Hornby Island Blues Workshop



2015 Workshop Descriptions


Blues Workshop Blues in the school and Community Liaison:

Brandon Isaak

Each year we invite a musician to become more intimate with our community by having them go into the Hornby School and play some music, talk about Blues and Roots, and generally have some fun. This Blues-In-the-School musician also becomes our island’s Blues Week Busker and Music-Jam Mentor. We also showcase their talent in a SeaBreeze concert midweek, and invite them to all our Workshop concert stages. This year we have invited BRANDON ISAAK.

Hornby loves “Yukon Slim” and if you want a great one-on-one teaching experience take advantage of the private lessons for students that he will be offering, We know our Hornby community and our school students will be in for a real treat with Brandon in this role.

2015 Maple Blues Nominee for Acoustic Act of the Year
2015 Maple Blues Nominee for Songwriter of the Year
2015 Maple Blues Nominee for Recording/Producer of the Year


brandonisaak.ca

Latest Album: Here on Earth nominated for Blues Album Of The Year by the Western Canadian Music Awards.


Harpdog Brown - Harmonica

Major: Drums - Harp Fundamentals - The Nitty Gritty of Harp Playing
Level: Beginners to Advanced
I am what you call a very unorthodox harp player and instructor. I plan to find out where you all are in terms of harp vocabulary and technique. At that time I will know where and what to take you to, in order to grow as a player. This is not a sport, this is simply language. That being said, we will learn how to listen, and how to play from your heart and your ear. I will give you exercises to increase your strength and grace with your harmonica. You will need to bring an A harp, I care not what brand of harp you use, as long as its clean and in tune, you're good to go. Most importantly, this class will be fun!

Tuesday Minor: The Language of Blues Harp
Level: Beginners to Advanced

We will look into the basic language of blues harp, I started with Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo, so I always start my students there. After that we will move forward into the vocabulary of Sonny Boy Williamson II and possibly the electric styling of Little Walter; however, Walter is kinda like rocket science, so we will wait and see where that takes us.

Wednesday Minor: Playing in the Band
Level: Beginners to Advanced

Every harp player has to learn when to speak and when to keep a zipper on it. It's very important as an accompanist to know where to speak and what to say when you do. In this class we will learn the do's and don'ts so you won't be shunned the next time you ask to join musicians on stage.

Thursday Minor: Blues Harp Positions
Level: Beginners to Advanced

In this class we will look into the three main positions of blues harp playing: Cross harp is what is known as the 2nd position, and is the most popular position in all blues/folk/and rock n roll; 1st position that is a little more difficult with its demands for strong use of deep draw bends at the low end of the harp. but is nevertheless very effective in being more interesting and less repetitive; and 3rd position that is used when playing minor harp, or when playing the Chromatic, and very interesting to use when the band is in a major tuning.


Jack de Keyzer - Guitar

Major: Blues Groove, Licks, and Improvisation
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Learn how to improvise and play the blues over popular blues rhythms: Shuffle (Sweet Home Chicago -Magic Sam), Rhumba (All Your Love -Otis Rush) , Slow Minor Blues (Double Trouble -Otis Rush), and Slow Major Blues (Sweet Little Angel -BB King). This major will focus on improvising blues licks, rhythm playing, turn-arounds , chords and blues scales. This will be a fun class where we jam and learn how to improvise leads, trade off each other, play rhythm and get in the groove.

Tuesday Minor: 1930's Robert Johnson's Sweet Home Chicago and Terraplane:
Level: Beginner to Advanced Acoustic Guitar

Learn how these songs are composed and played on acoustic guitar. We will focus on E shuffle rhythm, fingerpicks (optional) and OPEN G, slide Delta Blues, slide tunings, fingerstyle, and pedal rhythm. Bring a Slide!

Wednesday Minor: 1950's Freddy King's Hideaway
Level: Beginner to Advanced Electric Guitar

Learn the classic riffs, single string leads, licks, and pedal rhythms from this King Classic. Recorded in 1959 King's Hideaway with its DNA in the music of Hound Dog Taylor has become a performance standard for Blues players. This is an essential ELECTRIC GUITAR session.

