2020 Banjo Camp Classes

About Our ClassesOld Time BanjoBluegrass BanjoFiddleGuitarSpecial Classes

About Our Classes

Our camp is committed to offering highly specialized classes tailored to the expertise of our faculty. Almost all of our classes are “hands-on,” meaning that instructors have a set of skills or a tune or two in mind to teach, and that students should have their instruments in hand during class.

To give you a better idea of what we’re about, this was our 2019 Schedule. 

Note: Once you’ve registered for camp, you have complete freedom to attend any class that you wish. You do not have to sign up in advance or make any special arrangements to attend the classes of your choice. You do not have to stick to any particular genre, track, or level, but are free to make class selections as you please.

Class Sessions

SBC offers nine hands-on class sessions over the course of the weekend — three on Friday, four on Saturday and two on Sunday. All class sessions are one hour and fifteen minutes long.

Old-Time Banjo Program

We offer four levels or tracks of instruction in clawhammer style banjo: Novice, lower intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced. Another common name for the style is “frailing.” Over the years, it has also been known as stroke-style downpicking, knocking, and rapping.

Novice track

The novice track in old-time banjo is for students with well under a year’s playing experience. Recognizing that novices have unique learning requirements, we offer a systematic course of instruction that starts from scratch, and which is designed to impart both needed skills and effective practice-attitudes.

Lower Intermediate Level

The lower intermediate level is for those players who are above the novice level but are still in the process of mastering basic techniques. The focus here is overwhelmingly on acquiring the skills you’ll need to grow as a player. Our best guess is that students who have been playing between nine months and two years will feel most comfortable here.

Upper Intermediate Level

This level is for students who have been playing at least two years. Classes in this track are not necessarily technically demanding, but they generally require that students have considerable familiarity with the instrument.

Advanced Level

These challenging classes give our instructors the opportunity to offer students the full depth of their expertise and experience.

Old-Time Fingerstyle

Although most of our old-time banjo classes focus on clawhammer, we usually offer at least a few classes in old-time fingerstyle, including various 2-finger, 3-finger and hybrid varieties. Check out the 2019 Schedule for last year’s old-time fingerstyle offerings. The 2020 Schedule should appear in mid-to-late December.

Note: You do NOT have to sign up in advance or make any special arrangements to attend any particular instruction level. Once you’re at Camp, you are completely free to make class selections as you please.

Bluegrass Banjo Program

We offer four levels or tracks of instruction in bluegrass banjo: novice, lower intermediate, upper intermediate, and advanced.

Novice Track

The novice track in bluegrass banjo is for students with well under a year’s playing experience. Recognizing that novices have unique learning requirements, we offer a systematic course of instruction that starts from scratch, and which is designed to impart both needed skills and effective practice-attitudes.

Lower Intermediate Level

The intermediate level is for those players who are above the novice level but are still in the process of mastering basic techniques. The focus here is overwhelmingly on acquiring the skills you’ll need to grow as a player. This track is for students who have been playing between nine months and two years.

Upper Intermediate Track

This level is for students who have been playing at least two years. Classes in this track are not necessarily technically demanding, but they generally require that students have considerable familiarity with the instrument.

Advanced Track

These challenging classes give our instructors the opportunity to offer students the full depth of  their expertise and experience.

Note: You do NOT have to sign up in advance or make any special arrangements to attend any particular instruction level. Once you’re at Camp, you are completely free to make class selections as you please.

Old-Time Fiddle Track

Although this is primarily a banjo camp, we offer a full time Appalachian-style fiddle track with considerable appeal to serious fiddlers. Pete Vigour returns as our primary fiddle instructor for 2020. Some fiddle classes will also be taught by Paul Brown and John Herrmann, both of whom are also expert old-time fiddlers.

Level of Instruction: Because there is only a single fiddle track, instruction will almost certainly geared to an intermediate level. This is a good place for old-time fiddlers with at least a couple of year’s experience to burnish their skills and make their playing sound more authentic and professional. Classical violin players and fiddlers who play music from other traditions will find this program a good introduction to old-time fiddling.

Note: We do NOT have a program that teaches basic violin skills; you probably need at least a year or two of experience on the instrument in order to take full advantage of our program. Although we can’t get you started on violin, we can teach authentic fiddle style and help make you a better fiddler.

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SBC’s Guitar Track

SBC has a full-time program in flatpick guitar. The focus is bluegrass accompaniment and soloing, but we generally also feature a couple of classes in other aspects of the instrument. Jim Hurst returns as our primary guitar instructor for 2020. Additional classes in guitar will be taught by Alan Munde and Joe Newberry.

Level of instruction: Because there is only a single guitar track, instruction will almost certainly geared to an intermediate level. Students should probably have at least one year of playing experience. In practical terms, this means that you should be able to handle a flat pick and change relatively comfortably among the most common basic guitar chords.

Important Note: The SBC Guitar Track is NOT for total beginners.

We always feature a number of classes that don’t fit into our regular tracks. In 2019 our special class offerings included ukulele, singing, bass, and banjo set-up. For this year’s special offerings, check our 2020 schedule when it comes out (probably in mid-to-late December). Note that the number of special offerings on the schedule usually increases as we get closer to the start of Camp.