Hornby Island Blues Workshop



2014 Workshop Descriptions


Choosing workshops:

Each student will choose one major class, taken from 9:30 - noon daily, and one minor class for each afternoon, from 1:30pm - 3:00pm.

Classes fill up quickly, so we ask that you have a second choice, in the event that your first choice is already full.

Workshop descriptions are subject to change. We'll keep this page up to date as changes occur.


Maureen Brown

Major: Drums, The Shuffle and Beyond
There must be 50 ways to play a shuffle: Discover why Richie Hayward (Little Feat) dubbed Maureen Brown, The Shuffle Queen and why her major is essential for anyone who wants to be a drummer.

There are hundreds of components that create a professional Blues drummer. Whether they are skills like writing up your own charts, tuning your drums, discovering the sticks of the trade, brush techniques, controlling turnarounds and endings or just playing the song, this class will provide the essentials for success. And whether you want to be a band-leading drummer, or a singing and song writing drummer, you will need to know the relationship you have to have with the bassist, guitarist, pianist, harp and vocalist. At the heart of it is time…where do you sit? … ahead of the beat, behind the beat or somewhere in between. Maureen’s major will break it all down for you.



Tuesday Minor: Rhythm Section (combined with Gary Kendall group)
We will explore how to work tightly with the bass player and create a solid foundation that the rest of the band can groove over. Learn how the bassist and drummer relate to each other’s musical part, whether complimenting the part or locking in together to create a deeper groove.

Wednesday Minor: Groove Section (combined with Gary Kendall group)
Building on our group experience from Day 1 we will pay special attention to Groove in day 2. Learn why some things come naturally….and some don’t. Learn to feel and develop intuition for the rhythms that get people listening and dancing. Learn how to work together in any musical situation to sustain that instinct to create groove.

Thursday minor: Following the Leader and Being Part of the Team
On day three we will add another group to the drummers and bassists and whether it is the harp players, guitarists or the piano/keyboard group, our goal will be to practice what we have learned in day 1 and 2 and apply it in day 3. The students, divided into drum and bass teams will be able to experience and flush out all that they have learned so far, taking direction from the bandleader or other players, locking into a groove with rhythm guitar and keyboard player or vocalists, to create control, excitement and dynamics while supporting the playing of others.


Jack de Keyzer

Major: Blues Groove, Jam, and Improvisation
Learn how to improvise and play the blues over three of the most popular blues rhythms: Tramp, Mustang Sally groove; Humpty Dumpty Shuffle groove and Slow Blues groove (major and minor keys). This major will focus on rhythm technique, chords, blues scales, licks and grooves. This will be a fun class where we jam and learn how to improvise leads, trade off, play rhythm and get in the groove. Ideal for all levels of electric guitar players.

Tuesday Minor: 1930's Robert Johnson: Dust My Broom and Crossroad Blues:
Learn how these songs are composed and played on both acoustic and electric guitar. Features include the OPEN D and OPEN G, slide Delta Blues, slide tunings, fingerstyle, and pedal rhythm. Bring a Slide!

Wednesday Minor: 1950's Buddy Guy: Let Me Love You, Albert King: Born Under a Bad Sign, Oh Pretty Woman
Learn classic riffs, single string leads, 9th chords, 6th chords, effective intros, licks, and pedal rhythms. This is an essential ELECTRIC GUITAR session.

Thursday Minor: The 1960' Jimi Hendrix: Hey Joe!
Learn how to set up your own ELECTRIC FIRE with Hendrix styled intro, chords, solos, riffs, licks and super effect pedals.


Paul Deslauriers

Major: (Intermediate to Advanced Guitar ): What Makes The Greats Great
Something happened when they plugged that “new” thing called the electric guitar into an amp that changed music forever. It started with a guy named T-Bone Walker and spread like wildfire! Through giants like the 3 Kings (Albert, B.B. and Freddie), Buddy Guy and through the 60's and 70's with the Brits (Clapton, Beck, Page, Kossoff), and Hendrix, into the 80s with SR, the history of the Blues guitar is evident. Now through a host of younger blues and blues-rock players, Blues guitar has found its way to every place on the planet. We’ll look at what makes killer rhythm and edge-of-your seat solos (something all these players have in common), and how you can learn to set the stage ablaze with your white-hot lead playing all of it based on that “simple” blues scale. Asbestos suits optional.

Tuesday Minor: (Intermediate to Advanced) Robert Johnson Who?
How does a guy who died in 1938 find his way into all those conversations about blues guitar and into every guitar player’s record collection? What made his music so compelling? Learn the signature licks he championed and the techniques he used that keep sending those shivers down your spine! We'll unlock the secrets of that magic in his right hand and the mojo in his left and how he influenced everybody who came afterwards.

Wednesday Minor: (All Levels) Slide Guitar In Open D In One Wednesday Afternoon
Duane Allman ring a bell? How about Elmore James? You'll learn how to shake your moneymaker in no time by unlocking the mysteries of this awesomely cool tuning. Bring a guitar, a slide and you’ll be "Macon-Mississippi" music in no time!

