December 17, 2014

Steve’s Workshop Titles

Steve provides workshops in several formats (1-1/2 hrs, 3 hrs, day-long, weekend and week-long), tailoring them to the needs of the gathered participants.  Some of these are instrument-specific but most can be organized for the instruments of your choice.

For planning purposes, here are several titles he has offered recently:

(If you don’t see the one that interests you, then contact him with your request to have one designed for your group or festival.)

 

ALL INSTRUMENTS  (Workshops can be together or tailored to a specific instrument)

Another Jig Will Do (all instruments)

Workshops for Guitar, Mountain and/or Hammered Dulcimer exploring Celtic Music and rhythms:  This can focus on Jigs, Slip Jigs and Slides or compare/contrast Strathspeys, Reels, Hornpipes and more.

String-Side Up or Square One (all instruments)

Absolute Beginning workshop for getting started playing Mountain Dulcimer or Hammered Dulcimer or Guitar, or Mandolin or Bowed Psaltery or Autoharp.

Learning By Ear and By Eye (all instruments)

How do melodies work?  How do chord progressions help us learn songs and tunes?  How do we find and play songs on our instruments with or without written music?  Songs behave in some predictable ways and the frets/bridges and strings never leave your instrument.  Put the two together and you can play the music you want to play on your instrument.  (can be tailored to all instruments)

Playing Well With Others (all instruments)

Forming and playing together in multi-part arrangements for the same or mixed groups of instruments.  This is a hands-on workshop that features playing multi-part arrangements from Southern Harmony (shape-note tunes) to Christmas carols to classical music arranged specifically for dulcimers.

Arranging for Solos, Duets and/or Ensembles (all instruments)

The actual process of exploring options and making decisions to create arrangements for solo performance, playing with another person or writing for larger ensembles.  The “arranging palette” is the helpful tool.

Developing Our Musicianship (all instruments)

This workshop will build confidence to move outside our comfort zones to deeper understanding and excellence in musicianship with dulcimer playing!  We’ll begin with solidifying our basic skills and move in a sequential way through a variety of strategies to grow as musicians who play dulcimers.

Jam Survival Skills (all instruments)

The workshop enables you to join the jam with confidence, playing chords by feel, reading the hands of the other players, finding ways to participate and add your instrument’s voice to the fun!

Playing Back-Up (all instruments)

Tunes and songs are composed of more than fine melodies, and when playing with others, or to accompany your own singing, you need some more tricks in your bag.  We’ll explore chords in different positions, typical rhythmic back-up patterns, along with bass walk-ups, runs and fills to equip you with more tools for your jamming belt!

 

Hammered Dulcimer

Hand Separation and Hand Independence (hammered dulcimer)

These are important skills to develop for hammered dulcimer players.  Several exercises and a tune are incorporated to develop the habits needed to master the skills.

Blues on Hammered Dulcimer

This workshop explores the background of the blues as an American genre and some common characteristics and structures, where to find and play dominant 7th chords, and using both the pentatonic minor and blues scales for soloing.  If there is time, we build in exercises to help us find our chromatic notes and “bluesify” a tune.

Mode for Dulcimer (mountain and/or hammered dulcimer)

The ancient modes are actually the best description of how both kinds of dulcimers are designed.  We explore them for the purpose of helping us learn to play various kinds of music on either dulcimer.

 Jazzing It Up or All That Jazz (advanced mountain and/or hammered dulcimer)

Exploring the basics of jazz (chord substitution, rhythmic displacement, rich chords, soloing, improvisation) and some specific tips to play on dulcimers (special tunings, chord or hammering patterns and more).

Hammered Dulcimer Driver’s Ed (hammered dulcimer)

Navigating the map of the hammered dulcimer so “we can be safe out there!”

Colorado Hopscotch (hammered dulcimer)

Using this tune by Glenn Pope, we explore and celebrate the Colorado Dutch Hop tradition of the Volga Deutsch or “Germans from Russia.”

Learning to Use the Other Tools in Your Belt (hammered dulcimer)

Aimed at Intermediate and Advanced players, this workshop explores chromatic notes, hand separation, chords and arranging.

Playing Celtic Ornamentation (hammered dulcimer)

Borrowing the ornamentation of fiddles and bagpipes for playing throws, turns, ruffs and placing them in our favorite turns.

Playing Hymns on Dulcimer (hammered dulcimer)

Hymns and praises songs (old and new) both lay very well on the dulcimer.  We explore how to play your favorite, transpose from some awkward keys and help them fit voices for singing.

Those Haunting Minor Modes (hammered dulcimer)

Many lovely tunes belong to the Dorian (“mountain” minor) or Aeolian (“natural” or “pure” minor) modes, and! it turns out both are easily played on the dulcimer!

Arranging on Hammered Dulcimer (hammered dulcimer)

Using Twinkle, Twinkle or other very familiar tunes, we explore several accessible arranging options.

Dulcimer Symphony (mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer or a combined symphony with both)

We explore some classical arrangements specifically created for dulcimer ensembles (Ginger/Dulcimettes, Standard, Baritone and Bass mountain dulcimers are welcome!) that composed of only mountain dulcimers, or hammered dulcimers or both.

 

Mountain Dulcimer

Tunes in Specific Tunings (mountain dulcimer)

DAd and DAA are common tunings used today by mountain dulcimer players in the USA, but players of one are often not familiar with the benefits of playing in the other.  Other terrific tunings (DGd, DAC, DAG) also yield some very powerful opportunities for playing.

