Hornby Island Blues Workshop

2019 Workshop Descriptions

Community Connection:

Lisa Rae Simons

Each year during Blues Week we invite a musician to become more intimate with our community by having them go into our community and the Hornby School and play some music, talk with the children about music, sometimes sing a song, sometimes write a song but always have some fun. This Blues-In-the-School musician also becomes our island’s Blues-Week-Busker and part-time Music-Jam Mentor who further livens up the charged atmosphere of Blues Week.

This year we have invited Lisa Rae Simmons who fits this role very well. As a musician who takes time from her busy gig schedule to give volunteer time to her community and its children, she will be right at home doing this during Blues Week. Lisa has strong Hornby community ties and has instructed at previous workshops as well as performed during the offseason when she could get away from the mainland. Initially pulled into jazz with her love of bass and intrigue with the trombone, she set out for Edmonton's esteemed Grant McEwan college, but not before discovering that the door to her music interests was very wide by touring with a rock band for a year or so. By the time she put her degree in music performance to work, she was playing finger style acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, the ukulele, the trombone, and almost anything with strings and that was when the blues found her. if you want a great one-on-one teaching experience take advantage of Lisa’s private lessons that she will be offering to both community members and Workshop students during Blues week. And, of course, she will be performing at most blues week concerts and active in the community.

Keith Bennett - Blues Harmonica

Level: Beginner to Advanced

Major - Blues Harmonica
Keith will be teaching the basics of playing the blues on harmonica with instructions that include: The harmonica layout, proper hand positions, some single note exercises, finding the blues scale, a basic comping on a 12-bar blues, beginning improvisation, bending notes along with tips and tricks in using mics, amps & jamming. There will also be some instruction in harmonica repair and tuning. It will be a mouthful of valuable information!

Monday Minor: Using the harmonica rack to spice up your blues songs.
In this class you will have a look at incorporating the harmonica rack into your existing guitar songs. Harmonica racks provide “hands free” harmonica playing but also come with the challenge of keeping the correct pressure between the harmonica and your mouth without your hands. This pressure is essential for good tone and accurate playing. Playing guitar and harmonica at the same time is easier than you think and provides opportunities not only for a richer musical experience but also will allow another voice for soloing.  

Tuesday Minor: History of the “Tin Sandwich”
This class will be a lecture on the history of the harmonica from its inception to modern day and some of the instrument’s changes in the instrument’s three-thousand-year history. Keith will demonstrate instruments from some of his collection including: Chinese Sheng, 48 chord, 4 octave chromatic, diatonic, bass, and poly-chromatic harmonicas. Not only will you learn the history of an instrument you play but having bragging rights for its pedigree.

Wednesday Minor: How to sing in tune!
Though this deviates somewhat from a hard-core blues harp instruction it is an essential class for those who want to sing with the music they create. “Love your delivery, but your pitch… hmmm… “In this minor learn how to nail every note all the time! Topics to include: proper vocal warm ups, ear training and interval recognition.

Jack de Keyzer - Guitar

Major: SRV Texas Flood
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Stevie Ray was undoubtedly one of the most influential blues guitarists of the past 30 years. In this major you will learn as many of the classic tunes, riffs, licks and rhythms from Stevie’s landmark first album, Texas Flood as possible. Love Struck Baby, Pride and Joy, Rude Mood, Mary Had a Little Lamb, the gorgeous ballad, Lenny, and more. Learn tons of great licks and learn Stevie’s unique rhythm/lead approach. If you are already practicing, remember to tune down to Eb.

Monday Minor: T Bone Walker : Meat and Potatoes!
Level: Beginner to Advanced

T-Bone is the source of single-note, horn-type blues soloing. In addition, his phrasing was so expressive of the blues sensibility that it has come to define the style of every electric blues and rock guitarist who has followed in his footsteps. Learn two classic T Bone Walker songs. Stormy Monday Blues and T Bone Shuffle, while you learn the heads and explore T Bone’s jazzy/blues runs and chords.

Tuesday Minor: Elmore James Sliding!
Level: Beginner to Advanced Electric Guitar

It’s a house rockin’ boogie session with Elmore James classic Dust My Broom and Shake Your Money Maker in open D Acoustic or electric guitars * Please bring a slide and know open G tuning. There is plenty of finger-picking for both acoustic or electric guitars Again please bring a slide as Elmore James wasn’t known as the King of Slide for nothing!

