Bluegrass Bus Museum


You are here

Banjo Camp North Sept 27-29 in Charlton, MA

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Banjo Camp NorthBanjo Camp North Fall Edition (BCN-FE) is a weekend-long celebration of the 5-string banjo in bluegrass, old time and folk styles! World-class banjoists make up our full-time and "adjunct" faculties. We always invite top flight fiddlers and guitarists to teach about playing with other instruments and jamming, and to be on hand to help make those all-night jams something special, plus we will emphasize banjo and fiddle duet playing.

The camp has assembled an outstanding staff including Pete Kelly (whose credits include an IBMA Instrumental Album Of The Year and other major accomplishments), Larry Marschall (new to the staff but well known to the the banjo community), Steve Arkin, Riley Baugus, Paul Brown, Martin Grosswendt, our Beginner Track coordinators, Bob Altschuler and Lorraine Hammond, plus fiddler and yodeler extraodinaire, Alan Kaufman. The rest of the staff has been invited and we are awaiting confirmations, each of whose teaching has received praise across the spectrum of beginner to advanced players.

Mandolin Track: In response to several Mandolin Camp North attendees, we are continuing the the Mandolin Track for those not wanting to wait until April. The Mandolin Track curriculum is intended for beginner to intermediate students. The exact class descriptions must wait until we have a more accurate count and levels of attendees. Many of our multi-instrumentalists have agreed to teach mandolin classes in addition to their banjo responsibilities. The Mandolin Track is in its 2nd year at BCN-FE. It will be a refresher course plus an introduction for some others. Sudents may concentrate on the mandolin or take a few classes along with their banjo studies. If you don't play mandolin at all, this is an excellent opportunity to start, since the smaller class size will afford the instructors more time for personalized instruction.

Banjo Camp North Fall Edition takes place at Prindle Pond Conference Center, a beautiful wooded setting in Charlton, Massachusetts. There are two campuses, we will be using Hilltop primarily. Buildings are heated, so you don't have to worry about our unpredictable New England weather, but you must bring your own towel, pillow, blanket, and linens or a sleeping bag; this campsite does not provide them. Each building has several rooms, and each room has 2 to 4 beds and a private bath. There is no smoking allowed in any of the buildings. Single rooms are available on campus for an extra fee. Local accommodations are available (although pricey) in nearby Sturbridge for those who want to bring the family, or just prefer more privacy.

Meals: Meals are provided as part of the tuition package, and vegetarian meals are available. Dinner will be served promptly at 6 PM Friday. The meals schedule for the rest of the weekend will be announced in the program book at camp time.

Camp will open Friday at 12:30 PM for registration, jamming, and instruction. Registration will occur starting at 12:30. We'll have hands-on workshops, round robin demonstrations and guided jam sessions for three days, a Friday night "meet the faculty concert," a formal concert Saturday night, and lots and lots of time for jamming and getting to know each other. Our resident instrument specialist will be there from 12 PM on Friday and all day Saturday. Lecture-demonstrations about banjo history and setup will be offered. Instrument vendors and makers, plus recordings, accessories and books will be on sale in our market area. Attendees are encouraged to bring banjos and other instruments for sale or trade. Camp ends at about 3:00 PM on Sunday

Thursday night lodging is available onsite for those traveling a long way, whether driving or flying to BCN. Since people arrive at widely different times, only housing, no food, is available, but hanging out and jamming invariably breaks out, and it is a nice, relaxing time between the work-a-day world and the intensive training at BCN. Our goal is learning -- but having a good time doing so.

The Beginners' Track provides instruction for absolute beginners (those who haven't played before), and those who can play a little bit, but still can't play with other people or pick out tunes on their own. Click below for more information.

Advancing Beginners and Intermediates will find classes geared to their levels and needs. Advancing beginners may still only play a few phrases and chords, but they have some basic banjo experience. In general intermediates know some tunes but aren't able to play up to speed yet. They are still working on rhythm. They may already read tab or notation, but can use help playing by ear and learning to arrange a tune or song on their own.

Classes at the Advancing Beginners/Intermediate level in the past, have included Learning To Play What You Hear, Playing Slow Tunes, Choosing Your Next Banjo, Introduction to Modern Bluegrass Style, Old Time Banjo, Translating Fiddle Tunes To The Banjo, What To Do When Another Instrument Has The Lead, Accompanying Singing, and many more. At Banjo Camp the emphasis is on using tab minimally - just to get you started playing.

For the Advanced Players, there have been added classes such as Arranging Tunes or Songs For The Banjo, Introduction To What It Takes To Be An Effective Sideman, Playing For A Living, Playing And Composing For Commercials, and more.

Coaching Sessions in which students can receive personal, one-on-one critiques on such subjects as technique, tone, and taste from professional performers will be offered. As always, the full range of classes, beginner to advanced, will be offered and the Coaching Sessions will be available to all levels for anyone who needs some extra help.

The weekend will include at least 90 class hours plus guided jams at all speeds and levels. After each evening program there will be plenty of time for free jams, again at various levels. Most of the classes are hands on, practical learning situations. A few are demonstrations or mini-concerts, but even in these classes the intention is for you to take something away that you may want to learn or speak with the instructors about later. You are encouraged to bring a recording device of some kind.

Several other workshops that have been popular may be repeated. They include Maintaining and Optimizing Your Banjo, Playing With Others, Singing With The Banjo, Sound Equipment, and Recording Techniques. There will be instruction at all levels.

Get all the details and more at

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer