A Group Class, Old Time Ensemble, Levels 1/2

Evie Laden

Open to all string instruments and geared towards beginning/intermediate players, we will explore repertoire, roles and rhythm in traditional old time music. We will find new repertoire and/or work on known tunes, the melody, rhythm, chord changes, potential singing parts, and techniques for contributing to and listening to the group.

Instruction includes specific techniques for playing in an old time style on fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, ukes, Dobro, bass. I play banjo, guitar, and fiddle, plus know enough about the roles of bass, mandolin and any other stringband instruments to give specific advice for jamming. Our teaching assistant is a Dobro, banjo, guitar and budding bass player, so we'll have all the bases covered. Old Time Ensemble class also operates as a live-action jam session, with the purpose of everyone comfortably knowing how to participate, how to grab the tunes being played, practicing and discussing your options, with confidence.

There is a misconception that one does not improvise in old-time music, but in fact, playing together, the ensemble listens and responds to each other, improvising as a group - playing high, low, harmonies, melodic lines or straight rhythm. Focus is on the special properties of old-time jams, and the experience of playing music in that milieu.

Prerequisites: This class is geared towards advanced-beginners (i.e. some basic skills) and low-intermediate players, and is open to more-experienced players who want to review the basics of the old time genre and improve their jamming skills. No previous old time music experience is necessarily needed. Students should have some experience on their respective instruments, know basic chords and/or scales, and be comfortable playing in keys such as A, D, and G at a moderate tempo with some guidance.  

About Evie Ladin

Banjo player, singer, songwriter, percussive-dancer, choreographer and square-dance caller, Evie grew up steeped in traditional folk music/dance, and brings a contemporary vision to her compositions and choreography. Evie’s performances, recordings and teaching reconnect Appalachian music/dance with other African-Diaspora traditions, and have been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Lincoln Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to Celtic Connections. Based in Oakland, CA, Evie tours with Keith Terry and the Evie Ladin Band; and has produced eight CDs and two instructional DVDs. In the percussive dance world, she is Executive Director of the International Body Music Festival, directs the moving choir MoToR/dance and is an ace freestyle flatfooter. In the trad world, Evie teaches clawhammer banjo and harmony singing at the infamous Freight & Salvage, online at Peghead Nation and numerous camps. In the songwriter world, she just writes great songs, subtitling her own band "neo-trad kinetic folk." In 2019 they released two CDs, celebrating both of her musical sides: one totally trad fiddle/banjo duets, Riding the Rooster and one adventurous originals, Caught On A Wire. A highly entertaining performer, Evie enjoys facilitating arts learning in diverse communities. You don’t often hear words like ‘traditional,’ and ‘authentic’ paired with ‘innovative’ and ‘unique,’ but Evie Ladin has brought them together brilliantly, and the result is truly a high point in new music. – FOLKWORKS, Los Angeles  

Evie is one of the most respected old time instructors in the music camp scene, and we're thrilled to have her teach our Old Time Ensemble class this spring!