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Folk Ensemble

Instructor:  Doug Baker

Folk Ensemble

Instructor:   Doug Baker

Course Description:

Level: 2 – 4  (see Playing Experience Level descriptions at the bottom of the page)

How do you define folk music? People have been debating that for years. And while it’s hard to nail down, most of us, upon hearing a song, will have an opinion on whether it’s folk or not. In the folk ensemble class, we’ll visit a number of great songs that most of us would agree seem to fit the genre. We’ll play songs spanning the past 150 years or so to see how folk music has evolved but also examine the common aspects of folk songs written decades apart.

I’ll bring the lyrics and chords to a number of folk songs from different eras and styles. All you need to bring is your willingness to share your talents vocally and on your acoustic instruments of choice. It would be great to have a variety of instruments in the class.
I’m looking forward to working with you to create really interesting arrangements of these influential folk songs.

Prerequisites: Students should have reasonable proficiency with their instrument as no instruction in how to play the instrument will be given.

NOTE:  This class is open to amplified acoustic basses.  You will need to supply your own small portable bass amp. Please see our Amplifier Policy for further information.

Doug Baker

Doug Baker was raised in a musical family and took up the guitar at age 13. Initially playing in a rock and roll band during high school, he has focused on folk and acoustic music for many years. Solo and in various groups, Doug has performed in churches, coffee shops (including hosting a very popular open mic session for 5 years), folk clubs, festivals and private parties. He has led singing groups for children, youth and adults, taught a number of classes at FAMI and gives private guitar lessons. He is a former executive member of FAMI, the Nickelodeon Music Club and Little Concerts.

He currently plays in the Celtic session group Gan Ainm and in duos with Michael Pollock and Alison Demeter.

Playing Experience Levels

These guidelines aim to ensure that all camp participants have an enjoyable experience. They represent what your playing capability should be before you take the class (prerequisites).

Classes are generally designed to pace themselves to match the participants' abilities. Level 1 classes aim to proceed at the pace of the slower students in the class. Level 2 and 3 classes aim to move at the pace of the majority of students in the class. Level 4 classes are designed to push the capabilities of all students and will target the pace of the more capable students  Class descriptions that show a range (Levels 2-3) means the material presented is broadly applicable across that range.

LEVEL 1: You are new or relatively new to your instrument. You may be able to play basic chords or scales slowly. You want to learn the basics of the instrument. You have very little experience playing with others.

LEVEL 2: You are competent with basic chords and/or basic scales. You can keep rhythm and/or play basic melodies and/or sing and play at the same time if the song is familiar. You generally need the chords or melody to be written out in order to play along. You have some experience playing with others.

LEVEL 3: You are reasonably comfortable with most chords, basic major and minor scales, and can play at an appropriate tempo for songs. You are aware of time signatures, song keys, and know that there are chords called 6th, 7th, 11th, etc even if you can’t play them all. You are comfortable maintaining good rhythm and are willing to taking breaks while jamming with others, even if the breaks don't always turn out the way you planned. You may be hoping to take your playing up to the next level of performing with a group or band (beyond jamming) and you want to further improve your technique and speed.

LEVEL 4: You are skilled on your instrument and have a good understanding of musical concepts including scales, arrangements, harmonies and some improvisation. You play lead and back-up with a steady rhythm and can play skillfully with others. You know there is life further up the neck on your instrument and have some capability in that world. You have performing experience, can hold a tune, and can harmonize.