© Copyright By Alaska Folk Arts Camp.  All rights Reserved.

Phone: 907-351-3791

Phone: 907-351-3791

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These are the classes we typically offer. The descriptions are intended to help you register for camp.

Our Classes

Performance Groups are the heart of Alaska Folk Arts Camp. Make your own music and play with friends. You will perform in at least one of these groups at the End of Camp Concert. If you choose a non-musical group (Sound/Stage Managing) you will help to run the End of Camp Concert and might not perform musically on stage. Contact us if you can't decide, or select: "Not Sure, Choose for Me".

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Band:
Play in a band! Your teacher will help you and your classmates find your sound, your voice, and guide you through choosing and arranging a piece to perform. The band genre will depend on your interests.

Emcee (Master of Ceremonies):
Learn about organizing a show and how to become a Master of Ceremonies. Develop stage presence and keep the audience engaged and the show moving along! Help to organize Open Mic Concerts (after camp performances). Older students will help with the Wednesday evening Faculty Concert. All class members will participate in Friday's End of Camp Concert.

Percussion:
Ensemble grooves from around the world! Bring drums, claves, and shakers, if you have them.

Sound/Stage Managing:
For students 14 years and older. Learn about basic audio theory and equipment including microphones, monitors, and soundboards. Receive hands-on experience setting up equipment and operating it for the daily Open Mic Concerts (after camp), the dances, and evening events. Expect to be available Wednesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Friday afternoon. Class size is limited.

Voice Ensemble:
Your voice is an instrument you take with you wherever you go ... tune it up, learn some new songs and how to sing with others. This group's performance is always memorable.

Not Sure, Choose for Me:
Our director will place you in a Performance Band based on your interests, instrument and skill level.

Folk Arts
These classes are related to music, but may not involve playing a musical instrument. They are intended to broaden your idea of "the Arts" and to provide variety and movement into your schedule. Please note: all new students between the ages of 8 and 11 are required to take our Folk Arts Sampler class.

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Performance Groups

Art ~ The Art of Crankies:
Storytelling with Art & Music (ages 8-12) (Teen) A crankie is a long illustrated scroll made of paper, or fabric, wound onto two spools. The scroll is hand-cranked while the story, song, or tune is performed.

Art ~ Storytelling with Silk Marionettes:
Sew a Waldorf-style marionette and create an original marionette show to perform. Some sewing experience is nice, but not necessary.

Art ~ Watercolor:
Delve into a week of watercolor! Students will learn basic color theory, explore a variety of aquarelle techniques and be exposed to prominent watercolor artists throughout history. Experimentation is a must! Expect to use materials such as salt, Elmer's Glue, masking tape, Saran wrap, sugar, and more. Join us whether you're a first time painter, or a seasoned aquarelle artist!

Dance ~ Calling Dances:
Help call dances in the mornings before classes and on Thursday night at the camp dance. Learn some of the secrets to successful and fun dances. You might even get to create your very own dance!

Dance ~ Contra, Square Dancing:
Learn the basics of square dancing and the ins and outs of contra dancing. Where does the "first couple" begin? What is a "grand right"? Trade-off dancing and playing in the band. This is a class, as opposed to the daily 9:30 am dance (a before camp activity).

Dance ~ Dance Sampler (ages 8-12) (Teen):
Learn a variety of dance styles not covered in our other dance classes. Dance Sampler will cover: waltz, two-step, Cajun, clogging and... maybe more!

Dance ~ Swing Dancing (ages 8-12) (Teen):
Learn to swing dance with a partner. This is one of our most popular classes ... and might even help you with your instrument playing and timing!

Folk Arts Sampler:
For all first time students 8-11 years of age. You will be guided through an overview of the folk arts, and of our camp. Each day will be different. For two days you will learn about, hear, see, and touch a variety of instruments. On other days you will experience dance and juggling.

Instrument Building:
Build an instrument you can really play... all by yourself! Projects vary from year to year.

Juggling:
Don't just stand there ... learn how to juggle - it's fun and will help your coordination and musical timing!

Knitting & Music Appreciation:
No experience necessary. Make something while listening to music happening all around you. All levels are welcome - and it's relaxing!

The Science of Music:
A hands-on exploration of the physics of sound and music. Great for science fans!

Songwriting:
All levels of musicianship welcomed. Learn how to write lyrics and melodies with or without an instrument. Experienced songwriters (you have written numerous songs) who wish to hone their craft should sign up for the Experienced class.

Tune-writing:
For fiddlers, mandolin players, and other melodic instrument players who want to learn how to write a tune. Dissect fiddle tunes to find out what makes them tick. Turn a small phrase into a fiddle tune. Learn how to open up to those magic bits of inspiration! We will work on writing a new tune together.

Voice Ensemble ~ 8-12 years old:
Learn new songs and make beautiful vocal music with your fellow campers.

Vocal Ensemble ~ Teen:
Students 13 and older will work on developing and finding harmonies in songs that will be performed at the Friday Concert. Be part of an ensemble. Learn arrangement and performance techniques.

Voice ~ Vocal Harmony Singing:
Want to learn how to harmonize? Know how to harmonize, but want to learn why harmony sounds so cool, and ways to expand your repertoire? This class will discuss the basics of harmony, types of harmonies, ways to learn how to harmonize, and the theory behind harmony.

Voice ~ Vocals & Fiddling:
For students that love to sing with their voices, or students that love to make their fiddles sing ... or both!

Voice ~ Sounds of the Sephardim:
Introduction to Balkan and Sephardic song. Learn to sing a sampling of songs from the Balkan and Mediterranean folk traditions, and some accompanying folk dances in odd rhythms.


Jams & Repertoire
These classes focus on playing music with others. In some cases only certain instruments make the music, in other cases the style or genre is open to all instruments.

Bluegrass Tunes (for fiddle, mandolin, guitar and other lead instruments):
Learn classic bluegrass tunes. Become bluegrass savvy, improve your playing and make your band sound better! The focus will be on lead playing, but expect to learn rhythm too.

Celtic Jam Session:
Beginners ~ play and learn Celtic tunes and session protocol.
Intermediate/Advanced ~ you should be able to play at least five Irish/Scottish tunes from memory.
Instruments: fiddle, guitar, piano, bodhrán, flute, penny whistle, accordion, mandolin, and tenor banjo. Other stringed instruments please inquire.

Celtic Repertoire:
Learn reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes, strathspeys, airs, marches and other types of tunes from the Celtic tradition. We will cover rhythmic devices and variations including grace notes, ornamentation, rolls, and double stops. The focus will be on learning new tunes. (Singers and bodhrán players might prefer the Celtic Jam Session class, as the focus there is on playing tunes.) Instruments & skill levels identical to Celtic Jam Session.

Fiddle Tunes (all styles, all instruments):
We call them "fiddle tunes" because they are easily played on fiddles and usually written for the fiddle, but any instrument can play a fiddle tune - including flute, guitar, mandolin, and cello! All instruments, styles, and abilities.

Fiddling Around the World:
An introduction to Mediterranean, Balkan, and Sephardic fiddling. Explore the rich fiddle music of Sephardic, Balkan, and Eastern traditions, through its rhythms, ornaments, and folk tunes.

Folk Arts Session:
Jam every day. Learn the protocol and repertoire for bluegrass, old time, Celtic, swing, folk music and more. Learn when to play, sing, take leads etc. All instruments - just like Folk Arts Saturdays!

Improvisation (blues, jazz, swing):
Beginners ~ No improvisational experience and you are relatively new to your instrument.
Intermediate ~ Some improvisational experience and some knowledge of chord structure and scales. You are at an intermediate or advanced skill level on your instrument.
Advanced ~ Advanced skills and some improvisation experience outside of the classroom. For Folk Arts Camp veterans who want to go beyond technique and have an understanding of chord theory and multiple scale proficiency. Reading music is helpful, but not required if you have improvisation experience.

Improvisation with Michelle Alany:
Delve into various fiddle traditions of the eastern world and their approaches to improvisation. See how we can apply it to our playing! Learn from a World Music expert.

Klezmer Tunes:
Klezmer is a mix of centuries-old traditional Jewish tunes, influenced by Eastern European folk music, early jazz, and French Cafe music. It's meant for dancing and celebrating joyous occasions.

Percussion ~ Rhythm and Grooves:
Explore sounds, rhythms and grooves from around the world. Bring your own drums, claves, or shakers if you can.

Percussion ~ World Rhythm ~ bass, percussion, instruments, voice:
Create bass lines, rhythmic and percussive sounds and grooves with all kinds of instruments - including instruments, drums, and your own voice!

Voice ~ Folk Song Repertoire:
Learn as many folk songs as you can in one week!


Instrument Instruction
These classes show students how to play specific instruments.

Accordion:
Basic technique, various genres.

Banjo ~ Bluegrass:
Three-finger (Scruggs) style playing technique. Basic rolls, chords, rhythm, and repertoire.

Banjo ~ Old Time:
Learn to frail/claw-hammer the 5-string banjo. We will cover the chords, scales, tunings and right-hand essentials needed to get that old-time sound!

Bass:
Learn chord theory, basic chord patterns, scales, and the role of the bass in a band.

Cello:
Learn various techniques and explore several genres and styles. You should be an experienced player; beginners should take the Fiddle & Bowed Instruments from Scratch class.

Fiddle:
Intermediate students have played for a few years, know a number of tunes by heart, and want to learn ornamentation and new tunes. Advanced fiddlers will expand their repertoires and improvisational techniques.

Fiddle & Bowed Instruments from Scratch:
This is a beginning class, for students with no fiddling experience. Beginning viola and cello players are welcome. We begin with how to hold the instrument and the bow, and take off from there.

Fiddle ~ Bluegrass Fiddling:
Intermediate students have played for a few years, know a number of Bluegrass tunes by heart and want to learn a few more. Learn how to take a fiddle break, and how to play back up. Advanced fiddlers will expand their repertoire, learn new bowing patterns, and improvisational techniques on breaks.

Fiddle ~ Scottish/Irish Fiddling:
Intermediate students have played for a few years, know a number of Celtic tunes by heart, and want to learn ornamentation and new tunes. Advanced fiddlers will expand their repertoires, bowing patterns, tune ornamentation, and technique.

Fiddle ~ Twin Fiddling:
Intermediate students have played for a few years, know a number of tunes by heart, and want to learn to play tunes with another fiddler. Advanced fiddlers will expand their repertoires and techniques for making that sweet twin fiddle sound.

Fiddle ~ Violin Techniques for Fiddlers:
A chance for fiddlers to learn technique tips from an Anchorage Symphony violinist. She will help you look at how you are playing and help you to get a cleaner more confident sound and improve your intonation. You may also work on upper positions, vibrato exercises, and bow control.

Fiddling & Vocals:
For students that love to sing with their voices, or students that love to make their fiddles sing ... or both! Learn from our guest artists who are very good at doing just that!

Flute:
This wind instrument has a place in folk, Irish, jazz music ... and more! Plan to learn multiple genres. For experienced flute players.

Guitar:
Beginner ~ No experience necessary. Learn basic open chords and traditional folk style strums. Learn beginning chord theory and how to play with your own vocal accompaniment, or with other folk instruments.
Intermediate ~ You must be proficient in all open chords and be able to play in different rhythms. Learn flat-picking and uses for barre chords.
Advanced ~ If you have the skills for Intermediate Guitar and are ready for more challenges, then Advanced Guitar is the class for you!

Mandolin:
Beginner ~ Guitar or fiddle experience is helpful, but not required. Learn to hold and tune a mandolin. Work on basic chords, scales, melodies, open string, and double-stop techniques. Learn a few basic tunes. Please let us know if you have experience with other instruments, or if this is your first instrument.
Intermediate ~ You must have experience with the mandolin and understand how to create chords and play at least some solos. You will further your knowledge of the mandolin.
Advanced ~ You will pick up where the Intermediate Mandolin class left off. Contact us if you are unsure of your skill level.

Penny Whistle:
This little instrument adds a lot to Celtic and other genres of folk music - and it's easy to take along wherever you go. Bring a "D" whistle and learn some tunes!
Beginner ~ No experience necessary. Learn scales and easy, familiar tunes.
Experienced ~ You have been playing penny whistle for several years and are looking for challenges and ways to embellish tunes.

Percussion:
Explore the possibilities of rhythm, beat, syncopation, and percussive sounds. Bring your own drums, claves, or shakers if you can.

Piano ~ Playing for Vocalists:
You need at least two years of piano instruction. Learn to accompany vocalists. Approach the piano from a chords perspective rather than from note reading. Learn how to support the singer and the song!

Piano ~ Playing with Bands:
You need at least two years of piano instruction. Play with a band, approaching the piano from a chords perspective rather than from note reading. Learn when to carry the melody, and when to supply rhythm and percussion.

Ukulele:
In recent years this small, four-stringed Hawaiian instrument has found its way into many musical genres and repertoires. It has a sweet sound AND it's portable!

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