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2024 BOTMC workshops 

all times are pacific DAYLIGHT time.

BOTMC music workshop registration has started! These live in-person music workshops take place at the Freight & Salvage in downtown Berkeley.  Dance workshops take place at Ashkenaz.

New this year: FREE ADMISSION to all BOTMC music workshops with purchase of tickets for both BOTMC concerts ("2-Day Pass"). A la carte, each workshop is $25.  Dance workshops  are included with admission to dances.

Workshop capacity is limited, so advance registration for all workshops is strongly suggested in order to be assured of a seat. Singing workshops (which take place in the Freight showroom) won't run out of space, but some of the instrumental workshops probably will.  

On purchase of the 2-Day Pass, buyers will be emailed links to all workshops with promo codes to access the Complimentary Workshop tickets.

Music workshops take place at the Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison, Berkeley.

Dance workshops take place at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave Berkeley.

Workshop size is limited -- sign up early to be assured of getting a slot! 

All material will be taught by ear.  Audio and video recordings are encouraged with the caveat that such recordings are made for personal use only, and do not appear on anywhere on the Internet, including social media such as Facebook or YouTube.

Music workshops are 75 minutes long.

Fiddle Workshops:

Ed Poullard:  Calvin Carrière's Louisiana Creole Fiddle - Thurs. Sept. 19, 4:00 - 5:`15

Cleek Schrey: Old Time Fiddle   – Fri. Sept. 20, 4:00 – 5:15pm

Sami Braman: Establishing an Old Time Fiddle Tune Groove – Sun. Sept. 22, 11:00am – 12:15pm

Rhys Jones:  Old Time Fiddle – Sun. Sept. 22, 12:30 – 1:45

Banjo Workshops:

Cathy Fink:  Variations on a Tune – Thurs. Sept. 19, 4:00 – 5:15 pm

Cedric Watson:  Banjo - Fri. Sept. 20, 4:00 – 5:15pm

Leo Shannon:  Two-Finger Old Time Banjo –  Sun. Sept. 22, 11:00am – 12:15pm

John Herrmann: Banjo -3 Tunes from Fred Cockerham – Sun. Sept.  22, 12:30 – 1:45pm

Singing Workshops:

Viv Leva & Riley Calcagno:  Harmony Singing: THE BUZZ -  Sun. Sept. 22, 11:00am – 12:15pm

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: Harmony Singing and Songs for Two - Sun. Sept.  22, 12:30 – 1:45pm

Guitar Workshop:

Cathy Fink:  Libba Cotten Guitar, "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie"Thurs Sept 19,  4:00pm-5:15pm

Ukulele Workshop:

Marcy Marxer: Ukulele PathwaysThurs Sept 19,  4:00pm-5:15pm

Dance Workshop at ASHKENAZ

Sarah Travis:  Cajun and Honky Tonk Workshop - Wed. Sept. 18, 6:30-7:30 pm (no advance registration, included with admission to the Welcome Dance)

Evie Ladin:  Flatfooting Workshop - Sat. Sept. 21, 7:30pm - 8:00pm  (no advance registration - included with admission to Saturday Night Square Dance Party)

FIDDLE  Ed Poullard:  “Calvin Carrière’s Louisiana Creole Fiddle” 

Thurs Sept 19,  4:00pm-5:15pm 

Learn an old-style Creole fiddle tune from a master fiddler!  Ed will teach a tune learned from Calvin Carrière, a French-speaking Black fiddler from Lawtell, Louisiana, who is an honoree of this year’s BOTMC Attribution Project.

UKULELE    Marcy Marxer: "Ukulele Pathways” 

Thurs Sept 19,  4:00pm-5:15pm 

Marcy will teach High On A Mountain, a mountain modal tune from Ola Belle Reed; a Chord Melody version of Five Ft. Two; and Railroading On the Great Divide from the Carter Family.

This workshop is open to all levels. Beginners who can strum chords C, F, G7, A7, D7 and Em are welcome to play along. Everyone else will play chords, chord inversions and melody. 

BANJO    Cathy Fink:  Banjo Workshop – Variations on a Tune (clawhammer and 2-finger style)

Thurs Sept 19,  4:00pm-5:15pm

Cathy will take a few well known tunes and show how to create variations that keep it interesting as you play the same tune over and over again. This includes 16 different ways to play the first note of “Cripple Creek.” It’s a hands on workshop, so bring your banjos and prepare to be in both G tuning and Double C tuning. We’ll definitely use Cripple Creek and Mississippi Sawyer and then we’ll explore how these techniques transfer to other tunes.

