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Updates

Fall 2015

Lots and lots of exciting stuff to announce, so please read carefully. And of course you can always e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com if you have any questions whatsoever.

UPCOMING JAMS

Wednesday, October 7th at 7 pm: First 5+ Songs Fast Confirmed Jam Series (1 of 6)
- every Wednesday from 7 - 8:30 pm (for ALL instruments)
- jams held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- repertoire: Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer, I am a Pilgrim,
     Whiskey Before Breakfast, Cherokee Shuffle and Fireball Mail
- average tempos starting at roughly 80 cpm (slow) and up to 110+ cpm
- remaining confirmed jam sessions on 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4 and 11/11

Wednesday, October 7th at 8:30 pm: Songs Beyond 5 Confirmed Jam Series (5 of 6)
- every Wednesday from 8:30 - 10 pm (for ALL instruments)
- jams held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- the repertoire as chosen by Dave B. (in order of priority) will be:
     Big Sciota (in G), Big Spike Hammer (in A), Bill Cheatham (in A),
     Billy in the Lowground (in C), and Gold Rush (in A) time permitting
- average tempos starting at roughly 80 cpm (slow) and up to 105+ cpm
- remaining confirmed jam sessions on 10/7 and 10/14

Thursday, October 8th at 7 pm: First 5 Songs Intermediate Confirmed Jam Series (1 of 6)
- every Thursday from 7 - 8:30 pm (for ALL instruments)
- jams held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- please note: this is the same jam that used to meet on Mondays
- repertoire: Old Joe Clark, Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer,
     I am a Pilgrim, and Whiskey Before Breakfast
- average tempos: starting at 70 cpm (slow)
- remaining confirmed jam sessions on 10/8, 10/15, 10/22, 10/29, 11/5 and 11/12

Sunday, October 25th at 6 pm: Weekend Family Slow Jam in Carlisle
- every Sunday from 6 - 7:30 pm (for ALL instruments)
- jams held at a private residence in Carlisle, MA 01741
- repertoire: Old Joe Clark, I am a Pilgrim, Red Haired Boy and Nine Pound Hammer
- average tempos: starting at 65 cpm (slow)

And remember that even if you're not a Confirmed Jam Series "subscriber" (see below for details) you can attend any jam provided there's space available. Space is limited in the jam sessions; see below for further details, and e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com if you're interested in joining us or have any questions.

BIG NEWS: Starting on Monday, October 19th I'll be hosting a brand new weekly teacher-directed slow jam for beginners at The Cantab Lounge in Central Square in Cambridge. Yes, that's right: a bluegrass slow jam at The Cantab, but it will be on Monday nights, and it will be a slow jam for beginners. This jam will be held in the upstairs of The Cantab on Mondays from 6 until 7:30 pm (note the early start time) immediately before Geoff Bartley's weekly Singer-Songwriter Open Mic. This jam will be free of charge and open to the public, however there is a $7 requested pass-the-hat donation. You can find more details about The Cantab Lounge at http://cantab-lounge.com/public_html/cantab_calendar.html. I don't know yet what this jam will end up being like, but I hope many of you can make it down to help me find out ;-)

Monday, October 19th at 6 pm: Teacher-Directed Slow Jam for Beginners
- every Monday from 6 - 7:30 pm at The Cantab Lounge
- The Cantab Lounge is located at 738 Mass. Ave. in Central Square in Cambridge, MA 02139
- held upstairs immediately before Geoff Bartley's weekly Singer-Songwriter Open Mic
- free of charge and open to the public, however there is a $7 requested pass-the-hat donation
- more details about The Cantab at http://cantab-lounge.com/public_html/cantab_calendar.html


UPCOMING CLASSES

Beginning Three-Part Harmony Singing at Lexington Community Education -- Starting on Tuesday, October 13th, I will be teaching a course on beginning harmony singing at Lexington Community Education held in the Lexington High School. The Beginning Three-Part Harmony Singing class will meet from 6:30 until 8 pm on October 13th and 27th, November 10th and 24th, and December 1st (with a make-up on December 8th if necessary). Tuition is $110 tuition ($82 for seniors) and includes handouts and companion MP3s. Visit http://www.lexingtoncommunityed.org/detail.php?q=MRHY to register.

The Beginning Three-Part Harmony Singing class is focused on two core skills: learning how to determine harmonies, and learning to teach yourself to sing harmonies using your instrument as a guide. We will focus on a handful of common folk/country/bluegrass vocal tunes, and there will be homework each class including both singing and determining harmonies. There are no prerequisite songs, and you don’t need to be able to read music or play lead. The Harmony Singing class is open to all instruments, all levels — both rhythm and lead players — but it is geared towards those who have trouble finding harmonies on their instrument and/or with their voice. You will need to bring an instrument with you to class each week, and although it’s not required, please familiarize yourself with the G Major scale in the first position of your instrument. Students are welcome to bring a recording device, however it's not necessary as I will be recording each class and sharing the recordings between classes.

