I'm really looking forward to this brand new workshop. Lots of details and description below.

I'm really looking forward to this brand new workshop. Lots of details and description below.

Creating Tune Variations – The First Step to Improvising (see bottom of the page for skill level)

Workshop Description - 

I hate when people say that there’s no improvising in old-time music; there is, it's just more subtle and melody-based than what goes on in bluegrass – it tends to be about phrasing as opposed to scales or licks - saying the same thing in a slightly different way. 

One of the most common things I hear from people at workshops is that, once they learn a tune, they tend to play it the same way over and over. They wish they could change it up, but don't know how to make the jump. Sometimes the problem is that they are trying to re-invent the wheel when they should be paying more attention, and giving greater value to smaller details.
In this workshop, we'll look at four specific "paths" you can take which will help make you more aware of those small details which, added up, make a big difference in your ability to be more inventive and free in your playing. You'll learn how to come up with your own variations of the tunes you know,  and get "unstuck" from tunes you've played the same way for years. When paired with good listening, the development of these skills will help you be more "in the moment", and "present" when you play music in all settings. 
Here's the plan....
About a week before this workshop, I will send you a video and tab of a simple arrangement of a common tune. I will want you to learn this before the workshop so we can use it as our starting point for the workshop. In that same email, I will send you your invite and password to the Zoom meeting. 
On the day of the workshop, you will sign into the meeting a bit before 2pm EST. 
This workshop will run 1 1/2 hours (but could go a bit longer). As we work through each step, you'll be given about 5 minutes to yourself to work on the approach I've just talked about. After that, if you have questions about that approach, I'll try to answer them before we move on to the next step. After the lesson, I will provide you with a 12-page overview of the workshop that includes tabs (when appropriate), as well as links to demo videos associated with the handout. In addition, the whole zoom meeting will be recorded, and you will have access to that should you want to revisit it later.
I developed this workshop for a bunch of camps that I was supposed to be teaching this spring and summer, that have now been canceled. I think it will work very well in this setting, and I'm excited to give it a try. I've taught this lesson privately to a few folks over the past couple months, and here's what they had to say about it...

"I’ve been working on playing by ear and adaptIng my repertoire for a variety of situations including playing solo, in duets, and also at jam sessions.  This workshop helped me on so many levels and gave me the confidence and the skills to tackle any new tune I want to learn, and how to more fully express myself with the tunes I already know.  Chris is an awesome teacher who presents things in a well-organized way with lots of supporting materials... I highly recommend this workshop!"   

Colin Field  


"The Variations lesson is packed with challenging goodness. Chris has a reasoned, thoughtful approach - very clear and well laid out. When I return to the material, I keep finding nuggets of helpful wisdom. Thanks!"

 - Chris Hunt  

Skill Level - From my experience at the camps I've taught at, I'd call this workshop Intermediate/Advanced. As far as technical skill, if you can do the basic strum, double thumbing, and drop thumbing, there won't be anything shown that is beyond your scope. This isn't about showing you a complicated tune that you'll spend a month sweating over and memorizing - it's about looking at some concepts and a plan for their application to your music. Even my "advanced" teaching tends to be heavily focused on fundamentals (and, I'd like to think musicality). As I see it, there's a lot of people that, while able to play fairly complicated arrangements (often learned from tablature), don't really know how they got there, and can't expand on, or apply what they've learned to other things. I've had students who've felt that my "advanced" teaching is too simple. I definitely subscribe to the principle that "art is subtraction", so the longer I play, the simpler my playing gets...and that is reflected in my teaching style and it's content. It won't be for everyone, but I sure hope it works for you. 


Let me know if you have any questions - click here to contact me via email