Thursday Minor: The 1960's Jimi Hendrix: Little Wing
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Learn the classic Hendrix ballad, chords, solo, riffs, licks and effect pedals. Recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1967, the song has become a benchmark for many guitar players.


Paul Deslauriers - Guitar

Major: Blues Guitar Soloing
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Playing a great solo should be like telling a great story, complementing the song and enhancing the emotional message. We'll look at how to build a great solo over slow blues, shuffles and funky songs. We'll talk in depth about dynamics and articulation and intent. We'll focus on moving beyond scales and familiar licks, getting out of your head and into your heart. We'll also talk about our favorite guitarists and unlock the secrets as to what makes their playing so compelling. And most importantly, we'll how to find our own voice on the instrument! Bring your guitars and your good spirits!

Tuesday Minor: Drop That Pick: Fingerpicking Techniques
Level Beginner to Advanced

Discover what a wonderful world it is when you realize you've already got 5 picks that grew on the end of your arm!!! We'll look at some very cool finger picking techniques and the art creating unique rhythms, sounds, and effects that can only be achieved by using your bare hands. Guaranteed to unlock your imagination, improve your playing and probably your love life too!

Wednesday Minor: Beating Up Your Acoustic: It's Legal and It's Fun
Level Beginner to Advanced

Tired of feeling like the guy singing 'I Gave My Love A Cherry' in the movie Animal House? (Have no clue what I'm talking about? YouTube it!) Want to take your acoustic playing from a sedative strumma-strumma into the "six-string on steroids" stratosphere? Tired of my alliterations and questions? Come discover sounds you never thought could come out of your guitar. We'll look at how to put more muscle in your playing and learn how to transfer your electric skills to your acoustic as well. It's not just for the campfire anymore!

Thursday Minor:The Fine Art of Jamming
Level Beginner to Advanced

I'm bringing this one back this year 'cause it's just too much fun!!! Want to know the dos and don'ts of jamming, how to make good music quickly when you just met your fellow musicians? We'll look at choosing songs, communicating with others, cueing and leading the band, talking to the audience, showmanship and being a great team player. A study in coolness, if you will! All instruments and singers are welcome!


Rick Fines - Songwriting and Guitar

Major: Beyond Inspiration - The Job of Songwriting
Level: Beginner to Advanced

We'll explore ways to flush out good ideas and turn them into finished songs. Bring your ideas, pencil, paper and a portable recorder (your phone will probably work). Let's have fun and leave you with more tools to work with.

Tuesday Minor: The Groove is Everything
Level: Beginner to Advanced

We'll work to find your place in it. The goal is to have the sum become greater than the parts, so let's set up a few classic feels and get everyone settled into supportive roles to make music.

Wednesday Minor: 4 On The Floor
Level: Beginner to Advanced

In this class we are going to explore the power of having our thumbs play 1-2-3-4 with no alternating bass. This is the key to the (highway!) style of players like Bill Broonzy and Mance Lipscomb, and also to much swing rhythm!

Thursday Minor: Rick's Licks
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Rick's licks - I have a few of them to share... I will show you some of my signature riffs and combining chords, and you can ask questions that can direct the class!


Julian Fauth - Piano

Major: Blues Piano
Level: Intermediate

In this course we will go through a variety of left-hand patterns (e.g., walking bass lines, "humpty dumpty", stride and chording). We'll also learn some useful scales and some riffs for the right hand. We will look at a number of common chord progressions in blues and gospel, including some 8, 12 and 16 bar forms. We'll also look at a few different "turn-arounds". In addition, we will cover a number of different rhythmic "feels", including shuffle, two-feel, swing, 6/8, waltz and rhumba. We will also discuss the difference between soloing and accompanying, and some of the things to keep in mind when playing with others. There will be some listening samples. This course is geared to intermediate students. You don't need to be a virtuoso, but some familiarity with the piano would be helpful. Students should bring a keyboard. And maybe some beer.

