Roots Music Band – Spring 2016

Beginners Welcome! No Experience Required.

Want to make that violin talk? Want to make that guitar ring, or that viola sing? Want to dust off that banjo that’s been sitting in your closet?

Join “Roots Music Band” this spring. We’ll approach music in a new way by studying traditional American songs and tunes, which were created to make folks dance, and which thrive upon a spirit of diversity, creativity, and experimentation.

In this class, we will learn…

  • A range of musical styles that have inspired contemporary bands such as The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Old Crow Medicine Show, Wilco, and Rising Appalachia.
  • Foot-stompin’ Appalachian breakdowns, piedmont and delta blues, old-time mountain ballads, and everything in-between.
  • How to learn music by ear.
  • How to improvise a solo on the fly, how to find vocal and instrumental harmonies, and how to support a melody with rhythmic picking and bowing styles.
  • How to make a traditional song your own by composing original variations and verses.

We will study the styles of the early masters of American roots music, such as Leadbelly, The Mississippi Sheiks, The Skillet Lickers, Tommy Jarrell, The Balfa Brothers, Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, Peg Leg Howell, Big Bill Broonzy, and many more.

By the end of the course, you will have acquired a diverse repertoire of songs and instrumental tunes, as well as the skill to continue developing as roots musicians on your own. You will be comfortable switching back and forth between leadership and supporting roles, and be able to share songs with other musicians at group jams, or start a band.

Complete beginners can join with a violin, viola, banjo, or guitar. Other instruments are more than welcome, but students should be familiar enough with their instrument to play a major scale in the key of C, G, and D. Max will also be offering private lessons on violin, viola, guitar, and banjo for students wishing to hone their skills through one-on-one instruction.

Please come with a readiness to sing, to challenge yourself, to learn from and support your bandmates, and to enjoy our exploration of the wealth of sound that is American roots music.

About the Instructor

Max Godfrey is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and music teacher who performs regularly in Atlanta with several maxgodfreygroups: Max and Maggie, Sourwood Honey, and The New Millennium Jelly Rollers.  He also records and performs as a solo artist, and his essays on participatory worksongs have been published in Taproot and The New Farmer’s Almanac.

Tuesdays from 4:30PM – 5:45PM
Session 1: Feb 2nd- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 2: Feb 9th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 3: Feb 16th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 4: Feb 23rd- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 5: Mar 1st- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 6: Mar 8th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 7: Mar 15th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 8: Mar 22nd- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 9: Mar 29th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Coffee shop performance: TBD
Session 10: Apr 12th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 11: Apr 19th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Session 12: Apr 26th- 4:30 to 5:35pm
Final Performance: TBD (April) 


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