David Hollender, professor at Berklee College of Music, is set to publish Beyond Bluegrass Banjo, a new book of exercises and improvisational explorations for banjo students at Berklee – or any other banjo player who wants to branch out from Scruggs style.
The book will largely mirror one published by Berklee Press in 2010, Bluegrass Fiddle and Beyond, written by Matt Glaser. Like Glaser’s, Hollender’s book will ship with a companion CD, with audio tracks of the songs taught, both with a full band and minus the banjo for student play along.
Each song – Glaser’s compositions or reharmonizations of familiar tunes – conveys some aspect or tool that improvisers use in learning to think differently about their instrument. Though Berklee now welcomes banjo and mandolin students as part of their Traditional String Principal, the school started with a jazz focus, and contemporary modes of improvisation are taught to students on every instrument.
Beyond Bluegrass Banjo will be released in the first half of 2011 by Berklee Press, with distribution through Hal Leonard. We’ll have an interview with Dave closer to the release date with more details about the book.