2018 Wintergrass Intensives

Serious musical study for serious students

The Intensive Program at Wintergrass is a unique opportunity for the developing musician to gain musical insight from some of the industry’s most noted performers and experts in a half day or all day in-depth learning session.

The Wintergrass Intensive Program is geared for musicians who consider their skill level intermediate to advanced, unless it is noted that the session is specifically for beginners. It is assumed that most participants will be adults, though a youthful individual with the right mindset might also find benefit and enjoyment in the program.

Morning half-day sessions start at 9:00 am and end at 12:00pm, afternoon half-day sessions start at 1pm and end at 4pm, and all day sessions start at 9:00 am and end at 4:00pm. All days sessions have a lunch break from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Lunch is not provided.

To register online please click go to the Wintergrass ticket site.

2018 Wintergrass Intensives Classes & Instructors

Duo Intensive
Mike Marshall & Darol Anger
Afternoon - Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT

A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

The Music of the Duo will cover (but not be limited to):

The Compositional Process:
  • Inspiration vs. Perspiration
  • Presenting tunes to each other
  • Harmony/Chords
  • Answering the questions
“What does this tune say?” “What does this tune really need?’
  • What is needed for the show, set or CD?
Individual Challenges:
  • Developing techniques that enable a variety of texture changes
  • Harmonic variety
  • Speed
  • Creativity
  • Working with the skill set of each player
  • Backup rhythm techniques for both instruments
  • Our inspirations/education/background
  • Adapting other instrument ideas to our instruments
  • The need to solve a particular musical puzzle
  • Working without a tradition/template
  • What to do with a fiddle tune?
  • Prepared or improvised solos
  • Playing and quoting lead melodies
  • "Quoting" other solos
  • Simultaneous improvising
  • Counter-point
  • Super-imposing harmonic information
  • Complex simplicity and vice versa
  • Control of dynamics and "story"
  • ‫Harmonizing
  • Improvising an arrangement on the fly
  • Generating counter-lines, harmonies and double-stop textures
  • Expanding backup roles/pretending to be a different instrument
Also to be included in the Intensive:

  • Discussion of peoples' specific questions about ensemble issues
  • Details about various musical style issues
    • Other issues that might be diminishing our ability to enjoy the music
    • Possibly some cooking tips.
Folded into the session, we’ll examine tonal concepts, reharmonization, and possibly analyze a standard tune to freshen, polish and "Duo-ize" it.

Participants can expect to come away with new or improved techniques and insights that will lead to increased understanding, ease, and fun when playing in small ensembles, in either an accompanying or a solo role--or both at once. Knowledge of these ideas and techniques should, over time, greatly increase a string musician's fun level, musical confidence, and spontaneity in any size ensemble.
Vocal Harmony Intensive
Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum
Afternoon - Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $65
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

‘Going to the West’: An exploration of harmony options

Grammy Award-winning musician Laurie Lewis is internationally renowned as a singer, songwriter, fiddler, guitarist, bandleader, producer and educator. She was a founding member of the Good Ol’ Persons and the Grant Street String Band and has performed and recorded since 1986 with her musical partner, mandolinist Tom Rozum. Laurie has twice been voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association and has won the respect and admiration of her peers. Her 2016 album with her crack band, The Right Hands, was nominated for a Grammy in 2017. Laurie and Tom have been singing their whole lives (so far), and love nothing better than the sound of voices raised in harmony.

The course:

Going to the West will utilize the beautiful song of that title as a jumping-off point to explore harmony singing. We will cover melody-singing, the tenor and mysterious baritone harmonies, breathing, phrasing, and achieving that perfect blend in duets and trios.

Starting off in a larger group, we will break down into trios and duets and work on finding the “right” key for a singer, and how to stack harmonies most effectively for any given group of singers. We will touch on traditional bluegrass ornamentation and styles, and work on awareness of our instruments (our bodies).

