Another Group Class: Oldtime String Band, Levels 1/2

Tom Sauber

Making instrumental and/or vocal music with other folks has to be one of the most wonderful and exhilarating things we, as humans, can do (okay, there's dance, too). Our musical journey starts with the listening experience, leading to learning an instrument (or two). After plenty of solo practice, the next step might be playing in a large jam of some sort. This provides the chance to practice tunes you know, or learn new tunes, without the pressure of performing. Then comes the leap to playing in a small group where all the instruments can be heard.

That's where this class comes in. It's designed for folks who are looking for their first band experience or want to improve their solo and band skills. We'll tackle a wide range of topics: instrumentation, musical and instrumental styles, listening skills and more to help you "play well with others."


Prerequisites: To get the most out of this class you'll want to know how to play in a variety of keys, most commonly C, G, D, A and E. You should know how (and perhaps, why) to use a capo. Probably most important is to do a lot of listening to help you decide what you like, and what direction(s) you want to go with your music. I know it's a lot to think about, but I'm fairly experienced with different styles of music and types of groups, and I'll be there to help. Above all, be assured that it'll be a stimulating but at the same time, enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Try to be sure your instrument is in good working condition. Bring a tuner, a recording device, a capo (fretted instruments), maybe paper and pencil. Tech stuff (phones, tablets) can be fine to use, too.


We're gonna have some FUN!!

About Tom Sauber

Tom Sauber is a master musician in a variety of styles, a multi-instrumentalist (banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin) and singer, well grounded in tradition, with a comprehensive grasp of style and an exceptional ability to teach.

In the 50-plus years Tom has devoted to playing traditional music, the cast of characters with whom he has associated reads like a who’s who in old time, bluegrass, and Cajun music. He is particularly known for his long-time partnerships with Oklahoma fiddler Earl Collins (with whom he recorded the classic LP That’s Earl) and North Carolina banjo picker Eddie Lowe, both now deceased. Old-time fans have heard Tom’s CD with harmonica virtuoso Mark Graham (Thought I Heard it Blow), his recording with Dirk Powell and John Herrmann (One-Eyed Dog), or more recently through his performances with his son, Patrick, and Mark Graham as The Brainstormers. Bluegrassers know of his work with Patrick, Bill Bryson and Herb Pedersen in Loafer's Glory. He still plays with Alice Gerrard and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad, and Alice and teaches privately at his home in the Los Angeles area.

Tom holds a masters degree in folklore and is an exceptional teacher who is in demand at major traditional music workshops across the country and internationally. He's a regular at Walker Creek, and we're thrilled he'll be teaching our old time ensemble class this year. Don't miss this rare chance to learn the basics from one of the genre's true living legends!


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