic right and left hand mechanics (flat pick & finger style); gain understanding of the different types of notation and diagrams for guitar; and learn about useful resources and practices for our guitar voyages. Skill Level A  Period 2 ~ Caleb Stine

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All of the following guitar classes require that students have taken or have acquired the skills of Beginning Guitar, as described above.

Bass Guitar

Henry has played bass for 40 years in a variety of bands and styles ranging from rhythm and blues to big band. This is an intro to the instrument and will show bass players the basics on how to play rock, country western, blues, and elemental jazz. Basic reading, using lead sheets, and understanding music theory included.  Period 3 ~ Henry Reiff

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Beyond Beginning Guitar

This guitar class is for those who have already taken beginning guitar or who play a bit and don’t feel ready for a full intermediate guitar class. This class carries on from where beginner classes leave off, focusing on both finger picking and flat picking, and learning some enjoyable songs. Those students who are taking up the guitar after a long hiatus will find this class a good fit too. Skill Level A  Period 3 ~ Howie Bursen

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Bluegrass Guitar I

This guitar class will focus on getting you started on the road to playing solid bluegrass guitar, including rhythm and back-up playing, as well as learning easy flatpicking tunes and some basic scales, patterns and practice methods. Skill level B/C  Period 1 ~ Chris Luquette

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Bluegrass Guitar II

This guitar class will focus on bluegrass lead guitar, including tunes, soloing, back-up, chord shapes and other nuances of bluegrass guitar. We’ll take a look at music and chordtheory, methods and concepts for approaching improvisation and expanding your knowledge of the guitar neck. Skill Level C  Period 2 ~ Chris Luquette

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Blues Guitar Strategies in Standard Tuning

Build the groundwork blues guitar techniques that are the foundation for rock ‘n’ roll and contemporary country music. Examine the chord forms and techniques (that allow solo guitarists to sound like two guitarists) with an eye to understanding how to find and employ these sorts of forms up the neck and how best to use them as soloists. Gain a few chords, a few licks, a simple strategy, and enough guitar information to hold it all together. Skill Level B/C  Period  3 ~ Scott Ainslie

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Celtic Guitar I

Explore the techniques used for guitar accompaniment in Celtic music. Learn various tunings, chord shapes, rhythms, and the basics of playing guitar in this exciting context. Skill Level B  Period 3 ~ James Ryan

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Celtic Guitar II

For guitar players with strong foundational skills, this is an opportunity to take your guitar playing in a Celtic context to a new level!  Learn from one of the best in the current Irish trad scene. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~ James Ryan

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Finger PIcking Blues & Ragtime 

Explore left and right hand moves that drive this great feel good, Piedmont guitar style. Explore syncopation, movable chords, alternating thumb, and improvisation. Students will come away with a tune a day and as well as tools to apply to their own arrangements. Both the ability to read tab and finger picking experience will be helpful. Students are encouraged to record the class (audio). Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Mary Flower

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Open Tuning Arrangements for Guitar

Mary will bring some of her favorite tunes to this class to demonstrate the primitive yet brilliant nature of open tuning. Blind Blake, Bo Carter and Skip James (to name a few) all slacked their strings for their unique sounds. Class will explore how to listen, improvise, and find melodies and chords in a variety of tunings. Taping the class is encouraged and ability to read tab is extremely helpful. Please make sure your strings are relatively new and that you have a backup set. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~ Mary Flower

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Slide Technique & Repertoire in Standard & Open Tunings

This class begins with standard tuning, one string at a time, five new skills. Discover slide in standard tuning first and all the muting techniques necessary to make the music work without the harmonic support of open tunings. Students will come to understand and possess the keys to the kingdom of slide guitar. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~ Scott Ainslie

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~ Fiddle: Week 1 ~

Beginning Fiddle

From scratch, for the complete beginner, or for those that have just gotten a toe in the water or even a foot. This class will focus on all the basics and move on to learning tunes. You will leave the class with some tunes, practice techniques and an inspiration and confidence to follow your desire to play. Be sure to bring a recording device. Feel free to contact me about any concerns or questions. samjoe@juno.com. Skill Level A  Period 2 ~ Joe Herrmann

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Bluegrass Fiddle I

This class will teach the basics of bluegrass fiddle, including how to get a consistently good tone. Students will learn some entry-level tunes and be able to take home a beginning repertoire. Skill Level B  Period 1 ~ Randy Barrett

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Bluegrass Fiddle II

Learn a variety of bluegrass styles! Tunes, backup, leads, kick-offs, tags, and a number of other skills will be addressed. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Frank Solivan

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Celtic Fiddle I

Enter the world of Celtic music with one of its most iconic instruments: the fiddle! This is an opportunity for fiddle/violin players with a basic level proficiency to broaden and deepen their playing by learning a few Celtic tunes, learning to identify and play some different forms (jigs, marches, reels, etc.) and absorb some of the techniques that define the genre and the sound of Celtic music on the fiddle. Skill Level B  Period 4 ~ JC Morel

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Celtic Fiddle II

This class will focus on Celtic fiddle repertoire, including marches, airs, reels, jigs, hornpipes, and more. In the course of teaching tunes, the instructor will stop along the way to divulge important instruction on technique and stylistic nuance. Don't miss this opportunity to delve into this rich and vibrant musical tradition! Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~ JC Morel

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Old-Time Fiddle II

The focus of this class is for people that have already developed the basics of playing the fiddle. We will be drawing from the old-time repertoire to explore techniques that give old-time fiddle tunes unique expression. Working in the aural tradition (no written handouts will be provided), the class will aim to inspire confidence in one's own ability to practice and learn new tunes. We will focus on basic elements of music such as tone, rhythm, bowing, intonation and melody. By using these elements to teach simple, fun tunes, students will be directed and given access to a path of musical enjoyment and participation. Be sure to bring a recording device. Feel free to contact me about any concerns or questions. samjoe@juno.com. Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~ Joe Herrmann

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~ Banjo: Week 1 ~

Beginning Old-Time Banjo

Lydia Sylvia, well versed in clawhammer, two-finger, and three-finger banjo styles, is an ideal teacher to provide you with an introduction to old-time banjo styles, with all their regional and historical variations.  Much of that diversity is often overlooked in favor of a singular focus on the clawhammer style often found in contemporary old-time banjo music.  In this class however, Lydia will provide students with clawhammer basics and more, a comprehensive introduction to all the wonderful right-hand techniques she has encountered in her extensive study of Appalachian music.  If you're ready to dive into the world of old-time banjo, this is the class for you. Skill Level A/B  Period 1 ~ Lydia Sylvia Martin

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Bluegrass Banjo I - Scruggs 101

Learn to play the banjo in the style of the great Earl Scruggs, the cornerstone of bluegrass music. You will emerge from the class with a few Scruggs tunes under your belt, and a whole new lease on life. Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~ Mike Munford

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Bluegrass Banjo II

This class will cover advanced techniques including melodic and single-string style and how to belnd them seamlessly with a driving Scruggs underpinning. Learn from a celebrated banjo master the best way to approach a banjo break that leaves listeners wondering how you possibly did what you just did. Skill Level C  Period 4 ~ Mike Munford

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Old-Time Banjo II

In this class instructor Howie Bursen will help students who have some familiarity with the clawhammer style take their playing to a more versatile and accomplished level by introducing new right and left hand techniques, and sharing with students some of the particular components of his distinctive style. Take this opportunity to study with a phenomenal banjo stylist who can cover tunes, song accompaniment, and the techniques that help you unlock the rhythmic and melodic power of the banjo. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~ Howie Bursen

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~ Mandolin: Week 1 ~

Bluegrass Mandolin I

Proper setup of the mandolin, flat-picking technique overview featuring four basic styles of right-hand picking and two left-hand positions, several chord forms organized into systems, various strumming patterns, two kinds of tremolo, cross-picking, tools for developing and maintaining speed, basic scales and arpeggios, improvising solos, jamming etiquette, ideas for backing-up songs and overview of the classic bluegrass instrumental repertoire. Sample of Radim’s playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fGsINYelbA Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~ Radim Zenkl

