A big part of our musical mission is to foster learning and growth in our audiences and ourselves. We love to work with school groups, music camps, and with organizations and events geared towards musical education. We offer many different types of musical workshops, rehearsal coaching, and can lead jams in the country, old time, bluegrass, and swing traditions. If you're interested in hosting us for a workshop or jam, please be in touch ~ let us know about your community's interests and needs! We are able to teach children and adults, instrumentalists and vocalists, and groups that are large and small.
American Traditions and Technology led by Jess & Chris
Let's hop in a time machine and travel back to before we had smart phones, video games, or even television, radio, or microphones! What do you do if you want to hear music? You have to make it yourself! This workshop explores how technological developments impact the way music developed across America in the 20th century. This workshop has been designed for 4-5th grade but can be adapted for older age groups, even adults.
Blues 101 workshop led by Jess, Chris, and Alex
This is an interactive workshop, appropriate for instrumentalists, vocalists, or both. We'll talk a little bit about the history of the blues, then jump right into singing and playing. We'll learn different blues forms and progressions, practice using them, and make up our own blues songs as a group.
Making a Living as a Musician led by Jess, Chris, Alex & Dan
This is a discussion-based workshop in which we explore the various ways that artists can build a viable career for themselves in the arts. Using these concepts: Music is an Ecosystem, Diversify Your Income Stream, Be Nice, and The Importance of Time Management, we will encourage students to Think Big and Think Open, and not let preconceived notions of what a music career looks like to stand in their way. This workshop is best for artists just beginning their career (ie: college students, serious high school music students, or adults early in their music career). It can also be tailored towards a group that might be thinking about making music their career (high school music students).
Jess has developed and presented a wide variety of music business workshops for university students and other professional musicians: “Artist: Making a Living and Making Life,” Creating Tech Riders and Stage Plots, Time Management for Musicians, Booking Strategies and Tour Logistics, Marketing & Branding for Musicians. For more music business workshops, see her website: www.jesseliotmyhre.com.
Group and Harmony Singing Workshop led by Jess and Alex
Whether you are a professional musician wanting to add to their repertoire or a complete beginner just wanting a way to join in at a jam, group singing is a fun and powerful way to use one's voice. In this workshop we will practice singing in a group. Using traditional American songs, we will focus on harmony singing and call-and- response singing. Jess will teach participants how to hear a chord, find a harmony line, and craft one’s voice in the style of the lead. By the end of the workshop, we’ll be singing in 3-part harmony.
Improv for Beginners led by Alex
Alex will lead an improvisation class open to all instruments of all levels. In this class you will discover how to approach embellishing melodies, and playing solos. You will learn how to improvise over classic songs from the Western Swing tradition. Taking all of the knowledge you have gained from harmony singing or swing guitar playing classes with either Jess or Chris, we will jam together and hear everyone's improvisations come to life. Sheet music will be provided and bringing a recording device like a zoom or iPhone is suggested.
Washboard Workshop led by Jess
This will be an introductory washboard playing workshop, and our goal will be to get everyone the skills they need to be able to participate confidently in a jam setting. We'll go over three basic beats, talk about jam etiquette, and learn a few pieces of percussion "vocabulary" so that each player can begin to build their own beats. There will be washboards and thimbles available, but you can bring your own too!
Jess's Washboards can be found at Bumper Jacksons performances or in her Etsy Store.
1920's Guitar/Banjo/Ukulele led by Chris
Come and learn the hallmark sound of the early days of jazz music in New Orleans. You'll learn how to get that punchy, bright, and balanced tone and a drum-like chunk in your right hand. Chris will lead students through the basic chord shapes, common stylistic progressions, and a few classic songs from that era. We'll focus on rhythm and harmony techniques and how to support both small ensembles and large bands.
Master Class for Upright Bass led by Alex
Depending on a community's needs and interests, Alex can teach a master class that focuses on one of the following: 1.) playing walking bass lines and soloing over jazz standards (can include jazz theory lesson if requested), 2.) accompanying vocalists and other instrumentalist in a jazz or bluegrass setting (include different slap techniques), and 3.) how to use the bow with fiddle bowing patterns in bluegrass and old-time music to play melodies and accompany other musicians.
Old Time Ukulele led by Chris
Ukulele playing style has seen a lot of modernizations, and we'll cover a technique drawn from Knott County, Kentucky-style banjo picking. Its a rare, but beautiful, right hand technique that feels halfway between clawhammer and finger style while bringing out the melody and the rhythm all at once. It especially shines when backing up your own singing, which made it a natural candidate for the ukulele. We'll cover the basic techniques of the style, jam a few tunes, try out some fancier moves, jam a few more tunes, and pass some solos around. Fun will be had by all!
Making a Song Your Own led by Jess
Participants will workshop original and cover songs, exploring ways to bring our own personal voices to the music. We’ll talk about arrangement, instrumentation, vocal phrasing, and more. Through listening and talking about recorded pieces, as well as sharing our own songs, we will come up with a wealth of new musical ideas to lend our own songs.
Community Dance Band led by Alex, Chris, and Jess
Instrumentalists will learn to play for contradances, square dances, swing and/or blues dances in this multiple-day workshop. We will play tunes, learn what pieces are appropriate for different settings, and practice our musicianship. We’ll also develop a repertoire of musical choices to make the music interesting and energetic for the dancers.