All American Finger-style with Bertrand Laurence
January 10 - February 28, 2011
A good finger-picking hand can extract a lot of rhythm and melody from just one chord. Starting gradually from just 1 finger to 4 fingers, from simple to intricate. Exploring the rich geography of American Fingerstyle guitar (Folk, Blues, Ragtime, Swing, Country), we'll combine fretboard basic harmony with real world techniques and patterns from traditional to more contemporary styles. Explore fretboard harmony and song structure with real world Finger-style techniques including accompaniment, instrumentals, strumming, lead. All without a pick! Standard notation and tablature are provided.
Each class will begin with tuning and warm up exercises, including stretching and coordination exercises. The good habits of proper ergonomics will be addressed each time, to foster effortlessness, a precursor to mastery.
We will proceed to examine a style, focusing on particular characteristics. Time will be reserved for critical listening and questions, going back and forth with hands-on exercises and practice. Though not needed, students are welcome to bring their own music for listening, and discussion. The last class will be a performance, by groups and/or solo performers. Weekly printed materials will include original exercises and transcriptions as well as culled from his personal library including specialized magazines like Guitar Player & Acoustic Guitar and, and books by Mark Hanson, John Stropes, The National Guitar Workshop, The Chet Atkins Appreciation Society etc. We will examine the work of many guitarists, including Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, Big Bill Broonzy, John Lee Hooker, Mississippi John Hurt, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, Leo Kottke, and more.