Hornby Island Blues Workshop

2022 Workshop Descriptions

Community Connection:

Mark Crissinger

Each year we invite a musician to become more intimate with our community by having them go into our Hornby School, meet the students and play some music, talk about Blues and Roots, and generally have some fun. This Blues-In -the -School musician also becomes our island’s Blues Week Busker and plays a role in our music jams that are held during the week. We showcase their talent in a busking show midweek at the Co-op Ringside Market. Of course, they are also invited to play at our acoustic concert and Wednesday Night Hall Dance.

This year we have invited Mark Crissinger. This will be Mark’s second visit to the Blues Workshop as he was a student last year taking in all the events. Mark, in case didn’t know, is a 2017 Maple Blues Award nominee who has been entertaining music loving audiences since 1987. Blending traditional themes, clever lyrics, and modern arrangements, he performs original new blues and roots music and is ideally suited to bring new energy to this community role. We think Hornby will love this guy and are garetful that he has said he has accepted our invitation. “We know our Hornby community and our students will be in for a real treat with Mark in this role.

Jack de Keyzer - Guitar

Major: Are you ready for Freddie?
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Learn Freddie King’s classic guitar instrumentals: Sen Sa Shun,  San Ho Zay,  Wash Out, Just Pickin',  Out Front,  Heads Up , Hideaway.
We will learn the heads to these songs, the lead and rhythm guitar patterns, learn some of  Freddie’s solo parts and then we can all  jam along together.  A fun class for all levels.

Monday Minor: Play like a King! 

We will learn four classic  BB King  songs. The intros, signature licks and positions that made BB -King:  Sweet Little Angel ,   Please Love Me,   Rock Me Baby  ,  Thrill Is Gone

Tuesday Minor: Magic tricks! 

We will learn the heads, rhythms  and key licks to as many of West Side Chicago bluesman  Magic Sam's  songs as we can fit in.  Sweet Home Chicago,  Easy Baby, Looking  Good,  All of Your Love,  I need you so Bad.

Wednesday Minor: The Devil’s Music : Robert Johnson

Learn three  of Johnson’s non slide, finger style classics.   Acoustic  or electric. Kind Hearted Woman Blues, Dust My Broom, 32-20 Blues.

Tim Williams - Guitar

Ragtime and East Coast blues fingerpicking
All Levels
Days One through Three. This course is for people with knowledge of the first position chords and some knowledge of thumb abd two-finger guitar playing. 

Monday Minor: A Minor on the Slide - how to build a solo.

Tuesday Minor: Hillbilly Blues
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
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 beling jammed or performed.

Rick Fines - Guitar

Major Class: Mississippi John Hurt
We’ll explore his style and work on songs in C (Pallet On The Floor) and Drop D (Stack O’Lee). We’ll look at how you can use his techniques to embellish other songs and add this flavour to your menu. *No flat picks allowed J

Monday minor: Open G, Fingerstyle *
We’ll spend half our time looking at riffs and chord shapes, then we’ll put a slide on to get more out of this versatile tuning known as “Spanish”.

* bring a slide

Tuesday minor: Right Hand techniques (no flat picks)
As we review techniques like damping with the heal of your hand, muting with individual fingers, rolls and patterns, we’ll get everyone focusing on a couple new RH techniques that you’ll use every day.

Wednesday minor: Drop D
We’ll spend an afternoon looking at what the fingerboard looks like when we shift to Drop D tuning. There are many ways that this can add a new approach to your playing – although especially good for solo stuff, there are many ways to complement a song with a Drop D for second guitar (and not just in the key of D!)

Alec Fraser - Bass

Major Class: The History of Blues Bass - City By City, Grooves and Approaches
A tour of bass blues through the style masters: New Orleans, Memphis Chicago, Austin, the Delta, and London The signature grooves and approaches of blues bass styles.

