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OUR FUNDERS:  We greatly appreciate the generous support of Ed Littlefield, Jr.; Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), in partnership with the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation; the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission; the Alameda County Art Commission; Lagunitas Brewing Company; and the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation. 

 Thanks also to our nonprofit sponsors:  Freight & SalvageKPFA-FMAshkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, and the California Bluegrass Association

 

Extra-special thanks to our Valiant Volunteer Coordinator, Lael Sigal, and of course to all our volunteers – they make the BOTMC possible!

 

© 2019 Berkeley Old Time Music Convention

 

2018 instructional workshops

BELOW IS 2018

2019 INFO COMING SOON!

LOCATION: Music workshops are held at  Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison, Berkeley

Dance workshops on Sat. Sept. 29 are held at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, and are listed at the bottom of this page. No pre-registration is necessary for dance workshops.

REGISTRATION

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 https://www.thefreight.org/learn-to-play/workshops/ and click on the title of the workshop you want. You can also register 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.

THESE ARE THE 2018 WORKSHOPS - STAY TUNED FOR 2019!

Thurs. Sept.  27             3:30 – 5:00 pm

(participants get reserved seating with concert ticket purchase)

 

SOLD OUT! Missouri FiddleChris Brashear

Chris will focus on Missouri fiddle style, including repertoire from the two Ozark fiddlers he grew up around, Emmanuel Woods and Art Galbraith.

Old Time Three Finger Banjo Styles - Walker Shepard

Walker will focus on the different patterns used by some of his favorite old time banjo players of the past, from Marion Underwood to Murphy Gribble.

Beginning FiddleNokosee Fields

If you are just getting started with fiddle, Nokosee can help you get to the next level!

Fri. Sept. 28             6:00 - 7:30 pm

(participants get reserved seating with concert ticket purchase)

 

SOLD OUT! Early American Songster BanjoDom Flemons (other instruments welcome!)

Dom’s workshop will explore the styles, techniques and history of early American songsters. This covers nearly a century of banjo traditions and tunes of early popular music including ragtime, blues, country western, bluegrass and string band music. Participants will learn songs and explore the deeper African roots of the banjo. The techniques will include country blues progressions, folk/ragtime chord inversions and opening up rhythmic possibilities while frailing. All audiences and ages are welcomed to join, listen or participate. Please bring capos as we will be using them. Other instruments are encouraged for an impromptu jam session. 

 

SOLD OUT! Tennessee FiddleMike Bryant 

Mike will focus on tunes from Tennesse, in standard and alternative tunings. Tunes will be taught phrase by phrase with attention to bowing. Teaching will be by ear so a recorder is recommended.

Beginning FiddleSonya Badigian 

Just getting started with old-time fiddle? In this workshop we'll plan on doing close listening to some old recordings, and you’ll learn an easy (but interesting!) tune or two.

Sat. Sept. 29

1:00 – 2:00 pm
Children’s Fiddle WorkshopElise Engelberg

$25 tuition includes admission to Sunday afternoon Family Dance for one child and one adult.

Kids will learn a simple (but fun!) fiddle tune on Saturday, then play it at the Sunday afternoon Family Dance!!  Open to children aged 8 and up who have already played fiddle or violin for a year.  Reading music NOT required! Fiddlers who want to perform with the group at the Sunday Family Dance will gather at Ashkenaz at 2pm, to start running through the tune at 2:15. The dance goes from 3 to 4.  The tune will be played by the group during the first half.

 
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Double Fiddle with BowingDavid Bragger and Susan Platz

In this workshop, the attendees will be learning old-time fiddle tunes AND harmony/seconding parts that emphasize rhythm, chords and bowing. David and Susan will be teaching at least one fiddle duet from their album: King's Lament: Old-Time Fiddle Duets. As with all workshops led by David Bragger, the bowing will be explicitly taught and broken down for the students in a fun and engaging way!

