Singing With Soul – Within each of us lies a life-bringing capability to generate a unique and powerful sound. If you can discover a singular resonance on one vowel or one note, you can learn to gently grow and shape it to happen in your entire range of vocal tones. In these sessions, we’ll learn to play with our voice and sonically expand it so that even a single note can consistently create audible overtones. We’ll also learn to sing higher (and lower) by finding and capitalizing on our own “sweet spot” facial mask targets as we gently gain range without strain. Our ability to relax as we work together and groove as we move can be joyous in our work. Movement with "clarity over correctness" leads to greater expression - and emotion - for ourselves and those listening to us. Ultimately, we raise our resonant voices and listen simultaneously for the magic.
Intuitive Improvisation (all instruments) How do we make satisfying music informally with a) what we say b) how we say it, and c) in the moment with the grace of an egret in flight? It's a joy to jam confidently with folks we’ve never met, and say something different every time we take a solo. We'll explore a framework for what I call “intuitive improvisation” in music. There is no formal music theory accompanying advanced technical skills. In fact, I teach music improv more from a theater model (where improvisation really found it's legs long ago). I'll help you to connect movement and sound to what you already do and know, (which is more than you think).
These sessions will take a three-pronged look at: 1) Movement: rhythm as a priority over note choices. 2) Soloing: how to have what you say musically mirror the way you improvise speech. 3) Incremental learning: how to practice music anytime/anywhere without an instrument in your hands.
We’ll spend time learning to feel more comfy with spontaneity in both rhythm and melody. An important goal is to stay in the music and keep playing – even if you don’t have familiarity with the music being played. We will learn the value of absorbing, retaining, and expressing music, both in singing and through your other instruments. Another tip is spending a little less attention to WHAT you’re saying – and more about HOW and WHEN you’re saying it!
Cyd Smith Guitar Spicing Up Your Chords – Are you getting a little bored with your chords? Those first position triads can take you a long way, but if you want to spice up your harmonic palate, this class is for you. We’ll learn how basic triads are constructed and explore delicious chord tones you can add, all in the context of your instrument. This is a class with a bit of chord theory in it, but you’ll get a chance to apply it to your instrument right away. We’ll take a 3-chord song and add color tones, substitute different chords, and even re-harmonize it.
Songwriting Roadmap To A New Song – Looking for some jumper cables for a new or stalled out song? How about using a state-of-the-art chord progression from one of the great jazz standards to get yourself back on the road? In this class we’ll talk about what a chord progression is and how to get off the 1-4-5 interstate and into exotic tonal centers and common-tone crossroads. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, and you’re willing to take on a bit of chord theory, this class is for you! Here’s what I’d like for us to do together:
We’ll talk about chord progressions and song structure/form.
We’ll take a (relatively easy) standard, decipher the chord progression and the song structure, and then use it as a template.
We’ll see how getting into more complex chord progressions can offer us fresh melodic choices.
There will be in time in class to work on your own melody. These are ideas that can help you work on an existing song or inspire a new one.
Songwriting This Song is a Car – Songwriting is a craft – and an art. There are moments of inspiration when a song seems to be delivered into our ear and all we have to do is write it down. And then there is the rest of the time, when we need tools and some knowledge of how to use them. This will be a hands-on workshop. We’ll talk about songwriting. We’ll talk about how we can build a vehicle that will run on the energy of our emotion. We need wheels and an engine. We need a steering wheel. Sometimes I think about songwriting like it’s a car – a vehicle. It’s three minutes of energy; it needs a container and a delivery device. We’ll have some in-class exercises to get us started. At each session we might break out on our own for 20 minutes to write and then come back and try what we just created.
Songwriting at Lunch: Bring your lunch; we will workshop songs during the lunch hour. This class will be a safe place to try out your song. Maybe you're still writing it, or you wrote it last winter and you're not sure if it's done. Each day we will listen to each other's songs and help each other move our songs forward – with compassionate listening and feedback. We'll talk about songwriting, too – how do we start some new songs, or finish older ones. Come to listen or come to sing – everyone is invited.