Participants will come away with their ears tuned to pick out the harmonies and make themselves more valuable members in any singing situation. Participants should be able to sing “Happy Birthday” in tune.
Rearranging The Roots
Joe Craven
Morning - Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

Rearranging The Roots: Exploring possibility in Songs and Tunes

For 30 years, Joe Craven has been known as a multi-instrumentalist who ‘plays forward’ folk tradition and process by mashing ideas and sound tools from a variety of unexpected places, thus creating new music altogether. Joe was with David Grisman for 17 years and Joe has added to his creativity pool working with Jerry Garcia, David Lindley, Alison Brown, Howard Levy, Vassar Clements, Rob Ickes and many other innovative artists. Even better known is Joe’s work as an award-winning educator having taught with vocalist Inga Swearengen, bassist Victor Wooten, children’s music innovator Paul Reisler and jazz percussionist Jason Marsalis. Joe's love of music is broad and he continually seeks the happiness of pursuit in his pursuit of happiness.

Packaging Songs and Tunes

There are many ways you can present a song or tune with different grooves, tempos, instrument choices, harmonic maps, arrangements, etc,. “Producing” can make a great song/tune fall flat or make a mediocre song a mega hit! Take a traditional idea and make it indie pop; take a brand new idea and make it sound 100 years old. Looking at things differently is part of a long, grand tradition in Folk Music. Joe will remind you that traditions begin as innovations and innovations are built upon traditions. Bring songs or tunes of yours or by other folks and let’s have a great time playing dress up with those awesome ideas of yours! Rearranging The Roots will address, but not limited to:
  • Intention - What do you want your tune or song to say & to what audience?
  • The wardrobe of groove / style
  • Major or minor key (?) and the powers of both.
  • The intuitive connection of tempo
  • Instrumental density - how many layers do you need to play to say what you wish to say?
  • The Arrangement; the forms, the lengths, the beginning / middle and end...oh my!
And more...of course!

All instruments and vocals - advanced beginner to advanced intermediate.
Guitar Intensive
Kenny Smith
Afternoon - Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

Originally from Nine Mile, Indiana, Kenny is widely considered one of the most important and influential flatpicking style guitarists of his generation. A two-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year award winner, his professional credits include six years with the popular Lonesome River Band and an exceptional solo CD, Studebaker, released on Sugar Hill Records in 1997. A much-anticipated Guitar Solo CD, Return, released on Gat3 Records in 2012.

Winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2003, the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band combines gutsy, heartfelt vocals, brilliant instrumental talents and a powerful, contemporary sense of song choice and arrangement into one of the most compelling new sounds in bluegrass today.

Kenny is in great demand at guitar workshops and master classes. He has released a two-DVD instruction set on AcuTab Publications. Kenny has recently launched a new online Guitar lesson website at kennysmithguitar.com.

The class will address, but not limited to:
  • Rhythm-Techniques on how to be a solid rhythm player. We will learn just how a basic Rhythm pattern can be so technical.
  • Are you in a rut?- have no fear, we will discuss some new ideas that will help you pull yourself out of the ditch and on the road to new solos.
  • Lines - how to create your own lines and licks. We will study the process I use to come up with some new lines that will take your playing in a new direction.
  • Improvising- What are you thinking? I will play tunes and improvise and stop and explain what am I thinking !
  • Arpeggios- learn them and how to turn them into music.
  • Other but important stuff - Tuning, Tone , Right hand, left hand position and pressure. Learning the fretboard.
This class will be aimed at intermediate and advanced players.
Dobro Intensive
Fred Travers
Afternoon - Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

Fred Travers began playing Dobro in 1982, influenced by the music of the Seldom Scene and the playing style of Mike Auldridge. During 1986 through 1995, Fred performed and recorded with the Gary Ferguson Band, and Paul Adkins and the Borderline Band. In September of 1995, John Duffey and Ben Eldridge, founding members of the Seldom Scene, invited Fred to join the group as Dobro player for the band. Now, over twenty years later, Fred remains as the Dobro player/singer for the Seldom Scene. He has performed countless times with the band, around the United States, and in Canada. He also has appeared on the last four Seldom Scene recordings.

The Dobro Intensive will discuss these topics (and whatever might turn up from questions that develop during the Workshop!):
  • Techniques and approach to Mike Auldrige’s style of playing the guitar with an emphasis on making the Dobro a defining voice in the music of the Band.
  • Improvising and preparing Solo’s for a song
  • Using the defined Melody
  • Using a combination of defined melody and other licks
  • Using the unique qualities of the Dobro/Slide guitar to create a singer’s approach to a solo
  • Utilizing slightly alternate tunings of the standard G tuning to enhance the Dobro approach and sound to a particular song.
  • Backup and fills
  • Single note and harmony scales as fills and back-up
  • Approach to Back-up fills - complimenting the song or singer
  • Playing Rhythm on the Dobro
  • Developing an arsenal of “back pocket”, signature licks for you to use.
  • Techniques for playing good tone on the instrument
During our review of these topics, there are a number other things that will be discussed I’m sure! Practice techniques, harmonics, Right and Left-hand techniques, scales, developing a visual roadmap on the neck of the guitar, Hammer-on and pull-off techniques, etc. etc….