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Bluegrass Mandolin II

Improve on technique, learn to incorporate double stops, increase chord knowledge and especially learn how to use chords that economize on movement. Each student’s goal will differ according to his/her needs. For all students, we hope to advance their ability to hear: what’s musical, how to touch the instrument to get a nice sound, and how to listen to all instruments in a group and hear how they work to complement each other. Skill Level C  Period 3 ~ Frank Solivan

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The World of Mandolin with Radim Zenkl

Radim Zenkl’s astonishing musicianship applies to his knowledge and interpretations of repertoires ranging from bluegrass to swing, Latin, Eastern European and more! Open up the vast possibilities of the mandolin and expand your stylistic horizons! Radim will teach tunes from various genres, and examine and explain techniques, nuances and possibilities along the way. An amazing chance to glean new music and knowledge from a true master of this endearing instrument. Open to mandolin students at the beginner-intermediate level and up. Players of other instruments may enroll, but should not expect playing instruction on instruments other than mandolin. Sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiJunO9WeHU   Skill Level C  Period 1 ~ Radim Zenkl

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~ Bass ~

Bluegrass Bass I

Learn how to hold the bass, right and left hand positions, and how to build a basic bass line in 4/4 and 3/4 time. We’ll talk about chords and do some ear training to help you find your way during a jam session. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~ Jeremy Middleton

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Bluegrass Bass II

Expand your options for getting from one chord to the next, adding some color and shape in the low end. We’ll explore walking bass, the blues, and slap bass. Skill Level C  Period 2 ~ Jeremy Middleton

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Bass Guitar

Henry has played bass for 40 years in a variety of bands and styles ranging from rhythm and blues to big band. This is an intro to the instrument and will show bass players the basics on how to play rock, country western, blues, and elemental jazz. Basic reading, using lead sheets, and understanding music theory included.  Period 3 ~ Henry Reiff

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~ Harp: Week 1 ~

Beginning Celtic Harp CANCELLED

Designed for those who have never played the harp at all. Several simple tunes will be taught during the course of learning your way around the instrument. The Instructor will introduce students to proper skills and technique for playing the Celtic harp. Purchase, tuning, and care of the instrument will be discussed, as well as ways to develop your own practice sessions once the class is over. Contact the instructor no later than June 15th at harp@triharpskel.com to arrange for a rental harp. Some rental harps may be available for rent or purchase at the end of the class if you want to continue your studies. For total beginners only, max. 10 students. Skill Level A  Period 1 ~ Jo Morrison

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Stress Free Harp CANCELLED

In this class, we will learn a variety of tunes by ear, but written music will be provided as soon as the student requests. Phrases will be repeated many times for stress-free learning.   Simple left-hand accompaniment will be taught as desired but it is not necessary to play both hands together during the class. For advanced beginners, people who want to learn slowly, or people returning to harp after a long absence. For those who like to learn slowly regardless of level, max. 12 students. Skill Level B  Period 2 ~ Jo Morrison

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~ Dulcimer: Week 1 ~

A limited number of loan instruments are available. Contact the office to reserve one early!

Mountain Dulcimer

The mountain dulcimer is known for its beautiful sound and ease of play. It is a great instrument for those who have always wanted to play a stringed instrument but who may have been wary. This class will begin in the Ionian mode (major scale, key of D) and start with basic strumming across all the strings to enjoy the drone qualities of the instrument. For dulcimer students who are more experienced, all songs will be taught with multiple levels of difficulty, so that the entire group can play together. The joy of singing folk songs and ballads with the mountain dulcimer with some introductory harmonies will be introduced. The beautiful modal qualities of the mountain dulcimer will be shared and a brief history of the mountain dulcimer will be presented. The class will progress at a relaxed pace while learning the melodies together. There will be a strong emphasis on learning by ear, the traditional way, but handouts will be available at the end of each class meeting. All students are encouraged to bring some kind of recording device. Skill Level A  Period 5 ~
Sally Rogers

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~ Wind & Free Reed Instruments ~

Beginning English Concertina

Several simple tunes will be taught to gain familiarity with the English Concertina fingerboard and bellows technique. Basic fingering, phrasing, expression, and playing styles will be discussed. For beginners and advanced beginners only. For English concertinas ONLY. If you are unsure if you have an English concertina, contact the instructor at tewok@portrigh.com. Skill Level A  Period 4 ~ Wayne Morrison

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Beginning Highland Bagpipe

Learn the rudiments of playing the Great Highland Bagpipe including basic fingering and embellishments. The different types of bagpipe music will be discussed and simple tunes will be taught. This is a class for beginners, and as such, there will be no learning done on the bagpipe itself. Students will learn on the bagpipe's practice instrument, the practice chanter. A limited number of practice chanters will be available for rent for the week. Contact the instructor by June 1 at tewok@portrigh.com to reserve a chanter. Skill Level A  Period 5 ~ Wayne Morrison

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Blues Harmonica

This class is designed to help students ‘get their head around’ playing the harmonica without reading music. It doesn’t matter if you like the ‘straight harp’ sound of Neil Young, Bob Dylan and country tunes or the ‘cross harp’ sound of blues and rock, this class is for you. Students will get an overview of how harmonicas work as well as how to care for them. We will listen to some classic harmonica tunes and map out how to play them. Students will explore different tones as well as amplification. Players are encouraged to play along with others and become aware of when and where to play. A harmonica in the key of C will be provided by the instructor ($10 fee) it is recommended that the students also bring a harmonica in the key of A (for blues and rock), available in the Common Ground on the Hill store.  Period 1 ~
Wayne Werner

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Celtic Flute & Whistles I

The wooden flute is a centerpiece melody instrument of Irish session music and is now found in a number of Scottish ensembles. In this class you will learn about the different styles of Irish flute playing and the effects of ornamentation and emphasis. Tunes can be taught on both Boehm (silver) and traditional wooden style flutes, as well as on Tin Whistle. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~ Julien Bruneteau

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Celtic Flute & Whistles II

This class will delve into tunes to help students expand their repertoires and improve their technique along the way. By allowing Boehm (silver) flutes, traditional wooden style flutes, as well as on Tin Whistle, this workshop will also give students a perspective on the intricacies of these various instruments and how they best contribute to Celtic music. Skill Level C  Period 3 ~ Julien Bruneteau

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Didgeridoo

No experience necessary! Students will learn tone production, breathing and different grooves, vocal ornaments, fine-tuning with embouchure and circular breathing. Bring your own didgeridoo in any key. If you do not have a didgeridoo and cannot borrow one, get a 2'' diameter plastic pipe, 47'' long, and a 2'' to 1.5'' coupling (for the mouth piece). Beginner and intermediate students welcome. Sample of Radim’s playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-qXow54CI  Period 4 ~ Radim Zenkl

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Native American Flute and Flute Playing

Become part of an immensely rich and ageless musical tradition. In this introductory class, you will have the unique opportunity to learn from a traditional master of the Native American flute community. Basic fingering techniques, ancient traditions, and “flute-flosophy” will all be covered in this course. With a little luck, your Native Flute will be playing you in no time. Bring your own. There is a suggested related course: Native American Flute Making with Robin Tillery (see below).  Period 3 ~ Robin Tillery

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Native American Flute Making

If you have ever been inspired by the sound of the haunting woodland flute of Native Americans, consider constructing your own personal cedar or cane flute under the guidance of an experienced craftsman. Your personal flute will be an ideal companion for personal meditation. Easy to play, you’ll enjoy hours of contented music-making alone or with other instruments. Please pre-register for this class so that instructor will be sure to have enough building materials on hand for all students. Students must be old enough to safely use power tools with instructions. Repeating students are welcome. There is a suggested related course: Native American Flute and Flute Playing (see above). Please register early for this class so that the instructor will be sure to have enough building materials on hand. All levels; limit 10 students; ages 12 and older. Materials fee: $30 to $40 Periods 3 & 4 ~
Robin Tillery

