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JeffD
Mar-23-2011, 12:29pm
Will I see any fellow cafe folks at the workshop April 3rd in Ithaca NY?

http://www.guitarworks.com/aboutus.html


NFI, and the fewer of you that come the more time I have with him, but still I can't not say something. :mandosmiley:

Rick Schmidlin
Mar-23-2011, 1:24pm
Darn it, I am to far away and he is one of my all time favorites.

JeffD
Mar-23-2011, 2:37pm
From what I understand there's only something like 15 spaces total. I don't know how many are already taken, but I got my space this morning.

swampstomper
Mar-24-2011, 1:19am
I happened to take his last workshop in Ithaca a few years ago. I'll pass on this one. It was fun to sit face-to-face with Frank but in that format I didn't get too much out of it. As everyone knows he's a "stream of consciousness" guy, which is interesting but he's not a teacher (didactic) like Don Stiernberg whose workshop I attended in Solingen a while back. Being with Frank is sitting down with a guru and attempting to grok his aura -- definitely worth doing once.

AlanN
Mar-24-2011, 6:49am
Exactly right. FW is a legend, and as legends go, you need to sort of 'co-exist' in his space to get it. I sat with him once at his place. We picked. He did his thing and I did mine. Did anything rub off? Probably, in a kind of loose, metaphysical way.

JeffD
Mar-24-2011, 8:40am
A young FW:

MikeEdgerton
Mar-24-2011, 9:32am
Don't get me wrong, given the opportunity I'd attend a Frank Wakefield workshop again but what has been said is correct. A Frank Wakefield workshop is part concert and part comedy show with some questions and answers. Now for the hard part. Understanding the Frankisms when you get the answers gets to be half the endeavor. It's enjoyable but don't look for a whole lot of enlightenment on your approach to the instrument.

AlanN
Mar-24-2011, 9:43am
One thing he showed me (or rather, I picked up from him) was this 2-note descending thing on the D and E, then G and A strings. I use is to this day, on tunes like Blackberry Blossom, where there is a patterned scalar thing going on. It actually sounds like Frank.

Michael Eck
Mar-24-2011, 10:56am
I took one private lesson with Frank a few years back, and since I live near him I should probably try to take a few more. I haven't done a workshop with him, but I can state than in a private lesson situation he drops the "backing talkwards" bit and gets down to business. I was just knocked out.

JeffD
Mar-24-2011, 11:39am
Well I figure if I can take one little tip home, even something simple that I hadn't thought of, its worth it. And if he says something nice about my mandolin or my chop, I will probably not touch down for a week.

montana
Mar-24-2011, 2:17pm
Well I figure if I can take one little tip home, even something simple that I hadn't thought of, its worth it. And if he says something nice about my mandolin or my chop, I will probably not touch down for a week.

I feel the same way about buying books and dvd's. If you get one cool thing out of them it's worth the price of admission.

Don Grieser
Mar-24-2011, 4:58pm
If I lived close enough, I'd take lessons from Frank as often as he'd let me. He's a fantastic teacher one on one. And really one of the most creative mandolin players and tune writers ever.

mandolirius
Mar-24-2011, 8:39pm
I took a workshop with Frank many years ago. About 15 people in a large living room. Given Frank's performance the previous night, I had no idea what to expect. He was very focused and got everyone to play before he even began so he knew what he was dealing with.

He was, of course, himself but he did not do his schtick. One guy who played a pretty good version of New Camptown Races got a "Now cut that out" (delivered with a huge grin), but I was really impressed with how Frank handled the very disparate group he had before him.

Andy B
Mar-24-2011, 10:11pm
Thanks for posting the Greenbrier videos. I had not seen either of those before, and it was a real treat to see Frank with John Herald. Two of my favorite musicians. I took a lesson with Frank years ago and it was very worthwhile. He's very perceptive, and not just about music.

JeffD
Mar-25-2011, 8:13am
Thanks for posting the Greenbrier videos.

I think its ineteresting to have two different banjo styles in the same bluegrass song. Pete Seeger no less!

Timbofood
Mar-25-2011, 9:26pm
I suffer from the "Buy a CD and lose your mind" syndrome, In preparing for a 6 hour drive, I "needed" fresh tunes for the car. I found an autographed CD from Frank of "Midnight on the Mandolin" as well as a few other things...more or less forgotten. I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mr. Wakefield on 3 occasions and a more honest, personable man I cannot imagine. I hope I never have the displeasure to talk with him again! If you're "wise," you are if not, you may never be!

Bill Foss
Mar-25-2011, 9:32pm
Actually, I wrote New Camptown Races back before I was born! And I'll tell you, it sounds more like it does now that it did then, doesn't it?

Hey, we could start a new thread that was only Frank Wakefield's backing talkwards.

Pete Counter
Mar-26-2011, 11:20pm
Those clips are from an old show in the 60's called Rainbow Quest hosted by pete seegar, There are a few of them available on netflix. I actually enjoyed this show being one of the few times I could enjoy frank, he usually gets on my nerves as I find him more foolish than funny but he was being a normal person on this show.

