Please note that prices are in USD. If for whatever reason you can't afford the workshop, but would like to take it, email me and we'll find a way to make it work.
Understanding Your Clawhammer Tools
In the 30 years I've been playing clawhammer banjo, I could break down pretty much anything I've ever played into 3 right-hand techniques, and 3 left-hand techniques. They are (on the right hand), – “the basic strum”, “double-thumbing”, and “drop-thumbing”; (on the left hand) “hammer-on”, “pull-off” and “slide”. These are the “elements” - they are the tools you have at hand to express yourself musically. Your understanding of how they work, what they allow you to do, and your ability to execute each technique in the most efficient way is the key to clawhammer happiness.
In this workshop, I will go deep on each of these techniques. I'll start by breaking down the mechanics; with a focus on economy of motion. I'll teach each one more or less from scratch with the goal of highlighting the most common mistakes people tend to make, and how to correct them. We'll be working in slow motion, so we can focus on each “moment” of each technique. At the risk of being perceived as a total banjo-geek, I've found that getting into the minutia of the mechanics is really helpful to players of all levels. It only takes a small amount of wasted motion to cause you to always be “playing catch-up”, which may be what's preventing you from taking your playing to the next level (particularly in regards to tone and rhythm).
Once we get through with the “how”, we'll move on to the “why” and “when”. Although most players can perform each of these techniques with varying degrees of proficiency, I've noticed that very few have a good understanding of what each tool allows them to do (and, just as importantly, the limitations). As we move through each of the techniques, we'll start “building” an arrangement of a familiar tune. We'll see how the addition of each technique allows us to get a more complete version of the melody...not always better, but more melodic. For many people, understanding these principles is the thing that “turns the light bulb on” and changes your playing from a memorization exercise to truly speaking the language of music (playing by ear, improvisation, learning tunes on the fly).
I will finish off with some thoughts about an effective way of practicing these techniques, especially if you've been doing it another way for some time and are trying to break old habits.
Please Note – If you took the workshop I did in early May entitled “Building Tunes in Layers”, there will be some amount of overlap with this workshop. The difference is, I'll be be focusing on the mechanics of each technique which I didn't do in the previous workshop. Also, if you own my DVD “The Elements of Clawhammer Banjo” you'll also notice some overlap, although, I filmed that 13 years ago, and I feel like my teaching has changed a lot in that time, so you might consider this workshop an updated version of that DVD.
How It Works
This workshop will take place on Sunday, August 16th on Zoom at 2pm EST. It will be between 1.5 – 2 hours in duration. If you take the workshop live, you'll be able to ask questions in real-time using the “chat” function. When you sign up for the workshop, you will receive an email with an invitation (link) to join a Zoom meeting, along with instructions on how to do so on the day of the workshop.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THIS WORKSHOP LIVE – don't worry if you can't make it on the day of the event. You can take this workshop any time, the only difference is that you won't be able to ask questions in “real-time”. For those that take the workshop in “re-run” form, I will have a blog set up for you to ask any questions that may come up.
After the workshop, you will be provided with...
a written overview of the course,
-links for video demos of each technique
3 tunes tabbed out using the “layering” system (3 versions of each tune) with videos
Video of the whole workshop as it went down live on Zoom
A Word About Level
I'd say this workshops is geared towards "middle beginner" to "advanced intermediate"....or anyone who would like to re-evaluate their basic technique. As I've said before, I find the whole level thing a bit ambiguous as I've seen lots of folks at workshops who can play some fairly advanced things, but have a poor grasp of the fundamentals and the musicality that goes along with it. I hope my description will give you an idea of whether this class will be of interest to you, whatever level you may be. Please feel free to contact me if you need clarification. Click to email me.
PURCHASE PAST WORKSHOPS
You don't have to take these workshops live, they are archived for you to purchase and participate in any old time! You get access to video of the entire workshop as well as all support material provided. There's even a blog for you to ask questions (although not in real time). Click on the links below to read detailed descriptions and order.