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~ Piano: Week 1 ~

Blues Piano

A class for students who already play some piano but want to learn to play blues. A step-by-step method leads you through what you need to play, whether as a soloist or as a member of a band. Learn some essential left-hand bass patterns as well as right-hand riffs, turnarounds, endings, and cool licks. Some knowledge of the keyboard is required for this class, especially basic major chords and octaves.   Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~
Jesse Palidofsky

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~ Band Workshops/Jams/Recording: Week 1 ~

Bluegrass Jam

Put into practice the music learned during classes as well as playing material that students bring into the mix.  Here we join in a supportive and nonthreatening environment to try your latest licks!  Period 5 ~
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, with Bluegrass Staff

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Celtic Session

This late-afternoon session will be run in the tradition of a free-wheeling Celtic session, encouraging everyone to take part. Session leaders will be sure to include students in this rare opportunity. Come play, sing, listen!  Period 5  ~
The Jeremiahs, Frank McGuire, Radim Zenkl

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Jug Band/Skiffle Band

Get ready to explore a great American musical tradition. Jug band music is all at once the blues, Dixieland jazz, old-time bluegrass, and traditional country music all rolled up into one. Skiffle is a variation of Jug band that often includes sax, clarinet, cornet and other brass/wind instruments, as well as more contemporary “Pop” tunes. Students are encouraged to bring jugs, kazoos, guitars, banjos, even horns. The only requirement is that you must have a good handle on your instrument (except jug, we’ll teach that) and can play a basic three-chord song in G or C at least. Bring an open mind and heart and let’s have a good time!  Period 2 ~
Slim Harrison

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Juke Joint Blues

The blues were born in the juke joints of the rural South. Learn and share blues repertoire in a nurturing, easygoing environment. All instruments welcome.  Period 5 ~
Mary Flower, Jesse Palidofsky, Henry Reiff

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Middle and Near Eastern Music

Be adventuresome and try a genre you (probably) haven't played before. Learn about the modes and approach used in Middle and Near Eastern music. All instruments are encouraged and special tutelage will be offered on oud and ney should any students request this focus. This class will be taught by ear but sheet music will be provided for those wishing to read.  Period 2 ~
Tareq Rantisi, Kenan Adnawi

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Old-Time Jam & Dance Lab

At its heart, Appalachian dance and music is best when it is shared in an informal context that encourages communication, improvisation, and fun. Come experience these traditions in their natural habitat. Bring an instrument and your dancing shoes. On the dance side, we'll do some freestyle flatfooting, and maybe a square dance or two! All are welcome.  Period 5 ~
Slim Harrison, Joe Herrmann, Lydia Sylvia Martin, Emily Oleson, Matthew Olwell

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~ Singing, Songwriting, Music Theory ~

Big Song Swap

Faculty and students come together for a feast of good songs: traditional, original, old and new. This is a rare opportunity to sing, play and even just listen. Teachable songs with good choruses highly encouraged! Faculty will facilitate the class, making sure that all those who care to do so will share or lead a song.  Period 5 ~
Dan Collins, Josh Hisle, Caleb Stine



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Bluegrass Harmony Singing

Human voices in harmony deliver a primordial power unlike any other form of music. This class will cover the classic lead, tenor, baritone arrangement as well as duet singing of the bluegrass tradition. Get ready to warm up your vocal chords and lean in close.  Period 3 ~ Randy Barrett, Dede Wyland

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Bluegrass Singing

Great bluegrass singers often appear able to effortlessly bring forth amazing sounds. In truth, good singing is rooted in proper breath control, posture and relaxation. Learn both the mechanics and the art of bluegrass singing from one of the best voice teachers around.  Period 1 ~
Dede Wyland

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Bluegrass/Americana Songwriting

Bring your song to life with image-filled lyrics. Write choruses that soar. Create melodies that match the mood of your song. We’ll write every day and get encouraging feedback from your classmates and instructor. If you’re ready, bring a song you wrote to the first class – burned to a CD and a copy of the lyrics. We’ll talk about what to do and what not to do, but mostly we’ll write and explore and share Period 4 ~
David Morris

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Creating Melody

Create unique melodies from scales, chords, words and random beginnings. We will explore melodic development and structure, guideposts that define memorable melodies, and “ear-worms.” Students will analyze existing work and receive suggested exercises and references for additional study. Students can present their own songs and tunes for critique. Learn how to preserve a new melody through notation and recording. The ability to read standard musical notation is very helpful but not necessary. The class will present and make use of the simple and widely used alternative to standard notion: ABC format.  Period 4 ~
Bill Troxler

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Gospel Music with Shelley Ensor

Join with Shelley Ensor as she leads a singing and film history of black gospel music. Starting with spirituals as popularized by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, moving into early gospel music personified by Thomas Dorsey, focusing on great gospel singers of the civil rights era such as Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples and finally highlighting contemporary icons such as Walter Hawkins, Hezekiah Walker and Fred Hammond, this class will be both informative and inspiring.  Period 2 ~
Shelley Ensor, Alice Dorsey

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Irish Song

Irish song is a rich, uninterrupted, direct line of song tradition. Come and learn some of the gems! Drawing on the traditional and the modern, from originals to Dublin street songs, this is sure to be a fun experience and include songs that sure to provide a lifetime of enjoyment.  Period 2 ~ Joe Gibney

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Just Enough Music Theory

This class covers scales; how to create chords; how chords fit together to form a harmonic progression; how to select chords to support a melody. Especially good for guitar players and songwriters. All instruments, all voices, all levels. Reading music is very helpful, but not essential.  This is a demonstration and discussion course.  Instruments are NOT required.  Period 1 ~
Bill Troxler

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Old-Time Song Repertoire

Through her lifelong travels in pursuit of music and time spent with true-vine Old-Time musicians in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Lydia Sylvia, as much as any young proponent of Old-Time music today, has discovered the true breadth and depth of the musical and cultural origins of this uniquely American music. Her soulful and powerful voice helps her deliver the songs she's learned along the way. In this class, Lydia shares with students some of her favorite songs, and the stories that accompany them. The focus will be on learning and singing songs, but if you have questions regarding accompanying songs on banjo or guitar, feel free to bring those along too. Add this class to your schedule as a highlight in your Old-Time experience, or as just the singing class you've been looking for!  Period 4 ~
Lydia Sylvia Martin

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Rise Up Singing

Sally and Howie. will prime you for your day of singing at Common Ground on the Hill. In the first half of the class, Sally will coax your larynx out of bed with her thirty years of music-teaching experience and extensive knowledge of vocalizing exercises. Howie will then take over the second-half by plugging your newly awakened voice into fun songs worth adding to any repertoire. Everything from warbling out the morning’s first notes to the joy of vocal improvising will be covered. Singers of every level are welcome!  Period 1 ~
Sally Rogers, Howie Bursen



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Singing the Blues

The voice is the most personal instrument and learning a new way to use it can transform you. African-rooted aesthetics – carrying traditional spiritual concerns – gradually brought the art of singing in America to dramatically new territory and changed what we expect of pop, blues, soul, jazz, gospel and even country singers today. From a white choirboy, folk singer, to stage singer and Blues singer, I’ve spent decades exploring what it means to sing in an African-influenced tradition. Come prepared to sing for us and learn something of the differences between European and African traditions and techniques/strategies to use your own voice to greater emotional effect. No instruments required. All levels.  Period 4 ~
Scott Ainslie

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Singing with Shelley Ensor

Take this rare opportunity to sing with vocalist and choral director Shelley Ensor.  This will be a freewheeling, fun-loving class including  gospel, blues, jazz, musicals, Motown and more.  Pianist Alice Dorsey will accompany.  Period 3 ~
Shelley Ensor, Alice Dorsey

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Songs from Latin America

In this interactive workshop participants will learn songs from different countries of Latin America. We’ll talk about the history behind each song and will explore the different cultural influences that contributed in their development. Music will include Afro-Caribbean rhythms such as the plena from Puerto Rico and Santería chants from Cuba; and rhythms from the Andes Mountain region such as the huayno. By the end of the week participants will have a better understanding and appreciation of the musical and cultural diversity of this magical region.  Period 2 ~
Diana V. Sáez

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Songwriting: Fishing with the Muse