Monday minor: Fundamentals of Playing with Others
The fundamentals of Bars, 8 Bars, Turnarounds & Sitting On The One – and a look at the most common blues song structures: The Shuffle, The Walk, The Peddle, The Funky Blues & The 1/5 Highlights include the common language of improvisation and the ins and outs of bass soloing.

Tuesday minor: Fingers and Pick Techniques
Using song samples, students will learn techniques like how to make an electric bass sound like a tuba or upright bass. Highlights also include pick techniques in British Blues, and a variety of subjects from string choices and their advantages, recording techniques and dealing with ‘Live’ audience challenges when gigging.

Wednesday minor: The Engine Room Live Action
What you need to know to be part of a rhythm section.
Working with the drummer, piano player and the rhythm guitar. This class will be a live session combined with the drum class and or the keyboard class students.

Brandon Isaak - Songwriting

Major: Songwriting
We're going to look at how to make your lyrics stronger and have more punch. Different styles of songwriting and how to get the right music that is complementary to your lyrics. I have lots of great little ideas and tips and I'll let ya in on em as we write. Bring a phone or something to record with and a pad of paper.

Monday Minor: Open tuning slide guitar 
We'll look at a few easy tunings and some different bass patterns with your thumb. We'll hone in on heavy grooves and look at building chords with an open tuning.  

Tuesday Minor: Guitar with a tin sandwich on a rack
We'll focus on accompanying your instrument with a harmonica. We'll work on some classic harp riffs and learn how to get around the tin sandwich. All levels and instruments are welcome. You'll need a harmonica. 

Wednesday Minor: Being a strong lead/rhythm player
We’re going to learn some lead ideas and work on phrasing and strengt in your solos. We'll also run over some chordal and rhythmic ideas. 

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)

Roly Platt -

Major: Fundamentals 
In this workshop we will discuss, demystify and demonstrate the most important fundamental information needed for any harmonica player to advance.
Areas covered:
- Most common positions and what that means
- Tongue blocking vs Lip Pursing (and in this corner....)
- Bending botes - how to, how not to, and how to do it better
- Playing in tune - "I thought they play in tune automatically??!"  
- Note vocabulary - many ways to play a note
- Tone - where does it come from?
- Understanding a basic three-cord blues using the "Number System"
- Basic Blues licks (for beginners)
- Playing a set pattern over all three chords (for intermediate/advanced)
- Mics, amps, effects - what you need and what to dream about...
- Useful tools for learning - stuff I never had :)
- Your ears... (the two most important pieces of equipment you'll ever own) - the importance of developing your ear

Monday Minor: Inside Butterfield
- This workshop will focus on Paul Butterfield - one of my biggest stylistic influences
- What made him special and different
- Breaking down Butterfield's phrasing, vibrato, and lesser discussed melodic soloing

Tuesday Minor: Being a Great Sideman
- Understanding the difference between working as a band "member" and having your own show
- The song is King
- When to play
- When not to play
- Sitting in with a band - and getting asked back!

Wednesday Minor: Sweating the Small Stuff
- Dressing up what you play and making every note count
- Vibrato in depth
- Scoops, gliss', fades and swells
- Expression, emotion

Paul Pigat - Guitar

Major: Beginners finger style Part 2
All Levels
Last year’s course was so popular that I thought I’d do a Part 2. We will continue to look at the essential techniques necessary to get you on the road to being a finger style player. Thumb independence and simple finger patterns combined with some cool chord voicing can go a long way!! 

Monday Minor: Honky Tonk!!
All Levels

In this class we will look at the guitar playing on the classic, Honky Tonk by Bill Doggett. Billy Buttler, though a noted jazz guitar player laid down one serious blues solo on this track and it’s a perfect example of what “ to do “ when playing a with a band!!!! 

Tuesday Minor: Substitutions in the Blues!!
All Levels

A lot can be done in the space of 12 bars!!! Let’s take a simple blues and start adding chords till we get to a whole new place. We will look at chords used by both blues and jazz musicians to spice up this traditional form.

