American Roots Open House
Beginning this September, Concord Conservatory of Music is introducing new offerings in American Roots music for both young players and the young at heart.
Courses will be be tracked for those who are completely new to the instruments or new to the style, and for adults with bluegrass experience who are looking for a local jam.
All are invited to learn more at the American Roots open house, kicking off the program on Thursday, Sept.14, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at Concord Conservatory of Music.
Attendees of the open house will be able to meet the new Roots faculty members—fiddle player Bobby Britt, Tony Watt teaching bluegrass, Rich Stillman on banjo, and Ian Goldstein on mandolin—all renowned performers in the Roots community.
Extra instruments will be on hand at the open house, and anyone who would like to jam is invited to join in.
The new course offerings for beginners include Americana fiddle, bluegrass, banjo, and mandolin.
Adult-track classes include beginner and intermediate fiddle, a drop-in bluegrass jam, beginner banjo, and mandolin.
Beyond banjo, fiddle, and mandolin, anyone on guitar, violin, bass, banjo, or Dobro would fit in the offerings just fine.
Throughout the year, we will also offer monthly drop-in jam sessions and workshops to complement the program, focusing on related skills like improvisation, for example.
In the school's new course offerings, students will pick up songs that are common in the bluegrass and Roots tradition, learning melodies by ear.
“Song-based and aural learning works a whole different part of the brain than reading music off the page,” says fiddle player and teacher Bobby Britt.
“Learning in this way opens up a whole new world of musical and social possibilities.”
Tony Watt, an award-winning flatpicking guitarist and mandolinist who will be teaching the bluegrass courses, says this is in part because informal jamming is so central: “Jams have a very low bar of experience needed to join but allow musical growth as far as you are willing to push yourself,” he says.
“Ultimately, it is one of the most jam-centric styles of music, and that means it has one of the strongest and most-welcoming communities you can find.”
Indeed, much of the charm of this music is the social aspect: “The Roots tradition really lends itself to an inviting community of people.
Beginners and intermediates can play with more advanced players—on a whole range of string instruments—and connect across generations in a way that’s really fun and unlike other genres,” says Kate Yoder, executive director and founder of The Concord Conservatory of Music.
As a musical tradition, American Roots was born out of early folk music, then shaped by the country’s political and cultural evolution through the 20th century.
Today it bears the influence of a wide range of musical styles, including early jazz and gospel, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, country, spirituals, and many others, with a come one, come all bent.
1317 Main Street, Concord, MA, 01742 map
In West Concord center: 1317 Main Street, Concord, MA
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