In 2018, for the first time, we’ll be offering two day-long workshops on Tuesday, June 12, before Django Camp officially gets under way. We’ll describe them in greater detail further down the page but, in brief, here you go:
- Meet, Greet and Play All Day: A day-long series of facilitated jams for players of all instruments, designed to get you warmed up and connected with other Django Campers before things get busy. And that, friends, can make all the difference.
- Guitar with Christiaan van Hemert: Last time Christiaan was here his guitar classes were very popular. In 2018 he will be primarily working with violinists at Django Camp, so we have invited him to lead a series of guitar workshops on Tuesday. Catch him while you can!
Before reading on, please note three things:
- These activities are not included in the basic camp tuition. The cost of either is $90. If you are staying in the dorms and eating meals on campus you will also want to add an extra day of meals and housing to your registration, which is no problem.
- We will ask attendees to register for one or the other day-long series so we can be prepared for the correct number of people. But in case you are wondering, yes, you can attend parts of both over the course of the day.
- These workshops are completely optional, even for early arrivals. So if you would like to arrive Monday and skip these activities Tuesday you are welcome to do so.
With those preliminaries out of the way, please read on to see what we have in mind, and why…
Meet, Greet and Play All Day
The feedback we receive every year tells us that nothing—not good lessons, not great concerts, not hearty meals or perfect weather, nothing—will make or break your experience of Django Camp more than this one thing: finding “your people.” Django in June is entirely oriented toward participatory music-making with real live people. Your people are the ones you recognize and know by name, who play more or less at your level, and with whom you share some common repertoire. They are the ones you connect with between classes and in the evening under the stars; they are the ones you may well stay in touch with after DiJ is over, and the ones you’ll look forward to seeing the following year.
We’re offering Meet, Greet and Play All Day to make sure this piece is in place from before the get-go. The day-long workshop will consist of three 90-minute sessions—all facilitated by artists on the Django Camp staff—during which you’ll play through tunes we have made available on the “Get Ready Musically” pages of this website. We’ll organize the groups into 3 levels of ability to insure that everyone moves at an appropriate pace and meets other compatible musicians. You determine your own level, and you are welcome to change levels at any point if you’d like. Here’s how the levels break down:
- Level 1 groups will walk through the tunes in the 20 Gypsy Jazz Standards booklet that Jack Soref has compiled for this year. You’ll play through the tunes at slow to moderate tempos, with guidance from the facilitator as needed. The focus will be on the accompaniment and melody with less emphasis on improvised soloing.
- Level 2 groups will also focus primarily on tunes from Jack’s 20 Gypsy Jazz Standards booklet, but we’ll assume that people who have chosen this level can already play the tunes and want to actually jam on them, including soloing. Here too we’ll tilt toward moderate tempos.
- Level 3 groups will not only play tunes from the 20 GJ Standards booklet, but also the “Tier 2” repertoire we’ve recommended for this year. The facilitator will assume you know the tunes and want to jam. We won’t expect folks to play at breakneck speeds but, generally speaking, at this level we’ll shoot for jamming at respectable performance tempos.
Meet Greet and Play All Day is designed for mixed instrumentation, so it will provide a great way to not only widen your circle of friends attending Django in June but lend it some instrumental variety as well. By the time orientation comes round Tuesday evening you’ll have refreshed your memory on some great jam tunes, warmed up your fingers and met (or re-connected with) your peeps.
Guitar with Christiaan van Hemert
As noted above, Christiaan van Hemert’s guitar classes were very popular when he was here in 2016. He thinks hard and well about the challenges students face, then devises focused and effective ways to address those challenges. He’ll be applying those skills primarily to violin instruction during Django Camp this year, but on Tuesday he’ll work with guitarists all day. Please note that if you are also drawn to our Meet Greet and Play All Day offering, it is likely that Christiaan will offer at least or or two of the guitar classes you see listed below as “special offerings” during our 3rd class period during Django Camp.
Here are the classes Christiaan will be offering on Tuesday:
Guitar Workshop 1 (@10 am) – right hand picking technique
This workshop will deal with understanding and developing correct, efficient and precise right hand technique. Christiaan will explain in great detail the mechanics of good right hand picking technique analyzing posture, muscle use, precise movements and avoiding tensions in the hands and body. Christiaan also designed two sets of daily drills to get you to a good technical skill level in an easy and organized way: one set with exercises for beginners and one set with exercises for advanced and very advanced players. The last part of the workshop is dedicated to a detailed instructions on how to use these essential exercises.
Guitar Workshop 2 (@1:30 pm) – connecting diminished vocabulary to major and minor scales and the phrygian dominant scale
This workshop will lay the foundation for authentic sounding gypsy jazz guitar improvisation using three fundamental scales and ways of connecting them through diminished arpeggios and licks. Christiaan will also discuss his unusual scale system which will get you playing over the complete guitar neck with relative ease (no more seven complicated fingerings which will take forever to memorize!) If you want a shortcut to sounding good fast this is the workshop for you.
Guitar Workshop 3 (@4 pm) – van Hemert System
In this workshop we will explore the “van Hemert system”: a unique approach to gypsy jazz guitar improvisation that will enable you to reach a high level of ability in a short amount time. A big part of this workshop is also dedicated to effective practice methods and dealing with frustration in the process of studying. All students will receive numerous detailed PDFs with the system written down to review at home. Recommended for advanced beginners and beyond.