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An Approach to Improvisation on Guitar and Mandolin

This is a hands-on, all-level Guitar and Mandolin Improvisation Workshop. The idea of learning how to improvise can be confusing and overwhelming. Tim May and Dan Miller's workshop will prove to you that it is much easier to improvise than you think, and now is the time to start learning, even if you are a beginner to guitar or mandolin! In the workshop Tim and Dan teach an approach to improvisation that will put you on the road to improvising a solo on a song in a very short amount of time. The method that they teach and the skills that you will learn in this workshop will help really demystify improvisation. In fact, no matter what your current ability level, you will be improvising by the end of this workshop, even on a song that you have never heard before! If you are already an accomplished improvisational player this workshop can help take your abilities to the next level. If you are new to improvisation, this workshop will give you confidence in taking that big step to becoming an improvisational player. Each student will be given several opportunities to play for, and get direct feedback from, the instructors.

Speed, Accuracy, and Tone Workshop
A two-hour all-level flatpicking guitar workshop that will focus on how to use efficient left and right hand technique and mechanics to increase speed, improve note clarity and fluidity, and develop good tone and volume. Dan, editor of Flatpicking Guitar Magazin, co-author of the popular eight volume Flatpicking Essentials Guitar Course, and co-author of the book "The Guitar Player's Guide to Developing Speed, Accuracy, and Tone, said, "After interviewing over 200 professional guitar players for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine I took all of the information that I had gathered about developing speed, accuracy, and tone and worked with my good friends Brad Davis and Tim May to develop a book, DVD, and workshop presentation that would help players of all levels break through playing barriers and improve their tone, volume, speed, fluidity, and note accuracy."

Building Interesting Melody-Based Solos
In this workshop students will first learn how to find chords and melody to any tune by ear. We then teach how you can use all of a variety other flatpicking techniques that are available to you in order to build an interesting solo around the melody. This would be ideal for those who are working to get away from learning from tab, but would like to know who to incorporate the melody in their solo. We start with Carter style and then move beyond that by adding in many other techniques, such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, drones, double stops, tremolo, neighboring notes, toggled notes, scale runs (major scale, major pentatonic scale, major blues scale, minor pentatonic scale, and minor blues scale), folding scales, crosspicking, and others. Students will be taught how to come up with numerous melody-based solo variations to any tune.

Basic Rhythm Workshop
This workshop provides the techniques of solid bluegrass, Irish, and Old-Time rhythm (and explores the difference between the three) to include bass runs, fill licks, alternate strum patterns, developing and maintaining a good (and stylistically appropriate) groove, ideas about appropriately supporting the other musicians and the singer with your rhythm, ideas about moving from rhythm to lead and back. Plus concepts involving keeping good time, leading the listener's ear to the next chord change and providing interesting texture to your rhythm.

Advanced Rhythm Workshop
This workshops is the follow-on to the Basic Rhythm Workshop. Here we start to get into extended chords, sus chords, diminished chords and their use in adding flavor to bluegrass, Irish, Old-Time and moving into Western Swing, swing, Gypsy jazz, and jazz. Since most of the crowd will consist of fiddle tune and bluegrass flatpickers, we will focus on how to use these chords to add flavor to your bluegrass and fiddle tune back up and how to learn interesting rhythm to play behind Western Swing and swing tunes that typically pop up at a bluegrass jam.

Advanced Improvisation Workshop
This workshop is a follow-on to the "Approach to Improvisation Workshop." In the first workshop we focus on diatonic chord progressions (chords that are "of the key"). Here we start to explore improvisation of chords that are outside of the key and move on to work with circle of fifth progressions and how to start improvisation over swing and jazz changes.

Lead Instructors: Tim May and Dan Miller
Tim May is a very accomplished guitar player, singer, and songwriter—and one of Nashville's acoustic guitar "go-to guys". For fifteen years Tim focused on his job as the guitar player for the Nashville-based bluegrass band Crucial Smith. When that band broke up in 2002 the job offers started pouring in. Recent highlights include touring with Patty Loveless, touring with Eddie Rabbit, touring Japan with John Cowan, playing on the all-star Rounder project Moody Bluegrass (and performing with the Moody Blues band at the Ryman Auditorium), performing on the Grand Ole Opry dozens of times with Mike Snider, and recording a bluegrass gospel project with Charlie Daniels. Additionally, FGM Records has released Tim''s solo CD "Find My Way Back" and Tim is also featured in a new FGM Records concert DVD, "Live in Kansas City," with Brad Davis and Cody Kilby. While there are plenty of great guitar pickers in Nashville, Tim May adds great songwriting and singing to his list of many talents, which include being equally adept at resonator guitar, banjo, and mandolin. When he is not on the road or in the recording studio Tim works building and repairing stringed instruments. He is also the co-author of the eight-volume Flatpicking Essentials book/CD series and co-instructor on three instructional DVDs for guitar.

Dan Miller has been the publisher and editor of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine since 1996. He has also co-authored a number of flatpicking books, including: "The Bluegrass Guitar Style of Charles Sawtelle" with Charles Sawtelle, "Flatpicking the Blues" with Brad Davis, "The Guitar Player's Guide to Developing Speed, Accuracy and Tone" with Brad Davis, and the Eight Volume flatpicking course "Flatpicking Essentials" with Tim May. Dan Miller and Tim May have also produced three instructional DVDs for guitar players: "Improving Speed, Accuracy, and Tone," "Creating Solos," and "An Approach to Improvisation." Tim May and Dan Miller also have been performing in a trio with their good friend Brad Davis (Davis Miller May) since 2005 and have been performing together as a duo since 2007. If you'd like to read a review of the improvisation workshop, written by Scott Tichenor of mandolincafe.com, click here: http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_001390.shtml

Questions? Contact: Dan Miller dan@flatpick.com