JeffD
Apr-08-2011, 3:02pm
Ohhh man. I said I would be satisfied if I picked up one tip, one idea, and instead I got a bunch. 3 hours (well he had to break a take in the middle), on harmony, right hand exercises, cross picking, with some crazy techniques I never thought of, alternate tunings from the moons of Saturn... He's not a teacher, but if you ask he answers, with examples.

And... I got to play Amazing Grace while Frank Wakefield, The Frank Wakefield, showed how he would back me up. That one is not going to be forgotton any time soon.

mandolirius
Apr-09-2011, 12:52pm
Sounds like a great time. Where was it held? How many participants? Were they all over the place, level-wise?

JeffD
Apr-09-2011, 8:50pm
It was in Ithaca, NY. 7 or 8 participants. All different levels, and different interests. Some who only do single note melody and others more advanced, and one who was one of his private students for a long time I gathered, who was a pretty awesome player.

After the workshop this fellow and Frank jammed on "Get Up John" and did an amazing job at it. One of those times where you can't believe its live right in front of you not four feet away, and so so so good.

In one of Franks alternate tunings he splits the E string course, one string up and one down. And it made for an awesome sound.

I think someone who had played a bit would get more out of it than a beginner, just to know what to ask and to know what you want to get out of the experience.

Jmoss
Apr-10-2011, 11:09pm
I used to study with Kenny Baker and also Bill Monroe. I would go to Baker's house and we would get up at 7 am, start working on fiddle at 8 am after he cooked breakfast for us, and go nonstop until about 9 pm when we would talk about things. Baker would cover with me all the fine details of technical execution as well as melody construction and phrasing, heck even composing. I did this for 2 weeks straight each winter. With Monroe, I would sit down with him, on the bus or at his office, and he would just play what he was trying to teach me. Doing either of these things was not easy, let me tell you, and you had to be tough to take the humiliation of realizing exactly what you needed to learn. They were both nice to me, the stress came from my own understanding of "ME", or "I" in the Zen tradition, being re-calibrated right before my greatest heroes.

When I started holding the "Frank Wakefield Mandolin Campovers" (1997 - 2007) I wanted to create a similar experience for the students as I had with Kenny Baker. So, I would make sure each time that Frank was focused on covering a list of important topics and not get off on a lot of clowning. Frank was totally in agreement on this. The problem of the large 3 hour walk-in events held at festivals or music stores was that they needed to entertain more than teach, given the mix of attendee at the event. Part of the Campovers was group and then there was a video taped personal lesson, where it was strictly business.

When I would go to study with Baker, I was totally Baker'ed up. I had studied hundreds of live shows that he did across time with Monroe as well as his all-night Jams which it had been up to me, to be there, to record. This meant hitch hiking across country on Highway 80 from here in California with fiddle and a back-pack to get to Bean Blossom with only a sleeping bag for bedding, sometimes in the rain! What I mean is, I was ready. When I went to Baker's farm, I confident that I had Kenny Baker pretty much down and only needed a few touch-up pointers to be good. When it was time to leave, I remember thinking that I should have gone into sheet-metal or aluminum siding, but not the fiddle. :-) Now that is what I call Learning Something! It is brutal, but wonderful. A kind of Bluegrass S&M only musicians could ever appreciate. It pits you right up against your own human capability. You are pushed right to the edge of your own mental and physical capacity, by your own desire not to fail. When you come back from that edge, you have learned something.

It would take the entire year between stays at Baker's to even be ready for the next visit. This is how you learn from a master. You have to be ready and focused. You have to be ready for the emotional roller coaster that the lesson causes in you. To get the most from a lesson with Frank Wakefield, you need to be Wakefield'ed up before you show up. It is my personal opinion that Bill Monroe was the best ever for the Hard Edged straight time playing which allows for the syncopation at the note level. Frank Wakefield is next. Frank is the best Monroe sound mandolin player living today. It is your "job" to be prepared if you want to take on a lesson with him. Just like he was prepared when he learned from Monroe. Frank Wakefield is not the guy at the local music store, he is the champ. A lesson with Frank is like a lesson from an alien from a distant planet. You need to be prepared to even hear, with your ears, what he is trying teach. I know this because I went through the exact same thing with Baker. The ability to hear is something that must be developed. Otherwise, you just hear the outline of what is being played.

When I listen to Mandolin Extrav, I hear 3 mandolin players, Frank, Jesse, and everyone else. That is how special Frank is. The question is, are you prepared to learn from him? Just like I had be prepared to be invited to Kenny Baker's farm.

