My mother was a career teacher – maybe that’s where I got my skill and love for teaching. This has taken many different forms over the years and includes the following:
These are typically four to six day events where folks come together for fun, jamming, and concentrated instruction on their instrument. I have mainly taught bass, but I have taught clawhammer banjo as well, and often do electives in hambone and clogging. I have taught at California Coast Music Camp, Augusta Heritage Festival, Rocky Grass Academy, Common Ground on the Hill, Alabama Folk School, and Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Camp in the Yukon to name a few. My freelance status in 2017 has created greater flexibility in my schedule so I will be teaching at several camps this year including:
-Sore Fingers School in the UK, 4/17-21
- Miles of Music Island Camp, 6/10-15
- Susanville Festival Camp. 6/20-22
- Shasta Music Summit, 7/5-12 (I will be there 7/9-12)
- Nimble Fingers Bluegrass and Old Time Workshops in Sorrento, BC (banjo), 8/21-25
- Nimble Fingers Bluegrass and Old Time Workshops in Sorrento, BC (bass), 8/28-9/1
I’ve always been happy to teach master classes and workshops at festivals, or offer them as an additional service in an area where I am doing a show.
Instructional Bass Videos
I have Beginner and Intermediate instructional videos on Homespun Tapes and videos. I have a very methodical and cumulative approach that starts with basic right and left hand technique, then proceeds to building bass lines. I don’t insist on a particular left hand fingering, but I do outline classical fingering and positions for those who want to implement that technique. I am joined by David Grier on guitar and Richard Bailey on banjo to demonstrate how the bass lines work in the context of a band. The DVDs include the following:
-left hand technique, basic scales
-basic theory: scales (maj & minor), intervals, chords, use of numbers in scale and in a chord
-Theory applied to hand placement and interval relationship between strings
-Right hand; where to hit string, angle of finger when striking string
-Independence of 1st & 2nd finger of R hand; exercises
-How to practice with metranome
-Practice scales, intervals, arpeggios to help play in tune; playing with bow helps with intonation and L hand fluidity
-Tuning the bass, use of harmonics
-repeat root before chord change
-Passing notes: 3rd, 6th
-Arpeggio with added 6th
-¼ note walks; Blue Ridge Cabin Home
-Ginseng Sullivan to show various transitions, approaches
-Ghost/percussive note; Blue RR Train
-¾ time: different ways to play: Darlin’ Cory is Gone, Cry Cry Darlin’
-Use of inverted 1-5 on 5-chord
-4/4 walking lines: arpeggiated, scaler, chromatic
-Slap bass: single slap, double slap, straight 8th, swing 8ths, bossa nova, rockabilly
-Sustain of note; damping strings
-Miking bass: mic in foam under tailpiece, lavalier in foam in f-hole mixed with PU, blender, monitor placement
-Tone, Taste, Timing!
Banjo Tab Book (available in my website store)
This has several sections The first is instruction that I have compiled from teaching at several camps. I start with the basic bum-ditty strum, hammer-on’s, pull-offs, and slides and provide drills to help develop these skills. Then I show how these techniques are combined to play a song or fiddle tune. I show chords and licks that can be used as backup for a song or tune. I then proceed to double thumbing and melodic clawhammer techniques.
The second section is tabs of tunes I have played on other folks’ recordings including Jerry Douglas, Mark O’Connor, and Bela Fleck. The third section is tabs of my own tunes from my two solo CDs
I am available to teach lessons via skype. Just shoot me an email or text (found in contacts on this site) and we can set up a time. I’m happy to teach bass, banjo, hambone, or clogging.
I’m always happy to offer private lessons at my home in Crownsville, MD, or while on tour when my schedule allows.