Camp Classes



 Students will be taking a different class during each Block for a total of three classes, plus a band class. Although your student will only be taking three classes, please indicate your top five choices in order of importance on the Registration Form. We will make every effort to give each student his or her top three choices for the three Blocks. If you have questions about what classes to sign up for, please email us at

Please spend a few moments on your Registration Form to tell us about your ability: How many years you have played, what your favorite song is, what song you are currently working on, other capabilities, and your goals for camp. You may fill this out in the “Additional Comments” section.

We highly recommend that students that sign up to be in an Intermediate, Advanced, or Master level class also sign up to be in a Jamming class. One of the great things about being able to play and learn music is to able to play songs with one another and our peers, and our Jamming classes encourage that growth in our more advanced students.

Everyone will be participating in a band class during the third block. This is a chance to work up a song with your peers to play during the camp concert. The class will be mostly students of your same age or level, and will include everything from stage presence, to singing and taking solos, to playing rhythm. 


Beginning Banjo

 No prerequisite. Students must be ten or older due to the length of the banjo. This class is an introduction to the three-finger style of bluegrass banjo playing. Students will learn basic rolls, chords, and an easy banjo tune.

Click here to see a video of Steve Martin and Earl Scruggs on the David Letterman Show.


Intermediate Banjo

 Students will begin to improve on rolls and increase their repertoire of rolls and chords used in bluegrass tunes. This class will teach how to read tab as well as teach students 3-4 basic bluegrass tunes on banjo.


Advanced Banjo

 Students should be comfortable playing at least five chords and rolls on the banjo, as well as most of the basic bluegrass tunes, and also feel comfortable in beginning jam scenarios. Students will learn the nuances of the role of the banjo in bluegrass jams and bands and learn how to solo, as well as increase their song repertoire.


Beginning Bass

No prerequisite. Students will learn how a bass fits into a jam or band. They will learn 4-5 chords and how to back up a guitar on some simple singing songs.

Click here to watch Barry Bales playing with Alison Krauss and Union Station.


Intermediate Bass

Students should have been taking lessons in orchestra or otherwise for at least 6 months. Students will learn chords to back up a guitar, as well as scales, patterns for following new chords, new songs, and how to “walk” bass lines.


Advanced Bass

Students should be comfortable in beginning jam sessions, should be starting to hear chord changes, know all of the major chords, and should be fairly comfortable with their rhythm. Students will learn theory behind the Nashville Number System, how to solo on the bass, different scenarios for moving from chord to chord, and the nuances of how the bass fits into a band or jam.



 No prerequisite. This is a chance for students to explore different types of traditional dances: square dancing, clogging, swing, waltzes, contra dances, and more! Students will learn basic moves of each dance, and the basics of calling a dance. Students will also explore how to write a square dance.


Beginning Fiddle

No prerequisite. This class is geared towards students who have no or very little background in playing fiddle or violin. Students will learn how to correctly hold and bow the instrument as well as a few basic fiddle tunes.

Click here to watch a video of Stuart Duncan playing Lee Highway Blues.



Intermediate Fiddle

Students should have been taking fiddle for one year or be in Suzuki Book 1, and/or know songs like Boil Em Cabbages, Buffalo Gals, Old Joe Clark, Cripple Creek, Angeline the Baker, or Camptown Races. In this class, students will work on becoming stronger players and learn a few basic fiddle tunes in first position.


Advanced Fiddle

Students should be in Suzuki Book 2 and/or be fairly comfortable playing basic fiddle tunes such as Over the Waterfall, Arkansas Traveler, Soldier’s Joy, etc. Students will increase their fiddle tune repertoire, and begin to learn how to put together a solo to singing songs.


Master Class - Fiddle

This class is geared towards students who already know most of the basic fiddle tunes, like Blackberry Blossom, Fisherman’s Hornpipe, Wheelhoss, Squirrel Hunter, etc. Students will learn the nuances of bluegrass fiddling, including bowing, tunes, fingerings, improvisation, backup, and other techniques.


Twin Fiddle

Students must also be signed up for Intermediate, Advanced or Master Class Fiddle. This class will teach students how to find and play harmony parts on the fiddle. Students will learn the lead and harmony part to a few different fiddle tunes.



 No prerequisite. Students will learn fun singing songs to sing with a group, a guitar, or by yourself.

Click here to see Crooked Still with Sarah Jaroz.


Teen Vocals

 Ages 12 and up. This class is geared for older students, who will work on harmonizing and the finer techniques of singing, while building their repertoire. You don’t need to have any singing experience to take this class.


Beginning Guitar

 No prerequisite. Students will learn 4-5 basic guitar chords, how to strum with a pick, and a few basic bluegrass and folk songs.

Click here to see Skaggs and Rice.


Intermediate Guitar

 This class is geared towards students that can play 4-5 chords comfortably and the boom strum rhythm. Students will begin to flatpick, along with strengthening their chord and rhythm knowledge.