Just a thought.
Jim Moss

Jmoss
Apr-11-2011, 4:20am
Just ran across this photo. Never miss a moment to have fun.
Ray Murphy was happy to hear Frank with his mandolin.
http://www.mossware.com/023_02Abbc.jpg
Baggot Inn NYC 2005 (photo by: Sharon Lasher)

JeffD
Apr-11-2011, 8:23am
To get the most from a lesson with Frank Wakefield, you need to be Wakefield'ed up before you show up. ... It is your "job" to be prepared if you want to take on a lesson with him. ... Frank Wakefield is not the guy at the local music store, he is the champ. A lesson with Frank is like a lesson from an alien from a distant planet. You need to be prepared to even hear, with your ears, what he is trying teach. ... The ability to hear is something that must be developed. Otherwise, you just hear the outline of what is being played.

I think you are correct. I did some homework for this 3 hour workshop, but of course its never enough. Some of the attendees, I felt, did not have an understanding of who it was that was sitting not 10 feet away. I got a lot out of it, but just a taste compared to what an all day multiple day intensive experience would be.

I was thinking, and your post confirms it, that it was an older form of learning where the master "shows", but the information is not organized out in a lesson with modules and exercises and take aways and practice items. This kind of thing only works when the student really really wants it bad. (And is willing to put up with all you describe just to learn.)

In any case I am real glad of the opportunity I had, and considering how much I got out of a 3 hour workshop I am in awe at what the whole the iceberg would be.

Jmoss
Apr-12-2011, 9:23pm
I think you are correct. I was thinking, and your post confirms it, that it was an older form of learning where the master "shows", but the information is not organized out in a lesson with modules and exercises and take aways and practice items. This kind of thing only works when the student really really wants it bad. (And is willing to put up with all you describe just to learn.)


You said it Jeff. That is why a "workshop" becomes nothing more than a small personal concert with humor. Think about what has been said in this thread, I quote:

1) It was fun to sit face-to-face with Frank but in that format I didn't get too much out of it.

2) A Frank Wakefield workshop is part concert and part comedy show with some questions and answers.

And you guys like him! You know who he is. You already have a level of refinement here. Think about the folks who attend a "Workshop" who have no idea who he is. Well, they are at the workshops too. Speaking for myself, I would love to get students who have a serious desire to learn, really learn. Students who can go deep into the music with you. I can speak for my students over the years, going deep into the notes and the reasons for the notes, including the historical aspects and construction of note cluster concepts.... the things that Baker and Monroe taught me... just puts most students to sleep. I am very into talking about all this stuff to the point of being able to put most anyone to sleep. That was what was cool about Frank and I, we would talk about this stuff all the time and we would never fall asleep.

So what do you do? It is kind of depressing. So you learn to adjust.

I think Mandolin players are more serious... on average... then fiddle students. There are a lot of people who pick up an instrument so they can meet the opposite sex. Music stores are full of them. Professional teachers thrive on them. They are in the workshop audience too. For them it is a social thing. That's cool. Hopefully, they will become good performance listeners in the process. That's what old man Suzuki said about the millions of young violin players he was influencing, that they would not all become great violinists, but that they would be great listeners. However, I would hope that this is not what most people on the Cafe are about.

People need to be mentored. I mean to even know what the social norms are... but good musicians always appreciate the dedicated young musicians... students of the music form. That is because they remind them of themselves when they were just learning.

Kenny Baker and Bill Monroe, never charged me a penny. Baker put me up each winter, for years. He cooked for me, and worked with me there at the farm, just him and me. After that Baker reviewed each of my albums for things that I might not have noticed. He produced Tanyards. He never charged a cent and he wouldn't take any favors like buying him dinner. He just saw that I was crazy about his sound on the fiddle and Bluegrass, that I would never give up, so he helped me. I had hitch hiked and later drove to so many of his shows... all over the country. My practice style, at the same time as holding down a full time job as the Director of Engineering here in the Silicon Valley, was to practice 4 to 6 hours a day, each and every day. When I was getting ready for an album it would be 8 hours a day. No marriages, no TV, just organized sleep schedules and lots of coffee. That was for the first 18 years. I was also in bands that played 3 to 4 times a week.

What I am saying is that when one of those kind of people come to you for lessons, you are very serious. And... you hope you don't burn them out with your enthusiasm over the music.

Jim Moss

JeffD
Apr-14-2011, 3:39pm
There were those at the workshop who were not into his kind of music all that much, and perhaps had only heard of him recenlty. I didn't have a problem with this. FW played blisteringly well, and nobody was able to miss that. For $75 they learned how much more can be done on the mandolin (than one normally comes into contact with at jams or even most concerts), and if that is all they got its worth it.

I like what you said, better listeners. Better appreciators.

JeffD
Apr-16-2011, 7:12pm
I got to thinking about Frank's funny backwards talking. I guess there is a tradition to that. Charlie Poole's "won't you lend a poor dime a cripple? Ain't got no mile in my pocket and no head to poke my hole through" comes to mind.

Mandolin Mick
Apr-20-2011, 3:43am
Thanx for the clips and stories ... whenever I hear Wakefield I think that's as close to Bill as you're going to get! :mandosmiley: