Walker Creek Spring 2019 Class Descriptions and Bios

Fall Classes coming soon!

These are the morning classes, the ones you sign up for in advance, averaging 10-12 students per class (more for classes with two teachers). Class sizes are limited, and some fill up the first day we open for registration, so sign up early! You take this core class each morning (afternoon elective classes are drop-in style and don't require sign-ups). Click on a class, and you will see the full description, along with instructor bios and websites.


Level 1 is "advanced beginner"; you should know the basics of how to play your instrument and keep it in tune, and play a few songs or tunes, probably not up to tempo yet.
Level 2 is "intermediate"; you can do all the above, have some experience playing with others, you're comfortable with your instrument, and can play some songs up to tempo.
Level 3 is "upper intermediate/advanced": you are a confident musician and comfortable jamming and playing in groups, but still there is always more to learn.

Please Read the Recommended prerequisites. How long you've been playing does not determine which class you should be in; it's what you can do and what you know, as specified in the prerequisites for each class, that matters. That said, a positive attitude towards learning in a group setting is the most important prerequisite for having a great time at camp. Almost all of our classes are for intermediate level and beyond.

Level 1 players! (advanced beginners)  Check out the group classes! You'll still get some instrument-specific instruction, and you'll also learn a ton by playing with others (playing with others is what it's all about!).

Feel free to call for more information (415-663-6030). The director can help you choose a class, and we will allow for some adjustments the first day of camp.

Those who feel they've "outgrown" camp classes can be considered as teaching assistants (see the FAQs page for more info).                                                                                             

Instructor(s): Morgan Cochneuer & Rebecca Richman

This class, designed specifically for young campers, provides a rich, varied, and age-appropriate experience with plenty of hands-on music making. At Walker Creek we believe the best way to learn music is to get inspired, make connections, and become engaged through fun activities that teach... Read more

Instructor(s): Leela Grace

Get in the groove and experience the joys of playing old time music with others! This class is for anyone who plays an old time stringed instrument (including but not limited to: clawhammer banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, dulcimer, ukulele, autoharp, etc.) Basically, if you can play... Read more

Instructor(s): Ivan Rosenberg

This class is open to all bluegrass instruments: guitar, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, 3-finger banjo, and Dobro. Our goal will be to have lots of fun while improving musicianship, jamming skills, knowledge of the bluegrass genre, and comfort level playing music with others. We'll jam through... Read more

Instructor(s): Keith Little

Join Keith in a quest to rediscover the joy of making music on the five-string banjo played in the Scruggs style. This class will cover the basics of foot-based dance rhythms as they are transferred to emphasize the melody flowing through the picking hand in common bluegrass song repertory.... Read more

Instructor(s): Steve Baughman

Clawhammer banjo is great fun as a solo instrument and also as a tool for vocal accompaniment. In this class we will do plenty of both. In addition to learning some fine instrumental tunes we will look at how to accompany ourselves as we sing. We will listen to a few recordings of banjo players... Read more

Instructor(s): Anne Luna

Why Should I Take a Bass Class?

by Ingrid Noyes, Nate Lee, and Paul Knight

As director of this camp, and formerly the CBA Music Camp, I have found that it's always hard to fill the bass classes at camp. Once you learn how to go I, V, I, V, isn’t that all there is to it?... Read more

Instructor(s): Anne Luna

In this class, we’ll explore a variety of techniques and genres, keeping groove and ease in our bodies key. I emphasize healthy ergonomics, efficiency, and ease for all of my students, with exercises designed to help us practice that.

We’ll begin with holding the bass and moving with the... Read more
Instructor(s): Orville Johnson

This class will touch on the 3 Bs of the Dobro: Ballads, Blues, and Bluegrass. I’ll have some tunes for us to learn in each of those categories and we’ll look at the technique issues that they raise.

Ballads: How to play pretty. How to play the melody. How to play slow tempos and keep the... Read more
Instructor(s): Annie Staninec

Take your bluegrass fiddling to the next level! We'll learn several tips and tricks for easily moving between keys, spicing up your breaks and making them sound more "bluegrassy," and using syncopation and shuffles to add rhythm and drive to your playing. We'll also work on fills, backup, and... Read more

Instructor(s): Liz Carroll

In this class we will work on good bowing, ornamentation, variations, and ear training. We'll learn some new tunes and brush up on some old ones, and we'll even tackle an original Liz tune or two. A relaxed pace will be the order of the day as we dive in to all the elements of Irish fiddling.... Read more

Instructor(s): Tatiana Hargreaves

This class will explore various types of old time fiddle as we learn tunes from different regional styles from Appalachia to the Midwest to Texas. Through learning these tunes, we will work on bowing technique, how to create variations, and how to turn a basic, skeletal melody into a driving old... Read more

Instructor(s): Steve Pottier

This class will include both rhythm guitar and lead guitar. We will cover some essential bluegrass guitar licks and techniques from strums to G runs to essential, iconic leads. In lead guitar, we’ll cover some kickoffs, endings and turnarounds. We'll work on developing solos to songs, with an... Read more

Instructor(s): Steve Kaufman

In this class, we'll work on soloing and crosspicking; learn new tunes and add variations to old ones; and see how the fingerboard works for flatpicking, new chords and rhythms, and much more. We will work on right-hand techniques to improve speed, volume, depth, tone, and timing. We'll also... Read more

Instructor(s): Dáithí Sproule

In this hands-on class, Dáithí will share his techniques, chord shapes and thoughts on using guitar to accompany Irish/Celtic vocals and instrumental music in a tasteful, effective and versatile manner. Since he has played a big part in developing DADGAD tuning, Dáithí will show his approach to... Read more

Instructor(s): Don Julin

Time permitting, we'll work through all of the following during camp:

Melodic Improvisation: Improvising Based on the Melody - This class will look at the art of improvising/embellishing while using the melody as a starting point. First we will analyze a few common tunes and determine... Read more

Instructor(s): Marla Fibish

This class is all about getting the feel, pulse and flow of Irish music into your mandolin playing. We'll focus on understanding and developing techniques for playing the many forms of Irish dance music on the mandolin - jigs, reels, slip jigs, hop jigs, polkas, slides, waltzes, etc. We'll work... Read more

Instructor(s): Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore

Singing is one of the most soul baring, personal things you can do. When you sing it’s just you and your voice and it can be a connection to everyone and everything around you. A song, whether it’s bluegrass, country, folk, rhythm and blues or whatever, can transform an angry mob or an unhappy... Read more

Instructor(s): Michael Black

Michael Black has a broad repertoire of songs, and he will teach songs from the different Irish, Scottish, English and other traditions. The songs are varied and range from strong chorus songs, shanties, mouth music songs, humorous songs, and songs that suit particular musical settings. The... Read more

Instructor(s): Josh Tharp

Josh Tharp started playing banjo in 1997 after first hearing Earl Scruggs. In 2006 he began his bluegrass travels with the Southern California based band Lost Highway which took him all over the US, Canada and Europe. In 2000 he went to Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery and began building and... Read more

Instructor(s): many

Elective class sample topics are listed below. These one-hour classes are scheduled in the afternoons. The actual selection varies from camp to camp, but will include some of these for sure, and you can make requests if you see something that you would like to be sure gets onto the schedule.... Read more

Instructor(s): Music Caravan

Music Caravan brings a wide array of musical needs to camp including picks, strings, capos, tuners, stands, books and CDs. There will also be some instruments available. If known in advance, special orders can be brought to camp. Contact Dana Thorin: ... Read more