Thursday Minor: (Advanced) That Texas Boogie-Woogie Shuffle!When guitar players copied that left hand boogie-woogie pattern from the piano players, put it on steroids and played it in that most blues guitar-friendly key of E, the guitar slinger was born. Learn how to play those rhythm patterns and those cool solo lines all at the same time, the way those "power trio guys" do so well. You’ll want to play behind your head after this one!


Rick Fines

Major: Week-long Jammin the Blues: The All-Week "JAMMIN' THE BLUES" is back for another year - We will work on many classic riffs over several classic blues styles and learn how to put the riffs and rhythms into your fingers while you sing different song structures. It's jamming with pointers. It's all about playing together better! Learn from Rick and learn from each other.

Tuesday Minor: Slide In Standard Tuning: Work on slide guitar without changing tunings. Learn some useful tips about the chord positions as well as how to switch from straight fretting to slide during a song.

Wednesday Minor: Complimentary Rhythm Guitar:Learn a second or third guitar rhythm to add to what is being played so that you help fill out the sound of the ensemble. We explore several ways to make the most of 2 or 3 guitarists playing at once and Learn to build complimentary harmonies in the process.

Thursday Minor: Rick's Riffs
Rick shows you his Blues Guitar Vocabulary. His style is based on signature riffs combining chords and scales.


Angel Forrest

Major: The Highs and Lows of Vocal Blues Expression
In this major class we will be discovering our strengths and weaknesses and the ability to tap into our deepest emotions while trusting our instinct. Learn to express yourself using the tools that come naturally…phrasing, intention and textures for blowing! As a group we will create and perform an original song live! During this exercise we will touch every aspect of the song writing process, including lyrics, melody, chord progression and structure.

Tuesday minor: Sing Your Songs or Cover Others?
In this class we will discuss songwriting, the personal dedication and ownership of the lyrics and the importance of the message or theme and also covering cover songs and how to make them your own.

Wednesday minor: Stage 101
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 in’s and out’s of cueing the band, listening, interchanging and letting moments breathe, supporting each musician in their creativity.

Thursday minor: Owning Your Persona w/ Pride and Humility
There is nothing more alluring and inspiring than to see someone give themselves to a crowd, with no inhibitions. Sharing every emotion that surfaces at that moment, in that moment. When expressing yourself, you are giving the people a look deep inside you, revealing your true self. One must be prepared to give everything. In this class we will discover the importance of communicating with the crowd.


Brandon Isaak

Major: Songwriting and The Blues Guitar
We will look at the bones of a song, and how to break it down to its simplest form within your individual styles. We'll look at some simple tricks to make your songs pack a bigger punch. You will discover different ways to get around writers block and a blank sheet of paper.
Day 1 - We'll look at simple tricks to make your song stronger.
Day 2 - Putting your lyrics to the right music.
Day 3 - Refining and streamlining your original songs.

Tuesday Minor: Mississippi Style Slide Guitar- D Tuning
We'll look at some Mississippi Styles like Northern Hill country Blues, Juke Joint Blues and Delta Blues. i.e.… R.L. Burnside, Fred McDowell, Robert Belfour and these tunes are built from simple guitar riffs, few chord changes, and an emphasis on the "groove" or a steady, driving rhythm.

Wednesday Minor: Country blues guitar :
We'll be delving into simple and more advanced finger picking techniques. i.e.… Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin' Hopkins & Johnny Shines.
- Piedmont thumb picking
- Country blues
- Chicago blues

Thursday Minor: Swingin' The Blues:
Have you ever wanted to be a swinger? Well then this class is for you ! We will learn the basics of this fun, fabulous style, and when you leave you will be well swung indeed.
- Learn the basics of swinging' the blues. Chords, Rhythms, Riffs and feel.
- Using the number system for explaining chords to a band.
- Playing over chord changes.


Gary Kendall

Major: The Blues & The Bass - For Electric and Acoustic Bassists
1. 12 Bars, 8 Bars, Turnarounds & Sitting On The One - A complete look at the most common blues song structures.
2. The Shuffle, The Walk, The Peddle, The Funky Blues & The 1/5 - The blues grooves.
3. The Engine Room (Being part of the rhythm section) - Working with the drummer; Working with the piano player; Working with the rhythm guitar.
4. Laying The Foundation - Supporting the vocalist. Supporting the soloist
5. Winging It - The Blues & The Common Language
6. Soloing: How to get in and get out without losing the groove.
7. Tone - It’s in our hands.
8. Instruments & amplification - How to obtain the best instrumentation to suit your needs
9. Performing - Feelin` good, lookin` good & playin` good.
10. Composition - Writing a song using the bass line as the starting point.
11. The student as the teacher: Each participant would be asked to demonstrate or speak about something they discovered on their journey into the world of playing the bass that opened a door or helped to make it all fall in place.
Objective: Keep an open mind and allow for spontaneity and flexibility letting the workshop, especially when we`re nearing the end, dictate the direction it will follow.