Participants can expect to expand or improve their playing techniques, which may hopefully open a new door in your playing and enjoyment of the instrument. It will be a chance for all of us to share questions and ideas, steal a few licks from each other, have a bunch of fun, and jump-start another great weekend of music, jamming, and fellowship at Wintergrass!
Fiddle Intensive
Alex Hargreaves
Morning - Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

Newest member of the world renowned, Grammy award-winning, Turtle Island Quartet, Alex Hargreaves is an innovative, cross-genre violinist described as “one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today” by virtuoso mandolinist/composer Mike Marshall. He has received numerous honors including the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin from Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference, as well as being the youngest ever (age 15) to win the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho.

Alex is an active performer and has played on stages around the world including Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion, Panama Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, as well as venues in Europe and South Korea. He has toured with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton, Darol Anger and singer/multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz, appearing on three of her critically-acclaimed albums. Alex’s debut album, Prelude features master acoustic musicians Mike Marshall, Grant Gordy and Paul Kowert, and special guests Bela Fleck and Noam Pikelny.

In this class, we will address some key components of Bluegrass fiddling including:
  • Repertoire
  • Stylistic traits of the Bluegrass fiddle giants
  • Playing with vocalists
  • Melody-based improvisation
  • Rhythm/groove
  • Harmony and chords
A portion of the workshop will be in a master class format, giving students the opportunity to try out new techniques in real time and receive feedback.

This is an intermediate - advanced level class, meaning that students should have a basic comfort level with the instrument regardless of genre, as well as some experience learning by ear and playing with others. There will be no sheet music so please bring a recorder and notebook.

Students can expect to come away with new techniques to use in a Bluegrass ensemble and/or jam setting, a deeper knowledge of harmony and how it relates to the fiddle, and some new tunes as well.
Basic Mandolin Intensive
Christopher Henry
Morning - Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

Learning Bluegrass Mandolin By-Ear with Christopher Henry

Christopher Henry has been called by IBMA, the premiere Monroe-style mandolinist of his generation. His parents, Red and Murphy Henry are well respectd veterans of bluegrass and creators of The Murphy Method, one of the most popular educational programs for learning the music. Christopher has been a member of the Peter Rowan Band for the last 4 years. Christopher also leads his own nationally touring band. He is a vocal proponent of learning bluegrass by-ear.

Learning Bluegrass Mandolin By-Ear will include but not be limited to:
  • Learning how to learn by-ear
    • learning from recordings
    • Learning to hear and understand intervals
    • Developing an understanding of the most common forms in vocal and instrumental bluegrass
  • Developing speed
    • practice techniques
    • Pushing your limits
    • Understanding drive
  • Studying Bill
    • focusing on classic instrumentals
    • Understanding the subtleties of Monroe style
    • Exploring the intricaciesof broad-brushed melodies
  • The dynamics of bluegrass
    • how to play with power
    • How to backup tastefully and dynamically
    • Learning how to become more comfortable with double-stops and how to use them effectively and dramatically
Also will study:
Bluegrass Blues
The Ancient Tones
Question and answer segments

Participants will learn to understand the amount of work that it takes to become really proficient in traditional bluegrass mandolin. We will talk about prominent disciples of Monroe and their differences and similarities. Expect to be challenged in this program.
Banjo Intensive
Patrick Sauber
Afternoon - Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

The son of master old-time musician Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber grew up surrounded by traditional southern music. Equally adept at banjo, mandolin, and guitar he is an in-demand instrumentalist and singer. Patrick has played or recorded with many musical greats including Doc Watson, Curly Seckler, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Roland White, John Fogerty, Herb Pedersen, Tim O'Brien and many more. Patrick was also a cast member of the Christopher Guest movie "A Mighty Wind". He can be seen on the road with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Peter Rowan, the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band and John Reischman and the Jaybirds.

