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- Classes

Want to know what's going on right now? Every week I send out an e-mail to all of my students listing my upcoming classes, jams, workshops, etc. If you would like to be added to my e-mail list and receive my weekly updates, or have any questions whatsoever about my teaching, please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com

 

CLASSES

Group classes are among my most popular teaching tools, offering students a cost-effective and supportive social environment in which to learn. I currently offer a wide array of classes in bluegrass guitar, mandolin and jamming (open to all bluegrass instruments). Different classes are offered throughout the year through the Boston Bluegrass Union's Bluegrass Academy. Below are brief descriptions of my most popular courses. If you are interested in any of these classes, or don't see a class you're interested in, please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com

Courses typically consist of 3 to 7 classes, varying in duration from one hour to ninety minutes. The cost varies depending on the course, but typically includes a complimentary book and CD which correspond to the course. Enrollment in any course includes a discounted membership in the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU), and therefore you should not sign up for BBU membership prior to enrolling in classes.

Quotes from students in Tony Watt's previous Bluegrass Academy classes:

"While I have studied bluegrass for a while, I have not taken a lesson or workshop yet where the concepts were so clearly laid out."

 "The handouts are great and the mp3's are a nice asset."

 "Tony's enthusiasm for the music and for the teaching process is infectious and will inspire any student to become a better picker."

 "I now have a set of materials I can work from that are not too overwhelming."

 "Tony really CARES about the quality of the course."

 "I feel the amount of new material each week was great. It was beneficial to be grouped with appropriate skill levels and work on the tunes."

 "Overall this has been the best group or workshop format class I've taken."

GROUP CLASSES BY LEVEL

Classes and jams are ranked by level (from 1 to 5 so far), but not every class and jam fit into this system (namely the Wernick Method Jam Class, the Vocal Tune Jam session, and the Advanced Jam session). After you take a class at a given level, you are ready for the jam and/or class at the next level. For instance, if you took Beginning Bluegrass Lead Flatpicking Guitar (a level 1 class), you are ready for both Beginner/Intermediate Lead Guitar & Mandolin (the level 2 class), and the Weekly Beginner Jam Session (the level 2 jam). Here is a listing of all classes and jams by level:

 

LEVELINSTRUMENTSCLASS TITLE
Level 1 Guitar Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar: Basics and Beyond
Level 1 Guitar Beginning Bluegrass Lead Flatpicking Guitar
Level 1 Mandolin Beginning Bluegrass Mandolin: Rhythm & Lead
Level 2 Guitar & Mandolin Beginner/Intermediate Lead Guitar & Mandolin
Level 2 All Instruments Introduction to Bluegrass Jamming (Slow Jam Class)
Level 2 All Instruments Intermediate/Advanced Rhythm Guitar
Level 3 Guitar & Mandolin Intermediate/Advanced Lead Guitar & Mandolin
Level 4 Guitar & Mandolin Advanced Lead Guitar & Mandolin
No Level All Instruments Wernick Method Jam Class

 

Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar: Basics and Beyond
Intended for those who have played at least a little guitar before, and are able to switch between common open chords (such as G, C and D). In this course we'll learn bluegrass rhythm guitar: basic and complex, as well as traditional and modern. We'll cover bluegrass-specific chords, runs between chords, various G runs, and much more. The primary goal is to provide you with the skills needed to play solid bluegrass rhythm and participate in bluegrass jams. Furthermore, we will strive to help students improve their practice and self-directed learning. You don't need to have previous experience playing (or even listening to) bluegrass, or playing with a pick, and you don't need to be able to read music.
Beginning Bluegrass Lead Flatpicking Guitar
Intended for those who can already play bluegrass rhythm guitar, but are new to playing lead, or who have been frustrated trying to learn to play lead before. In this course we'll learn how to read tablature (tab), how to play fiddle tunes and take breaks on vocal tunes (including carter style, crosspicking, and single-string soloing), and get an introduction to improvisation. The primary focus will be on developing fundamental lead guitar skills, as well as helping students improve their practice and self-directed learning. To take full advantage of this course, students should already have some ability to play basic bluegrass rhythm, however you don't need to have previous experience playing any style of lead guitar, or know how to read music.
Beginning Bluegrass Mandolin: Rhythm & Lead
Intended for those who have never played bluegrass mandolin before, or who have been frustrated trying to learn before. In this class we will learn the basics of bluegrass mandolin, both rhythm and lead. We'll begin with bluegrass chop chords and a discussion of right-hand technique. We will then quickly get into playing lead on the mandolin, as we learn to play both instrumental and vocal tunes common in the tradition. In this course we'll learn how to read tablature (tab), how to play fiddle tunes and take breaks on vocal tunes, and get an introduction to improvisation. The primary goal is to provide you with the skills needed to play solid bluegrass mandolin and participate in bluegrass jams. Students do not need to have previous experience playing (or even listening to) bluegrass, and you don't need to be able to read music.
Beginner/Intermediate Lead Guitar & Mandolin (joint class)
Intended for those who already know how to solo on at least one fiddle tune and know how to construct breaks to vocal tunes. In this course we will cover new songs, soloing ideas, licks, etc. and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music. Depending on the experience level of the participants, we will most likely work on the following songs: Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer, Billy in the Lowground, and more.
Introduction to Bluegrass Jamming (Slow Jam Class)
The Slow Jam Class is open to all bluegrass instruments, both rhythm (backup) and lead (soloing), and is geared towards beginner and intermediate musicians who are interested in learning how to play with other musicians. We will focus on the basics of bluegrass jamming such as keeping time, non-verbal communication and jam etiquette. The primary goal is to provide the students with the skills and experience needed to participate in bluegrass jams. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to play leads on your instrument, sing, or read music. Students should be able to play melodies and/or backup parts (i.e. guitarists should be able to switch between chords comfortably).
Intermediate/Advanced Rhythm Guitar
Intended for those who can already play bluegrass rhythm guitar, such as the boom-chick rhythm, bass runs, and G runs. In this course we will cover new runs, syncopation, swells, etc., and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. (No standard notation.)
Intermediate/Advanced Lead Guitar & Mandolin (joint class)
Intended for those who already know how to solo on at least a few fiddle tunes and know how to construct breaks to vocal tunes. For instance, if you feel comfortable taking solos on most of the songs in my Beginner/Intermediate Jam Session, then you should be well prepared for this course. In this course we will cover new songs, soloing ideas, licks, etc. and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music. Depending on the experience level of the participants, we will most likely work on the following songs: Blackberry Blossom, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Wayfaring Stranger, In the Pines, and more.
Advanced Lead Guitar & Mandolin (joint class)
Intended for those who already know how to solo on at least a handful of fiddle tunes and know how to construct breaks to vocal tunes. For instance, if you feel comfortable taking solos on most of the songs in my Intermediate Jam Session, then you should be well prepared for this course. In this course we will cover new songs, soloing ideas, licks, etc. and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music. Depending on the experience level of the participants, we will most likely work on the following songs: Bill Cheatham, Bury Me Beneath the Willow, Cherokee Shuffle, and more.
Wernick Method Jam Class
The Bluegrass Jamming Class using the Pete Wernick Method is open to all instruments, and all levels, and the only requirement is that you're able to switch between G, C, D and A smoothly. Pete's method is helpful for both beginners and more experienced jammers, and the class is sure to cover a variety of skills that I don't normally teach in my other jams and classes. The primary difference between this class and my other classes and jams is that we will be playing only vocals with no handouts (other than lyric sheets if needed). Therefore you'll learn and be able to practice important skills such as how to follow a guitar player's chords, and how to build a basic bluegrass solo by ear. This class is appropriate for people who would attend any of my jams between the Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced levels.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

 

Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar: Basics and Beyond
Intended for those who have played at least a little guitar before, and are able to switch between common open chords (such as G, C and D). In this course we'll learn bluegrass rhythm guitar: basic and complex, as well as traditional and modern. We'll cover bluegrass-specific chords, runs between chords, various G runs, and much more. The primary goal is to provide you with the skills needed to play solid bluegrass rhythm and participate in bluegrass jams. Furthermore, we will strive to help students improve their practice and self-directed learning. You don't need to have previous experience playing (or even listening to) bluegrass, or playing with a pick, and you don't need to be able to read music.

