American Roots Ensemble

American Roots Ensemble

Sep 23 - Nov 23 (MON 1:30PM - 3:30PM) | Course Cost: $256.00

About the Course

In Person
Age Requirement
All Levels
Class Capacity
Materials Required

Instrument required. No other supplies needed. 

Total Hours


All strings welcome! Learn a variety of new skills and music in a group setting with this course that covers a breadth of American roots music styles through hands-on ensemble activity. By playing and learning by ear strongly encouraged, (written music will also be provided) students will learn to communicate with and support other musicians in variety of roots music styles, including how to back up a vocalist in an acoustic folk or blues style.

This course will touch on elements of string band jazz, bluegrass music, klezmer music, classic country, swamp pop, folk music from Louisiana and Texas, as well as regional northern and southern fiddle styles. Students explore elements which distinguish each style and work to refine precision of timing, harmony, dynamics and approaches to improvisation for rhythm and lead players when applicable. The course is open to all levels of players who are comfortable playing basic song structures (1-4-5, G-C-D, etc…) on stringed instruments, including violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar and tenor guitar, banjo family instruments, lap guitar, instruments of the mandolin family, and other rhythmic instruments such as piano. Special requests regarding other instrumentation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learning Outcomes:

Practice tuning by ear, internalize melodies, harmonies and common chord progressions.
• Collaborate with others in many styles through precision timing and rhythmic variation.
• Gain hands-on understanding of distinct music forms through the study of repertoire.
• Skillfully back up singer-songwriters and vocalists within distinct folk and roots styles.
• Elevate your improvisations to a higher level with creative, simple approaches.
• Lead songs and tunes with confidence whether in a jam session or live performance.
• Learn to collaborate in real-time with spontaneity through harmonized orchestration, ensemble hits, melodic fills and other embellishments, intros, outros, vamps and endings.
• Tips and techniques for playing in dance bands in a variety of roots music styles.