Below you’ll find a selection of special workshops on the Tuesday (June 13) before Django Camp proper gets under way. You have carved out a chunk of precious time for Django in June. These Tuesday offerings are one more way to get the most of it.
Before reading on, please note a few things:
Immediately below you have a quick overview of this year’s offerings. Click on any title to jump to a more detailed description or simply scroll on down the page. As you scan the titles, please note the instruments and ability-level for which the workshop is intended. Class size is limited and these workshops do fill up (some, very quickly) so we encourage you to register early. Really.
All instruments / All levels / Unlimited number of participants.
Guitar / All Levels / Limited to 15 participants
Violin / All levels / Limited to 12 participants
Guitar / Any level / Limited to 12 participants
Guitar / Any level / Limited to 15 participants
All Instruments / All Levels
The feedback we receive every year tells us that nothing will make or break your experience of Django Camp more than this one thing: having a few tunes you can jam on, and finding “your people” to hang with. 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 offer Meet, Greet and Play All Day to make sure this piece is in place from the get-go. The day-long workshop will consist of three 90-minute facilitated jam sessions during which you’ll play through tunes we will 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:
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 that circle 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. A smart start to Django Camp, indeed.
Guitar / Any Level / Limited to 15 participants
Session 1 (10:30): Gypsy Jazz Picking Technique 101
The focus on this class will be less about being able to play fast virtuosic lines but to develop a powerful explosive tone that many well known Gypsy Jazz guitarists are known for. I’ll explain the mechanics used to achieve this, and we will try to incorporate these concepts right away. I will also offer practice strategies.
Session 2 (1:30): How To Practice Gypsy Jazz Efficiently
Learning to play a style is almost like learning a language. What makes music a little trickier is that not only are we dealing with developing a language, many of us are also dealing with learning to develop technique on our instrument to be able to express ourselves. Having worked with so many of the best musicians including so many child prodigies, I have made certain observations as to why some people are able to progress extremely fast. Talent does play a role, but in this case, I would define talent as people having naturally developed the right habits early on. I wish to share some of these habits with you while sharing many analogies with learning languages.
Session 3 (4:00): Harmonic Direction
This one might be a little bit more “advanced” for people who are starting out, but I think it’s something that is useful to be aware of to understand the real secret behind improvisation — something rarely taught in music schools yet something that all great jazz improvisers do (often without even realizing it). Why do certain styles sound the way they do? Why do certain players have a certain signature? This has to do with something that I call Harmonic Direction. You will see how a simple chord progression can end up being something complicated, and vice versa, how a seemingly complicated chord progression can become rather simple. This is based on years of research directly studying recordings from the past. The answer is in the music itself!
Violin / All levels / 12 participants
Jason Anick has been on our teaching staff at least as much as anyone else, and far more than most. He won’t be able to join us for the whole of Django Camp this year, so here’s your chance to work with him for a full day. We asked him to focus on things that he wouldn’t normally have time to cover when teaching at Django in June. Here’s what he’d like to share with you:
Session 1 (10:30): Comping on violin: How and when to comp in a Gypsy jazz setting
Knowing how and when to comp as a violinist is a great skill for improving your ensemble playing and ability to hang in a jam session. I will break down some of my favorite comping patterns for different styles (swing, Bossa, 6/8 groove) and provide tips for when they are appropriate in various ensemble and jam settings.
Session 2 (1:30) In the style of Jason Anick: In depth look at three of Jason’s own solos
We will read through and analyze parts of three different solos of mine over standards (Minor Swing, Swing Gitan, Bossa Dorado). I will provide insight into some of the practice tools I used to get to where I am today as an improviser.
Session 3 (4pm): Fingerboard Mastery: Practice tips for mastering the violin fingerboard
I will present exercises from my new violin instructional book, “Violin Fingerboard Mastery” (Hal Leonard). Each exercise will provide tips for learning the fingerboard, improving your improvisation chops, and memorizing chord progressions.
All instruments / Levels 2-4 / Limited to 12 participants.
You may already know Sami Arefin as one of Django in June’s most long-standing and beloved teachers. You may not know, however, that he attended the first edition of DiJ’s sister event, Choro Camp New England and that has continued to pursue an interest in that genre ever since. (Ask to see his 7-string!)
The Brazilian genre of choro has long had a place in the broader Gypsy jazz tradition — Fapy Lafertin´s album, Fleur D’Ennui, to cite just one example, included 4 choros. But choro repertoire and rhythms remain relatively unexplored by most Gypsy jazz guitarists. During this day-long workshop, Sami will share some of what he has learned in his own explorations along these lines.
Participants can expect to cover the following:
Please note: Sami will be specifically addressing choro in the context of a Gypsy jazz ensemble, which will be very different than how choro is typically played in Brazil. To learn about that, try Choro Camp New England. Watch out for the slippery slope!
Guitar / All Levels / Limited to 15 participants.
Matt won’t be able to join us for the whole week this year, but he has agreed to come up from the Big Apple for a Tuesday Special Offering. Problem is, as he puts it, “everybody wants to make a record this week.” So…he’ll get his description to us soon. You are welcome to sign up to spend a day with him however before you even know what he plans to cover, though, knowing that this session is going to fill up. Because, it will. Because, it’s Matt.