Classes & Schedule

Classes & Schedule 2018-02-03T09:51:47+00:00

Advanced Fiddle​ with Shay Garriock​ ( video / video )

The advanced fiddle class will focus on learning a small number of beautiful, melodic fiddle tunes from​ ​the southern Appalachians with the goal of introducing more complex bowing techniques and embellishments that can ultimately be incorporated into other tunes. Both standard and cross tunings​ ​will be used. The student should already have a sizable repertoire in several keys and be able to play at​ ​a moderate to fast pace. Tunes will be taught directly, broken down into sections, and at a leisurely​ ​pace. Variations in the bowing and melody will accompany each tune. A recording device is​ ​recommended. Techniques and embellishments covered will include circle and figure-8 bowing, slides​ ​and grace notes, chords, syncopation, use of flattened notes, and bow dragging. Finally, changing​ ​volume (dynamics) and accenting the downbeat for dancing will be emphasized. If time allows, there will be some coverage of techniques to improve power, projection, and presence in your fiddle playing.

​Intermediate Fiddle​ with Rachel Eddy​ ( video / video )

This fiddle workshop will focus primarily on how to help your fiddling sound old timey and more driving. It will be geared toward learning how to use bow pulses, bowing phrases, and note combinations to give fiddle tunes a shape. In learning these things we will also explore ways to be more consistent players, and how important that is in terms of leadership in jams. This will not be a repertoire heavy class, but rather using a few 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! The class will be taught by ear and recordings encouraged for take home practice.

Advanced Banjo​ with Allison De Groot​ ( video / video )

This class is designed for those who are very comfortable with clawhammer techniques and are looking to explore broader concepts. We will work creating variations on tunes and break from muscle memory, some exercises for technique, time, accuracy and listening skills. We’ll fit these concepts into tunes so we can build repertoire at the same time. The goal is to walk away with some new tunes, new ideas to apply to material you already know and to address any roadblocks you may be having . There is an emphasis on learning by ear so please bring a tape recorder (tablature can be provided upon request). Looking forward to working with you!

Intermediate Banjo with B​en Nelson  ( video )

This class will explore the art of playing the banjo together. Playing – participating freely and joyfully – and together – striving for genuine interaction with fellow musicians. We’ll focus on the role of clawhammer banjo in a group setting, whether a jam, a string band, or a fiddle-banjo duet. Starting with the rhythmic canvas of the basic “bump-ditty,” we’ll draw out a few layers of technique that can express more musical possibilities: approaching chord changes and unfamiliar melodies, responding to rhythmic shifts, and creating space within the “bump-ditty.” To hone our listening skills, we’ll practice learning entirely by ear, and even let a few games and dances bring out the music that’s already within us. Specific tunes will help illustrate particular concepts or techniques, but the class will focus on building a palette of musical skills, not a collection of repertoire.

Participants should already be comfortable keeping a steady clawhammer banjo “bump-ditty” rhythm at moderate speed, while playing a basic melody without embellishments; and should be self-sufficient at tuning to open G or A and “double” C or D. Please bring a banjo in playable condition, an extra set of strings, a device for audio and/or video recording, and an electronic tuner.

Intermediate & Advanced Guitar with Trevor McKenzie ( video / video )

The course will focus on developing thundering bass runs and driving rhythm on guitar in a string band setting, behind fiddle/banjo, and singing. We will take inspiration from elder string band and solo guitar players from the southwest Virginia/western North Carolina area. Attention will be paid to placing bass runs around tune melodies and using the guitar to provide a steady rhythm as well as drive/interplay with other instruments. Teaching will be predominantly by ear, however, recording is encouraged and time will be taken to break down runs and melodies. Pending student interest, elements of basic crosspicked lead guitar or piedmont blues fingerpicking will be explored. Students will need a flatpick, tuner, capo, and be willing to sing like nobody’s listening.

Intermediate & Advanced Dance with Becky Hill ( video )

Appalachian dance is a blend of Irish, West African, and Native American Indian dances and has close ties to Appalachian old-time music. We will explore clogging, flatfooting and square dancing and learn how to create our own steps, improvise to live music, call basic square dance figures, and combine the styles that have come out of Appalachia to create something of our own. We will also discuss the history of these traditions and watch archival footage. No previous experience necessary, all levels are welcome. Wear leather bottoms, or smooth soled shoes.

Appalachian Singing​ with Emily Miller​  ( video )

This class will focus on singing styles and performance techniques for traditional and early country songs, both for lead and harmony lines. Songs will be taught by ear to the whole group, but there will be ample opportunities for small group singing and master-class-style individual feedback. Students are encouraged to record the class for practicing at during the weekend and back at home. All levels are welcome, however students will get more out of the class if they can comfortably learn a part by ear and hold it on their own.

Old Time Music Heritage of the Blue Ridge with Mac Traynham & Andy Buckman ( video )

Students in this class will be introduced to the old-time music and music makers of the Floyd Virginia area of the who have influenced the playing of Mac Traynham and Andy Buckman. Field recordings, videos, and other forms of recording will be listened to and discussed to help students become acquainted with the distinctive features of the old-time music that evolved in this area of Southwest Virginia. Students are encouraged to bring instruments and will be shown the basic techniques needed to play dance tunes in a way that actually invites good dancers to get up and dance. Depending on the participants’ experience, groups will be formed and coached to play a few ‘local’ tunes with distinctive techniques.

While the fiddle and banjo are at the core of the local ‘dance’ music, the role of other instruments including guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and bass will be demonstrated, and analyzed in the record. The influence of songs and singing as found in the secular and sacred music traditions of the Blue Ridge will be touched upon as well. Students are encouraged to make audio recordings to help gain a better understanding of the older ‘sound’ that is distinctive and still alive in this region.

*You may select your preferred instructor during checkout. Thanks!



2pm – 5pm: Registration/check in
4:30pm – 5pm: EcoVillage Tour
5pm – 6pm: Settle in
6pm – 7pm: Dinner
7pm – 8pm: Orientation/instructor intros
8pm – 10pm: Square Dance in Celebration Hall at The Event Center
10pm: Jamming/sleep/etc


7am – 9am: Coffee & Breakfast
9am – 12pm: Morning Instructional Session
12pm – 1pm: Lunch
1pm – 2:00pm: Afternoon Session: Staff Sampler
3pm – 4pm: Masterclass: TBA
4pm – 5pm: Workshop Session
5:15pm – 6:30pm: Dinner
6:30pm –10:30pm: Friday Night Jamboree @ Floyd Country Store
6:30pm – late: Jamming at Eco Village


7am – 9am: Coffee & Breakfast
9am – 12pm: Morning Session
12pm – 1pm: Lunch
1pm – 2pm: Afternoon Session
3pm – 4pm: Masterclass: TBA
4pm – 5pm: Workshop Session
5:30pm – 6:30pm: Dinner
7pm – 8pm: Staff Concert in Celebration Hall
8pm – 10pm: Dance in Celebration Hall
10pm – late: Jamming / hanging


7am – 9am: Coffee & Breakfast
9am – 12pm: Morning Session
12pm – 1pm: Lunch
1pm – 1:30pm: Check-out
Optional: 1:30pm – 3:30pm: Old Time Jam at Floyd Country Store with locals

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