Beginning Bluegrass Lead Flatpicking Guitar
Intended for those who can already play bluegrass rhythm guitar, but are new to playing lead, or who have been frustrated trying to learn to play lead before. In this course we'll learn how to read tablature (tab), how to play fiddle tunes and take breaks on vocal tunes (including carter style, crosspicking, and single-string soloing), and get an introduction to improvisation. The primary focus will be on developing fundamental lead guitar skills, as well as helping students improve their practice and self-directed learning. To take full advantage of this course, students should already have some ability to play basic bluegrass rhythm, however you don't need to have previous experience playing any style of lead guitar, or know how to read music.

Beginning Bluegrass Mandolin: Rhythm & Lead
Intended for those who have never played bluegrass mandolin before, or who have been frustrated trying to learn before. In this class we will learn the basics of bluegrass mandolin, both rhythm and lead. We'll begin with bluegrass chop chords and a discussion of right-hand technique. We will then quickly get into playing lead on the mandolin, as we learn to play both instrumental and vocal tunes common in the tradition. In this course we'll learn how to read tablature (tab), how to play fiddle tunes and take breaks on vocal tunes, and get an introduction to improvisation. The primary goal is to provide you with the skills needed to play solid bluegrass mandolin and participate in bluegrass jams. Students do not need to have previous experience playing (or even listening to) bluegrass, and you don't need to be able to read music.

Beginner/Intermediate Lead Guitar & Mandolin (joint class)
Intended for those who already know how to solo on at least one fiddle tune and know how to construct breaks to vocal tunes. In this course we will cover new songs, soloing ideas, licks, etc. and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music. Depending on the experience level of the participants, we will most likely work on the following songs: Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer, Billy in the Lowground, and more.

Introduction to Bluegrass Jamming (Slow Jam Class)
The Slow Jam Class is open to all bluegrass instruments, both rhythm (backup) and lead (soloing), and is geared towards beginner and intermediate musicians who are interested in learning how to play with other musicians. We will focus on the basics of bluegrass jamming such as keeping time, non-verbal communication and jam etiquette. The primary goal is to provide the students with the skills and experience needed to participate in bluegrass jams. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to play leads on your instrument, sing, or read music. Students should be able to play melodies and/or backup parts (i.e. guitarists should be able to switch between chords comfortably).

Intermediate/Advanced Rhythm Guitar
Intended for those who can already play bluegrass rhythm guitar, such as the boom-chick rhythm, bass runs, and G runs. In this course we will cover new runs, syncopation, swells, etc., and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. (No standard notation.)

Intermediate/Advanced Lead Guitar & Mandolin (joint class)
Intended for those who already know how to solo on at least a few fiddle tunes and know how to construct breaks to vocal tunes. For instance, if you feel comfortable taking solos on most of the songs in my Beginner/Intermediate Jam Session, then you should be well prepared for this course. In this course we will cover new songs, soloing ideas, licks, etc. and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music. Depending on the experience level of the participants, we will most likely work on the following songs: Blackberry Blossom, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Wayfaring Stranger, In the Pines, and more.

Advanced Lead Guitar & Mandolin (joint class)
Intended for those who already know how to solo on at least a handful of fiddle tunes and know how to construct breaks to vocal tunes. For instance, if you feel comfortable taking solos on most of the songs in my Intermediate Jam Session, then you should be well prepared for this course. In this course we will cover new songs, soloing ideas, licks, etc. and students should consider bringing a recording device of some sort. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music. Depending on the experience level of the participants, we will most likely work on the following songs: Bill Cheatham, Bury Me Beneath the Willow, Cherokee Shuffle, and more.

Wernick Method Jam Class
The Bluegrass Jamming Class using the Pete Wernick Method is open to all instruments, and all levels, and the only requirement is that you're able to switch between G, C, D and A smoothly. Pete's method is helpful for both beginners and more experienced jammers, and the class is sure to cover a variety of skills that I don't normally teach in my other jams and classes. The primary difference between this class and my other classes and jams is that we will be playing only vocals with no handouts (other than lyric sheets if needed). Therefore you'll learn and be able to practice important skills such as how to follow a guitar player's chords, and how to build a basic bluegrass solo by ear. This class is appropriate for people who would attend any of my jams between the Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced levels.

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