Where do songs come from?  What's the difference between a song and a poem?  What lures can we pack in our Songwriting tackle box to be prepared when inspiration bubbles just under the surface?  In this workshop we will tackle these questions and more with a hands-on approach.  Bring a notebook.  We'll spend time dissecting songs from greats like Dylan and Hank, as well as our own.  Slant rhymes, scansion, and some other scary sounding literary terms will be explained for what they are: songwriter's bread and butter.  If you've written songs for years, or might want to start, this will be a great chance to dive deep into the oceans of Songwriting and explore the mysteries therein.  Who knows, maybe you'll even catch a song in the process.  Period 1 ~
Caleb Stine

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~ Percussion ~

Beginning Bodhrán

This class will give students a solid foundation of technique for playing the bodhrán, including tuning and tone production, hand and body alignment, and a variety of patterns for jigs and reels. Emphasis will be on playing by ear, musical sensitivity, and active listening. We will investigate the ways percussion is used in traditional Irish music and other forms, with a focus on ear development, and we will incorporate techniques from both top-end and double-ended styles of playing. Beginners are welcome, as are players who want to brush up on the basics or re-evaluate their technique. Audio recording devices are encouraged. Students must bringtheir own drums. Skill Level A  Period 3 ~ Matthew Olwell

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BodhráConstruction

Learn how to make the frame, apply the drum skin to the shell, how to tune and decorate your very own Bodhrán. A unique chance to build and learn to play this wonderful Celtic instrument. Taught by Frank McGuire, Bodhrán player/maker and percussionist.  frankmcguire79@hotmail.com  All materials supplied by the instructor. All levels; limit 8 students; ages 16 and older. Materials fee: $40.   Periods 1 & 2 ~ Frank McGuire 

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Riqq

The riqq, or deff, heard in folk, popular and classical music throughout the Mediterranean world, is the ancestor of the Western tambourine. This class will focus on basic techniques of the riqq with emphasis on typical Arab dance rhythms. Drums will be available for use during the week.  Period 3 ~ Tareq Rantisi, Kenan Adnawi

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Snare Drum

Today the snare drum can be found in music genres ranging from jazz, to rock, to pop and beyond.  The instrument's roots and its development can be tied to its use in the military.  As we go over rhythmic theory and the techniques of snare drumming,  we will examine the history of the snare drum in American military tradition and its adaptation into our everyday culture; i.e. how this “sword” became a “plowshare”.  Beginner to intermediate students welcome; material will be prepared for students at a variety of levels.  Period 2 ~ Alex Hisle

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~ Recording: Week 1~

Modern Music Technology and How to Use It CANCELLED

Building on basic sound engineering concepts and musical knowledge, this class will focus on what technology is available and what possibilities are out there to get that perfect recording or sound from your gear.  Students can bring gear or questions to the class for better clarification on how to use it and get the most out of your live performance or studio recording set up.  Learn auto tune, compression, the sound software “Reason”, and much more to maximize your musical creativity and experimentation as well as enhancing the equipment you already have or have been thinking about buying! Limit 12 students.  Period 2 ~ Phil Spiess

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Recording Your Music

Have you ever wanted to record yourself or others but never quite knew how or where to start? Well, now you have the chance!  Learn basic recording techniques that can be applied to any form of recording from digital to tape. You will learn the basic physics of sound, how to set up microphones, and how to record multi track songs. The course will finish with recording yourself and your classmates (so bring a flash drive so that you will be able to receive copies of the class’ recordings). Limit 12 students.   Periods 4 & 5 ~ Phil Spiess

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Music Workshops

 Music Workshops Week 1          Music Workshops Week 2

Schedule-at-a-Glance Evening Events
Faculty General Info FAQ Register

 

Week 2 Workshop Course Descriptions
Special Gatherings Distinctive Lectures   Literary & Performance Arts   Music Courses
 Dance   Human Arts    World Village   Visual Arts


Download Common Ground on the Hill Catalog as a PDF HERE.

Traditions Week 2: July 3 - July 8

Week 2 Workshop Categories: Quick Links

      

~ WEEK 2 MUSIC COURSES: Quick Links ~

Guitar         Fiddle     Banjo     Mandolin     Ukulele     Bass     Harp     Dulcimers     Wind & Free Reed Instruments    

Piano     Band Workshops & Jams     Singing,Songwriting, Music Theory     Percussion     Recording


~ Guitar: Week 2 ~


Beginning Guitar

In this class for the true beginner, we will have fun learning how to tune the guitar and play simple melodies and easy songs while we explore the order of the guitar fretboard; discover the simple mystery of rudimentary music theory; try out the five basic first position chord shapes in standard tuning; use a capo; get started with basic right and left hand mechanics (flat pick & finger style); gain understanding of the different types of notation and diagrams for guitar and learn about all the useful resources and practices to keep us afloat on our guitar voyages. NOTE: Two separate classes are offered. Skill Level A   Period 1 ~
Caleb  Stine; Period 4 ~ Liza DiSavino

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All of the following guitar classes require that students have taken or have the acquired skills of Beginning Guitar, as described above.


Blues Electric Guitar

We’ll acquire the basic skills to organize the fingerboard and learn to play in the styles of B.B. King and Albert King. It’s easier than you think! We’ll also discuss the techniques of many other favorite players and how they get their sounds. The instructor will take a look at each student’s guitar and perform a basic setup to optimize playability, and offer lots of advice concerning amps, effects pedal, etc.—whatever you want to know! Students are encouraged to bring a small amp to class, along with a tuner, guitar cable, and extension cord. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~
Harry Orlove

 

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Brazilian Guitar & Song (Bossa Nova)

This course is designed to give students a basic musical knowledge and appreciation of Brazilian music. The class will begin with a short introduction to Brazilian culture and the history of Brazilian music. Students will sing and learn the accompaniment of the captivating Bossa Nova and will learn the basic rhythmic patterns used in the guitar accompaniment of Bossa Nova. They will learn the lyrics of well-known and most popular Bossa Nova songs in Portuguese or English. Students will also have the opportunity to learn other traditional rhythmic patterns used in Brazilian guitar styles.Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~
Patricio Acevedo

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East Coast Blues Guitar Repertoire

Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell, Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Carl Martin, and Brownie McGhee are just a few of the iconic names associated with the raggy, intricate genre known as East Coast guitar style. In this class we’ll look at some classic arrangements, focusing on the right- and left-hand techniques that are the foundation for this engaging school of guitar. Students are urged to bring an audio recorder to class; videotaping will be allowed at the discretion of the instructor. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~
Martin Grosswendt

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Guitar According to Robin Bullock

A workshop that is sure to provide guitar players with skills and ideas they can continue to use for years to come, this class with one of modern acoustic music's finest proponents will survey diverse musical genres and techniques as Robin shares his approach to interpreting and arranging music for the guitar. Robin will present selections that highlight his use of various right hand techniques, alternate tunings and more. He will offer insight into his unique style and help students, by unlocking the guitar's versatility, find their own. Skill Level C  Period 1 ~
Robin Bullock

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Intermediate Slide Guitar: Slidin' the Blues

Learn the rudiments “bottleneck” or “slide” guitar techniques, including different tunings, how to “hold the bottleneck,” etc. We’ll explore the techniques of Rev. Pearly Brown, Johnny Shines, Robert Johnson, and Fred McDowell. Students must bring: a steel stringed guitar (NO plastic or gut stringed instruments) and a medium to heavy metal slide (heavy glass slide OK). Songs learned will be tailored to skill level of the class. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~ Sparky Rucker

 

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Intro to Swing Rhythm Guitar: Three Strings, No Waiting

Playing swing rhythm is big fun, and easier than you think. Using just a few easy chords and right- and left-hand techniques, you can start comping your way to four-beat heaven. We’ll learn the basic three-finger chord fingerings and the best way to move from one chord to the next, as well as the left-hand muting that helps give swing rhythm its distinctive sound. We’ll also work on keeping a relaxed, swinging rhythm going with the right hand. Using simple, easy-to-understand rhythm charts, we’ll be playing great swing standards in no time. Students should bring an audio recorder to class; video recording will be at the discretion of the instructor.Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~
Martin Grosswendt

