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Thread: Ever attended a music camp?

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Ever attended a music camp?

    If you haven't, I heartily recommend it. I just completed a 3 and 1/2 day weekend at the California Bluegrass Association's Winter Camp near Petaluma, CA. Here are just a few of the things I experienced over the course of the weekend:

    - Three half-day group mandolin lessons with John Reischman (playing his Loar most of the time - and no, I didn't ask him if I could play it). There were about eight students - lots of time for questions and personal attention.
    - A 15 minute 1-on-1 lesson from John during his office hours, including advice on my mandolin setup, tips for improvising and showing me some great embellishments to one of the songs we learned in class.
    - Two afternoon elective workshops on different aspects of mandolin playing, taught by John Reischman and Caleb Klauder.
    - Met Peter Rowan in person, got his autograph, and he heard me perform an original tune during the student concert and gave me a nice compliment on the song and my delivery.
    - Had a nice long conversation with Bill Evans over dinner, during which he offered to do a house concert at my home this summer.
    - Met several bluegrass players from my community and found out about a twice a month slow jam near where I live.
    - Totally lucked out when I picked the right practice room to take a nap one afternoon before dinner. Four of the instructors and their teaching assistants walked in to use the room for a jam session about 5 minutes after I closed my eyes. Among them was Mike Witcher, and not a mandolin player among the group!! They invited me to join and I wound up jamming with them for nearly an hour and took a couple of solos (that were completely pedestrian compared to what these pros were playing, but hey - I jammed with Mike Witcher!).
    - Said hi to Roland White and shook his hand - and he remembered me from his class last year! (Roland taught the beginner mandolin section at Winter Camp last year.)
    - Got to see group performances that included various combinations of Peter Rowan, John Reischman, Roland White, Bill Evans, Mike Witcher, Keith Little, Caleb Klauder, Jim Nunally, and all these amazing musicians.
    - Met many, many nice folks, learned new tunes and skills, had a blast, and played my mandolin and guitar all weekend long.

    Those are just a few of the highlights. And I am certain that every other camper ended the weekend with a similar list of their own highlights. If you've never attended a camp before, give it a try! I am planning to return to CBA Winter Camp every year as long as they continue to offer it.

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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    How right you are. These camps are great fun. But it sure makes you realize you're never gonna be like the big guys!

    Kaufman, Augusta-Heritage, and Swannannoah are favorites in my neck of the woods. Lots more to chose from. If you've got the time and the coins, it's a fun experience!
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    I think I sat next to you in class. I've been dealing with the increasingly strong urges of MAS since I got home.
    It was a great camp! But these camps are so intense, I have to discipline myself for weeks (and more) to incorporate all that information into my playing. Glad you found a jam.

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    George Wilson GRW3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    Camp Bluegrass in Levelland, TX, has been my getaway. It just renews me so much. The time with the instructors, even banjo players is so valuable to becoming a better player. I always consider it successful if I come home with one big idea.

    I'd like to do Kaufman but it's at a bad time, right before the major summer meeting I attend every Summer. Next year, though, we're meeting early in Berlin.
    George Wilson
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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    There are so many good ones these days, and I'm blessed for having attended what I think served as the progenitor for these things; namely, Butch Baldassari's World Of Mandolin 3-day seminar in Nashville, going two times: 1994 and 1996. Butch had guest instructors: Compton, Roland White, Ronnie M. and even arranged to have Bill Monroe show up at one of them, with his F-5, his driver and his squeeze.

    I video'd some of the days instruction and it's a blast to go back and look at them - Ronnie picking Quicksburg Rondezvous, Roland and Ronnie and Butch playing the standards together.

    RIP, Butch.

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    Quote Originally Posted by sallyann View Post
    I think I sat next to you in class. I've been dealing with the increasingly strong urges of MAS since I got home.
    It was a great camp! But these camps are so intense, I have to discipline myself for weeks (and more) to incorporate all that information into my playing. Glad you found a jam.
    Ha! Glad to find you out in the virtual world. On MAS - Somehow I lucked out and found a mandolin I am satisfied with early on. It took me years to find the right guitars. What are you playing now? Did you make it to Tall Toad? They have a great selection, and usually have several high end mandolins in the store. When I bought the Capek, I was able to play it side by side against a couple other really good mandolins, and that helped a lot to gauge its tonal quality.

    On absorbing all the material - I don't think that's material that will get absorbed in a matter of weeks. That was several months' worth of information. Did you go to the double-stop workshop? That was invaluable. I went last year and most of it went over my head, but the soil was much more fertile this year and I 'got' what John was teaching this time around. I'm going to be focusing on that material a LOT in the coming months.

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    There are so many good ones these days, and I'm blessed for having attended what I think served as the progenitor for these things; namely, Butch Baldassari's World Of Mandolin 3-day seminar in Nashville, going two times: 1994 and 1996. Butch had guest instructors: Compton, Roland White, Ronnie M. and even arranged to have Bill Monroe show up at one of them, with his F-5, his driver and his squeeze.

    I video'd some of the days instruction and it's a blast to go back and look at them - Ronnie picking Quicksburg Rondezvous, Roland and Ronnie and Butch playing the standards together.

    RIP, Butch.
    Wow - must have been amazing to see Big Mon himself. And Butch - what a beautiful player, and sounds like he was a sweet guy from all I've read. I bought his instructional DVD on Homespun - a really invaluable resource of information for advancing beginners and intermediate players. Butch really left an indelible mark on the mandolin world - what a legacy.

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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    And Butch - what a beautiful player, and sounds like he was a sweet guy from all I've read.
    Yes to the first, and ...uhhhh....to the 2nd. LOL. He was a nice guy.

    I remember a few of us seasoned pickers at the back of the room, picking the opening cut on his excellent Old Town recording at the start of the seminar. He came by, listened a bit and said "Ok boys, that's enough..."

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ever attended a music camp?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Yes to the first, and ...uhhhh....to the 2nd. LOL. He was a nice guy.

    I remember a few of us seasoned pickers at the back of the room, picking the opening cut on his excellent Old Town recording at the start of the seminar. He came by, listened a bit and said "Ok boys, that's enough..."
    Interesting. You gotta cut a guy some slack when he's teaching group mandolin classes on a regular basis. I was thinking about this a lot during Reischman's group class. He has the patience of a saint. Think about it - sitting in front of a room of rank amateurs plinking away on our instruments, and doing that for group after group throughout the year. I know he's getting paid for his time, but he sure earns it. John kept us on a very tight leash, keeping the class from descending into cacophony as he showed us new tunes or techniques. But he did it with great, great kindness and grace. He did give us plenty of time to practice and play the new material during class time, but it was ALWAYS done as a group - there's no opportunity for individual practice in the class. He would demonstrate the tune or etude at full tempo, then again at a tempo that was slow enough that every student in class could follow along. Then we would play through as a group with John leading. I am sure that this approach is as much for John to retain his sanity as it is to insure that all students get an opportunity to practice during class. Reflecting on the three days of lessons, we covered a TON of material given the allotted time. I am completely satisfied with my learning experience while attending this camp.

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