Beginning Three-Part Harmony Singing in Lexington
- various Tuesdays in Lexington from 6:30 until 8 pm
- for those who want to learn how to determine and sing harmonies
- classes held at Lexington High School (251 Waltham St. in Lexington)
- five (5) 90-minute classes held various Tuesdays from 6:30 until 8 pm
- class meets on October 13th & 27th, November 10th & 24th, and December 1st
- with a make-up on December 8th if necessary
- $110 tuition ($82 for seniors) includes handouts and companion MP3s
- visit http://www.lexingtoncommunityed.org/detail.php?q=MRHY to register


Beginning Bluegrass Guitar and Mandolin at Lexington Community Education -- Starting on Tuesday, October 13th, I will be teaching a course for both guitar and mandolin at Lexington Community Education held in the Lexington High School. The Beginning Bluegrass Guitar and Mandolin class will meet from 8 until 9:30 pm on October 13th and 27th, November 10th and 24th, and December 1st (with a make-up on December 8th if necessary). Tuition is $110 tuition ($82 for seniors) and includes handouts and companion MP3s. Visit http://www.lexingtoncommunityed.org/detail.php?q=MGUI to register.

The Beginning Bluegrass Guitar and Mandolin class is intended for those who are new to playing lead bluegrass guitar and/or mandolin, or those who have been frustrated trying to learn to play lead before. In this course we'll learn how to read tablature (tab), and we will focus on learning the classic fiddle tune Old Joe Clark as means to introduce a variety of lead soloing techniques. The primary goal is to provide you with the skills needed to play lead bluegrass guitar and 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. Students should bring a playable mandolin or acoustic guitar (ideally with steel strings) and a pick. Handouts and corresponding mp3's will be provided and while students are welcome to bring a recording device, it's not necessary as I will be recording each class and sharing the recordings between classes.

Beginning Bluegrass Guitar and Mandolin in Lexington
- various Tuesdays in Lexington from 8 until 9:30 pm
- for those who are new to lead bluegrass guitar and/or mandolin
- classes held at Lexington High School (251 Waltham St. in Lexington)
- five (5) 90-minute classes held various Tuesdays from 8 until 9:30 pm
- class meets on October 13th & 27th, November 10th & 24th, and December 1st
- with a make-up on December 8th if necessary
- $110 tuition ($82 for seniors) includes handouts and companion MP3s
- visit http://www.lexingtoncommunityed.org/detail.php?q=MGUI to register


Bluegrass Band Ensemble Class (in north Cambridge) -- Have you ever wondered why some bands sound so good when compared to some jams? Well of course it's partially due to the rehearsal time some bands spend working on music together, but it's usually a lot more than that. And what do bands work on when they get together to rehearse that makes them sound so good? In this class we'll explore some of the aspects that make bluegrass in a band setting different from bluegrass in a jam setting. We'll cover a wide variety of ways to arrange a song, from instrumental licks to vocal tricks, and then we'll be putting that knowledge to good use.

We will be limiting the class to between 8 and 12 people, and we will be trying to get a mixture of as many bluegrass instruments as possible. Starting in our first class we will be splitting up the class in to two separate bands that will remain together for the entire course. These two bands will then work each week to create and learn arrangements to a limited repertoire of songs that they will perform at the completion of the course.

In this class we will spend time listening to classic bluegrass recordings, studying arrangements of well-known bluegrass songs, and then applying the concepts we learn to our two in-class bands. The bands will have time to rehearse together as part of the class time, and will perform for each other as the course progresses. At the end of the class we will culminate our work with at least one performance, which all students must be able to attend.

There are no prerequisite songs, and you don't need to be able to read music or play lead. The Bluegrass Band Ensemble Class is open to all instruments, all levels - both rhythm and lead players - but it is geared towards those who are comfortable singing and/or taking solos. To help us better split up the class, please let me know if you play more than one instrument (and if so what your primary instrument is), and if you sing lead and/or any harmony lines (and which ones). If we are short on bass players, I will be available to quickly train a non-bass player to play acoustic-electric (or full-electric) bass.

Bluegrass Band Ensemble Class
- seven classes held most Sundays from noon until 3 pm
- classes held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- class meets on 10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, 12/6 and 12/13
- please note: the class on 11/22 coincides with Fall Jam'n Weekend
- please note: there will be no class on Thanksgiving Sunday (11/29)
- you are expected to attend all classes
- and you must be able to attend the performance:
- Tuesday, December 15th at 8 pm at The Cantab Lounge in Central Sq.
- $185 tuition which includes 21 hours of class time


CLASS VOTING

I am considering offering one or more additional classes this fall starting as early as mid-October. Below is a list of potential classes I could offer (some course descriptions can be found at http://tonywattbluegrass.com/classes/):

1. Wernick Method Bluegrass Jamming Class
2. Beginning Bluegrass Harmony Singing
3. Beginning Ear Training for Bluegrass Musicians
4. Beginning Music Theory for Bluegrass Musicians
5. Beginning Bluegrass Mandolin: Rhythm & Lead
6. Beginning Bluegrass Lead Flatpicking Guitar
7. Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar: Basics and Beyond

and here are the available time slots:

A. Mondays starting at 8:30 (either weekly or bi-weekly)
B. (Possibly various Tuesdays this fall starting around 7 or 8 pm)
C. Thursdays starting at 8:30 (either weekly or bi-weekly)
D. Fridays starting around 7:30 or 8 pm (either weekly or bi-weekly)
E. Saturday afternoons or evenings (please specify your preference)

Please let me know if you're interested in any of these classes, and if so, which day(s)/time(s) would potentially work best for you. Please note that your reply does not constitute a commitment on your part to attend a class, but instead is just a way to increase the chances that you might be able to attend a class that you're interested in. If you don't see a class listed that you'd be interested in taking, or if you have any other questions, please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com


UPCOMING CONFIRMED JAM SERIES

Here are the basic details of the Confirmed Jam Series:

(0) you don't have to be a Confirmed Jam Series "subscriber" to attend the jams
(1) you'll be invited to sign up in advance (as soon as right now) for a set of jams that will definitely meet (barring something out of our control)
(2) you won't have to wait to hear each week if the jam is on because you'll know it's taking place no matter what
(3) BUT you'll be expected to attend every jam in the Confirmed Jam Series
(4) AND you'll be expected to let me know if you cannot attend any given week
(5) AND you'll be paying for any jams that you miss (because you will have paid in advance for the entire Confirmed Jam Series)

And here are the specific details of the upcoming Confirmed Jam Series:

(A) First 5+ Songs Fast Confirmed Jam Series (for ALL instruments)
- jams held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- six (6) Wednesdays from 7 - 8:30 pm
- Confirmed Jam Sessions on 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28, 11/4 and 11/11
- if you cannot attend any of these jams please let me know as soon as possible
- rotating repertoire: Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer, I am a Pilgrim,
     Whiskey Before Breakfast, Cherokee Shuffle and Fireball Mail
- average tempos starting at roughly 80 cpm (slow) and up to 110+ cpm
- the six (6) jam Confirmed Jam Series cost is $90 ($15 per jam)

(B) Songs Beyond 5 Fast Confirmed Jam Series (for ALL instruments)
- jams held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- six (6) Wednesdays from 8:30 - 10 pm
- Confirmed Jam Sessions on 10/21, 10/28, 11/4, 11/11, 11/18 and 12/2
- if you cannot attend any of these jams please let me know as soon as possible
- repertoire will be chosen each week by a rotating "DJ", but will include
     up to five of the following songs (time permitting):
     Big Sciota (in G), Big Spike Hammer (in A), Bill Cheatham (in A),
     Billy in the Lowground (in C), Fireball Mail (in G), Wayfaring Stranger (in Em),
     Blackberry Blossom (in G), Gold Rush (in A), Long Journey Home (in G),
     Little Maggie (in A), St. Anne's Reel (in D), and possibly Old Joe Clark (in A)
- average tempos starting at roughly 80 cpm (slow) and up to 105+ cpm depending
- the six (6) jam Confirmed Jam Series cost is $90 ($15 per jam)

(C) First 5 Songs Intermediate Confirmed Jam Series (for ALL instruments)
- jams held in north Cambridge near the end of Rt. 2
- six (6) Thursdays from 7 - 8:30 pm
- Confirmed Jam Sessions on 10/8, 10/15, 10/22, 10/29, 11/5 and 11/12
- if you cannot attend any of these jams please let me know as soon as possible
- repertoire: Old Joe Clark, Red Haired Boy, Nine Pound Hammer,
     I am a Pilgrim, and Whiskey Before Breakfast
- average tempos starting at roughly 80 cpm (slow) and up to 110+ cpm
- the six (6) jam Confirmed Jam Series cost is $90 ($15 per jam)


ADDITIONAL JAM DETAILS

My "teacher-directed" jams are open to all instruments, both rhythm and lead players. You can attend even if you don't know all of the tunes, as I will have mp3s and copies of tab, chords and lyrics for most of these tunes, however I only have tabs for mandolin, guitar and bass at this time. Space is limited in the jam sessions, and top priority will be give to those folks who have signed up for the Confirmed Jam Series. Students are encouraged to enroll in courses that correspond to jams, and the next highest priority will be given to those who are attending the corresponding classes immediately before or after the jams. Otherwise, students are invited to RSVP to jams on a first come, first served basis at the regular cost of $20 per session. Please e-mail me at tonywatt@gmail.com if you're interested or have any questions.

LOCATION DETAILS

Lessons, jams, classes, etc. are usually held in north Cambridge, about a half mile from where Rt. 2 hits Cambridge at the Alewife T station. This location is one block from the intersection of Rt. 16 and Mass. Ave., near the Cambridge/Arlington border. There is plenty of meter-free, permit-free parking on Mass. Ave., but please be advised that traffic can be very heavy around the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Rt. 16, so please allow for extra time to get here. The location is also only a 10-minute walk from Alewife and 15 minutes from Davis Sq., but if you are going to take public transportation, please let me know so I can recommend how best to get here.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions whatsoever. Thanks so much and hope to see you all sometime soon!

MAILING LIST SIGN-UP

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Please just send me an e-mail at tonywatt@gmail.com and let me know where you live and what you're interested in hearing about (such as performances, classes, jams, etc.)

Thanks so much!