This class will focus on playing Scruggs style banjo in a band or jam situation. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to:
  • Playing with good tone, and how it relates to right-hand technique and setup.
  • Developing good timing through critical listening and practice methods.
  • Backup ideas behind vocals and other instruments.
  • Soloing and backing up slow songs.
  • Playing in the keys D, E and F without a capo
  • Alternate tunings
This class is for intermediate and advancing players looking to refine their skills and expand their musical vocabulary.

The class will be taught by ear, so feel free to bring a recording device.
A World of Music – Listening, Awareness, Rhythmic Integrity
Tristan & Tashina Clarridge with Simon Chrisman (The Bee Eaters)
Morning - Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

All ages and instruments are welcome and encouraged.

All skill levels welcome.

Bands are encouraged to attend together.

Six time Grand National Fiddle Champions and renowned acoustic educators Tristan & Tashina Clarridge and have spent the past three decades immersed in a rich musical life, since picking up the fiddle at age two. They grew up at music camps, where they studied with acoustic luminaries such as Darol Anger, Mark O'Connor, Alasdair Fraser, Bruce Molsky, Natalie MacMaster and dozens of others. In 2006 they joined with hammer dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman to form The Bee Eaters.

An influential cellist at the forefront of a folk-cello revolution, Tristan Clarridge toured the world as a member of Crooked Still, and Darol Anger's Republic of Strings. Tashina toured with Tony Trischka, Mark O'Connor, and performed with Edgar Meyer's Young Artists' program at Carnegie Hall. Simon Chrisman's inventive virtuosic touch and sophisticated rhythmic sensibilities are redefining his instrument and earning the attention of musicians and fans all over the world. He will be featured at the festival with the Jeremy Kittel Band.

Together and individually, they have been longtime featured instructors at Mark O'Connor's Fiddle Conferences, Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Fiddling School, Berklee College of Music, and led hundreds of lessons and workshops at many notable schools, universities, and festivals.

Tristan and Tashina co-founded the Shasta Music Summit, now in its 14th year, uniting acoustic masters from around the globe with the next generation of acoustic innovators for a series of workshops and all-star concerts, driven by a bold vision of strengthening the interwoven connectedness of music, community, and culture.

The Intensive will include (but not be limited to):
  • A focus on rhythmic integrity, strength, and flexibility: how to effectively practice groove
  • Tools for grooving with bows (fiddle and cello in particular).
  • Singing with your instrument
  • Exercises to improve listening and awareness skills in any jam session or ensemble
  • The application of those listening and rhythmic skills to several tunes/songs; playing all together and in small ensembles
  • Making the most effective use of your practice time
  • An understanding of music at it's fundamental level of resonance and harmony
  • Listening to recorded examples new and old: the roots and branches of bluegrass, old-time, Irish, etc, and how to find musical focus in today's world
  • How to relate music to everyday life
  • The power of music to connect people in all ways
Participants can expect a thorough workout in the realms of listening, rhythmic strength, and ensemble playing... as well as tools to practice and improve those aspects of their musicality on their own.
Live Performance Intensive For Solo Artists And Bands
Vicki Ambinder
Afternoon - Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

How can you take your act to the next artistic level? How can you become more dynamic and confident onstage? How can you make a deeper connection with your material, and with your audience?

This intensive, conducted in a master class format, will focus on key elements of effective and compelling live music performance. Participants will be given the opportunity to perform a song and receive in-depth, supportive, practical, individualized, on-the-spot performance coaching.

This class is geared towards performers with intermediate to advanced skills. Participating acts must perform their own musical accompaniment. Dressing as you would for a show is recommended, but not required.

Bring your instruments and a song to present, or come to observe the process and participate in class discussions. Either way, you will leave with many tools you can apply to your own artistic endeavors.

Topics to be addressed during coaching demonstrations and discussions include, among others:
  • Honing your stage presence and owning the stage
  • Connecting with the mission of the song through deep exploration and interpretation
  • Maximizing the use of intentional arrangements and dynamics
  • Fully embracing the role of front person
  • Cultivating band cohesion
  • Defining your own sound
  • Designing stage patter that will assist you as well as the audience
  • Using preparation to channel nerves productively
  • Freshening your staging and stage plotting
  • Finding and maintaining focus, and being in the moment
Note: This intensive will be the only opportunity to experience Vicki’s master class at Wintergrass 2018, as it will not be offered during the regular festival workshop schedule.

More information on Vicki's approach can be found on her web site.