Wednesday Minor: The Source: Robert Johnson

We will learn two essential RJ blues compositions Sweet Home Chicago and also Come in My Kitchen with open G tuning. Finger picking will be important and both
acoustic or electric guitars employed. Yes, and please bring a slide.

Cécile Doo-Kingué - Guitar

Major: String it Together 'N Play the Blues
All Levels
The workshop aims at giving participants the necessary tools to truly feel at one with their guitar and express their creativity with as little impediment or inhibition as possible, and yet have maximum control. Both rhythm and lead playing will be explored— concepts that can be applied to all styles of music, but the examples and exercises will be blues-based in this scenario, in order to hone skills within the blues genre.

Areas of focus:
- Wellness: prepping hands and mind for optimal execution
- Ear training: if you can’t hear it, you can’t play it. Emphasis is on ‘how it’s played’, not just ‘what is played’
- Hand exercises: rhythm, articulations, melodic intent, dynamics
- Transcription: learning and executing music to be presented at the final concert
- Mobility: chordal and melodic fluidity (movable chord and scale shapes) 

Monday Minor: Make It Funky
This will be a rhythm workshop designed to turn you into a groove machine, with or without a working rhythm section. A special focus will be on reharmonization and chord substitutions by exploring options available to spice up standard blues progressions. Right hand rhythm patterns and approaches that lend the ‘funk' to funky. Left hand chord voicings, passing figures, incorporating bass lines and motion that give your guitar work a stylistic edge.

Tuesday Minor: Flex and Flow
Playing guitar is so much fun we forget it takes a physical toll on the body, not just the hands. This minor focuses on protecting yourself from injury through specific stretches, exercises on and off the fretboard, as well as ways to practice to avoid overuse injuries such as trigger finger, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and anything else that can keep you from your music.

Wednesday Minor: Get Your Blues On
An introductory course to get you started with basic blues figures, chords, r&b progressions, and terminology. Whether you’re a non-guitarist just looking to accompany yourself or a guitarist starting to play blues, this class will get you going on the right path.

Gary Kendall - Bass Guitar

Major: The Blues, the Bass & More
For electric and acoustic bassists - Beginner to Advanced

Bass players of all levels will benefit from this course and the majors and minors will be determined by the students’ needs. The class is set up as essential instruction to the gigging Blues bass player, but everyone at every level in the class will be offered quality instruction in playing the instrument whether it be on a 12-bar blues or in advanced interests in Blues Rock and Jazz Blues. In addition, instruction will offer the tips and techniques of performance and composition. At its core bass players will experience the following essential activity:

The Engine Room (Being part of the rhythm section)

Working with the drummer
Working with the piano player
Working with the rhythm guitar

Indispensable Bass Instruction:

1) 12 Bars, 8 Bars, Turnarounds, Sitting on The One & Minor Blues
A complete look at the most common blues song structures (the basics)

2) The Shuffle, The Walk, The Peddle, Slow Blues, The Funky Blues
andThe 1/5
The blues grooves…………

3) Learning a song with chord charts and the numbers method

4) Laying The Foundation
Supporting the vocalist
Supporting the soloist

5) Winging It
The Blues & The Common Language

6) Tone
It`s in our hands

7) Instruments & amplification
How to obtain the best instrumentation to suit your needs

8) The student as the teacher: Each participant would be asked to demonstrate or speak about something they discovered on their journey into the world of playing bass that opened a door or helped make it all fall in place.

Monday Minor: The Engine Room
Level Beginner to Advanced.
The role of the bass in communicating with other band members.

Tuesday Minor: The Engine Room
Level Beginner to Advanced.
The role of the bass in communicating with other band members.

Wednesday Minor: The Engine Room
Level Beginner to Advanced.
The role of the bass in communicating with other band members.

Brandon Isaak - Guitar

Major: Finger picking styles and techniques
Levels: Beginner to Advanced are all welcome
We are going to look at the different styles of fingerpicking for the guitar. We'll check out simple drone styles and piedmont style as well as more advanced country blues picking. We’re going to have fun, drink coffee and get right down into the blues.

Monday Minor: Playing slide guitar blues 
We’ll check out how different tunings build songs in different ways, and then explore some slide techniques and reacquaint ourselves with some classic easy riffs. (And, remember bring a slide!) 

