Hi fellow dance musicians :)
Sharing info about a brand new open dance band resource.
Full disclosure - I pulled the resource together on behalf of CDSS. Despite
my bias [[:)!]], I feel as though it's a really useful resource for both
new and experienced band leaders as there are best practices and tips
provided by 35 different open dance bands.
Here's a direct link to the resource:
CDSS lists a number of other resources for open bands here:
I've found that the pandemic has been a fantastic time to bring new
musicians into our local open dance band here in Ottawa, Ontario. Some of
our local dancers have joined our monthly zoom practices. The practices
have been a safe space for those who are a bit shy or unsure about their
musicianship as they can play along with the band leader while not being
heard by others. We've also built in a bit of visiting time into our
practices as a way for band members to connect. I think we've found some
new players for our open dance band!
Hope you enjoy :)
Emily in Ottawa
I'd like to find out if you or any of the musicians you know, name your
musical instruments or identify them by gender.
BB King identified his guitar -- all his guitars according to Wikipedia --
as Lucille, in tribute to . . . here's a link to the story.
I'm working on a story about a musician. I'd like to find out if that --
naming an instrument -- ever happens and/or, even if an instrument doesn't
have a name -- if it has a gender identity (an incredibly complicated
question these days, but my story is set in the 19th century, so I'm really
only thinking binary solutions).
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Ridge Kennedy [Exit 145]
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.
7:00 Ongoing (drop in any time) Class:
The last round of the 7:00 Pacific Time series, there was interest in improvisation. So this time we'll take a tune and explore approaches to improvising on it. We'll explore the pentatonic scale, the chordal shape of a tune, improvising melodically, and see how that expands our tools for creativity. Which means this class will be:
Fiddle Tunes with a leap into Improv Theory!
Details on Both Classes:
Erik Hoffman here getting ready to teach two Zoom In on Playing Fiddle Classes again!
Both classes will start on March 8, 2021 via Zoom online.
Beginning Fiddle II: Repertoire for Beginners
Mondays, 5:30-6:45, beginning March 8.
OK. You've taken Beginning Fiddle I with me, or you've had a couple lessons. You sort of know how to hold the bow & fiddle; you've successfully played a couple tunes; and you know where fingers find some of the notes. You more or less know how to get the beast in tune. You Are Ready! Ready to play more Tunes! In this class you'll learn some tunes that are easy enough for beginners and still played by those of us who have been playing for years. We'll learn to play by ear as well as by observation. And notation, too. You'll get tips on how to make this easier. And, of course, we will work to develop good fiddle habits by reviewing the nuts and bolts of the fiddle and bow. Along the way, we will look at the construction of fiddle tunes and how this can make it easier to learn melodies. And we'll explore how to make a tune our own - with ornaments and style.
Register Beginning Fiddle II at https://secure.thefreight.org/221/beginningfiddle2
Fiddle Tunes with a Touch of Theory
Mondays, 7:30-8:45 p.m., beginning March 8.
In this class we will learn new tunes, and explore some of the bowings and ornaments that each tune brings up. We will explore ways to vary a tune within a number of styles: Appalachian, Celtic, French-Canadian, perhaps even a bit Cajun. We'll explore bowings, and strive to develop what Alasdair Fraser calls "our inner drummer." Along the way, we'll explore how tunes are made of arpeggios, scales, and discuss how understanding this can make tunes easier to learn by ear and easier to memorize. We'll explore ways put our personal stamp on it . We can also explore how learning a skeleton from notated tunes can open a wealth of thousands of tunes!
Register at https://secure.thefreight.org/221/fiddletunes
Hi fellow dance musicians,
CDSS is hosting a web chat next that I thought you might be interested in.
Join us for our next Web Chat:
Singing and Playing Music in REAL TIME!
