Any short (week or so) guitar courses worth checking out?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Kappy, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Since I can't really swing a return to music school, I'd like to look into a week-long (or so) total immersion in music that I can attend. Perhaps as a regular/annual thing.

    I'd be mostly interested in improv stuff (doesn't have to be specifically guitar oriented). I know HarryJ does workshops for NGW (?), those look pretty cool. I'm pretty sure MI does something on the short term (but perhaps that's Summer only, in which case I couldn't swing more than 2 weeks off).

    Any experiences or ones you've been checking out that I can research further? I'd be curious about any unconventional, smaller ones too -- like around a certain teacher and a few of his students from around the country, etc.

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  2. chopsley

    chopsley Silver Supporting Member

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    I did one of the week-long jazz thing at NGW a few years ago. I definitely got quite a lot out of it, though to be honest, I got a little sick of being around just guitar players for a week (but maybe that's just me). The instructors provided tons of material for study, but probably the most important thing I got out of that experience was just the inspiration to really work on music more, mostly by just being around other good guitarists. There were good and bad aspects, of course - I can answer more specific questions if you like. I'm glad I did it, but probably not something I'd do again (though there are people who go there every year).

    One thing I'm curious about is the School for Improvised Music here in New York (not sure where you live). It looks really intense - the instructors are all heavy-duty jazz guys (e.g., Brad Shepik). To be honest, I'd be a bit intimidated doing something like that, I just imagine a room full of 22 year old monster players... But it seems like it could be a great experience.
    Maybe another TGP'er has direct experience with SIM?...
     
  3. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    NGW is highly recommended. I went 4 times. Great instructors, great intensive experience, great meeting and playing with a bunch of great folks.
     
  4. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I'm in PA, but I'd be fine traveling somewhere for a week.

    That SIM link you posted looks interesting. Pretty inexpensive too. Will have to research that one some more. Thanks!

    I'll see what all NGW's got going on too. I looked the MI one up, that's only one week, so it fits my plan. It's pricey though and the description of what is offered is kinda' vague. I'm wondering how full access to MI it is.

    Dave
     
  5. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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    Dave,

    Hire Harry for a week.....bet he'll kick your ass......yup, kick it REAL good!

    Instructors, you should consider this............hire yourselves out for one -week guitar intensive "Boot Camp" personal training. My wife makes a good living a a personal chef....so why not guitar?

    From what I've smelled when over there for lessons, it seems like H is a pretty decent cook, too!!

    :AOK
     
  6. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    We both know how brutal he can be! Some of the best lessons I've ever had, without a doubt.
     
  7. spencerbk

    spencerbk Member

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    I did one of the SIM weekend intensives last year. Brad Shepik and Gerald Cleaver were the two instructions.

    To be honest - the curriculum was a little loosey goosey for my taste, though I did have a very positive experience. Some of the players in the class were excellent and some of the improv scenarios they suggested led to some creative playing, and "tricks" I can try in the future. Maybe that's a lot for a 2 day workshop that wasn't billed with any set topic (just "improv").

    It was affordable and I'm lucky enough to live close - I would consider doing something else through the school, maybe a 5 day workshop if I can swing it.
     
  8. Leucadian

    Leucadian Guest

    ...I'm not writing an essay on why I want to attend SIM...:rolleyes:

    ...it looks cool though, I enjoyed listening to the music as I perused the website...
     
  9. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    Can't go wrong with NGW, I went last year and it was awesome, I learned a lot and it was a great experience. Harry's a great teacher! I'm going again this year and I'm heading east to take Harry's class.
     
  10. ddewees

    ddewees Supporting Member

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    I'll put a plug in for Jorma Kaukenon's Furpeace Ranch. www.furpeaceranch.com in Southeastern Ohio.

    Each course is 4 days long, only 10-12 students per class but 3 classes are running at the same time. You might have 2 types of guitar classes and a bass class or songwriting session going on. The non-guitar playing staff are very accessible and will help balance the "total guitar" focus. Accommodations are sparse yet comfortable; think church camp. The food incredible, really it is. I can't emphasize this enough. How great is it to just play music all day, then hear a dinner bell and food is served.

    Most instructor performers are very accessible and some stay on the camp grounds. Jorma teaches rather frequently but not every session. He brings in some great instructors mostly on the blues and rootsy side, GE Smith, Pete Huttlinger, Warren Haynes (sold out already), Bill Kirchen for example.