Guitar Swing Style Rhythm Guitar – This class will concentrate on learning the fundamentals of swing rhythm as heard in the styles of Django Reinhardt, Freddie Green of the Count Basie band and the cowboy bands of the 30’s and 40’s such as the Sons of the Pioneers. We will learn the unique three- finger chord voicings that can be moved all over the neck (and are easier than barre chords!) These chords will be used in conjunction with the four to the bar down-stroke pattern that gives this style its drive. We will learn some basic songs and how to “jazz” them up by adding additional chords.
Basic Bluegrass Guitar – This class will explore the fundamental elements of the bluegrass guitar style from rhythm playing to single note melody lines. It is known as flat-picking since a guitar pick is used. We will explore the basic “boom-chuck” strum utilizing alternating bass notes and learn some bass runs to connect the chords together. We will also learn some single string techniques from the “Lester Flatt G run” to crosspicking. Of course we will learn some standard bluegrass songs so we can apply all these techniques. Students are encouraged to bring a capo so we can see how the bluegrass guitarist approaches the most commonly used keys. We will also do some improvising while we're at it.
Eric Jones Mandolin Beginning Mandolin – This class is tailored to first-time players and those would like to add mandolin to their musical tool belt. The class will help develop pick-control, build chords, and navigate the melody-friendly fret board. We will learn to play a fiddle tune or two and chord along with folk songs. Mandolin rhythm, double stops and back-up will round out the class.
Ukulele Beginning to intermediate Ukulele – This class is a warm supportive home for first time players as well as folks who’ve already got the basics but want something a little more. Over the course of the week we’ll arm beginners with the skills to enjoy a lifetime of strumming their favorite tunes while at the same time giving intermediate players the skills to spice up their three chords and the truth with new chord positions and arrangement ideas. We’ll have plenty of music available but feel free to bring along any songs you are hoping to learn to play.
Banjo Beginning/Intermediate Old Time Banjo – Always wanted to play old time banjo but were afraid you might frail? (It’s a banjo joke.) Bring or borrow a banjo and come learn how to build a tune clawhammer style. We’ll go over the basics of old time banjo playing, teach you the clawhammer strum, initiate you into the arcane secrets of old time banjo tunings, teach you to play a few tunes, and get you enough skills to back yourself or a friend up on a song or two or join a local jam. The class is a warm supportive home appropriate for beginners and will also provide intermediate players with some room to grow. Guitar players and Scruggs style pickers are welcome to join. The right hand technique is like nothing you’ve done before. It’ll put a grin on your face and drive away the kind of folks you don’t really want to know.
Guitar Beginning Guitar • 3 Easy Chords And A Song We will learn a few basic beginning guitar chords and an easy song or two. This class is for the beginner who would like to explore the instrument as a means of accompanying themselves while singing. (*Level 1)
Charlie Koch Survival Bass Would you like to be able to play electric bass at a jam? Or maybe in a band that already has a guitar player? We will focus on a few basic approaches to playing electric bass: moving between the root and the 5th of the chord, and walking from one chord to another. If you already have some skill playing guitar then by the end of this class you should be able to play along on many 3 chord tunes.
Art Open-Air Art Class: Linoleum Block Printing – This year, we will be spending time in the empowering, gratifying world oflinoleum block printing. You will transform a quick sketch into a finishedblock, which can be used to print a long list of items, includingstickers, greeting cards, and clothing. We will visit a couple of spotsnear Moab for our inspiration, and then will work outside (weatherpermitting) to complete the process. All you need to bring is a sketchbook or journal, and a pen (Sharpies work well) – I’ll provide the rest ofthe materials. No experience necessary. Come check out this simple yetpowerful art form!
Photography Sunrise Photography – Join professional landscape photographer Jon Fuller each morning for a short photo excursion to a good location each morning to learn how to take better photos while getting some beautiful images of the Moab landscape at sunrise. The classes are open to photographers of all skill levels, including iPhone-graphers. We will be carpooling each morning, so you don't have to have your own transportation in order to participate. Come and join us to bring home some beautiful visual memories of the Moab Folk Camp along with your musical ones.
* A note about guitar class levels: Level 1: Beginning players and those who need a little time to pause between changing chords Level 2: Can change chords without pausing and is familiar with an F chord Level 3: Comfortable with barre chords and some familiarity with playing up the neck