We”ve previously told you about a new online instructional resource, The Bluegrass College. (here and here)
Two of the sites founders, Brian Wicklund and Ian Nicholls, recently wrote us to give us some background information on the site and how it got started. It”s an interesting story. I”ll let them tell it in their own words.
While waiting in the dinner line at the Sore Fingers bluegrass camp in England last year, I struck up a conversation with a student of mine Ian Nicholls about the exciting possibilities of on-line music instruction. A year later, we have brought in two others from the UK and launched the site BluegrassCollege.org.
I am from the UK and professionally write and produce music for television and am learning bluegrass fiddle in my spare time.
A year or so ago, fed up with slowing CDs down and not having enough people to jam with I had an idea for a ‘fantasy’ tuition jam along website.
I met Brian Wicklund who was teaching fiddle at a UK camp and put the idea to him in a lunch queue.
To cut a long story short I have taken a year off and together with Brian, a programmer friend and another producer friend, who is also a bluegrass nut, we have developed the idea and as you know launched the site about six weeks ago.
We have been very lucky to have had contributions from a fantastic group of players who have all worked really hard and been very supportive.
We are not trying to replace instructional dvds or personal tuition but see the site as a resource to use in conjunction with other teaching aids.
The idea behind the instruction on the site is that you don’t have to slow things down because everything is presented at 3 different tempos and at 2 levels, easy and advanced. There are also different audio mixes for each instrument, which include the chosen instrument playing on its own with a click, a mix with the band and a mix without the featured instrument to jam along with. These are replicated at the different tempos. Uniquely they offer vocal instruction in addition to instrumental. The vocal instruction offers you the chance to practice harmony singing by using different mixes that isolate or combine the different harmony parts.
There is video of the tutors playing the slow versions and tab or notation of the breaks.
The instructors currently on the site include:
- Butch Baldassari
- Mike Bub
- Mike Compton
- Matt Flinner
- Andy Hall
- Rob Ickes
- Chris & Sally Jones
- Keith Little
- Megan Lynch
- John Moore
- Missy Raines
- Ivan Rosenberg
- Ron Stewart
- Tim Stafford
- Brian Wicklund