Tuesday Minor: Performing as a one man / woman band
This class offers ideas on how to be an effective solo performer. There are tricks to sounding bigger and different ways to engage your audience. It’s important in this era of blues to know how to entertain an audience all by yourself. I’ll show you some simple yet effective strategies to help you become a one-person band. 

Wednesday Minor: Writing original songs on a guitar
There are lots of ways to go about writing original music on a guitar. Let’s look at mood writing, keys, themes, chords and changes complimentary to your lyrics. We can even touch on lyrics and strengthening your songs. 

Rick Fines - Songwriting

Major: Songwwriting
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Work with Rick to develop ideas for improving your self-expression. What do you want to say in your song, and what is it that you want your listeners to know? Rick doesn't teach commercial songwriting, he works on telling your story— what happened and how do you feel about it. You'll explore various ways to kickstart inspiration, match music to your best suit your words, explore and expand your song’s themes both lyrical and melodic.

Monday minor: One-Chord Blues
We're going to look at a couple one-chord blues. If you think about John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom you get the idea of how one chord songs can leave a lot of creative room for dynamic improvisation. In this class you'll be encouraged and guided to find a part to embellish each groove and this will mean working on the volume and density of notes. Big fun!

Tuesday minor: Write two blues songs
In just two hours we are going to write two songs in two different blues forms. You may only contribute one verse, but you'll have that verse to take home and complete the structure by adding a chorus and additional verses.

Wednesday minor: Three Essential Blues Riffs 
This minor is for less advanced blues guitarists. You will leave with 3 essential blues riffs that can be used in many, many different ways. The essence of a riff is that it is a short, repeated phrase often used as an introduction or refrain in a song. You might be a guitarist who just plays rhythm, or guitar may be your second instrument. Maybe you don't usually play the blues. When you walk away from this class, you'll have 3 classic riffs to make your own music.

Michael Jerome-Browne - Guitar and other instruments

Major: Mississippi Blues
Student Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Introduction to different types of Mississippi blues, from the Delta to the hill country and beyond. (Bring a slide and check the notes on tunings here!)

Throw away your flatpicks. On day 1 we will work in standard tuning, in the keys of E, A and D, and if we have time, G and C. Artists whose work we will look at will be Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, Tommy McClennan, and maybe a little bit of Mississippi John Hurt. On day 2, we will work in open tuning, without a slide, mostly open G, and if we have time, open Dm. Artists whose work we will look at: will be R.L. Burnside, Charlie Patton, John Lee Hooker, Skip James, and Henry Townsend.
On day 3, we will work with a slide, in open G and open D tunings. Artists whose work we will look at: Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Bukka White, Fred McDowell. 

Through all of this, we will work on alternating bass as well as single note bass techniques. Get that thumb going!

Monday minor: Introduction to slide guitar. Open D, Open G
Level: Intermediate guitarists, slide beginners

Learn how to hold the slide, how to dampen with left and right hands. Starting with one or two strings in Open D, moving on to a more Hawaiian chordal approach in open G. Artists whose work we will look at will be Fred McDowell, Barbecue Bob, Son House, Robert Johnson. Make it sing!

Tuesday minor: Open Tunings
Level: Beginner blues guitarists, no slide

This is for guitarists who at least know their first position chords in standard tuning, or for slightly more advanced players who haven’t experimented with open tunings.

Open tunings can be a great tool for learning right hand-picking techniques because you don’t have to think about your left hand as much. They can open up whole new worlds, and you don’t have to use them for slide. We will work on some Mississippi Hill Country grooves as well as some Mississippi/Chicago shuffles. We will explore the similarities between open G (DGDGBD) and open D (DADFaAD). Groove is the most important thing!

Wednesday minor: Blues Mandolin
Level: beginner at blues to intermediate

An introduction to blues mandolin. If you already play a bit of mandolin and want to get into playing blues on it, this is the class for you. We will cover the keys of G, C and D, perhaps a bit of A and F. Artists whose work we will look at: Yank Rachell, Johnny Young, Charlie McCoy.  

Chris Nordquist - Drums

Major: Know Your Drum and Play It Well

Three Days that Look Like This:

Note: The morning majors will have the luxury of having a fine bass player (Mike Ellerbeck) who last year enjoyed giving the class some context playing the various feels and forms while we work on our stuff.

