Punch Brothers at berklee.edu

Punch Brothers performing at the Berklee College of MusicOur friend Dave Hollender gave us a nice report last month after Chris Thile and Punch Brothers offered a clinic at the Berklee College of Music in Boston on April 7. Dave shared some photos and a nice run down of the event.

This morning (5/5), Berklee has posted a brief account of the clinic on the news section of their web site. The story by Danielle Dreilinger (Berklee’s Office of Communications) is entitled Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes and can be read online.

Dreilinger includes a few additional photos from the clinic, plus a number of brief excerpts from the band’s interaction with the students.

Though the songs were sad, the band seemed relaxed, joking about playing so early in the morning. (The clinic started at 2:00 p.m.) Pikelny asked for the Cubs score; Thile snagged a bottle of water from an audience member.

The attitude spilled over. One fan called out, “How do you get your hair so pretty? Is that just bed head?”

As Thile started to explain, Pikelny interrupted: “You just assume that he’s asking you.”

“How do you get your hair so pretty?” Thile countered.

Pikelny folded his hands. “It’s a gift,” he said.

Was the same true of the band’s spectacularly nimble playing? Pikelny’s fingers barely seemed to move. Still, when an audience member asked about picking technique, the band members self-deprecatingly presented themselves as works in progress.

“I can’t get good tone and play fast, which is something I’m working on,” Eldridge said. “Pick angle is important and so is staying loose, but I can only do it at slow speeds for a bluegrass guy.”

Pikelny warned against letting one-upmanship damage technique. When musicians start trying to outdo each other, “you’re just going to be overplaying.”

Read the full article at berklee.edu.

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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.