The Banjo of Dock BoggsChris Berry

Virginia three-finger banjo player Dock Boggs produced some of the most original sounds in old-time music when he first recorded in 1927. Fortunately for us all, he lived to be rediscovered and rerecorded by Mike Seeger in the 1960s and enjoyed a second musical career. Boggs’ music is still popular with banjo players today but because of his unorthodox tunings and simple but idiosyncratic right-hand technique, can be difficult to learn at first. This workshop will look in depth at two of Boggs’ songs using techniques that will allow you to unlock more of his repertoire. We’ll also talk about his tunings and techniques in general. If you have only played clawhammer, this will be a good workshop to try fingerpicking for the first time.

 

Sun Sept. 30

 
11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Ozark Ballad SingingChris Brashear  

Learn ballads and songs from the Ozarks region, in particular songs from Max Hunter and Almeda Riddle.

Advanced FiddleJackson Lynch 

Jackson will focus on prewar Texas, Arkansas or Mississippi tunes. For advanced players.

Soul of the BanjoPaul Brown

What are the core characteristics of the 5-string banjo? How does understanding them help your banjo playing sound strong, old-time, and satisfying, no matter what your skill level? How do you bring them out while creating your own sound and repertoire?   We’ll consider a couple of tunes that really bring the banjo’s possibilities alive in clawhammer and finger-picking, and expand out from there as time allows. We may try a few tunings. You should be an intermediate-or-above player with some facility on the banjo, reasonably adept at tuning, and willing to explore ideas in a relaxed, good-humored environment. More advanced and less advanced students are welcome; we’ll use a system that helps everyone learn comfortably. Bring a recording device if you wish.

 

Your Mandolin’s Inner BanjoTerry Barrett

Get in touch with your mandolin’s inner banjo!  Kenny Hall learned some of his wonderful mandolin tunes from banjo players; Terry will teach some of these and show how Kenny adapted those tunes, changing them to suit the mandolin yet keeping some essence of their origins as banjo tunes.

1:00 – 2:30 pm
Harmony SingingAlice Gerrard & Chris Brashear

How do you find a traditional old-time or bluegrass harmony? What goes into harmony singing besides the right notes? We will examine the different challenges of singing in different combinations.

Southern Appalachian Fiddle EvolutionPaul Brown

 

Understand some major fiddle styles of the southern Appalachians, and make yourself a better old-time fiddler. We’ll try a lilting Galax, Virginia-area tune, a self-accompanying Round Peak, North Carolina tune, and a slightly more modern interpretation of a classic tune from Benny Jarrell, Benton Flippen, or Robert Sykes (we’ll decide who on the fly). Find out why Appalachian fiddling is so strongly recognizable, understand how it’s evolved, and put that knowledge to use in your own playing — whatever your personal style or approach. This intermediate-advanced workshop lets you take advantage of Paul's years of learning directly from three generations of regional fiddlers. You should arrive with some facility on the fiddle, the ability to tune, and a willingness to learn by ear, through demonstration and experimentation. Bring a recording device if you wish. Feel free to ask questions and to comment, and plan on having fun!

 

Old Time Two-Finger Banjo Picking from North CarolinaEli Smith

Focusing on the styles of North Carolina old master banjo players George Landers and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. These remarkable musicians of the early 20th century played banjo using a two-finger style, with the index finger leading, playing the melody. This style of old time banjo picking is not well known today and deserves to be remembered.  Eli will introduce students to this beautiful style of banjo playing - suitable for accompanying songs and ballads, as well as for playing banjo tunes.  The workshop is open to all but intermediate to advanced players will take the most away from it.  Eli will teach several songs, along with the over all style.

Old Time GUITAR - Walker Shepard

 Walker will teach students the basics and principles of old time guitar playing.  This includes use of a flat pick, thumb pick and finger picking techniques.  These techniques can be used to back up fiddle tunes, old time songs and also on a more advanced level to play solo or duet show pieces.  The workshop will address bass runs, chords and how to play good rhythm. 

 

DANCE WORKSHOPS at ASHKENAZ

Sat. Sept. 29

 

5:00 – 6:30 pm (Free admission)
Square dance calling workshop taught by Larry Edelman

You (yes, you!) Can Call a Square Dance!

Come join us for this fast-paced session - we'll have a blast dancing and learning how to call traditional square dances! No experience needed, you just need to be there!

7:30 – 8:00 (included with admission to dance)
Couple Dancing Workshop with Rina Rossi

Get ready for the honky-tonk dance which starts at 8, followed by square dancing starting at 9.