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Jazz Guitar Topics – Versatile & Easy 

Did you ever entertain playing jazz or swing guitar but hesitate because you thought it too difficult? Well, relax and jump in. This class is an introduction to 3-note “big band” chords, and an introduction to improvising over chord changes. We’ll look at chords by learning a family of chord voicings and applying them to songs such as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “I Got Rhythm,” and others.  We’ll approach improvising by looking at what is probably the most common chord sequence in jazz, the II/V progression, learning by example through compositions of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and others. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~ Joe Selly

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Jazz Mandolin & Jazz Guitar

The jazz mandolinist’s repertoire includes swing, be-bop, Brazilian, and other styles of jazz, and also reflects the Blues in many ways. Thelonious Monk had twenty-four points of advice for jazz musicians. We’ll cover them and much more as we focus on many tunes not taught before in this course, such as:Afternoon In Parisby John Lewis,Boplicityby Miles Davis,Nuageby Django Reinhardt,Now Is The Timeby Charlie Parker,You Don’t Know What Love Isby Raye and DePaul,Carinhosoby Pixinguinha, and of courseBlue Monkby Monk. We'll explore melody harmony, and improvisation in a combo-like setting permitting students to “sit in” with guitar and/or bass accompaniment. We’ll also look at the works of Luiz Bonfa, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Bobby Timmons, and Jerome Kerns. The course is taught by long-time Common Ground mandolinist Tim Porter with jazz guitarist Joe Selly, and is primarily for intermediate and beyond players, but all players are welcome and will find it worthwhile.Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~
Tim Porter, Joe Selly

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Mariachi Guitar

This class will introduce students to the style, rhythms, and chord progressions allowing one to play along with most Mariachi music. By deconstructing the elements into parts that can be digested and reconstituting it all through slow practice, repetition and good fun, you'll come away from this having all the basic building blocks necessary to explore the music of Mexico and further south. In addition to the rhythms and chords, you'll learn some of the traditional solo picking material for songs like Cascabel, La Bamba, Guantanamera, La Negra, and more! Come prepared with any instrument that you can strum, pick, and/or play chords. Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~
Michael Ronstadt

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Old-Time Guitar II with Danny Knicely

Danny Knicely is a rare musician, with the ability to move effortlessly and authentically from old-time to bluegrass music and back again.  Take your old-time guitar playing to a higher level without sacrificing the nuance of supportive old-time rhythm guitar.  Students will learn tunes as well as accompaniment. Skill Level C  Period 2 ~
Danny Knicely

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Play the Blues with Guy Davis 

From the traditional to the contemporary, from the rural to the urbane, Guy Davis’ mastery of the blues knows no limits. Guy is sure to weave this workshop experience together with laughter, compelling story, and song as well as clear instruction in technique. With his voice, his poetry, his tasteful playing and his song. Guy will provide students with an example of the sincere approach to music that has made him one of one of the true stars of blues music today. Got the blues? Don’t miss this one! This is a guitar-based workshop but singers, harmonica players, and others are welcome to attend. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Guy Davis

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~ Fiddle: Week 2 ~

Beginning Fiddle

This beginning level class will teach the basics of playing the fiddle, with the goal of having students emerge from the class with the confidence and techniques necessary to play simple fiddle tunes. Tuning, bowing, scales, intonation, and a few simple tunes will be taught in this first step into the fascinating and fun world of fiddling. This course is designed for people who have never before picked up the fiddle/violin. If you are conversant with the instrument, it is recommended that you instead take classes that focus on style and/or genre. Skill Level A  Period 4 ~
Ken Kolodner

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Celtic Fiddle

Enter the world of Celtic music with one of its most iconic instruments: the fiddle! This is an opportunity for fiddle/violin players with a basic level of proficiency to broaden and deepen their playing by learning a few Celtic tunes, learning to identify and play some different forms (jigs, marches, reels, etc) and absorbing some of the techniques that define the genre and the sound of Celtic music on the fiddle. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~
Ryan Koons

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Estonian Folk Dance, Music & Craft FULL

Delve into the folk dance, music, and craft of their home country, from young Estonian artists. Experience an authentic multi-disciplinary cross-cultural exchange while learning first-hand about these rich traditions. Learn Estonian folk songs on fiddle through listening and repetition, without written materials. Dancers will learn some of the most famous Estonian folk dances. For all skill levels! For additional details about this workshop and the Paide-Westminster Partner City Program, click HERE. Presented in partnership with the Westminster – Paide Partner City Program.  Period 3 ~ Members of the Paide Gymnasium Folk Dance Group

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Old-Time Fiddle I

This class will teach the basics of old-time fiddling and is a stepping stone to more advanced playing. We will focus on learning traditional fiddle tunes and styles from the Appalachian region and on the basic bowing techniques and phrasing that define the old-time style. The class will be taught by ear keeping with the oral tradition, but sheet music can be provided upon request. Some knowledge of how to play the instrument is helpful but old-time experience is not required. Skill Level B  Period 3 ~ Rachel Eddy

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Old-Time Fiddle II

This class will focus primarily on how to help your fiddling sound better and more driving, and is intended for those who can learn tunes by ear and play at a reasonable speed. It will be geared toward learning how to use bow pulses, bowing phrases, and note combinations to give fiddle tunes a shape and groove. In learning these things we will also explore ways to be more consistent players and realize how important that is in terms of leadership in jams. This will not be a repertoire-heavy class, but rather learning tunes that utilize certain helpful techniques, and really working hard to know them before you leave. There will be lots of playing time, as fingers on strings is the best way to take home what you learn! Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~
Rachel Eddy

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~ Banjo: Week 2 ~

Beginning Old-Time Banjo

In this introduction to the old-time clawhammer banjo style, we will examine and practice the fundamentals of this very accessible, very fun, and increasingly popular style of banjo playing. No banjo playing experience is necessary; true beginners are welcome. Upon completion of the course, you will have a couple of tunes under your belt and an understanding of the basic techniques and skills needed to play clawhammer banjo. Whether helping you experience the rich and vibrant heritage of Appalachian string band music, accompanying you in a song, or just giving voice to a tune in your heart, the banjo will be your lifelong friend! Skill Level A  Period 1 ~ Brad Kolodner

 

Old-Time Banjo II: Beyond the Bum-Ditty

In this workshop, Brad Kolodner, two-time Clifftop banjo contest finalist and one of the country’s top clawhammer banjo players, will explore the versatile nature of the banjo and go "beyond the bum-ditty." Tunes in various tunings will be taught as a vehicle for exploring a variety of techniques and ideas including but not limited to going up the neck, syncopated and melodic drop-thumb, ghost strums, bass-lines, triplet pull-offs, fretting the fifth string, back-up ideas, playing with others and achieving good tone. The workshop will be geared towards intermediate to advanced players who can comfortably play a few tunes but are looking to expand upon their technique and take their playing to the next level. Regardless of your skill level, you will walk out of the workshop with a handful of new tips and tricks to implement in your playing. Skill Level B/C   Period 2 ~ Brad Kolodner

 

~ Mandolin: Week 2 ~


Beginning Mandolin

Because of its small size and orderly fingerboard, the mandolin is used in many styles of traditional music and is a great choice for first stringed instrument. If you already play something else, even better! This course will cover the basics of chords and accompaniment with introduction to tunes and melody. Skills for making music with others will also be emphasized. Skill Level A  Period 1 ~
Christopher James

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Blues Mandolin

Many people are unaware that the mandolin was common in early Delta string bands. Mandolinists were present and featured as both accompanists and soloists at the first Delta recording sessions for both Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. This class will explore the rich history of Mando Blues. Students will learn to play a blues scale and voicings for 7th chords, which are essential for playing the blues. We will cover 12 bar and 8 bar blues progressions that can be used to play many tunes by blues giants such as Mississippi John Hurt and Robert Johnson. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~
Christopher James

