I’m home after a full week at Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp. My first time at one of these things, and it was really great.
As far as classes go, there were lots to choose from. I did old-time with Matt Brown, swing with Andy Stein, and PEI Scottish style with Ward McDonald. I also did Irish guitar with Dennis Cahill, and I took in a couple sessions of Scottish song with Ed Miller. All of the classes were top-notch, not a stinker in the schedule. Some instructors did the usual thing of teaching tunes and letting the tunes bring out technical points about the style being taught. Andy went over technical and stylistic details rather than having us stumble through tunes, and this was great for me. After his classes, I would go back to my room and write down notes on all the stuff he showed us. He did a lot of hand-over-hand with me, and I really feel and hear a huge difference from that. Dennis also talked and showed us things rather than pile on the tunes. After a couple hours with him, I was all fired up with new ideas, and I actually couldn’t sleep that night because I kept thinking about all the stuff I had to figure out on the guitar.
The camp facility itself was a bit primitive for my taste, but I’m a fussy city guy. It was held at a Y camp two hours west of Denver. Dirt paths, no sidewalks, no stairs to get up and down steep slopes. Industrial-strength cafeteria food too. But there was the option to get a private room with a private bath, kind of like an inexpensive motel room. So it wasn’t optimal but it wasn’t too bad. I’d much rather see something like this done at a college campus, which seems to be the trend here in the east for music camps..
The folks at the camp were all super friendly. I come to this from the hectic northern VA suburbs, and I’m not a very patient or subtle person sometimes. It was refreshing to be around so many like-minded music people who were all feeling very happy, peaceful, and friendly. I made lots of friends, and a few drinking buddies too. I learned how to do a real country waltz (not just step around and count to three) along with some square dance steps, jammed with some folks, listened in on other folks jamming, and just had lots of fun.
Definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a fiddle camp. http://www.rmfiddle.com