Wednesday Minor: Boot Camp!!!! 
All Levels
There are no shortcuts to good technique. If you want to break through to the next level, you gotta do the time. That being said, it can still be fun. We will look at both right hand and left hand technique and make up some exercises that will help you get your hands standardized so they know what they are doing even when you don’t!!! now drop and give me 20!!! 

Terry Robb - Guitar

Major Class: Fingerstyle Acoustic Blues Guitar
Exploring the technique and approach of blues guitar from the Delta to Chicago, and beginning and advanced Ragtime guitar. The guitar of Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, John Hurt, Blind Blake, Rev. Gary Davis and others.

Monday Minor: Slide Guitar
Bottleneck and Lap style playing. Use in open and standard tunings

Tuesday Minor: Improvisation
How to improvise playing solo and with others. Technique, Scales and Phrasing.

Wednesday Minor: Open Tuning
Exploring various open tunings and their chord shapes..

David Vest - Blues Piano

Major: Blues Piano

Level: Intermediate to Advanced
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. We'll cover the basics (12-bar, 8-bar, 16-bar, etc.) and the shorthand codes ("hang on the five", "quick change, long change," etc.) as well as some professional tips you can share with band mates. 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: The Art of Jamming

Beginners to Advanced
As well as having hands-on fun with music, this is all about becoming the kind of player other musicians want to jam with. We'll explore soloing, playing fills, "swapping fours", and how to accompany singers and soloists. We'll work on 8-bar blues changes, 12 bar changes, 16 bar forms, turnarounds, and cool things to do when playing "one chord" blues.

Tuesday Minor: Practicing Like Pros
We'll look at ways to get our hands to be more independent of each other. "Sort of like patting your tummy and rubbing your head, but at the piano!" Also, things we can do to "open" our hands and to connect our hands with our minds and our voices. (Ever wonder why so many players seem to be either humming or sort-of-singing when they play?) This session is mainly about learning some fun stuff everybody can do to become a better player.  

Wednesday Minor: Group Work
The plan is to be playing in a rhythm section with drummers and bass players. 

Angel Forrest and Denis Columbus - Vocals

Major: 'Many styles... within the one song'

In this exciting and creative Major class...Denis and I will embark with you on a musical voyage. 

One song...5 different styles.

You'll learn different ways to approach the same song... by just altering the groove, the melody...your pronunciation, tone, attitude and delivery.

In previous years we gave this same sort of class...and it was a huge success...with a lot of vocal self discovery,  just a down home stompin' good time!

Monday Minor: To Ad lib... or not to Ad lib.
'there is no question'

The beauty of singing the blues in my opinion is the freedom and sense of liberation one feels from singing their soul.

In this minor class we're going to attack the Freedom Train!

The how, when and where's of ad libing. 

Letting your freak flag fly can be very touchy.

You don't want to overdo it, or step on any musical toes ...but you want to touch the audience with the free spirit, live and let live approach to expressing yourself!

This class will set your soul free!!

Tuesday Minor: 'Harmonizing'...not for the faint of heart!
In this minor class Denis shines like no other.

He has many specialties...but if i had to pick one...(and not as his wife).. but a fellow musician, i would have to say that he is the King of harmony.

He'll teach us...( including me) all the tricks on how and where to harmonize like a pro.

There's magic in a good harmony that can bring beauty to the canvas of any song.

Wednesday Minor: Let's Get it On!
Whether your new to blues or a seasoned performer...when it comes to jamming with your friends or on a professional stage, there is a proper etiquette to follow.

In this class we'll learn the do's and don’ts  ... how to pick the right key best for you to shine...how to be courteous...listen and to play off the players with whom you share the stage.

But most importantly...how to blow the roof off when you only have the chance to sing one song!!!

For more information:

Hornby Island Blues Society
3500 C Shingle Spit Rd
Hornby Island BC
Canada V0R 1Z0
Email: hornbybluessociety(at)gmail(dot)com