Banjo Summit launches in Colorado

Colorado banjoist Jake Schepps will be no stranger to Bluegrass Today readers, as both a noted player and a correspondent/reviewer.

Though he came up in the bluegrass world, Jake’s interests have since expanded to include modern classical music on the five string, a milieu in which he has recorded and performed this past few years. He’s even commissioned works from contemporary composers, getting them to write for an acoustic string band.

With many more banjo players and students opening themselves to non-bluegrass performance, Schepps has decided to launch a new instructional camp designed specifically for progressive playing styles.

Billed as The Banjo Summit, the workshop weekend will be held for the first time May 11-13 in Fort Collins, CO. In addition to Jake, the faculty will include several other prominent pickers who focus or specialize in new approaches to the instrument.

The teaching lineup for 2018 is Jayme Stone, Wesley Corbett, Jake Schepps, Ben Krakauer, and BB Bowness with Ross Martin assisting on guitar. Classes will run from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. that Friday and Saturday, and 10:00-3:00 on Sunday. A faculty concert will be held on Saturday a 8:00 p.m.

All the seminars will be on 3 finger playing, and there is no track for beginners. The organizers are requesting that all enrollees submit a video of themselves playing to ensure that each student is at a level where they are ready to benefit from the instruction to be offered.

Schepps believes that the banjo world is ready for a workshop like this.

“I’ve taught at a number of camps where the reaction to anything other than a traditional bluegrass approach is often, ‘How did you do that?’ The focus of the Banjo Summit is treating the banjo as a musical instrument unto itself, instead of solely one voice within a bluegrass band. It can be used to play so much more music — jazz, world, swing, or classical. Learning techniques that are helpful in playing other genres can elevate your approach to playing traditional music.

The demand for a more comprehensive banjo education has never been greater and the instructors selected for the Banjo Summit represent the brain trust of today’s progressive banjo community.”

Tuition for the Summit is $450, not including accommodations or food. Lodging suggestions are listed on their web site, along with more information about the faculty.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.