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Celtic Mandolin

This class will explore the music of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and other Celtic and Celtic-derived traditions, interpreted on mandolin. We’ll work toward achieving optimum tone and a flowing melodic sound with efficient left- and right-hand technique, pick selection and grip, and discuss lift, ornamentation, the fine art of picking up tunes by ear on the fly, and other facets of bringing the music to life on this "newcomer" of an instrument. An audio recorder is recommended. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~
Robin Bullock

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Jazz Mandolin & Jazz Guitar

The jazz mandolinist’s repertoire includes swing, be-bop, Brazilian, and other styles of jazz, and also reflects the Blues in many ways. Thelonious Monk had twenty-four points of advice for jazz musicians. We’ll cover them and much more as we focus on many tunes not taught before in this course, such as:Afternoon In Parisby John Lewis,Boplicityby Miles Davis,Nuageby Django Reinhardt,Now Is The Timeby Charlie Parker,You Don’t Know What Love Isby Raye and DePaul,Carinhosoby Pixinguinha, and of courseBlue Monkby Monk. We'll explore melody harmony, and improvisation in a combo-like setting permitting students to “sit in” with guitar and/or bass accompaniment. We’ll also look at the works of Luiz Bonfa, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Bobby Timmons, and Jerome Kerns. The course is taught by long-time Common Ground mandolinist Tim Porter with jazz guitarist Joe Selly, and is primarily for intermediate and beyond players, but all players are welcome and will find it worthwhile.Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~
Tim Porter, Joe Selly

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Old-Time Mandolin I

We'll learn tunes and accompaniment and investigate the underling rhythmic factors attached to the melodies that make Old Time music so foot tap-able. Skill Level B  Period 4 ~
Danny Knicely

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Old-Time Mandolin II

We'll learn tunes complete with ornamentation and explore new ways of filling out a melody with open strings and double-stops. We'll also be spicing up our accompaniment with counterpoint and chord variations. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~ Danny Knicely

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Swing Mandolin

The main focus of this class is on improvising over the standard swing chord progressions and playing backup rhythm. It will include: scales and arpeggios covering the whole fretboard, step by step method for practicing an improvisation, basic and advanced chord forms organized into 'good voicings', strumming patterns, chord chart reading and writing, arranging a tune, ear training and standard jazz repertoire. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Radim Zenkl

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The World of Mandolin with Radim Zenkl

Radim Zenkl’s astonishing musicianship applies to his knowledge and interpretations of repertoires ranging from bluegrass to swing, Latin, Eastern European and more! Open up the vast possibilities of the mandolin and expand your stylistic horizons! Radim will teach tunes from various genres, and examine and explain techniques, nuances and possibilities along the way. An amazing chance to glean new music and knowledge from a true master of this endearing instrument. Open to mandolin students at the beginner-intermediate level and up. Players of other instruments may enroll, but should not expect playing instruction on instruments other than mandolin. Sample:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiJunO9WeHU. Skill Level C   Period 3 ~ Radim Zenkl

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~ Ukulele: Week 2 ~

Beginning Ukulele

Gain the basics on the ukulele: tuning, chords and strumming patterns as well as fun ukulele tunes. Learn to play many styles of music in many keys. No music reading skills required. Folks who already have some playing experience can work on new strums, picking patterns and techniques and learn more about what else can be done on the ukulele. Some ukuleles will be available for loan. Please email instructor if instrument is needed. Skill Level A  Period 3 ~ Christopher James

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~ Bass, Cello: Week 2 ~

Bass Tutorial

This class will cover beginning basics on bass, as well as technique, basic theory, and lots of other useful information and tips for players just starting out on bass, and those with some playing behind them but ready for an infusion of growth in their playing! The instructors will be teaching from the perspective of acoustic bass, but electric bass players are welcome.  Period 2 ~
Ralph Gordon

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Cello Tutorial

This class will cover beginning basics on cello, as well as technique, basic theory, and lots of other useful information and tips for players ranging from beginner to more advanced. For those with more cello experience, but ready for an infusion of growth in their playing, we will look at cello playing from the many roles it can play like a large fiddle, or as a miniature and portable bass, as a guitar, and as a lead instrument.  Period 1 ~
Michael Ronstadt

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~ Harp: Week 2~

Medieval Improvisation for Harp

An adventure in Medieval improvisation using diatonic modes and phrases from actual Medieval music. Improvisation is about playing some things, not all things. Learn how to make choices based on Medieval musical phrases and style. Good for all levels of students who already play harp. Skill Level B/C  Period 1 ~ Therese Honey

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Traditional Aires for Harp

Aires can be a challenge to play with sensitivity and expressiveness. Our goal is to play the harp sounding as if we were singing. We will discuss ‘sean-nos’ singing and ornamentation. Good for all levels of students who already play harp. Skill Level B/C  Period 2 ~ Therese Honey

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Jo's Harp Favorites

Jo will share some of her favorite tunes, complete with harp arrangements. These will be simple tunes with complex possibilities for harmonization. We will learn each tune thoroughly and take time to discuss options for harmonizations. Tunes will range from shape-note tunes to Celtic favorites. Good for all levels of students who already play harp. Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~ Jo Morrison

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Stunning Harp Music from Around the World

This is a continuation of a popular class from last year – all new tunes.  There are a huge number of beautiful tunes that we rarely hear because they are not of the Western tradition. This class will learn some of the more exotic, less-familiar tunes that still resonate with the Western ear. The tunes themselves will be kept simple enough for all levels, with more complex accompaniment options available. You may find yourself charmed by a whole new genre of music. All levels of students who already play harp. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Jo Morrison

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Cantigas de Santa Maria for Harp

The Cantigas are 13th century songs about the miracles of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Learn how to interpret the music using the words as inspiration for harp arrangement. We will arrange these tunes for your harp and learn how to use them as a basis for creating new music. Good for all levels of students who already play harp. Skill Level B/C  Period 5 ~ Therese Honey

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~ Dulcimers: Mountain and Hammered: Week 2 ~

Hammered Dulcimer with Ken Kolodner

This two-period morning course focuses on incorporating a variety of techniques in arranging (e.g. three note chords, valley rolls, bass lines, tremolos, arpeggio fills, etc.), the development of hammering skill, the application of chord theory, and accompaniment ideas. These techniques will be applied in a variety of traditional old-time and Celtic tunes which will be taught through demonstration, by ear, and using standard musical notation. Full written arrangements of the tunes also will be provided. Use of a recording device is highly recommended. Note: This is a 2-period class.  Periods 1 & 2 ~
Ken Kolodner

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Mountain Dulcimer

The mountain dulcimer is known for its beautiful sound and ease of play. It is a great instrument for those who have always wanted to play a stringed instrument but who may have been wary. This class will begin in the Ionian mode and start with basic strumming across all the strings to enjoy the drone qualities of the instrument. For dulcimer students returning to Common Ground on the Hill, a new curriculum will be covered this year, building on the foundation established in the past. The joy of singing folk songs and ballads with the mountain dulcimer with some introductory harmonies will be introduced. The beautiful modal qualities of the mountain dulcimer will be shared and a brief history of the mountain dulcimer will be presented. The class will progress at a relaxed pace while learning the melodies together. Skill Level A  Period 3 ~
Susan Boyer Haley

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~ Wind & Free Reed Instruments: Week 2 ~


Beginning Blues Harmonica

Whooping and Wailing! Join Rhonda Rucker as she teaches the fundamentals of playing blues on the harmonica. Students will start out learning how to get single, clear notes, then quickly progress to 12-bar blues. Then the class will expand to techniques such as chugging, bending notes, and trills. Rhonda will teach blues riffs and help students begin to improvise. Bring a working diatonic harmonica (something like a Marine Band) in the key of “A” for this class. If you have other keys, bring them for jams. A portable recorder is not necessary, but it can be helpful.  Period 2 ~ Rhonda Rucker

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Beginning Fujara & Koncovka Overtone Flutes

No music experience necessary to learn to play the easy instruments intuitively first, using overtone scale and no fingering, then add additional tones, play simple traditional melodies and Amazing Grace by the end of the week. Everybody starts on both instruments and can choose to concentrate on one later on. Fujara in G and koncovka in C is recommended, there will be loaner instruments available in class. Recording device recommended.Skill Level A  Period 3 ~ Bob Rychlik

