Below you’ll find a selection of special workshops on the Tuesday (June 11) 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.
Mandolin / All levels / Limited to 12 participants
Violin / Any level / Limited to 12 participants
Guitar / Any level / Limited 12 participants
Guitar / Levels 2+ / Limited to 12 participants
Mixed instrumentation / 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.
Mandolin / All levels / 12 participants
Although jazz mandolin is firmly established, few mandolinists have gone deep into the Gypsy jazz tradition. Few know its distinctive repertoire, rhythmic styles or improvisational vocabulary. Jason Anick is the exception to that rule. One of the best known and most admired GJ violinists in the US today, Jason is also a skilled mandolinist and brings his depth of knowledge of jazz manouche to the violin’s fretted cousin … and so, to you. Here’s what he plans to cover.
Gypsy Jazz Mandolin
Gypsy jazz mandolin crash course covering essential arpeggio patterns (min. 6 and Diminished for ex.) and exploring ways to accurately and convincingly play “la Pompe” rhythm on mandolin.
Gypsy Jazz Chord Voicings and Grooves
Breakdown of all the crucial chord voicings and Grooves (outside of swing) used throughout Gypsy jazz standards like “Bossa Dorado”, “Troublant Bolero”, and “Indifference”
The Key To Mastering Enclosure Licks
Breakdown of how to practice and utilize enclosure licks in your solos.
Violin / All levels / limited to 12 participants
Aaron will be teaching mandolin at Django Camp this year, so heads up, violinists … here’s your chance to spend the day with this master of bow and tie. His pitch to you is simple and goes something like this:
“We all know that the violin is an amazing Jazz instrument. But it can also be its own worst enemy. We’ll explore how to play authentic Jazz solos on the violin while becoming aware of the instrument’s potential stylistic pitfalls so we can avoid them like…Covid. Participants will have plenty of opportunities to solo and receive feedback.”
Gypsy Jazz Guitar Technique
In this session, I want to share with you everything I know about Gypsy Jazz picking technique and how it relates to certain idiomatic fingerings. I wrote an extremely comprehensive book on this topic so instead of repeating what the book says, I would like to give personal attention to participants. Almost like a coaching session, and hopefully we can all learn from each other. Every players situation is unique so we will be looking at things from different angles/perspectives. Once you have completed this workshop, Andrew Lawrence will give you a high five if you ask him for one.
Swing, Bebop and Gypsy Jazz
In this workshop, I want to share with you what I think are the major differences between these styles, and how I use my knowledge of them to make informed musical and artistic decisions. We will look at harmony, sound, accompaniment, improvisation, etc. from a historical perspective. How was Body and Soul played in the 30s vs the 50s, how did harmony evolve? How did accompaniment change? How did improvisation concepts evolve?
The endless practice routine (for guitarists)
For those of you who you feel you are in a rut in terms of jazz guitar, this is the workshop for you! I share with you how you can take a simple concept and turn it into an endless practice routine. If you think you’ve mastered a song, think again, there are always new things to explore. Basically a lot of the content is based on my book Fretboard Visualization, but that book only shows the preliminary part of the exercise. In this workshop, we’re gonna actually look at how to apply this in context to Gypsy Jazz in particular.
All instruments / Levels 2-4 / Limited to 12 participants.
Adrian Holovaty was the first Django in June camper to make the transition to teacher. This would have been at least 10 years ago, and since then he has been among our most popular instructors. He may fill other roles at Django in June this year as needed, but here’s your chance to go deep with Adrian in three areas that matter to him, and should to you. While appropriate for players at a variety of levels, it will be oriented toward musicians who have been playing in this style for a while.
Part 1. Technical matters
Both rhythm and lead technique require a lot of “micro decisions,” all of which all add up to playing the instrument in your own personal way. Here are the decisions I’ve made over the years of playing this style of guitar, for both rhythm and lead. My goal is not to indoctrinate you in my own answers but rather to make you aware of options — and guide you to making your own decisions.
Part 2. Musical matters
When we improvise, we all use our favorite musical patterns — either consciously or not. By this, I mean ways of phrasing, or note choice, or comfortable fretboard positions/shapes, or stock licks. I’ll show some of my own “favorite colors” and will aim to get you thinking about what your own preferences are. Where do we draw the line between “I always play the same thing” and “I have my own distinct style”?
Part 3. Artistic matters
If you’ve been playing music for a while, you may begin to ask yourself larger questions, such as “What is the goal of making music?” and “What do I want to say with my own music specifically?” I’ll talk about my own journey, and I’ll try to guide you to finding your own philosophy and style.
Guitar-Mandolin-Violin-Accordion / All Levels / Limited to 15 participants.
Western Swing is an idiom that steals from Blues, Swing, Tin-Pan Alley, New Orleans Jazz, fiddle and folk tunes, Czech and German waltzes and polkas, and even Bebop and Gypsy jazz. To anyone who says that Western Swing is just Jazz played wrong, I say NO: It’s ALL of these genres played wrong! Simply put, it’s just the music by a handful of musicians so that the hard working folks of Texas and Oklahoma would be able to dance (and drink, and fight, and love) on a Saturday night in the 1930’s and 40’s. And if your musical background is in any of these aforementioned styles, Western Swing might be an effective gateway drug to Swing and Gypsy Jazz.
Western Swing guitar has a lot to teach us about getting around the fretboard, understanding harmony, and especially cutting loose and having fun. We’re going to get into all kinds of ways of playing Eldon Shamblin’s “runs”, so that we can apply these circling harmonies to any sort of tune. Western Swing is also unique in Jazz traditions in that its “front line” is composed of stringed instruments playing in harmony (guitars, mandolins, steel guitars, fiddle) instead of horns, so we’re going to learn some easy principles to be able to harmonize in two, three and even four parts with your band mates. We’ll also work on the Bob Will’s band secrets of how to make two instruments sound like 3 or 4. And to bring it all home, we’ll do all of this on a tune that’s central to the Gypsy Jazz repertoire! This class is open to mandolin and fiddle and accordion players – there’s plenty we can all work on together.
Matt Munisteri is a virtuosic guitarist on both acoustic and electric guitar—in music both modern and old-fashioned. He credits the early jazz plectrists of the 1920s and ’30s with providing the foundation for his technique and musical direction, and he is one of the leading experts on guitar styles of that era. He’s a favorite here at Django in June, which you will learn the hard way if you wait too long to register for this special offering.