Advanced Guitar

 This class is for students who are comfortable with many chord changes: Most of the major chords, and a few minor and seven chords. Students will increase their chord and theory knowledge, as well as work on basic soloing and begin to learn how to improvise.


Master Class - Guitar

 The Master Class for Guitar is for students who are very comfortable with their rhythm and chord changes and are ready to explore the nuances of how guitar fits into band and jam scenarios. Students will also continue working on creating a great solo and how to improvise.


Beginning Mandolin

 No prerequisite. This class will teach students the basics of how to hold and play the mandolin. They will learn a few easy mandolin chords, some bluegrass tunes, and mandolin rhythm.

Click here to see Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder with the Del McCoury Band.


Intermediate Mandolin

 Students should be quite comfortable playing 2 finger chords. They should also be able to play a few basic tunes like Boil Em Cabbages, Shortenin’ Bread, Old Joe Clark, Cripple Creek, or Angeline the Baker. Students will learn how to play closed finger chords, work on their rhythm, and lead on a few new fiddle/mandolin tunes.


Advanced Mandolin

Students should be comfortable with three or four finger chords, and should be able to jam on some easy tunes. Students should also be able to play lead on tunes such as Soldier’s Joy, Over the Waterfall, Fisherman’s Hornpipe, Arkansas Traveler, etc. Students will increase their tune repertoire, learn how to jam on some more difficult tunes, and be introduced to the Nashville Number System.


Master Class - Mandolin

Students should be very comfortable with all of the three-or-four-finger major chords, and should know some minor chords, as well being comfortable playing more complicated tunes such as Blackberry Blossom, Opus 23, or Wheelhoss. Students will learn the nuances of how a mandolin fits into a jam or band, how to create a great solo, and how to backup a singer or lead player. Students will also begin to explore improvisation techniques and genres: Dawg, jazz, and blues.  



 This class is geared for our older and/or more experienced students. Students must at least be at an intermediate level in their instrument, or be 11 years old. This class will learn the art of to how to write songs, from instrumentation to lyrics.


Beginning Jamming

 Students must be signed up for an Intermediate class in the instrument of their choice, or be an older student (ages 12 and up). Students must have a basic understanding of their instrument, and be able to play 1-2 tunes like Boil Em Cabbages, Old Joe Clark, Cripple Creek, Shortnin’ Bread, Buffalo Gals, Camptown Races, or similar songs OR be able to play 3-4 chords and rhythm. Students will learn how to jam with their peers by learning basic jamming tunes, the different elements of a jam, and jamming etiquette.

For an introduction to Jamming, click here to visit the Toneway Project.


Intermediate Jamming

Students must be signed up for an Intermediate or Advanced class in the instrument of their choice, or be an older student (12 and up). Students must have a basic understanding of their instrument and be able to play 4-5 tunes like Soldier’s Joy, Arkansas Traveler, Turkey in the Straw, Over the Waterfall, Liberty, or similar songs OR be able to play the 5 major chords, and 2-3 seven chords and minor chords. Students will continue to increase their jam tune repertoire, and begin to take leads in singing songs. 


Advanced Jamming

Students must be signed up for an Advanced or Master class in the instrument of their choice, or be an older student (12 and up). Students will continue to learn how to create a successful jam with their peers - taking leads when appropriate, how to sing verses or choruses, and keeping background rhythms for the group. They will also delve into the different genres of acoustic music, and learn some traditional jamming tunes that are commonly played. 



 Students must be signed up for an Intermediate level instrument class or higher, or be 12 or older. Using a condenser microphone, Garage Band, and a laptop, students will explore how to successfully record themselves and their peers while playing a song. Students will also learn how to mix their recording, how to get the best tone out of their instrument for recording, and how to arrange a song.


Emcee and Stage Managing

 This class is not offered during the Blocks, but meets during some of the Morning and/or Afternoon activities with the Camp Director. This class is an opportunity to help the Director gather information for the camp program and concert, create a set-list of bands and classes performing, and as emcee (introduce bands and classes for the concert) and stage manage the concert (making sure bands are ready to go on stage, how many chairs they need, and send bands on stage at the appropriate time). You may sign up for this class, as well as three other classes, as this class will not be held during the Blocks.



No prerequisite.  Students will learn basic chords on the ukulele, how to strum and tune the instrument, and a few songs.


Harmony Singing - Cordova Adult Workshops only

 Students will work on harmonizing and the finer techniques of singing, while building their repertoire.


Swing Dance - Cordova Camp only

Come learn the United Statesʼ most popular social dance - Swing Dance. Students will watch brief excerpts of swing dancers from the swing era. Students will also learn the basic step as well as many turns, wraps, dips, lifts & tricks. Class will choreograph a piece to perform for the Camp Concert.