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Beginning Tin Whistle

Tin whistle is one of the oldest, most portable and least complicated instruments in traditional music. Ever wish you could play it? Multi-instrumentalist Liza DiSavino will show you how by teaching the fundamentals of the instrument, such as proper fingering, breathing technique, and embouchure-mouth position. A repertoire of fun and easy-to-play tunes from the American and Celtic traditions will be covered. Whistles in the key of D are required, and will be sold at the Common Ground on the Hill store. Skill Level A  Period 3 ~
Liza DiSavino

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Blues Harmonica II

Students should be familiar with breathing patterns and be able to play strong single notes. We will review the technique of "bending notes." These notes not only allow for a more chromatic approach, but they also help us personalize our sound & style. They introduce us to different playing positions as well. The class encourages singing in order to learn more about phrasing: when we sing we don't play, and vice versa. We each have a unique inner dance - lose the fear of using it in order to express its lyricism. Participants need a diatonic harmonica in the key of A (if you have additional keys, such as D and G, bring them as well). Skill Level B/C  Period 3 ~
Guy Davis

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Didgeridoo

No experience necessary! Students will learn tone production, breathing and different grooves, vocal ornaments, animal sound imitations, fine-tuning with embouchure and circular breathing. Bring your own didgeridoo in any key. If you do not have a didgeridoo and cannot borrow one, get a 2'' diameter plastic pipe, 47'' long, and a 2'' to 1.5'' coupling (for the mouth piece). Beginner and intermediate students welcome. Sample of Radim’s playing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-qXow54CI    Period 2 ~ Radim Zenkl

 

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Fujara & Koncovka Overtone Flutes II

Advance your playing to the next level by extending range, improving performance and effects, adding melodic introductions to songs, play in more major and minor keys, playing more traditional and current music, playing in duo and group. Fujara in G and koncovka in C is recommended, there will be loaner instruments available in class. Recording device recommended.Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Bob Rychlik

 

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Native American Flute Making 

Construct your own cedar or cane flute under the guidance of an experienced craftsman. Please register early for this class so that the instructor will be sure to have enough building materials on hand for all students. Students must be old enough to safely use power tools with instructions. Repeating students are welcome. Please register early for this class so that the instructor will be sure to have enough building materials. All levels; limit 10 students; ages 12 and older. Materials fee: $30 to $40.  Periods 1 & 2 ~ Robin Tillery

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Play the Blues with Guy Davis

From the traditional to the contemporary, from the rural to the urbane, Guy Davis’ mastery of the blues knows no limits. Guy is sure to weave this workshop experience together with laughter, compelling story, and song as well as clear instruction in technique. With his voice, his poetry, his tasteful playing and his song. Guy will provide students with an example of the sincere approach to music that has made him one of one of the true stars of blues music today. Got the blues? Don’t miss this one! This is a guitar-based workshop but singers, harmonica players, and others are welcome to attend. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~ Guy Davis

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~ Piano: Week 2 ~

Beginning Piano

A class for students who already play some piano but want to learn how to improvise and play by ear – whether as a soloist or as a member of a band. You will learn: basic song progressions and rhythmic grooves; major and minor blues scales as the building blocks to improvisation; fundamental left-hand bass patterns; interesting chord inversions and turnarounds. Some knowledge of the keyboard is required for this class. Skill level A  Period 2 ~
A.J. Bodnar

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Blues Piano I: Blues, Barrelhouse, and Boogie-Woogie

A class for students who already play some piano but want to learn to play blues. A step-by-step method leads you through what you need to play, whether as a soloist or as a member of a band. Rhonda shows you some essential left-hand bass patterns as well as right-hand riffs, turnarounds, endings, and cool licks. Some knowledge of the keyboard is required for this class, especially basic major chords and octaves. If in doubt, feel free to email Rhonda at info@sparkyandrhonda.com. Skill Level B/C   Period 3 ~
Rhonda Rucker

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Blues Piano with Professor Louie

If you already play piano and are ready to get into blues, barrelhouse, boogie-woogie or rock playing, Louie starts with fairly simple rhythm patterns, expanding into solo playing. He systematically builds strength and agility, first in the right hand, then in the left, until you are playing complicated right- and left-hand patterns and are on your way to playing both lead and rhythm piano. He gives hints and pointers about playing in the traditional blues/rock & folk styles, both as a soloist and as a member of a band. Learn how to sing along or accompany a singer while playing some “Band” songs and blues favorites. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~
Professor Louie

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~ Band Workshops and Jams: Week 2 ~

Bowed String Ensemble

This class is open to anyone who plays a bowed instrument, including cello, fiddle, viola, and string bass. The goal of the class will be to play these bowed instruments as an ensemble, with an eye towards some of the modern arrangements and techniques. The class will explore the ways the bowed instrument family is used in traditional and contemporary Americana music. Fiddle tunes from old-time, contra dance, Scottish, and Irish repertoires will be included, as well as how to create bass lines, harmonies, melodic accompaniment, and how to employ rhythmic bowing techniques. Skill Level B/C  Period 4 ~
Michael Ronstadt, Ralph Gordon, Ryan Koons

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Celtic Session

This late-afternoon session will be run in the tradition of a free-wheeling Celtic session, encouraging everyone to take part. Session leaders will be sure to include students in this rare opportunity. Come play, sing, listen!  Period 5 ~
Robin Bullock, Ryan Koons, Frank McGuire, Dominick Murray

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Jug Band/Skiffle Band

Get ready to explore a great American musical tradition. Jug band music is all at once the blues, Dixieland jazz, old-time bluegrass, and traditional country music all rolled up into one. Skiffle is a variation of Jug band that often includes sax, clarinet, cornet, and other brass/wind instruments, as well as more contemporary “Pop” tunes. Students are encouraged to bring jugs, kazoos, guitars, banjos, even horns. The only requirement is that you must have a good handle on your instrument (except jug, we’ll teach that) and can play a basic three-chord song in G or C at least. Bring an open mind and heart and let’s have a good time!  Period 2 ~ Slim Harrison

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Juke Joint Blues

The blues were born in the juke joints of the rural South. This class is an opportunity for students to learn and share blues repertoire in a nurturing, freewheeling environment. Beginning to intermediate level players with all instruments are welcome.  Period 5 ~ Guy Davis, Professor Louie, Christopher James, Sparky Rucker, Martin Grosswendt

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Music of The Band

Did you ever want to play in Bob Dylan’s band? Well, now you can! This workshop will feature the music of the legendary group The Band, and will be led by its co-producer and keyboard player from the 90s, Professor Louie. Bring your instruments and your voices and play and sing some of the classics such as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “I Shall Be Released,” “The Shape I’m In,” "The Weight" and so many more!  Period 4 ~
Professor Louie, Harry Orlove

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Old-Time Jam & Dance

At its heart, Appalachian dance and music is best when it is shared in an informal context that encourages communication, improvisation, and fun. Come experience these traditions in their natural habitat. Bring an instrument and your dancing shoes. On the dance side, we'll do some freestyle flatfooting, and maybe a square dance or two! All are welcome.  Period 5 ~ 
Rachel Eddy, Slim Harrison, Danny Knicely, Brad Kolodner, Ken Kolodner

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Swing Band & Swing Dance

This collaborative and multi-faceted workshop will surely draw your attention! Do some swing dancing with Miranda Ten Broeke and Bill Vanaver of the Vanaver Caravan! Also not to be missed is the chance for instrumentalists to join guitarist Joe Selly, bassist Ralph Gordon, and mandolinist Radim Zenkl for break-out sessions as well as ensemble playing (other instruments, and all levels are welcome). This is going to be one fun-packed, swinging, rocking good time!  Period 5 ~ 
Ralph Gordon, Joe Selly, Radim Zenkl, Miranda ten Broeke, Bill Vanaver

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~ Singing, Songwriting, Music Theory: Week 2 ~