Tuesday minor: Early Blues Piano 1: The 1920s and '30s.
Level: All/Intermediate

This class will introduce you to some of the seminal blues piano players from the first two decades of recorded blues, including Cow Cow Davenport, Pinetop Smith, Charles Avery, Charlie Spand, Leroy Carr, Clarence Lofton, Montana Taylor, Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson. There will be some listening samples and, where possible, biographical stories. We will look more closely at some of the songs from that era which have become blues classics, such as Davenport's "Cow Cow Blues" with its distinctive left-hand riff that later became the template for songs like Professor Longhair's "Mess Around". We'll also look at some of the classic songs by Leroy Carr that became blues standards, for example "How Long Blues", "Midnight Hour Blues" and "Blues Before Sunrise". (Carr's songs have been covered by the likes of Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Elvin Bishop, Lou Rawls and Eric Clapton and remain part of the blues "canon".)

Wednesday minor: Early Piano Blues 2: The 1940s and '50s
Level: All/Intermediate

This class continues where the previous one left off, introducing piano players who were mainly active in the years around World War II (although some of them started recording earlier): people like Roosevelt Sykes, Little Brother Montgomery, Big Maceo Merriweather, Blind John Davis, Eddie Boyd, Memphis Slim, Sunnyland Slim, Mercy Dee Walton and Otis Spann. As in the previous class, we will hear some sample recordings of these people and learn a bit about their biographies and historical context. We will also look more closely at some classic songs that became part of the blues canon, and that piano players may find useful to know: songs like Big Maceo's eight-bar "Worried Life Blues" with its distinctive introduction, the "Forty-Four Blues" derived from Roosevelt Sykes and Little Brother Montgomery and played by Otis Spann (behind Howling Wolf) in a way widely considered the standard; Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years" and classics by Memphis Slim such as "Messin' Around With The Blues" and "Mother Earth", often covered by later blues and rock musicians.

Thursday minor: Writing Your Own Blues Song
Level: Intermediate

In this course we'll discuss some song-writing techniques, specifically applied to the piano, and try to come up with a piano blues song of our own. We will discuss various ways to bring in a song, various rhythmic devices such as stops and breakdowns, whether, where and how to place a "bridge" into our songs, and various ways of ending a song. We'll also think about some of the aspects of song-writing, such as cohesiveness, story-telling and mood. Putting it all together, we'll create a piano blues of our own, which we will perform at the final student concert. Students will need a keyboard. Although it isn't mandatory, it would be helpful for students of this course also to take the Major, "Blues Piano", and vice versa.


Angel Forrest &
Denis Coulombe Vocals (& accompaniment)

Major: Lettin' Your Freak Flag Fly While Entertaining
Level: Beginners to Advanced

Singing your soul can sometimes, most times, be a little jarring. Learn your strengths and how to use them in a tasteful and powerful way. It can be satisfying and inspirational when you’re sharing something intense and personal. Find what works for you, your comfort zone for expressing yourself, for delivering lyrics, phrasing and dynamics. Refining your strengths is key! As a group we will write an original song to sing using the tools to bring out the best in all of us while learning how to write melodies, lyrics, chord progressions and maybe even some harmonies with the help of the amazing Denis Coulombe, all the while putting our personal stamp on it!

Tuesday minor: Stage 101
Level: Beginners to Advanced

The beauty of performing live with musicians is the interaction amongst the players, the magic that can occur when there is respect and communication. The ins and outs of cueing the band, listening, interchanging and letting moments breathe, supporting each musician in their creativity- this is what sets the stage.

Wednesday minor: Multiple Personalities (Sybil)
Level: Beginners to Advanced

In this class we will take one song and learn how to approach and deliver it in many different styles, once again making the song your own.