Day 1
1 . Drum set up, ergonomics, tuning.
2. Where we are at —open playing and dialogue regarding the course.
3. An intro to some basic beats and terminology (Blues Lingo) —shuffle, swing, 2-beats, Latin
4. Playing a 12 bar Form.
Day 2
1. Playing the Common Blues Forms "Shuffles": Chicago Shuffle, Double Shuffle, 2- Beat, Flat tire Shuffle, Rock Shuffle
2. Common Blues Forms : 8-Bar, 12-Bar, Open Forms (boogies)
3. Using Different Beats with Different Forms:6/8 Ballads, 3/4 Jazz waltz, 12/8 slow blues

Day 3
1. "More Beats are Better": Bo Diddley beat, Second Line New Orleans beat, Cajun Blues

2. Using what we've learned
     Clues to know what the right feel for the right song is.
     How to start the band (counting in a song), and how to take a count-in.
3. Class Re-cap Some Fun Playing (waking the neighbours)

Working with Other musicians: Afternoon Minors we will work With Piano, Bass, Drums and Guitar

Monday Minor - Choosing a song — Talking an Arrangement — Starting/Ending

Tuesday Minor -Song Variety —Taking Cues/Giving Cues—Leaving Space—Drum Fills

Wednesday Minor -More songs—Changing Feels within songs—Soloing (you and others)

Paul Pigat - Guitar

Major: From Early Blues to Mr. Guitar
All levels from beginner’s finger style to Intermediate and Advanced
I’ve taught a lot of finger style courses at Hornby and thought I’d get back to basics for this year and start from the beginning. We will look at basic thumb techniques (static/alternating) Chord voicings and right-hand finger techniques to get you on the road to being a finger style guitarist. We may even try to write some simple pieces together.

Monday Minor: Early Blues turnarounds and riffs
All Levels

Let’s have a look at some cool riffs and turnarounds from the golden era of acoustic blues. We will look at the work of Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson among others that we can mine for content. These classic performers' ideas can give you some new and fresh material to put into your personal arrangements.

Tuesday Minor: The Genius of Scotty Moore
All Levels

What’s more to say than that? They call his solo from “that’s alright mama” the riff that changed the world!! Let’s learn it and maybe some others as well!!

Wednesday Minor: Extended major Pentatonic soloing!
All Levels
Ok, so you want to get a bit more chromatic sounding in your soloing, or you just want to add a bit of classic hot country flavour into your playing. This is how that will happen. We will look at a basic pattern that most of you will already know and start adding to it by using chromatic passing tones to open up a whole new sonic realm. Be it blues, country or classic rock, this technique can enhance anyone’s playing!

David Vest - Blues Piano

Major: Blues Piano
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

s always, this is a hands-on workshop. Everyone is welcome, but folks who can already play a bit will get the most out of it. The emphasis is on having fun, because that’s what blues and boogie-woogie piano are all about.

Since the piano is both melodic and percussive, and a solo instrument as well as an ensemble or accompanying instrument, we’ll look at what all that means in practical terms. Whether we want to rock the house, or bring out the sweetness in the blues, we’ll need to cover the basics (staccato vs legato, 12-bar, 8-bar, 16-bar etc) and the shorthand codes (“hang on the five,” “quick-change, long-change,” etc).

In addition to your keyboard (and small amp if needed), bring some headphones (cheap ones are fine). There may be times when you want to linger over something while the class is doing something else.

Monday Minor: Trading licks, swapping fours and eights, turnarounds, and the art of playing fills.
Beginner to Advanced
There will be brief explanations and some blues connections followed by lots of playing.

Wednesday Minor: The thing about having two hands!
Beginner to Advanced
We’ll play some exercises designed to develop and improve two-hand coordination. We might even play them with one hand tied behind our backs. Or maybe standing on one foot (preferably your own), or blindfolded. All props will be provided by Blues Crew. The special in this class will be when and how to play a glissando without hurting yourself or others.

Thursday Minor: The Art of Jamming!
Beginner to Advanced
Playing in a rhythm section with drummers and bass players is when the real fun begins, but there are a few things you need to know before you jam those cats.

