2020 Seminars

Our 2020 Seminars include:

Jazz and Beyond (San Diego Session) With special guest Mark Whitfield

This seminar will dive into everything you wanted to know about jazz but were afraid to ask.  Designed for intermediate to advanced players, students will explore an overview of jazz techniques relating to scales, phrasing, comping, forms, chord embellishment, chord substitution, walking bass, guitar specific jazz voicings, small ensemble methods, and basic chord melody.  Many of these techniques will be studied in the context of standard and modern repertoire.  Students will explore how jazz has evolved over time, important jazz guitarists who have shaped the style, and what is happening in the jazz world today.  This seminar will emphasize improvisational approaches which take into account chord/scale relationships, melodic phrasing, and arpeggios.  Whether you are new to jazz, or an experienced improviser, students will discover how to take the lessons of jazz and incorporate them into other styles to make them stronger musicians overall. Jazz great, Mark Whitfield, will visit and spend time working with students in this course.

Nothin’ But the Blues (Seattle Session) With special guest Josh Smith

This seminar is designed for players who love the raw energy, feel, and power of Blues music from Delta and Chicago to Texas and electrifying blues/rock sounds. This course explores the styles of some of the greatest blues guitarists including Muddy Waters, T. Bone Walker, Albert, B.B., and Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and others. Topics include various blues progressions, chord voicings, comping patterns, turnarounds, phrasing, scale and arpeggio usage, double stops, slide and how to get a good blues tone. Students will also learn how to improve their bending, vibrato, sliding, and legato techniques. There will be plenty of playing and jamming in this course, so if you’re feeling the Blues, this one is for you!! One of the hottest players on the blues scene today, Josh Smith will pay a visit to this seminar.

Country Twang (Nashville Session)
With special guest Brent Mason

This course will give you the tools to take on any Country tune with confidence. Topics include hybrid pick-and-finger techniques, chicken pickin’, pedal-steel and open string licks, building single note lines from chord forms, creating double stops, and mapping the fretboard to effectively play through chord changes. Gain practical knowledge on how to generate a great country tone, including effects & settings, signal chain, amps, pickups, and guitars, as well as in-depth discussion of the styles of country guitar masters, such as Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland, Ray Flacke, Danny Gatton, and more. Plenty of in-class playing is utilized to reinforce the many new ideas and techniques this style demands. Rather than ending up with just a collection of licks, several country ‘standards’ are used as templates, allowing students to implement their ideas right away into songs. Not just for country players, this seminar teaches improvisational concepts that apply to any style. One of the most recorded guitarists ever and the man credited with the helping create the ‘Nashville sound,’ Brent Mason will spend time with students in this course!

Progressions of Power (Toronto Session) With special guest Mark Holcomb

This course will look at rock styles from the music of King Crimson, Yes, and Pink Floyd, to Rush and Dream Theater. Along with an analysis of the styles of some of the leading players in this genre, techniques and concepts commonly used will be covered. Topics will include chords and harmonies, composite meters (odd time signatures), techniques of improvisation and composition as applied to major scale modes, natural, harmonic, and melodic minor scale modes, and much more. Theoretical concepts in music, beginning with pentatonic and diatonic scales, scale hybridization; arpeggio/chord construction and harmony will be presented. Right hand approaches such as alternate, economy and hybrid picking are explained in conjunction with left hand techniques such as slurring and rolling in legato phrasing. Other topics include harmonics, tapping, modes, and speed development. Specific exercises and practice routines that help develop the various styles and techniques are taught. Students will also learn how to achieve a great tone. This course will also enjoy a visit from Mark Holcomb, guitarist for one of the most popular progressive bands today, Periphery.

Deep Blues (San Diego Session) With special guest Sue Foley

Take all aspects of your blues guitar playing up a few notches in an encouraging classroom setting with other fellow blues guitar enthusiasts. It will be an interactive classroom experience where you’ll be implementing specific blues technique and concepts via class handouts and then incorporating them into standard blues tune classics you should know to prepare yourself for repertoire when attending jam sessions, joining a band or improving your chops in your existing band. The class will be all encompassing, covering the many tributaries of the blues, including Delta, Chicago, Texas and Jump Blues styles, learning signature licks, common chordal phrases, stock turnarounds, phrasing strategies, strengthening bending and vibrato skills and more. All this while working on your overall musicianship with interactive discussion and hands on playing in a comfortable setting. Multi-award winning blues luminary Sue Foley will spend time visiting and working with this class.

Acoustic Elements (Seattle Session) With special guest Mike Dawes

Acoustic players will enjoy this seminar which will look at some of the more modern elements and approaches to playing acoustic steel string guitar. In addition to traditional concepts and techniques used as accompaniment, modern practices used to bring the acoustic guitar to the forefront as a solo instrument will be covered. Topics will include standard and altered tunings, flat pick and fingerstyle accompaniment, right and left-hand harmonics, and much more. Practical theoretical concepts will be covered including chord construction, diatonic harmony, and scale usage. Some songwriting and composition elements as applied to the modern acoustic player will also be discussed. This seminar class will enjoy a visit from one of the leading contemporary acoustic players, Mike Dawes.

Lone Star Guitar (Nashville Session) With special guest David Grissom

Get in touch with your  “Lone Star” guitar style. This class is designed to help you get your Texas Blues and Rock playing on track by studying the styles of Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II, Red Volkaert, and Billy Gibbons. This course will include working on chord/scale relationships, 3 and 4 note arpeggios, major and minor blues scales, rhythm and lead playing styles, and soloing over popular blues and rock material.  String bending, double stops, open string scales, and pedal steel licks will also be covered in this class. Other topics include how to set up your gear for maximum tone and how to prepare for “playing the gig.” There will be lots of opportunity to play in this class. Austin’s very own David Grissom will be a special guest to this class to demonstrate and answer any questions you may have about his unique style and extensive experience.

Bass Essentials (Toronto Session) With special guest Marco Mendoza

This course will give bass players the tools to tackle all musical styles including Funk, Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz, Latin, and much more using a broad range of technical skills on the bass including soloing, slap, walking, writing wicked bass lines, fretless technique, two hand tapping, and playing killer grooves. Topics will include maximizing your groove, interacting with the soloist (making them sound good), writing your own bass lines, total fretboard knowledge, learning all modes of the major and minor scales, soloing on any scale, riff development, pentatonics, symmetrical scales (diminished and whole tone), and much more. All topics will be applied to multiple musical styles, and is not limited to any one style, taste, or interest. This course will be designed for beginner to advanced students alike and will take your bass playing to the next level. Students in this course will enjoy a very special visit from incredible bassist, Marco Mendoza!