BANJO    Cedric Watson:   Banjo Workshop

Fri Sept 20, 4:00pm-5:15pm 

Cedric will demonstrate his own personal banjo style and discuss the African American roots of the banjo.  Please note: This is a demo-style workshop, NOT an instructional workshop.

GUITAR    Cathy Fink:   Libba Cotten Guitar "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie"

Fri Sept 20, 4:00pm-5:15pm 

Cathy will teach a guitar tune learned from Libba Cotten, who is one of this year’s BOTMC Attribution Project honorees. The tune, “Oh, Babe It Ain’t No Lie” can be played instrumentally, but also has lyrics. While Libba played upside down and backwards, Cathy is a right handed, right-side up player. The emphasis will be on creating the alternating bass line with the thumb and the melody notes with 1, 2 or 3 fingers as you are comfortable. We’ll fit all levels- beginners may mostly get the chords while advanced folks should be able to put the whole thing together. Add to that a few stories about Libba and we’ll have some big fun.


with Evie Ladin

Saturday Sept 21,  7:30pm-8pm

No advance registration needed - workshop is included with admission to square dance party 

All levels - beginners welcome!

Anchor 1

FIDDLE     Sami Braman (the Onlies):  "Establishing an Old Time Fiddle Tune Groove” 

​Sunday Sept 22,  11am-12:15pm

This class is geared toward fiddlers who want to improve their confidence in leading tunes, either in full stringband or smaller collaborative settings. We will learn a tune and talk about how different bowing patterns serve different rhythmic/phrasing purposes, then practice leading the tune in a supportive space. 


Sami playing Snowtown (an original fiddle tune) with the Onlies

Sami's website

BANJO     Leo Shannon (the Onlies):   "Two-finger old-time banjo” 

Leo will will teach two finger banjo in the styles of Morgan Sexton and Marcus Martin. Any skill level is welcome. 

Leo Shannon playing "New River Line"


SINGING     Viv Leva & Riley Calcagno (the Onlies): "Harmony Singing: The Buzz”

Sunday Sept 22,  11am-12:15pm

THE BUZZ: We will all sing together in 2 and 3 part harmony, picking a couple old time and early country songs that are particularly satisfying to sing. The goal will be to learn tools to improve meshing with your singing partner(s) and achieve that sublime ”buzz.” We will think about tone, phrasing, note choice, vowels and mouth shape, style, and how to find a harmony part. We may break into smaller groups at some point, too. No experience necessary!

Viv and Riley singing "The Blackest Crow"

 Viv and Riley singing "House Carpenter"

 Viv and Riley's website

BANJO     John Herrmann (Bigfoot):  Three Tunes from Fred Cockerham

Sunday Sept 22, 12:30pm-1:45pm 

John will teach three tunes learned from Fred Cockerham.  G tuning.  

SINGING     Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer:  “Harmony Singing and Songs for Two” 

Sunday Sept 22, 12:30pm-1:45pm  

The key to singing harmony is knowing the melody and being able to listen to one part while you sing another. We’ll cover finding the melody, choosing the best key for your duet, finding the harmony, who sings which part, how to tighten up those harmonies and polishing the duet sound. Then we’ll dig into a few songs in two parts by the Delmore Brothers, Poplin Family and Carter Family. 

FIDDLE      Nokosee Fields: Beginning Fiddle 

Sunday Sept 24 12:30pm-1:45pm-

Nokosee will help you get started on fiddle; if you’ve already started, he can help you get to the next level!  Nokosee has been a favorite instructor at many music camps including Augusta Old-Time Week, West Marin Fiddle Camp, and many others.

The great nephew of celebrated Cherokee fiddler Sam O’Fields, Nokosee carries a longstanding Cherokee fiddling tradition into the present. Through powerful live and recorded performances, he lovingly and playfully reimagines his tradition with immense skills and sensitivity as a performer of traditional fiddle music. Last year Nokosee brought his own band to the BOTMC; this year, he'll be playing bass with the Onlies.  

OUR FUNDERS:  We greatly appreciate the generous support of Ed Littlefield, Jr., Mary Wallace and the Sage Arts Foundation;  the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission; the Alameda County Art Commission; 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!


© 2024 Berkeley Old Time Music Convention

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