Mode for Dulcimer (mountain and/or hammered dulcimer)

The ancient modes are actually the best description of how both kinds of dulcimers are designed.  We explore them for the purpose of helping us learn to play various kinds of music on either dulcimer.

 Jazzing It Up or All That Jazz (advanced mountain and/or hammered dulcimer)

Exploring the basics of jazz (chord substitution, rhythmic displacement, rich chords, soloing, improvisation) and some specific tips to play on dulcimers (special tunings, chord or hammering patterns and more).

Playing Hymns on Dulcimer (mountain dulcimer)

Hymns and praises songs (old and new) both lay very well on the dulcimer.  We explore how to play your favorite, transpose from some awkward keys and help them fit voices for singing.

Those Haunting Minor Modes (mountain dulcimer)

Many lovely tunes belong to the Dorian (“mountain” minor) or Aeolian (“natural” or “pure” minor) modes, and! it turns out both are easily played on the dulcimer! (1-5-4 and 1-5-b7 tunings: DAG, DAC)

Steve’s PBS Hit (mountain dulcimer)

Using Steve’s PBS Hit Soaring we will work on the fun articulations:  slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Blues on Mountain Dulcimer

This workshop explores the background of the blues as an American genre and some common characteristics and structures, where to find and play dominant 7th chords, and using both the pentatonic minor and blues scales for soloing.  If there is time, we build in exercises to help us “bend” notes and “bluesify” a tune.

Playing Celtic Ornamentation (mountain dulcimer)

Hammer-ons, Slides, Pull-offs, turns, throws are all articulations used in playing Celtic ornamentation.  Using Connie’s Jig and other tunes, we’ll progress in our technique and include these ornaments in our playing.

Playing Bluegrass on Mountain Dulcimer (mountain dulcimer)

(Chop chords, walking basslines, licks and high harmonies) One reason dulcimers are not always welcome in a jam is that we haven’t developed the necessary “chops” to support and play in the style that is called for.

Tae Bo for the Left Hand (mountain dulcimer)

Fingering Exercises for developing dexterity and clarity of tone using the left hand.

Jim Croce on the Mountain Dulcimer (mountain dulcimer)

Steve has received permission from Ingrid Croce to teach Jim Croce’s music for mountain dulcimers.  Popular tunes used include:  “Time in a Bottle” and “Operator.”

Playing Noter Style (mountain dulcimer)

Playing with a noter is a fine traditional way to make glorious music on the dulcimer.  Typically uses DAA & DAd Tunings, but can be tailored for any tuning.

Dulcimer Symphony (mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer or a combined symphony with both)

We explore some classical arrangements specifically created for dulcimer ensembles (Ginger/Dulcimettes, Standard, Baritone and Bass mountain dulcimers are welcome!) that composed of only mountain dulcimers, or hammered dulcimers or both.

Beatles on the Mountain Dulcimer (mountain dulcimer)

Daytripper and Eleanor Rigby are two tunes that are very fun to play on mountain dulcimer.

 

Mandolin

Beginning Mandolin

Working on learning the fretboard and fingering patterns, open chords and closed chords.

Celtic Mandolin

Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Strathspeys, playing lilting melodies spritely!

Bluegrass Chop

The mandolin is the time-keeper in the bluegrass band and the key to this is a strong chop.  This workshop focuses on developing the chop with closed chord fingerings and a strong rhythmic focus.

Guitar

Beginning Guitar

Fingering exercises, orientation to the guitar, first chords.

Bluegrass Guitar

The Guitar is the all-in-one engine that plays both the boom and the chuck in the boom-chuck rhythm that drives the band.  With enough time we can learn some classic bluegrass licks and in an extended class can work on soloing.

Celtic Guitar

Rhythm is key and we explore jigs, slip jigs, reels, hornpipes and strathspeys.  With time, we can explore playing melodically and have fun with alternate tunings.

Fingerstyle Guitar

Whether playing classically or in the alternating bass (“Travis-Style”) method, we are using all 4 fingers and thumb to play for back-up or melodically.

Singing with Guitar

Simplify!  That’s the key to singing with guitar.  We’ll test and adopt some strategies to help us sing with guitar, while using it as a way to help us learn about and develop our voice.

Songwriting

How do you write a Good Song?

(Hint: Write a bunch of bad ones first!  Strategies for the discipline and craft of songwriting that ask our inner critic to stand to the side for awhile.) We will also explore various Song Forms.

Writing from a Groove

Rhythmic focus.

Writing Lyrical and/or Melodic hooks.

How do we create the memorable?

Storytelling

Lyric-based.

Evoking Emotion

Melodic and chord-basis.

Sing-A-Long Songs

Community participation!

Writing Songs with Children

Helping them experience and develop their creative skills.

 

Worship Workshops:

Finding and Singing Your Congregation’s Soul

What are the songs that your congregation treasures?  If you ask them, the answers are typically very wide and diverse.  How do we celebrate what we treasure, AND help our neighbor do the same?  Strategies to integrate this diversity in the worshiplife of your congregation, to undermine the “sides” that develop to heal the divisions of the “worship wars.”

Using Percussion in Worship

There are many accessible ways to equip and encourage your congregation to offer holistic praise in the style of Psalm 150.

Uncovering, Equipping and Encouraging the Musicians in your community to enliven your worship

(Or “kicking over the bushel baskets under which many shining lights are hidden”).  I am always seeking to welcome, support and equip the gifts that are already present in a congregation to enliven its worshiplife.