Guitar Workshop with Grant Gordy: Learning to Play in an Ensemble Setting
June 22, 2010
In this two-part workshop, guitarist Grant Gordy will use his extensive experience and knowledge to teach students about the role of the acoustic guitar in a modern acoustic group, and then students will have an opportunity to join up with Alex Hargreaves’ fiddle workshop to learn about how different instruments and rhythms fit together in a band. Many guitar workshops focus on the glamorous aspects of guitar-playing – the hot licks, scales, and intense solos. But the truth is that 80 or even 90% of what a guitarist in a band will be doing is accompaniment. Grant will cover everything you need to know about playing in a band: 1. Understanding different kinds of chord voicings -learning the neck of the instrument well enough that different inversions and extensions of chords can be found and one can experiment with adding and dropping notes from the chords, 2. Learning to use the ensemble as one large palette, which includes being aware of what the other instruments (particularly the bass) are playing so that the harmonic emphasis can shift to different places during the course of a piece 3. Being able to improvise with harmony so the guitarist isn't just stuck with certain chord "shapes" and therefore a limited harmonic vocabulary 4. The importance of keeping time, which is of particular interest in this form of music where there isn't a drummer- the strings are responsible for propelling the rhythm. 5. Along those lines, different aspects of rhythm: groove, playing "in front of" or "behind the beat", the role of syncopation for an accompanist, thinking like both a piano player and a drummer at the same time, etc. During the second part of the workshop, Grant will be joined by Alex Hargreaves , and they will discuss playing with other musicians, discussing the compositional process in this style of music; and the improvisational element – listening to each other, playing off of each other’s ideas, working together as a group. By the end of the workshop, you will have a solid understanding of what goes into playing successfully as a group, from a purely musical perspective. Grant Gordy took up the guitar at the age of 13 in his hometown of Portland, OR. He now calls Denver, Colorado home and has been turning heads on the national acoustic music scene for the last several years. He cut his teeth as a working musician playing all styles of gigs around Colorado. In 2006 Grant applied and was selected for Edgar Meyer’s “Porous Borders of Music” workshop in New York City, the culmination of which was a performance at Carnegie Hall, where Grant debuted a number of his compositions. He toured North America in 2008 with Jayme Stone and Mansa Sissoko and the “Africa to Appalachia Project,” including engagements at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Calgary Folk Festival and on NPR's All Things Considered. Their album won a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for Best World Music Record of the Year. Recently Grant has become the newest member of the legendary David Grisman Quintet, which plays to sold-out concert halls from coast to coast. He has shared the stage with such luminaries of the acoustic music world as Mike Marshall, Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck and of course David Grisman. Grant's self-titled debut CD was released in May 2010 and features his original compositions; the guitarist is joined by other rising stars of the "new acoustic" world including violinist Alex Hargreaves, mandolinist Dominick Leslie and bassist Paul Kowert (of Chris Thile's Punch Brothers band). Grant is quickly becoming renowned for blurring the boundaries of acoustic music in his compositions, his love of jazz exploration, and his exceptional facility with his instrument. Classes are held at the Passim School of Music, 26 Church Street, Harvard Square. For more information, please contact Sarah at 617-491-2382 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To register, go to www.passimcenter.org.