Docket of September / October 2021 Classes / Workshops

ANNOUNCING THE 2021 – September / October CLASSES and WORKSHOPS

Good afternoon to all!

(On the Facebook announcement (, you’ll see a big of Charlie, sitting next to a guitar, which is why the first two paragraphs make more sense if you’re seeing this there!)

Here’s Charlie to announce the good news that I’ll be starting a new group of classes / workshops, just after Labor Day (Tuesday, September 7), which is always exciting!

Even more exciting is that Charlie himself comes by from time to time to peek in on the proceedings.

Per usual, my classes can be broken down into three distinct formats:

  1. Straight lectures. Time is devoted to questions and specific demonstrations in regard to technique or concepts in question
  2. “Typical” group classes. “Typical,” for Zoom, is that we start out with questions and demonstration, but during the playing part, participants must mute themselves as not to disrupt the sound
  3. “Showcase” classes. Here, a student gets the “stage” to perform a piece while the rest of the class listens and then, after the performance, takes part in the discussion to help the performer target specific changes that can bring about a better arrangement, performance, or song.

Even if you’ve not taken one of these classes before, you’re more than welcome to come and experience it. Everyone is capable of helping each other out. That’s been the beauty of these classes – In spite of pandemic, politics, and disappointments, people found a refuge in my classes. More important, they find a bit of peace and purpose for their playing.

Do come join in!

Here is the latest slate of classes. If you’re interested, or have any questions at all, just drop me a line at or call me directly at (413)717-1996.

Finger Style Guitar Workshop (Mondays 5:15 – 6:15)

(seven total classes – classes start September 13 and end October 25)$110 ($55.00 per month)

Playing finger style guitar is high on most folks’ list when they start playing guitar, but it tends to become less a priority compared to strumming and chord changing.

One thing about any group class is that, typically, each student is at a different level of ability. I’ve developed goals for each level of finger style guitar, from simple arpeggios to complex Travis style picking to hybrid combinations of picking and strumming. Each song we tackle will have definitive goals for any level in order to challenge everyone to become more proficient finger pickers.

Arranging Songs for Performance (Mondays 6:30 – 8:00)

(seven total classes – classes start September 13 and end October 25)$150 ($75.00 per month)

In this class, we work on arranging songs for single-player performance (unless you’re fortunate enough to share residence with another musician!). One of the (very) cool side-effects of this particular class has been the introduction of artists that are unknown to the other members of the class. To me, this in and of itself has been worth hosting the class!Both covers and originals are fair game.

During the first class, we’ll lay out our individual goals and work our way through ideas. Sometimes, we manage to decide on a single song that everyone can do her or his own arrangement. Sometimes we simply see what has moved people to create. It’s always fascinating.

New this time out: the second, fourth, and sixth class will be devoted to working on an arrangement for a specific song, so that we can explore how people come up with an arrangement to start with. The song for the second week (September 20) will be “Under the Milky Way Tonight,” by The Church.

Another goal is to be able to play a three-song set by the end of the two-month session. The last class will be devoted to creating a “virtual coffee house” setting.

Building a “Vocabulary” Workshop (Tuesdays 6:00 – 7:00)

(eight total classes – classes start September 7 and end October 26)$120 ($60.00 per month)

The biggest difference between a beginner guitarist and an intermediate one often boils down to the fact that the latter can come up with more interesting ways to play than simply strumming. Simply put, the experienced guitar player has developed a “vocabulary” – ways of getting from one chord to the next, or even having ways of making one chord sound good when you’re stuck on it for several measures in a row.

They also know how to land on the new chord at the appropriate time!

During this class, we will focus on one chord at a time and explore the different ways of making the chord itself more interesting to play and also how to creatively move from it to other chords.We’ll do so by exploring simple songs and chord progressions as examples.

Continuing Guitar (Tuesdays 7:00 – 8:00)

(eight total classes – classes start September 7 and end October 26)$120 ($60.00 per month)

This class is very much the way it’s been since its inception at the BCC. In a Zoom format, you won’t be able to hear everyone in the group play and that takes a little getting used to at first, but it will worth your while. Every week, we’ll look at one or two songs (and I’m open to requests) and explore the various ways of playing it.

“Kind of Absolute Beginners’ Guitar” 2021 (Thursdays 5:15 – 6:15)

(seven total classes – classes start September 8 and end October 27 – no class October 7)$100 ($50.00 per month)

This class is not totally an absolute beginners’ class. If you know the basic chords and can change them reasonably well, you should do fine. If you’re concerned, drop me an email and we’ll see whether or not you’ll fit in…

As with “Continuing Guitar,” we work on expanding your existing knowledge to help you improve more quickly. We typically work on songs from a particular artist and I suspect we’ll be spending quite a bit of time with Bob Dylan songs in the upcoming months!

Jam Prep (for any instrument) (Thursdays 6:30 – 8:00)

(seven total classes – classes start September 8 and end October 27 – no class October 7)$150 ($75.00 per month)

Let’s be honest – we’re all ready to get back to playing with others. This class will be very much like the old “Jam Classes” we’ve had at the BCC and Crissey Farm. My plan is to use songs that everyone knows and to explore how to add more parts to them. As always, I’ll make a point to help you grow based on where you are.Just how much you get out of this class will be up to you, as you won’t be able to hear anyone besides me when we play “as a group.” If you’d like to improve your group playing by working out parts that are different than what someone typically plays (and we’ve all been in groups where six or more guitarists are all playing the same thing!), you are more than welcome to do so. You can play an instrument that you “kind of” know without being embarrassed.

You can also work on developing harmony vocal lines…

Hopefully, this class will provide an excellent way to prepare for playing for real when the occasions arise (hopefully) in the near future.

Do let me know what you think about these, especially if you’re interested. Class size initially will be limited to eight, but the cool thing about this is that we can start a second class should one get filled.

As always, I’m more than willing to answer any questions or entertain any suggestions you may have. Email me directly or call me on my cell (413 – 717 – 1996).

And (again, as always), I am taking on new students (only online – no one-on-one lessons for the immediate future) should you be interested. Just email or call and we can discuss what your objectives are.

Please feel free to send me suggestions…

Also, please feel free to share this with anyone you think may be interested.

I look forward to sharing music with you all once more. And to learning all sorts of cool things to play in the early fall of 2021!

Stay well.