Music School Workshop Details

Workshop Details

Paul Brown & Terri McMurray Workshop Descriptions

Tunes From The Crypt, Tales from the Hills
Paul Brown & Terri McMurray with Mike & Marcia Bryant
Come sing and play repertoire from the communities in northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia where Paul and Terri have lived for decades.
You’ll hear great stories of the old timers of a bygone age who mentored Terri and Paul, and get valuable social and historical context for the music. Not only will this be fun, it’ll help you make yourself a better musician as you more fully understand southern US music traditions. Terri will share some stories of the women in and around old time music. Along the way we’ll dig into the subtleties of style on fiddle, banjo, guitar and uke. Mike and Marcia Bryant will join the group on its second and final day, Thursday, with tunes and stories from Tennessee.

Songs Of SW Virginia And NW North Carolina
Paul Brown & Terri McMurray
Paul and Terri will focus on songs from Paul’s family repertoire, plus the songs of some other regional singers they’ve met along their way. Paul and Terri will share their understanding of vocal inflections, phrasing and rhythms learned from the many singers they’ve spent time with in North Carolina, Virginia and elsewhere in the American South.

Intermediate-Advanced Old-Time Banjo
Paul Brown & Terri McMurray
Build your skill and style on the banjo through repertoire, technique, practice and context. We will work on keeping excellent time, understanding melody and refining style as we learn both classic and more obscure tunes of the southern mountains. Come prepared to explore repertoire of legacy players including Wade & Fields Ward; Tommy Jarrell and other Round Peak artists; Matokie Slaughter, Giles Lephew and more. Come prepared to play your banjo, clap and sing. You’ll have a great time and learn a lot. Please bring extra strings, a capo and if possible a banjo strap. Recording devices are encouraged. When Terri and Paul are working together, the class may be split into two groups by proficiency level.

Intro To Old-Time Banjo
Terri McMurray
Intrigued with the sound of clawhammer banjo? This is the class for you! We’ll work on the basic clawhammer down-stroke style, develop some left-hand techniques (slides, hammer-ons & pull-offs) and bring these all together using some simple, yet great, southern tunes. This class is designed for players new to the banjo or new to the clawhammer style. I can promise a fun, comfortable pace. Singing and laughter are encouraged! I encourage you to bring a capo, extra strings, a strap and a recording device.

Sing Along With The Banjo
Terri McMurray
If you can sing or hum the tune, you’re on the road to learning to play it on banjo! We’ll work on several simple and familiar tunes, in the key of G, which can be played right out of the chord structure.

Survey Of Old-Time Fiddle Styles
Paul Brown
Explore the Celtic-sounding styles and repertoire of the old southwest Virginia fiddlers Paul knew as a young man; the African-American-inflected Round Peak style with its self-accompanying techniques and accessible melodies, and newer transitional styles popular on radio and at square dances in the American mountain South following World War II. Take a rare opportunity with someone who personally knew and played with fiddlers whose styles reflected these chapters in the American musical story – musicians who coexisted in an exciting, changing musical culture well into the 1980s.

Soul Of The Banjo
Paul Brown
What makes the best old-time banjo playing sound great? In this important, grounding class in technique and context, we’ll consider the banjo’s core characteristics and how to bring them out to get the memorable old-time sound you want. We’ll try interesting tunings, and tunes and songs that go with them. We’ll play in clawhammer and finger picking styles. Be sure to select this class if you want to vault to a new level as a banjoist, with tools that will last you a lifetime.

Hoot & Holler Workshop Descriptions

Same Old Sound, Great New Song (writing new songs in an old style)
We love the sound of old music, yet we have new perspectives and messages we want to get across. We will pick apart the various ways of marrying the old and new by identifying the hallmarks of traditional songs, borrowing phrases and vocabulary, turning cliches on their head, referencing classic pieces of music, and breaking down songs to their essential elements. Masters like Gillian Welch, Rhiannon Giddens, and Cahalen Morrison may be referenced.

Performance Seminar
Hoot & Holler with The Blue Ridge Broadcasters
Old Time music: it's better than it sounds. It’s heaps of fun to sit in a circle and play fiddle tunes for hours on end, but it doesn’t usually translate into a captivating performance. Playing trad music for an audience is a very different beast and can be very engaging given the right repertoire and presentation. We will discuss the various methods we have for putting on a great performance of traditional music.

 Mike Compton Workshop Descriptions 

Mandolin Workshop with Mike Compton will be a multi-faceted offering. We will look at the suggested right hand pick grip for old-time country and bluegrass music, learn how to back up vocals, how to use chord positions and shifts to find melody lines, how to use rhythmic figures for drive and interest, and how to bring a more fiddle influenced approach to the mandolin. It's the old-time way! The workshop is offered to all levels, but assumes the attendees have at least some rudimentary playing skills. Everyone is encouraged to participate.