An online discussion for organizers of song communities and open bands
Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 7:00-8:30 p.m. ET
Join us for this conversation with a member of the Sacred Harp group FaSoLa
Philadelphia (PA) and a member of Phoenix (AZ) Traditional Music & Dance
Society. During this Web Chat, they’ll be sharing their successes with
using the computer program Jamulus to enable their groups to sing and play
music in real time! We know a return to in-person singing and jamming is on
the horizon, but it will still take some time before it’s safe to gather in
groups. Tune in to find out how these groups have tackled the challenge of
creating online real-time song and music sessions. We’ll make sure there’s
plenty of time for Q&A and breakout sessions, so come with your questions
Soon after you register, Zoom will send you a confirmation email with your
own personal link. You’ll need this info for joining the Web Chat! To keep
track of it, we recommend saving the email and/or creating a calendar event.
Please share this invite with members of community music and singing groups!
Questions? Contact resources(a)cdss.org.
Last month, David Millstone and I sent out a call for stories about Ted Sannella to mark the 25th anniversary of his death on November 18. There was a terrific response, and we are proud to announce a new website, Sannella Stories <https://sannellastories.syracusecountrydancers.org/> where these memories are shared. Nearly 70 people sent in their “Sannella Story.” These range from serious to silly, and include brief acknowledgments and more extended entries.
In addition, we've assembled a collection of photographs, audio files, and videos. You'll also find dances and tunes that were written for Ted, an index of all his dances, and links to other sites with information of interest.
Of course, it's still possible to add to this collection; you'll find that link on the site as well.
The two of us will be presenting a short “Ted Talk” as part of the virtual Ralph Page Dance Legacy Weekend, an event scheduled for Sunday afternoon, January 17. Details are still being arranged, but updated information will be available at the RPDLW site <https://www.neffa.org/ralph-page/33rd-annual-ralph-page-dance-weekend/>.
Our sincere thanks to the many people who contributed and in this way are helping to keep alive the memory of a major figure in the world of New England traditional dance.
Hi dance musicians,
There's a new Shared Weight list that I wanted to tell you about.... it's
called Growing Up Trad!
Here's our mission:
*Growing up Trad! is an email discussion list for caregiving adults who
love traditional dance, music and song. The focus of our conversation is
around nurturing these traditions within our families and in particular
with the children in our care. *
*We are dancers, singers, callers, musicians, and/or lovers of the
traditions. We are seeking ways to network with others so that our children
can have increased opportunities to engage in our shared traditions,
especially if we are isolated in our local communities and have few kindred
*We welcome parents, grandparents, and anyone else interested in discussing
how to encourage the love of traditional dance, music, and song among
children in their families. We also hope that this online community will
help children and families prepare for connecting in person over time as we
are able to meet locally, regionally, and beyond.*
We'd love to have any of you join us.
More info and how to join is here:
Dear dance musician friends,
November 18, 2020, marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Ted Sannella. Ted shaped our lives as dancers and callers, and we remember him vividly. Before more time goes by and memories fade, we'd like to use this occasion to collect stories and tributes from others who knew Ted.
Ted published some 170 dances, including contras, squares, triplets, and mixers in various configurations. After the death of Ralph Page, Ted was widely considered the “Dean of New England Callers.” He left behind a vast collection of dance materials, which were donated along with his personal papers to the New Hampshire Library of Traditional Music and Dance at the University of New Hampshire to form the Ted Sannella Collection.
Please send your stories to SannellaStories(a)gmail.com <mailto:SannellaStories@gmail.com>; we'll collect them and will arrange for them to be shared more widely. This may happen through a print or web publication of some kind, or—once the COVID-19 pandemic has abated enough that we can dance safely—in dance camp or festival settings. We could even arrange a special Ted Talk!
We will also make sure that all contributions are passed along to the Ted Sannella Collection at UNH and shared with members of Ted's family.
David Millstone and David Smukler
Learn to Play Fiddle!
Have you ever wanted to play the violin? Jam with friends? Make Music? Take some time to learn fiddle in this Age of COVID?
Erik Hoffman has been teaching fiddle for over 20 years, and teaching a fiddle class at The Freight & Salvage for around 10 years. Classes have gone Zoom! So this class is now available worldwide!
Beginning Fiddle I, From the Ground Up
We start making our fiddle is set up and tuned. The we go to how to hold the fiddle and bow, how to make sound. We start with familiar melodies so your ears train your fingers. We cover learning by ear and sight (seeing what finger goes where). Then we begin reading music. Along the way, we learn to have fun in the process! We learn from the repertoire heard in contra and square dances, though the basic techniques apply to almost all styles.
