The Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week 2011 began with 4 classes: Session guitar 1, with David Surette; Mandolin 2, with David Surette; Session Guitar 2, with John Doyle; Bazouki, with Eamon O’Leary. I made it through all of the first day, missed first period on the second day, decided to scratch the Bazouki class on the third day, and made it to all three classes today. The brain is awash with musical, guitar, and mandolin knowledge, and I am looking forward to letting it sink in tonight, during the all night jam sessions.
David’s classes are excellent. He is a knowledgeable patient and easy-to-follow teacher. He’s also very good about staying after class to answer questions and a joy to chat with after a late night jam. Today he obligingly gave me some ideas on how to play some interesting chordal backup to Peter Byrne’s Fancy, and Creeping Docken. (I’ll post those tabs soon, since they are my favorite, and they turn up a lot on this site!) Coincidentally, during the session guitar 2 class, John Doyle, decided to also pull out Peter Byrne’s Fancy and give us a nice run through of some rhythmic grooves. (If you see me tonight at the jam sessions, and you want to play those tunes, pull me aside. I’m all for it.)
John’s class started out great. He went over his basic techniques, in regards to how to use your arm and not your wrist, and also how you keep your arm swinging in time, non-stop, and use more accents on volume to get different rhythmic patterns. I’m trying out his advise for a .73 mm dunlop nylon pick (yuck), and it’s working so far, but we’ll see if I stick with it.
Eamon’s class was good, but I had already had enough to absorb from those first three classes, that getting into bazouki was just too much for my brain at present. Besides, I want to become a better rhythmic player anyway, and he’s very good on timing, but his initial approach was a bit more melodic.
Last night was a night of rest, so skipped the jamming. But Thursday…I’m rested, revved up and ready to go. Tonight’s forecast:
Scattered thunderstorms this evening followed by a few showers overnight. Low 66F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Good thing there are tents!