Our guitar group classes are guided by the belief that developing musicians of mixed abilities and musical backgrounds can all benefit from a song-based approach to learning. Students learn new musical skills and techniques in the context of playing new songs together.
With Shufflin’ the Blues, we’ll explore all sub-genres. There’s acoustic blues from the Delta and Piedmont. There’s west side and south side Chicago blues. Memphis, Texas, and the West Coast all have distinct styles, too.
But, the essence of the music is everywhere for anyone to play and enjoy. It’s not just sad music, but, mostly, it’s a joyous expression of the human experience. That is what we’ll be exploring, along with playing some great songs.
Each week in this 90-minute class, we’ll spend the first half-hour talking about the song specific to the week. The songs will cover a spectrum of the genres mentioned above. For the final hour, we’ll all play the song together and see what different interpretations we can develop as a group of players.
We’ll go all the way back to Charley Patton, up through the Delta via Robert Johnson, Memphis (where B.B. King made his mark on the world), and onto Chicago (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam, and so many more) before heading out to Texas (which gave us early acoustic blues of Blind Lemon Jefferson to the Fabulous Thunderbirds) and the West Coast styles, which include Pee Wee Crayton and Percy Mayfield’s contribution as not a guitar player but as one of the most prolific songwriters in the blues.
With Shufflin’ the Blues, we will focus on the group situation (which can be a band or just a duo of guitar players) and the art of solo performing – Chris Smither is one of the masters of solo performance. The blues is a vibrant, breathing art form that is open to interpretation by anyone who plays it with feeling. With this class, we will learn the history and playing styles and explore our own way of playing the songs as a group and as individuals.
Before taking this course, students should have the ability to play the chords E, A, and B in the first position.