July 31 - August 7, 2016


amer dance musicians at OG ogontz 2.015 279 L corrected denise smithPhoto by Denise SmithHeld during Family Week at Ogontz.

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.

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.


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 14, there will be a lottery, with preference given to musicians more comfortable playing at dance speed and to applicants supported by their local community. Strong indicators for CDSS are our Group Priority and Matching Scholarship processes, where a CDSS affiliate vouches for a participant and may offer some scholarship, asking CDSS to match that amount (www.cdss.org/support-services/insurance-group-services/priority-matching-scholarships). This is a statement by people who know the individual, that the person is deserving of assistance and would benefit the local community by attending camp. That can count highly in this and in our scholarship considerations. Please clearly indicate if you would like to attend Family Week at Ogontz, if you did not get a space in the course.

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