    Saturday 2 or 3 of the instuctors will perform and the public can attend the ~ 200 seat auditorium. Sunday is the optional student performance.

    I attended in 2004 and studied with Sonny Landreth. The other classes were with Cindy Cashdollar (dobro and lap steel) and Guy Davis (song writing. Some of the other students at the session had been to NGW and while they said it was interesting and enjoyable I got the feeling that Furpeace was at another level. Much smaller but higher quality.

    The 4 day sessions run Friday - Monday. Monday has very little to know classroom playing. There are many repeat offenders. Ages range from 17 - 60+. If you see a player or style you really like consider it. Suggestion: sign up for the newsletter so that you get advance notice on the next years schedule. It is usually published in August or September and some classes fill up before the end of the year
     
  11. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    I went to the NGW Virginia campus in 2007 and had a great time and I'm going this year as well. Its a great week of nothing but fun and music. Sure, it has its pros and cons but the worst thing it did was get me away from the bull we go through in everyday life for a week.
     
  12. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    What were some of the cons, if you don't mind sharing them here. I'm curious to know the ins and outs from those who've attended.

    Thanks!

    Dave
     
  13. SvenHock

    SvenHock Member

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    Dave,

    The cons were some students not being as proficient as others and noodling in class. Teachers should direct students to other classes that are not as proficient as other classmates. Our teacher was not stern enough in my opinion to keep the younger guys from noodling. I think he should have put his foot down way more than he did. Now, I'm not knocking him, he is/was a great teacher but he lacked what it took to keep them in check.

    I also think too much time was spent on lunch breaks and so forth. I plunked down a large sum of cash so I want to be taught, not turned into "El Gordo". That was not the teachers fault, that is just the way it is set up. BUT, the people running these programs know WAY more than I so the way they schedule the day may have something to do with keeping your attention span. I did, however, take the down time I had and practiced after I ate on campus so I made use of that time. I also stayed off campus so that afforded me even more practice time.

    I would have liked to seen more time spent on theory as well instead of showing us cool licks. My class should have been more structured instead of letting the class pick what they wanted to work on. There is only so much that can be covered in a week though so..........

    These are very minor things and only my opinion. I am going back this year but am not sure what class I will be attending. I'm interested in blues, 70's, 80's players and people like Paul Gilbert and other so called shredders so choosing a class is kind of tough. I hope this helps!!
     
  14. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    SvenHock, thanks for your honest assessment. That's good to hear. I worry about that kinda' stuff too. If I shell out the dough, I'm going to want to go as far as I can go.

    I know Aebersold does some seminars too. I'm wondering if anyone here has done those.
     
  15. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    Another vote for NGW.
     
  16. jimfog

    jimfog Senior Member

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    Dave,

    I don't really know your situation.................but I wonder if you might get more out of getting a group of guys together and playing some challenging tunes on a regular basis.

    You seem pretty self-motivated to learn..........and as you play as long as you (we) have, it gets harder to find just the right fit, in terms of teachers/seminars.

    Just a thought.

    - jim
     
  17. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I'd totally be up for something like that too! Do you know any people who'd be into this?

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  18. TonyV

    TonyV Member

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    I have been to NGW around 8 times and can highly recommend it. I have taken Harry's course and got alot out of it. Not to blow smoke up his arse but I would definately say his instruction changed my playing the most (of course I mean that in a positive sence). Matt Smith's Chop Shop was also a big favorite. David Hamberger helped me a lot too. Tom Dempsey was my favorite instructor in the Jazz Summits I went to.

    My big con about the place was the damn noodling in class as mentioned previously. Harry does handle that pretty forceably so I appreciated that. Some insructors just seem a bit skitish about dealing with it. And believe me it is not younger kids who are the worst offenders. I can't tell you how many times I have asked someone to stop and a minute later they start up again.

    As far as students being in classes that they were not really ready for IMO that has gotten better, it was more of a problem the first times I went but they do seem to be getting a better handle on that but at times it could slow you down.

    I did not mind the breaks, I thought it was a good mix. I stayed off campus so in the off time there were chances to jam with others staying at the B&B. Plus being in the Litchfield hills I could get a good workout in the afternoon break on my road bike. Some of the worst hills you will ever ride.

    I would go again but the prices have gone up significantly and other plans have been more of a priority.
     

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