Suzie Vinnick - Voice

Major: Sing the Blues & Gospel with Suz

-          Vocal Care: Learn how to take care of your voice– vocal warmups, breathing, stretches and different things that can affect your voice.
-          Learn about the origins of blues and gospel music through discussion listening to some of the original and current blues and gospel singers.
-          Learn some of the approaches in how to deliver a song and how to prepare for a show/going to a jam that include mic techniques, deciding your best key, how to prepare a chart, and cueing solos).
-          Most importantly we’ll put those vocal chords to use by doing some blues, gospel, funk ‘n soul singing!

Monday Minor: Mentoring Sessions
Over the years students have asked for advice on different musical subjects in their private lessons so I thought it might be helpful to offer some group mentoring as a minor class. Some topics students bring on board may or may not be applicable to you, but Ive found in my studies that there is always some little tidbit of knowledge that you can take away. So, please come and hang out and bring your question(s!) to the session and Ill do my best to help answer them.

Some things I can help with could be:
-Figuring out harmonies in a song that you like and the best places to put them
-Finding the best key for you for a song/arranging the song
-Charting a song/music theory
-Working with a microphone
-How to accompany yourself
-Figure out a guitar or bass part for a song
-Aspects of the music business
-Questions you may have
- Anything else you might like to learn that you think I might be able to help with - Im at your service!

Tuesday Minor: Songwriting Tools
In this songwriting minor well talk about and work with some songwriting tools you can use to help with your song writing, including object writing, sense-based writing and brainstorming.Ill walk you through a song path i.e. where a song started and how it got to finish. Well also take some time for you to share a song and get some feedback if you wish.

Wednesday Minor: Mini-Sing The Blues & Gospel with Suz
This will be like my major class but condensed into an afternoon. We’ll do a little warmup, talk about blues and gospel music and our favorite singers and sing a bunch of blues and gospel tunes with one another. Bring your voice and your other instruments along with you if you wish. 

Tim Williams - Guitar All Varieties

Major: Introduction to Pre-War Guitar Styles

Level: Intermediate to Advanced
This class highlights finger picking the blues in Delta and Piedmont styles, with side trips into ragtime and basic slide guitar. (Bring a slide)

Monday Minor: Lap Slide Guitar
Level: Equipped beginners to advanced
This is the class on lap-style slide. Tim says It all changes when you put the guitar on your lap. (Students should have either a lap-style guitar, or a string raiser, and a steel bar.) 

Tuesday Minor: Hillbilly Blues
Level: Practicing Guitar Flat-pickers
That’s right —Hillbilly Blues! This will be an introduction to flat picking the white country blues styles of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and more.

Wednesday Minor: The Toolbox
All levels welcome.
Stuff you need to know.  Quick tricks to help play West Coast Blues, Chicago Blues and more; witnessing how the 8, 12 and 16 bar forms work, and understanding the number system to enable, you, the player to contribute in any key to the song being jammed or performed.

Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley- Voice

Major: From Preparation to Showtime

Our major workshop will cover a wide range of topics related to the wonderful world of singing and performance. Without getting too technical, we will be emphasizing participation and practicality. How to get the best sound from your musical voice by exploring the unique qualities and possibilities that each of us have, then looking at ways to highlight, develop and build the vocal performance from there.

We will cover some basic vocal techniques on how to add some style to your song delivery as well as providing advice on some nuts and bolts basics such as finding your key and choosing the right material to suit your voice. Since both of us have a lot of years combined as performers and vocalists, we have a whole lot of other great tricks of the trade and do’s and don’ts tips to add as well! The best way to improve (and have fun) is to sing as much as you can, and in our workshop, we will keep you singing in a variety of styles from 20’s blues to Chicago Blues shuffles.

Monday Minor: Basic blues in a singer’s répertoire
There are a few songs every blues singer should know—some timeless classics in a variety of styles, these are songs that form a strong foundation for any blues singer. You can learn a lot from listening to and singing these songs..  

Tuesday Minor: A Celebration of Gospel
In this class you will discover various songs and styles of Gospel Music. The emphasis is on participation—raise your voice in song, have fun and experience the uplifting emotion of Gospel music.

Wednesday Minor: Exploring your options
Let’s explore some of the different blues and roots-based options that are out there. From singer/songwriter to jazzy blues – from soulful R&B ballads to down home shuffles, even country blues. Let’s push the boundaries and discover some different styles you might ordinarily not have a chance to try! 

For more information:

Hornby Island Blues Society
3500 C Shingle Spit Rd
Hornby Island BC
Canada V0R 1Z0