Banjo, Bluegrass, Levels 2/3

Alan Munde

We will cover some of the following wide range of topics of interest to the intermediate and advancing bluegrass banjo players as time and interest permits such as: the phonetics of bluegrass banjo, how the rolls work, creating solos to songs, a non-theory view of music making in addition to a more traditional theory approach, tips on how to find the melody, a load of licks, and back up strategies for both slow and fast songs.   Also included will be an organizing way of viewing the fingerboard (with an easy method of teaching yourself the names of the notes), the diatonic chords and how to use them in creating complex and beautiful solos (especially for slow songs), and advanced backup, including adapting the Texas backing guitar style.   In addition we’ll work on playing in other keys without a capo, and the melodic approach popularized by Bill Keith.   We will blend in a bluegrass banjo workout to include several fretting and picking hand exercises.  And we’ll leave time to address questions and concerns of students not stated above.


To get the most out of this class, you should have some experience playing with others; be comfortable with your instrument and able to play some songs up to tempo; play a few of the classic bluegrass banjo solos (or you feel you are ready and have the desire to learn them—e.g. Earl Scruggs solo on "Blue Ridge Cabin Home"); and know some bluegrass banjo back-up strategies. 

About Alan Munde

Alan Munde began his long career in bluegrass music with the 1968 recording of Poor Richard’s Almanac featuring Sam Bush and Wayne Stewart, followed by grounding in traditional bluegrass music with IBMA Hall of Fame member Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys. In 1972, Alan joined his college picking friend Byron Berline in the progressive bluegrass group Country Gazette. Alan continued as the anchor of the group for 21 years. Along the way, he recorded many highly regarded albums including Banjo Sandwich and the Festival Favorites series. Alan was also featured on the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year, Knee Deep in Bluegrass. His most recent recording is a duo CD with mandolin player Billy Bright entitled Bright Munde. Alan has published many instructional books for Mel Bay and instructional DVDs for Texas Music and Video, and participated in music workshops and camps throughout America and Europe.

In addition to being an icon of bluegrass banjo, Alan has been a key figure in the development of bluegrass instruction over the past few decades. Alan taught in the Bluegrass Music Program at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas for 20 years, and his internationally acclaimed "Camp Bluegrass" workshop, developed with the late Joe Carr, continues to this day. Banjo students routinely request that we bring Alan back to Walker Creek, and we're happy to oblige—we're looking forward to seeing Alan at camp next spring!