Students of bluegrass music in today’s world may not always recognize what an embarrassment of riches they now have at their disposal. Books galore, online and DVD video, and instructional workshops and camps are widely available, where even 20 years ago none of that was true. Why when I was learning to play in the 1970s, we had to trudge uphill (both ways) to slow down 33 rpm records to half speed to learn Earl Scruggs licks.
Camps for students of the various bluegrass instruments have indeed proliferated over the past 15 years. At one time, Pete Wernick and Steve Kaufman offered the few serious seminars for grassers, and people would travel from all over the US and Canada to attend. These day, however, workshop weekends of this sort exist all over the country, held alongside major festival, and at hotels and educational facilities in every state and province.
Word comes this week of another new one in California, called the Yosemite Banjo Camp. Its debut event is set for April 26-30 at the Kowana Valley Folk School & Lodge in Coulterville in central California. It will held under the direction of Bill Evans, who will be joined by fellow teachers Alan Munde and Ned Luberecki. Instruction begins that Thursday afternoon, and continues on through noon on Sunday.
In addition to classroom instruction, one-on-one sessions, and faculty concerts, facilitated jams will be hosted each day save Sunday. The material covered will be geared towards intermediate to advanced level banjo players, with separate tracks based on students’ experience.
Fees range from $600 per person for registration without accommodations, to $875 for a semi-private room. Only 30 students will be accepted, and the camp is located just a short drive from the beautiful Yosemite National Park.
Full details can be found online