Big Song Swap

This late afternoon class will bring faculty and students together in a feast of good songs: traditional, original, old and new. In an era of musical hype and performance overload, this is a rare opportunity to sing, play and even just listen. Teachable songs with good choruses highly encouraged! Faculty will facilitate the class, making sure that all those who care to do so will share or lead a song.  Period 5 ~ Susan Boyer Haley, A.J. Bodnar, Dan Collins, Tim Scully, Caleb Stine, Livia Vanaver

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Creating Melody

Create unique melodies from scales, chords, words and random beginnings. We will explore melodic development and structure, guideposts that define memorable melodies, and “ear-worms.” Students will analyze existing work and receive suggested exercises and references for additional study. Students can present their own songs and tunes for critique. Learn how to preserve a new melody through notation and recording. The ability to read standard musical notation is very helpful but not necessary. The class will present and make use of the simple and widely used alternative to standard notion: ABC format.  Period 3 ~
Bill Troxler

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Gospel Music with Shelley Ensor

Join with Shelley Ensor as she leads a singing and film history of black gospel music. Starting with spirituals as popularized by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, moving into early gospel music personified by Thomas Dorsey, focusing on great gospel singers of the civil rights era such as Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples and finally highlighting contemporary icons such as Walter Hawkins, Hezekiah Walker and Fred Hammond, this class will be both informative and inspiring.  Period 2 ~ Shelley Ensor, Alice Dorsey

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How Can I Keep from Singing?

This is a class for all students who love to sing! It is not necessary to be an experienced singer, but the class is for students who enjoy singing and want to sing. The music is based on the American folk song tradition. The song material covered will be meaningful, soulful, loving, humorous, and fun. These songs can then be shared with your families and communities in the year ahead, or simply enjoyed by YOU!  Period 2 ~ Susan Boyer Haley

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Irish Song: It's All About the Story

One of the more attractive aspects of the Irish tradition is the storytelling. It was nearly required that all would have a "party piece" - the poem, song, or recitation to share when people got together. During this class, we'll develop a repertoire of stories. Emigration, love, reminiscence, heroes, tributes...there's a song for all reasons. And the ones we'll learn will tell a story. Join us in the gathering.  Period 4 ~ Dominick Murray

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Just Enough Music Theory

This class covers scales, how to create chords, how chords fit together to form a harmonic progression, and how to select chords to support a melody. Especially good for guitar players and songwriters. All instruments, all voices, all levels. Reading music is very helpful, but not essential. This is a demonstration and discussion course. Instruments are NOT required.  Period 4 ~ Bill Troxler

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Rise Up Singing

Liza & A.J. will prime you for your day of singing at Common Ground on the Hill. In the first half of the class, Liza will coax your larynx out of bed with her thirty years of music-teaching experience and extensive knowledge of vocalizing exercises. A.J. will then playfully take over the second-half by plugging your newly awakened voice into fun songs worth adding to any repertoire. Everything from warbling out the morning’s first notes to the joy of vocal improvising will be covered. Singers of every level are welcome!  Period 1 ~
A.J. Bodnar, Liza DiSavino

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Singing with Shelley Ensor

Take this rare opportunity to sing with vocalist and choral director Shelley Ensor. This will be a freewheeling, fun-loving class including  gospel, blues, jazz, musicals, Motown and more. Pianist Alice Dorsey will accompany.  Period 3 ~
Shelley Ensor, Alice Dorsey

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Sing Out Loud: Blues Shouting, Soul Singing, Hip Swaying, & Writing

Have you ever wanted to sing Soul or Blues Music? Have you ever wanted to scat like Ella, growl like Otis, and do a run like Aretha? Well, the “Sing Out Loud” is your opportunity to learn soul singing techniques in a fun supportive environment. Soul, Blues, Jazz, and Gospel are about freedom; being able to sing your emotions and create your own individual sound beyond the written music. This class will empower anyone who loves singing! You will learn to control your voice and release mentally. You will also get a brief knowledge of the origins of this popular singing style that has influenced the world’s music! You will also have an opportunity to write your own song! It’s time to get loose and get free in a great group singing atmosphere...First timers, old timers, whatever you are come have some fun!  Period 5 ~
Jonathan Gilmore

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Songs of Political Change

Sparky and Rhonda will explore a host of songs for social change, music that lends itself to wonderful harmonies. They’ll draw material from the Underground Railroad, voting rights, labor unions, the civil rights movement, and the struggles against strip mining and mountaintop removal. In this class, you’ll find that the movements for justice have produced some of the most inspiring songs and stories in our history.  Period 4 ~ Sparky & Rhonda Rucker

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Songwriting: Fishing with the Muse

Where do songs come from? What's the difference between a song and a poem? What lures can we pack in our Songwriting tackle box to be prepared when inspiration bubbles just under the surface? In this workshop we will tackle these questions and more with a hands-on approach. Bring a notebook. We'll spend time dissecting songs from greats like Dylan and Hank, as well as our own. Slant rhymes, scansion, and some other scary sounding literary terms will be explained for what they are: songwriter's bread and butter. If you've written songs for years, or might want to start, this will be a great chance to dive deep into the oceans of Songwriting and explore the mysteries therein. Who knows, maybe you'll even catch a song in the process.  Period 4 ~
Caleb Stine

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Songwriting with Others and Living to Tell About It

Sometimes, two heads are better than one. Some of the most memorable songs were co-writes. Lennon and McCartney ring a bell? We’ll write together, in pairs, learning along the way about resolving disagreements, solving problems, knowing when to give in and when to stand your ground. Yes, co-writing is a lot like dating. Bring an idea for a song – a title, perhaps, or a line or two – and we’ll start collaborating Period 3 ~ David Morris

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World Song

Join Bill & Livia Vanaver on a musical trip around the world with recordings, reminiscences, and demonstrations of music from around the globe. Gain an overview of various singing styles, learn how to count odd rhythms in flamenco and Balkan music, gain insights about the social roles of music styles from Balinese to Bluegrass, and hear how cross cultural "mixing," urbanization, and commercialization change musical forms. We'll also have opportunities to play and sing music from many backgrounds, so bring an instrument or just your voice and ears.  Period 2 ~
Bill & Livia Vanaver

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~ Percussion: Week 2 ~

 

African Drumming

This morning course will teach the rudiments and nuances of African drumming as played for dance. Drumming is a community-building experience; teenage understudies from the Sankofa Youth Ensemble will assist. Students should supply their own drums. Some drums will be available and can be purchased before the course convenes.  Period 1 ~
Jumoke Ajanku

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Beginning Bodhran

This class will teach beginners on the bodhran how create the heartbeat of Celtic music. Topics covered will include: holding the drum, holding the tipper or beater, creating tones, rhythmic patterns of jigs and reels and how to play triplets. Attention will be given to care and maintenanceof the head. Demonstration will show how to make an inexpensive drum sound great. Lots of playing time. Students must bring their own drums. Skill Level A  Period 3 ~
Frank McGuire

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Bodhrán Construction


Learn how to make the frame, apply the drum skin to the shell, how to tune and decorate your very own Bodhrán. A unique chance to build and learn to play this wonderful Celtic instrument. Taught by Frank McGuire, Bodhrán player/maker and percussionist.  frankmcguire79@hotmail.com  All materials supplied by the instructor. All levels; limit 8 students; ages 16 and older. Materials fee: $40. NOTE: This is a 2-period class.  Periods 1 & 2 ~ Frank McGuire

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Brazilian Percussion Ensemble Workshop

Experience the excitement and exotic rhythms of carnival, learning the basic patterns of samba and Bahia styles, as well as other traditional rhythms such as Afoxe, Maracatu, and Baiao. Instruments will be provided for a maximum of 16 students. NOTE: Students enrolling must commit to a Friday night performance.  Period 3 ~
Patricio Acevedo

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~ Recording: Week 2 ~

So You Wanna Make a CD?

It may be easier than you think but it pays to learn as much as you can before you begin! In this daily class participants will learn how to organize their project, including arranging material, contracting musicians, choosing an appropriate recording facility, and a myriad of other factors that go into a producing a successful recording project. Your instructor, Harry Orlove, who has produced countless projects in L.A., will demonstrate how all the pieces fit together in the Common Ground recording studio on the last day of class.  Period 2 ~ Harry Orlove

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