Thursday minor: Your Instrument - Your Voice
Level: Beginners to Advanced

Something that is so very important that most of us tend to forget… “our instrument is indispensable”. Unlike guitar players, drummers, keyboardists and bass players, we cannot replace our instrument if it gets damaged. In this class you will learn how to prepare, take care and cherish your instrument with exercises and good ole common sense


JW Jones - Guitar

Major: Less-Is-More Improv and Building Solo Intensity
Level: Beginner to Advanced -Recommended for All Soloing Instruments

Learn how to play great blues solos using very few notes and various rhythmic patterns over Shuffle, Rock'n'Roll, and Slow Blues grooves. We will discuss at least two different types of rhythm guitar approaches on the shuffle (Chicago and Texas), and compare the different rhythm and lead approaches on two classic slow blues styles (B.B. King vs Muddy Waters). We'll be looking at rock'n'roll styles in the approach of Chuck Berry and Jimmie Vaughan. There will plenty of 'turnarounds' on these sessions, from Jimmy Rogers and Jimmy Reed to Freddy King. Finally, we'll take it up a notch and work on how to take a solo from simple and sparse to powerful and intense.

Tuesday Minor: The King of the Blues - BB King!
Level: Beginner to Advanced -Recommended for Electric Guitarists

We'll start with B's stinging 1950's style, moving into 1968's extremely influential 'Live at the Regal', and then into the King's more recent approach. While our focus will be B.B. King keep in mind that B.B. King has influenced the guitar playing of Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddy King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and Little Milton.

Wednesday Minor: Blues & Bop
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Many swinging blues guitarists are influenced by horn players like Charlie Parker. We'll look at some Parker lines and tunes that can be played over the 12-bar form, as well as intermediate sweep-picking and arpeggios. Besides swinging over 12-bar form, we'll learn the basics to playing rhythm and leads over what is known as "Rhythm Changes".

Thursday Minor: Lose the Pick
Level: Beginners to Advanced.

Hubert Sumlin was fired by Howlin' Wolf for using a guitar pick, and wasn't welcome back until he stopped using it. Other great blues guitarists like Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Lightning Hopkins, and modern guitar heroes like Jimmie Vaughan each have their own way of getting different tones out of the guitar with their hands. It can be extremely expressive to pull the strings away from the guitar with intensity, or tone it down and play soft and slow. Let's explore the subtleties of NOT using a pick, as well as how to go back and forth between using a pick and using your fingers.



Chris Nordquist - Drums

Major: Fundamentals of Drum Performance in Blues Music
Level: Beginners to Advanced
1. Drum set-up / Making sure everything is in the right place.
2. Ergonomics / How to get the most out of your drums.
3. Tuning / Same drums - different sounds for different styles. (blues/ jazz/ rock)
4. Common blues rhythms Funk / Shuffle / Rock / Swing / 2-Beat / Bo Diddley.
5. Common blues forms / 8-bar, 12- bar, 32-bar, open, ballads
6. Blues Lingo / pick-ups, shots, fills, stop-times.
7. Reviewing what we know.
8. Introducing fills / Where to fill and when.
9. Cymbals / The most versatile part of your Kit.
10. Improvising / When to hold back and when to let go.
11. More Rhythms / Second-Line, Boogaloo, Country Shuffle.
12. Soloing / Drum soloing, Trading 4`s, 8`s, 12`s. What to do in a bass solo.
13. Dynamics / How to use volume or lack of to your advantage.
14. Some tricks of the trade / getting different sounds out of the drums.

Tuesday Minor: Common Ground
(with bass instructor Suzie Vinnick and her students)
Level: Beginner to Advanced

The connectivity between the drummer and the base not only leads to a tighter sound, but leads to greater creativity for both players. In this class we will discover: how to identify rhythm and how to start, play and end a blues song together; how to know which tempo is right and how to lock in with a bass player and where to sit in the groove with a bass player; when to do the same thing as the bass player and when not to.

Wednesday Minor: Listening and Playing
(with bass instructor Suzie Vinnick and her students)
Level: Beginner to Advanced

In this class we will discuss and practise when to play and when to listen - the less is more philosophy in playing drums and what to look and listen for in order to be effective. We will also explore the role and responsibilities of the singer and the other musicians and how the drummer communicates and responds to them.