This class is through The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, and is a six week course. Then go on to Beginning Fiddle II, another six week course.
To Register: https://www.thefreight.org/learn-to-play/classes/
First Class: Monday, September 7, 2020, at 5:30 PDT, then weekly for six weeks.
What you need:
* A Working Violin
* A Bow
* Some Rosin
* A Chromatic Tuner
* A shoulder rest (good ones are made by Kun and Wolf)
What some students have said:
I started learning fiddle in Erik's adult beginners' class and my classmates and I were playing in the community band for dances in 5 months! Erik is the most inclusive, supportive, and knowledgeable multi-instrument musician and teacher you may ever meet. It is a natural skill of his to make his students feel welcome, highly motivated to try and learn, and have extreme fun every step of the way. I wish I could talk to you in person since, in these few sentences it's just not possible to tell you how inimitable Erik is.
Erik is a teacher, philosopher, expert musician and all-around nice guy; one of those rare teachers who can quickly assess a student's level and instinctively knows what they need to know at that moment of their musical development.
He is very relaxed and puts his students at ease so that they too are relaxed and at their best. I've seen Erik immediately connect with people of all ages in a genuine, caring way that is thoughtful and kind; never judgmental.
He gently and respectfully encourages his students to progress instead of making them feel inferior. No one ever leaves a lesson with Erik feeling ashamed about their abilities or that they "should" be doing something, instead they leave with a sense of accomplishment and inspiration.
Erik is a wonderful teacher-he's encouraging and informative, and his love of the music shines through.
Erik is a wonderful teacher and couldn't recommend him more. He shares from a wealth of experience and skillfulness, and at the same time is patient and encouraging with rank beginners. Communicating his own enthusiasm, sense of humor and community spirit, Erik is extraordinarily generous in his teaching and time-for instance, sending out summaries and notes of what was covered after each class, staying afterwards to answer questions, offering practice sessions, and inviting everyone at whatever level to participate in the community band that plays for local contra dances.
The Fiddling Repertoire, and Beginning Fiddle classes taught by Erik Hoffman at the Freight are terrific and very affordable. Erik is knowledgeable in and covers a wide range of fiddle music, including Old-time, Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian, French, and more. Erik is happy to tailor courses to the interests of his students. He also includes a fair amount of music theory and teaches students various bowing patterns and embellishments.
Erik is an effusively generous teacher. Whether you've never picked up an instrument before in your life or you're looking to step up your game for playing for dances, Erik is willing and able to show you something new, all while maintaining a fun and supportive environment. And he has such a wonderful sense of curiosity and exploration as a musician that you may find yourself on an adventure together!
Hi, everyone! My name is Olivia Barry. I am a member of the CDSS Community
Culture & Safety Task Group (CCSTG). We are a volunteer group of board and
community members working to compile a set of resources and examples for
folk who are ready to dive in to work on safety of all kinds on the dance
floor or music circle. An important element of such an effort is a *Statement
of Community Values*. The goal of this statement is to identify core
values for a local group. Core values communicate to the outside world what
is important to you and what people can expect from your organization or
events. In our last strategic planning process, CDSS identified core values
for our work and we want to help local groups do the same.
To assist groups in creating such a statement, the CCSTG aims to create a
clearinghouse of samples for local communities across our constituency, and
to synthesize existing examples into a succinct template or writing guide
to help groups develop a statement of their own. We are asking our
communities to fill out a short survey related to content that has already
been developed surrounding your *community's values* to serve as examples.
Other topics will be developed as this work unfolds, and we'll be sending
additional short surveys as well as progress reports in the coming months.
Please take a moment to fill out the survey to help identify who among you
has resources on this topic that might be valuable to others:
Thank you in advance for any and all information you share! We hope this
project will reflect and support the greater music, song, and dance
community. If you would like to contact us with questions or content,
please email CDSS.SafetyTG(a)gmail.com!
Have a wonderful weekend,
CDSS CCSTG Community Member