Bluegrass Jam Class: Beyond the Basics w/ Bill Evans

Bill EvansTuesdays, 7:00-8:15 pm, beginning November 5
$120.00 advance / $130.00 after October 28
Register online

This class is open to all bluegrass instrumentalists and singers who want to move beyond slow jams but aren't quite ready for on-stage performances (or buying matching outfits and hitting the road in an old bus!). We'll tackle slightly more challenging jam favorites from Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and others, eventually playing them at medium to medium-fast tempos. We'll learn the fine art of singing bluegrass harmonies, how to construct instrumental solos and how to play tasteful and appropriate backup. We'll also discuss how to kick off and end songs and tunes and how to create dynamic and exciting arrangements. In the process, we'll explore waltz time, country flavored songs, fiddle tunes, banjo breakdowns and contemporary bluegrass while becoming familiar with the unspoken rules of bluegrass jam etiquette. We'll discuss keys, capo use for guitar and banjo, chord progressions, song structure and much, much more.

Bill will teach a couple of new songs in the first class session and discuss the ground rules for bluegrass jamming. In weeks two to four, each class member will present a song or tune of their choice to other class members, with the help of Bill and other class members, just as you would in a real jam session. In weeks five and six, we'll choose our most popular or challenging tunes that we've learned throughout the session and work on them more extensively, coming up with solos and refining arrangements and vocal harmonies. You'll come away from the class knowing your role in a bluegrass jam session and how to quickly begin playing along, even on tunes that you have never heard before!

*Pre-requisites: This class is for singers and for those who play bluegrass instruments (guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, Dobro, and bass). Participants should know how to fret major and minor chords, be able to play basic accompaniment patterns on their instrument. If you're a banjo, fiddle, mandolin, or dobro player, you should be able to successfully play one or more tunes (but not necessarily up to speed). Guitar and banjo players should also have some familiarity with using a capo.

Bill Evans is the author of "Banjo For Dummies," the most popular banjo instructional book in the world, and is the co-author of "Parking Lot Pickers Songbook: Banjo Edition." A UC Berkeley Music doctoral candidate, he has taught literally thousands of players all over the world in a teaching career that spans over thirty-five years. Bill's instruction is hands-on and practical—he wants you to get out there playing as soon as possible and have fun doing it! A very well known Freight performer, Bill has performed with Dry Branch Fire Squad, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, Laurie Lewis, Bluegrass Intentions, Kathy Kallick, Megan Lynch, and Steve Smith, Chris Sanders and Hard Road. He has also taught ensemble classes at most every major bluegrass camp in the world, including the CBA Music Camps, Augusta Heritage Center's Bluegrass Week, Camp Bluegrass and NashCamp. For more info about the class or to see if you're a good fit, feel free to email Bill directly at or phone 510-528-1924.

Visit Bill's website

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