Thursday Minor: Sun Sessions Jam Out!
(with Paul Pigats' guitar students and Suzie Vinnicks bass students.)
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Sun Sessions JAM OUT!!! Just like it sounds!! A free-for-all jam and discussion on tunes from the most influential recording studio of the 1950s! You'll get an opportunity to practice and apply what we worked on in days one and two. Paul will call some tunes, you can call some tunes, just gotta be SUN!!!


Paul Pigat - Guitar

Major: Fingerpickin' the Blues
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

In this course, we will study examples from some of the great fingerstyle blues artists that shaped the Delta and Country Blues sound of the Early 20th Century. Examples from Robert Johnson, Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin Hopkins among others, will be the main focus. Progressions, chord voicings, and fills will be covered and hopefully we can discover some new ideas to put into your acoustic blues playing!!!

Tuesday Minor: Introduction to Travis Picking
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Although not what many would call Blues, Merle Travis's style is deeply rooted in the Country Blues. This will be an introductory course on how to play basic "Travis" fingerstyle. We will look at classic Travis bass lines and learn how to place melodic notes throughout the bar to achieve some classic Travis and early Rockabilly sounds.

Wednesday Minor: Jumpin' The Blues
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Wanna put some Jump and swing into your playin'? In this course, we are going to look at some of the most swingingest cats to ever pick the 6 strings. From the great T Bone Walker and Bill Jennings to the living legend Junior Watson, we are going put a bit of swing into your step!

Thursday Minor: Sun Sessions Jam Out!
(with Suzie Vinnick's bass students and Chris Nordquist's drum students)
Level: From Beginner to Advanced

Just like it sounds! A free-for-all jam and discussion on tunes from the most influential recording studio of the 1950s! I will call some tunes, you can call some tunes, just gotta be SUN!!!


Suzie Vinnick - Bass

Major: It's All About The Bass
Level: Beginner to Advanced

The blues bass major will kick things off by briefly exploring left and right hand bass techniques and some warmups to get you stretched and ready to blues it up. Then we'll look at a number of blues song structures (12 bar blues, 8 bar blues, 16 bar blues, combining different structures); how to approach and play various blues grooves (shuffle, straight 8th, walking, swing, bumpin', slow blues, 2 feel, funk); review a number of scale patterns and their application to blues bass lines and do some jamming in class to get you using them to take a solo. We'll also explore how to get in and out of a song and the use of hammer ons/pull offs, tags and turnarounds. We'll talk about how to work with the drummer to approach and best serve a song, the best place to sit in the groove, and how to support the singer and your fellow musicians. We'll look at some basic music theory; reading and writing a chart and talk about our favorite bassists and why they are our faves

Tuesday Minor: Common Ground
(with drum instructor Chris Nordquist and his students)
Level: Beginner to Advanced

The connectivity between the bass and the drummer not only leads to a tighter sound, but leads to greater creativity for both players. In this class we will discover: how to identify rhythm and how to start, play and end a blues song together; how to know which tempo is right and how to lock in with a drummer and where to sit in the groove with the drummer; when to do the same thing as the drummer and when not to.

Wednesday Minor: Listening and Playing
(with Chris Nordquist and his drum students)
Level: Beginner to Advanced

In this class we will discuss and practise when to play and when to listen - the less is more philosophy in playing bass and what to look and listen for in order to be effective. We will also explore the role and responsibilities of the singer and the other musicians and how the bass player communicates and responds to them.

Thursday Minor: Sun Sessions Jam Out!
(with Paul Pigats's guitar students and Chris Nordquist's drum students.)
Level: Beginner to Advanced

Sun Sessions JAM OUT!!! Just like it sounds!! A free-for-all jam and discussion on tunes from the most influential recording studio of the 1950s! You'll get an opportunity to practice and apply what we worked on in days one and two. Paul will call some tunes, you can call some tunes, just gotta be SUN!!!


For more information:

Hornby Island Blues Society
3500 C Shingle Spit Rd
Hornby Island BC
Canada V0R 1Z0
Email: