American Dance Musicians Course

August 1 - 8, 2015

Held during Family Week at Ogontz

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Tentative Schedule

Program Directors

Program Description

This week long intensive course emphasizes ear training, arranging and strong ensemble playing. Learning by ear will be a strong theme of the week. Students do not need to be skilled (or even comfortable!) playing by ear. Those who are unused to playing by ear will find the course an excellent initiation into this essential skill while others will likely find Keith and Becky’s method to be a great skill builder. Using creative harmonies will be one element in exploring the arrangement process in contra dance music - how to establish a mood and create a sense of drama and excitement over the course of a medley. And we will pay close attention to rhythmic fine points to see how rhythmic clarity and precision adds power and cohesion to a dance band.

American Danc Musicians Course class of 2014
Ogontz Log Hall

All players will work on learning dance melodies as well as learning the fundamentals of chord theory and the process of choosing chords. Our goal is to build a new medley of tunes each day. Prior to the session, we will send out preliminary tunes to give players a head start on the music. We will also draw partially from students' existing repertoire as well as teach new tunes.

The class will be oriented towards intermediate to advanced players. Participants should have a basic tune repertoire and be comfortable playing at dance tempo.

Students are encouraged to come to class with a recording device.

The Course meets for two hours each morning and for a third each afternoon. For the rest of the day, participants can choose from among the activities available at the host week. {There is an afternoon dance that may offer playing opportunities.}


View from the Log Hall

This course is limited to 16 participants to ensure plenty of opportunity for active participation. Participants should have a basic tune repertoire and be comfortable playing at dance tempo. If it is oversubscribed on March 16, there will be a lottery, with preference given to musicians more comfortable playing at dance speed. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend Family Week at Ogontz, if you did not get a space in the course. Scholarships are available.

Tentative Schedule

7:45-8:30 Breakfast
9:00-11:10 American Dance Musicians Course
11:20-12:10 Morning Gathering: songs, dances, show & tell
12:15-12:30 Bookstore staffed
12:30-1:00 Buffet Lunch Served
1:00-1:30 Bookstore staffed
1:30-2:25 American Dance Musicians Course
3:35-3:45 Afternoon Snack
3:35-4:45 Bookstore staffed
5:50 Dinner
7:15 Community Dance
7:45-8:30 Evening Gathering
8:15 Pied Piper/Bedtime for children 9 & younger
8:30-10:45 Evening Dance Party
9:30 Bedtime for 10-12 year olds
11:00 After-dance Activities