Tuesday Minor: Rhythm Section (combined with Maureen Brown’s drummers)
This workshop will explore the teamwork of the bassist and drummer and how they can create a solid foundation for the vocalist and soloists. The "engine room" as I`ve heard it described, needs to lock together and create the rhythm and timing of the song. They can play the same groove or a counter groove that still becomes essentially one part.

Wednesday Minor: Rhythm Teams (combined with Maureen Brown’s drummers)
The best drummer/bassists don't have to discuss their job; they should be able to become a team naturally. This part of the workshop will demonstrate the different ways to make a good drum/bass rhythm section team.

Thursday Minor: Following the Leader: Demonstrating What you Have learned
Having spent two sessions demonstrating to the bass and drum students how they work together as part of a team, this workshop will add a guitarist and keyboard player to demonstrate how the rhythm section functions as the foundation of a good band. The students, divided into drum & bass teams will be able to experience and experiment with all they`ve learned in the previous majors and minors. Taking direction from the bandleader and locking in a groove with the rhythm guitar and the keyboard will be the main function of this workshop along with instruction on how to control and create dynamics. Providing support for the vocalist and support for the soloist will be key issues.


Al Lerman

Major: All the "Ins and Outs" of Blues Harmonica:
We’ll start with a brief history of the harmonica and will quickly learn how to play single notes and the major scale. We will then move on to “bending” notes, a technique that allows us to play flattened notes that are characteristic in blues music. We will explore different trills, tongue blocking, octaves. Special attention will be given to proper breathing in order to achieve a superior tone. We’ll learn how a one note solo can work by changing the phrasing and attack. We will also learn to play in various “positions” which allows us to play in several keys on one harmonica. Students will be required to bring a 10 hole diatonic harmonica in the key of “C”.

Tuesday Minor: Playing in Different Keys on one Harp
Learn how to play a minor blues in a few different keys; we will examine some of the great blues masters’ harp styles with audio clips and demonstrations.

Wednesday Minor: Choosing the Right Harp for the Song
We’ll learn how playing in a different “position” can often be better suited to a certain song, and how this can expand your musical vocabulary. Further examination of various blues harp players’ different styles will be demonstrated

Thursday Minor: Tips on Improvising and Phrasing
Learn how to back others; playing melodies; answer questions about mikes/amps and amplification; recap the basics and demonstrate various styles that have influenced me. Further examination of various blues harp players’ different styles such as Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson; Little Walter; Walter Horton; George Harmonica Smith, James Cotton, Jimmy Reed and more


Kenny Wayne

Major: Boogie-ing with the Blues Boss
We will be creating some ideas on playing various piano styles and having some deep-rooted discussion on marketing and where the blues is heading in the future and how the piano is playing a vital part. I will critique the students' performance(s) and fine tune their individual styles. This is the way that I got started professionally 50 years ago.

Tuesday Minor: The Origin of Piano Blues (Otis Spann, Fats Domino, Pete Johnson, Jaye McShann/Leroy Carr)
You will learn where the various styles of piano blues originated in the US and hear how uniquely they sound to the blues patterns. You will hear the Chicago, St. Louis, West Coast, New Orleans & Boogie-Woogie styles and how they were played in Juke Joints & Barrelhouses during the 1930's&& 40's. Question: Why has the piano been excluded from the origins of the blues? I will answer that question.

Wednesday Minor: The ins and outs of Piano Blues
Piano intros are as important as the endings. You'll be learning what to do when the song starts and some ideas for chord voicing. You will be given ideas on how to interact and accompanying other band players. You will be introduced to boogie-woogie (Pete Johnson style) who is considered one of the fathers of boogie-woogie piano.

Thursday Minor: Writing your Blues Song

We will be writing new songs or re-creating old songs and utilizing the various piano blues styles. Songs like 'Sweet Home Chicago', 'Kansas City', 'Walking to New Orleans', 'Shake, Rattle & Roll' etc. We will conclude with Ray Charles and show how Gospel music influenced Blues, RnB and Rock n Roll.


Tim Williams

Major: Finger-style Blues For Acoustic Guitar
Learn the blues styles of the Mississippi Delta and the Southeastern (Piedmont) States, including elements of the styles of Robert Johnson, Blind Blake and others. Basic chord knowledge (ability to change chords in first position fluently) is essential for advanced learning, and some experience with finger-style will come in handy.

Tuesday Minor: Slide Guitar
Learn why slide guitar is almost an instrument in itself. Discover open tunings (G and D), slide in standard tuning. Learn some damping techniques and fretting chords behind the slide as well.

Wednesday Minor: Blues Mandolin
This will be an introduction to blues mandolin. Learn the basics of chord and double-stop accompaniment devices, blues phrases that are the basis for improvisation, and playing in different keys and positions.

Thursday Minor: Songwriting
What makes a good song? Discover some tricks (both musical and literary) and tools to turn ideas into finished songs.


For more information:

Hornby Island Blues Society
4925 Sandpiper Drive
Hornby Island BC
Canada V0R 1Z0
Email: