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2016 instructional workshops

LOCATION: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison, Berkeley


Workshop size is limited, so register early to make sure you get a spot! 

Tuition is $25 per workshop; all proceeds go to instructor.

Register online at or over the phone (510-644-2020), or in person at the Freight & Salvage box office. The Freight accepts cash, checks (including check by mail), credit card.  Service fees apply to purchase made online and by phone.

Material will be taught by ear; bringing a recording device is recommended.

Thursday, September 22

3:30 to 5:00 pm


FIDDLE - Armin Barnett (Hurricane Ridgerunners) 

Focus on Midwestern fiddling

BANJO - Jerry Gallaher (Hurricane Ridgerunners) 

Jerry will teach and demonstrate some classic tunes like Last Chance, Cumberland Gap, Half Shaved, Roustabout and others. Unlike many of the fiddle tunes we like to play, these are banjo tunes! Each of these use a different tuning to give a special flavor to these great solo clawhammer banjo pieces. Emphasis will be on learning by ear, but some tablature will be available at the end. Bring a banjo and recording device. 


Want some help getting started on fiddle?  Trying to learn but you’ve gotten stuck?  Jesse is a patient and experienced teacher who will  help and inspire you!

Friday, September 23

6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Note:  Friday workshop participants get reserved concert seating with advance concert ticket purchase

FIDDLE - Brad Leftwich   

Tunes from the Territory: Oklahoma fiddling around the turn of the 20th century. Bring your fiddle, your ears, and something to record with.

HARMONICA - Mark Graham (Hurricane Ridgerunners) 

How to play the Fiddle (actually the banjo) on the Harmonica:  we'll talk about the skills and knowledge needed to play rip roaring string band music on the harmonica without scaring the horses or creating life long enemies. Rhythm techniques, modes, breathing tips, use of the tongue, which key of harp to pick for any tune, playing high, playing low, playing fast, playing slow. Bring a diatonic A harmonica (Marine band, special 20, golden melody, lee oscar, etc.) and a recording device.

Sunday, September 25

11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Open JAM SESSION hosted by David Bragger - free admission
11:00 am – 12:30 pm

FIDDLE - Howard Rains (assisted by Tricia Spencer) 

Old Style Texas Fiddling: Howard and Tricia will present and teach several tunes from their repertoire of old style Texas fiddle tunes. This is a more archaic style than is commonly thought of in regards to Texas fiddling. The older style is more closely akin to Appalachian fiddling though in many of the tunes you can hear myriad other influences. Bring a recording device. Participation is encouraged!

MANDOLIN - Devin Champlin (Gallus Brothers) 

Come learn a couple fun tunes from the 78 rpm era players like Coley Jones and Doc Roberts.  We will learn by ear, and go over some techniques that are often employed in the stringband rag style.  Intermediate level, but all welcome. 


1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
FIDDLE - Tricia Spencer (assisted by Howard Rains) 

Spencer Family Fiddling: Tricia will teach tunes handed down to her from her grandfather, Vernon Spencer of Big Springs, Kansas. Vernon was an old style fiddler with a knack for boiling down some the notier midwest tunes to their bare essence. She will also teach tunes from other Kansas fiddlers such as her mentor, Amos Chase and rare late 19th century tunes from Bert Payne. Bring a recording device. Participation is encouraged!

BANJO - Brad Leftwich 

Focusing on the playing of the great Wade Ward, specifically two of his showpieces, "Lost Indian" and "Chilly Winds." 

MANDOLIN -  Sam Bartlett (Hogwire Stringband)

Intermediate level. Sam will teach a variety of tunes by ear, including at least one from the Garry Harrison repertoire and discus mandolin technique along with way. At the end of the session students will be rewarded with music transcriptions. Students will also learn at least one parlor trick in the course of the session from Bartlett’s book of Stuntology. Must be up for learning by ear, but Sam will make it fun for you!

SINGING - Val Mindel, Emily Miller & Jesse Milnes

Country Harmony Singing: Emily, Val and Jesse will share quintessential harmonies of the American South, Appalachia and the Ozarks, focusing on the basics of creating tight, buzzy harmonies with another singer—blend, vocal technique and more. This is a “hands on” workshop, so expect to sing a lot. We’ll also take a close look at what it means to sing “lead,” including tips on creating that country sound. Don’t feel you need to come with a singing partner!

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