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Thread: Workshop Topics Suggestions

  1. #1
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Hey all -

    I'm running a mandolin workshop in a few weeks and the topic I originally planned I've decided is too in depth for a 60 minute workshop (the original idea was "How to learn a song at every level - using Mary had a Little Lamb, showcasing how to use multiple melody, chord, and scale positions to create interesting ideas on any song").

    I've been toying with a few other ideas but I was curious to get some ideas from the group. Ideally this is targeting beginners and some intermediate players as those are the most likely to come to a workshop that's not run by someone super famous haha.

    Topics I'm toying around with:
    + Double stops across the fretboard - using double stops to move around the fretboard and create interesting leads and rhythmic ideas.
    + Proper technique breakdown - common technique problems and how to correct them for good
    + Building strength and Focus - focusing on left hand pinky exercises and right hand picking techniques

    Any thoughts on these - or any suggestions on topics that you'd attend?
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  2. #2
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    I think proper technique breakdown is a GREAT one for a beginner/intermediate workshop - it'll help save attendees so much grief further down the line. Lack of appropriate technique can really hamstring progress and lack of progress can lead to people putting the instrument down and deciding it's not for them whereas simple tweaks to technique can act as a "key turning" moment for people.
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Since youíre targeting Beg and Int I would put out a message to be tuned and ready to go when the wks begins and be able to play 2-finger chords G, C, D, and A.

    Donít entertain ques about tuners, picks, and strings during the wks timeÖsave that for after class.

    • Spend 3-5 minutes assessing everyone with warm up exercises.
    • Use a scale exercise for warmup like folded scales which can then be incorporated into the wks song.
    • Explain DS using the key youíll play Mary in then move on to some simple improv


    If the class is full of Beg you may not get far, if you clearly have int players donít get too bogged down with the beginners, when I first picked up mando I signed up for things that were over my head - still do - and learn alot from sitting, watching, and listening.
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  5. #4

    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Chords and backup get neglected even though 80 percent of your time in jams or performance is spent doing it. The number system and knowing I-IV-V chords is a huge thing for playing with others. Also etiquette for playing with others.

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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Don’t entertain ques about tuners, picks, and strings during the wks time…save that for after class.
    ...someone's been to a few workshops.

    Chords and backup get neglected even though 80 percent of your time in jams or performance is spent doing it. The number system and knowing I-IV-V chords is a huge thing for playing with others.
    +1 on that. You could even incorporate double stops, inversions,different fingerings, and rhythmic changes to make backup more interesting.

    Kirk

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  8. #6
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Thanks all.

    I will definitely review the Nashville Numbering system. I likely will just have a handout or something that explains it so I don't need to really spend time on it.

    I prepared this for the class (and my students) recently though it still needs some polishing https://mattcbruno.com/basic-double-stops/. This was more or less the "double stop workshop" I had planned just with some additional handouts. I'm having trouble finding software to write out fretboards digitally though (any suggestions? I use MuseScore but it's not ideal for this). My thinking was these included two note chords, so more bang for the buck so to speak.

    I think maybe I'll structure like this:

    Warm up with G Major scale - straight through two octaves in open and closed position - about 10 minutes. Explaining the importance of using different warm ups as well (like running thirds, skipping thirds, etc)
    Overview of proper techniques - left hand thumb position, proper picking technique, things to watch for when fretting chords etc - maybe 15 minutes depending on the crowd
    Double Stop overview in G - showing the shapes of double stops and applying them to G. Explaining the two note chords buried in these as well - 20 - 30 minutes
    Q&A

    If the crowd is beginner heavy, probably more focus on the Technique. If it's more intermediates, then more on the double stops.
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Wouldn't hurt to mention some basic music theory. Time signatures, major vs minor, what playing in a key means. I'd keep that very brief but it is beneficial to know there is some basic language that this thing called music starts with.
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  10. #8
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    If you are going to do anything on double stops, I would highly recommend looking at this:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/e...to-Doublestops

    A workshop on this, with handouts, could be life changing, at all levels of competency.
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  12. #9
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    If you are going to do anything on double stops, I would highly recommend looking at this:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/e...to-Doublestops

    A workshop on this, with handouts, could be life changing, at all levels of competency.
    Thanks Jeff. More or less the plan is to have the workshop with notes / handouts on my website. The primary goal for me giving this workshop is to get more students - so redirecting to my site is key I'll have some barebones stuff at the workshop itself that alludes to what's online
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    All good and useful. Only thing I might consider for beginning abd intermediate students is for them to come away with a tune they can apply those tasty double stops or phrasing tricks to. Scales are fine and basic but something you can work on and pick up and many players at that stage might like a tune to play. Same subject but slightly different approach. Just my dos centavos.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    I am with Jim, what ever your motive in doing the workshop, leave 'em with a useful nugget. Just something they can be all wow about and remember being blown away.

    A tune is good. In one workshop, years ago, the only thing I got was where a fourth interval was and where a fifth interval, from where ever I put my index finger. That little nugget moved me immeasurably forward, and the instructor and that nugget are all I remember from that whole festival.
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  16. #12
    Registered User mbruno's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Thanks Jim and Jeff. I agree with ya both. I'm planning on using a song to showcase how to use these as well. I figure I'll use a simple song and show how the double stops can be used to build a solo or supplant chords in some cases.

    The lesson plan so to speak is basically this page but with a few more specifics / details https://mattcbruno.com/basic-double-stops/

    I'm going to also add in "standard bluegrass licks using double stops" at some point. I'll post again for feedback when that's ready

    I thought about also covering the Nashville Numbering System in some form since I think a lot of beginners and even intermediate folks struggle with that. I developed this as a basic lesson plan for that https://mattcbruno.com/nashville-numbering-system/
    www.mattcbruno.com
    www.thebigdecisionsband.com
    https://shakedownstringband.org

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  18. #13
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Some indeas. More intermediate maybe...

    Tremolo.

    Most beginners want to play fast, so good practice habits is essential and teaching them to be patient. And teaching them how to play just one measure, really fast! Some sort of well known riff.

    1,4,5 -the key to everything is something thatís completely overlooked for melody instrumentalists. Try only major double stops and emphasise, the root double stop is here... so where is 4 and 5?

    Good luck!

    oh, I just read the post above!

  19. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Matt: I bet it will be just great!
    Jim

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  21. #15
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Matt - just checked out the page linked above. Looking forward to hearing about a double stops workshop!
    "Keep your hat on, we may end up miles from here..." - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default Re: Workshop Topics Suggestions

    Best of luck with your workshop. Sounds like you have this well thought out. Please let us know how this endeavor went. We'll all take credit for your success!
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's, George Bauer bowlback early 1900's Philadelphia.


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