Sound Class - Cordova Camp only

 Students will receive hands-on experience on how to set up microphones and stands, speakers and monitors, hook up a sound system, mix with a mixing board, and operating the sound system. Students will be running all camp activities that have a sound system: blackboard concerts, dances, the faculty concert, and band performance workshop, with the exception of the Camp Concert on Friday.


Bluegrass Band

 This style of music was pioneered by Bill Monroe in Kentucky around the 1930s and incorporates flat pick guitar, stand-up bass, hard driving fiddle, rhythmic mandolin, three-finger style banjo, dobro, and three part harmonies. Lead and harmony singing is a huge part of bluegrass music, as well as each person taking a solo. Usually, bands or jams only have one or two of each instrument, versus Irish or Old-Time, which can have more fiddlers.


Old Time Band

 This style of music is one of the oldest traditional musics in American and came out the Appalachian Mountains. Old-Time is a very rhythmic music, where everyone plays the melody at the same time. Typically the guitar does not take solos in Old-Time music, but is a very important part of the rhythm section. Old-Time can usually have more fiddlers then Bluegrass and Folk. Typical instruments include fiddle, mandolin, guitar, claw-hammer banjo, and stand-up bass.


Folk Band

This style of music is coined “the people’s music”. Singing and thoughtful lyrics are big parts of this genre. Typically the instruments are meant to “back up” a singer or songwriter, but can be used to take solos during the song. Folk is a large genre and can be taken in many directions. Typical instruments: All instruments!!


Irish Band

This style originated in Ireland, and is known for its quick fingered fiddle and pennywhistle tunes. Like Old-Thyme, Irish music usually has more fiddles then other instruments. Irish music does not usually have singers, but is well known for its few beautiful songs that highlight Ireland. Typical instruments include fiddle, mandolin, guitar, piano, tenor banjo, bodhran drum, penny whistle, and accordion or concertina. 


Improvisation Band

This style explores the improvisational styles of Jazz, Swing, Dawg, and Blues. Taking solos is a huge part of the Improvisation band. Instruments could include: guitar, mandolin, acoustic or electric bass, piano, dobro, and sometimes fiddle. Improvisational Band is usually an instrumental band, with no or few vocals.


Classic Rock Band

This style will explore the bands and people that inspired the genre of rock to become what it is today: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Nirvana, Van Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and others. Instruments could include: electric or acoustic guitar, vocals, electric bass, piano, and mandolin or fiddle. Students should be fairly advanced, as this class will explore challenging rhythms, barre chords, and more difficult chord changes and structures.


Island Band

 This band will explore Reggae and Hawaiian music and how they influence traditional styles today. Instruments that are commonly seen in Reggae and Hawaiian are ukulele, guitar, slack-key guitar, bass, strong vocals and sometimes mandolin and fiddle.


Band - Not Sure, Please Choose For Me

 The Director will choose for you based on your class preferences.


Intermediate Ukulele - Cordova Adult Workshops only

Students should know many of the beginning ukulele chords. The class will further develop chord knowledge and different strumming patterns.


Piano - Cordova Camp Only

This class is open to all levels and will explore piano as a folk instrument. Students will learn to build scales and chords to jam along with their favorite songs, and the finger technique to pull it off. They will also learn about chord progressions, melodies and useful accompaniment patterns. Since this is a folk-based piano class music-reading is not a requirement, but we will use some musical notation for reference.


Irish Mandolin - Petersburg Camp Only

This is for intermediate players or students who took mandolin last summer. Students should be comfortable playing simple major and minor 2 finger chords. In this workshop we will focus on playing melody lines for jigs, reels, hornpipes and polkas. We will also develop the skills of playing in a group “session” and arranging two or three tunes into medleys, and of course, we'll sing a few songs.


Irish Fiddle - Petersburg Camp Only

This is for intermediate players or students who took fiddle last summer. Students should be comfortable playing tunes like Boil Em Cabbage and Angeline Baker. In this workshop we will focus on playing jigs, reels, hornpipes and polkas. Students will gain experience bowing in different time signatures a wellas a few simple bow ornamentations. We will also develop the skills of playing in a group “session”, arranging two or three tunes into medleys and song arrangement.


Mountain Dulcimer - Cordova Camp Only

The Mountain Dulcimer is an American folk instrument which grew out of the southern 
Appalachian Mountains in the early 1800s. It's easy to learn to play and no 
prior musical background is needed.  Part of what makes it easy is that there are only three 
strings and fewer frets than a guitar (which means fewer wrong notes!)  We will be learning 
to play fiddle tunes, as were heard in the Appalachians and are still played by Old Time and 
Bluegrass musicians, plus chords to use in accompanying singing or other instruments.  
Cardboard  instruments will be available for your use if you register before Thursday, July 2nd.
 If after taking the class you decide that you would like to own one of these cardboard instruments so that you can continue to play, they will be available for $50.  


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