Peghead Nation is excited to announce an eight-part live Zoom workshop series taught by Peghead Nation co-founder and guitar instructor Scott Nygaard, called Creating Bluegrass and Roots Music Solos. The series is designed for intermediate to advanced guitarists as well as mandolinists, fiddlers, and progressive banjo players who want to improve their soloing and improvisation skills. The live sessions will be held every other Tuesday from 6 pm to 7 pm PST (9 pm to 10 pm EST), starting on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, and ending on April 26, 2022. Video recordings of each session will be available to all students so you can review what you’ve learned or catch up if you need to miss a session.
In this workshop, you’ll learn the difference between scalar melodies that sound good played against the chords of the song you’re playing and lines that just don’t cut it. You’ll learn how and when to use “color” notes in your lines to create different sounds. You’ll learn to use “blue notes” with the major scale to give your playing a vocal quality. You’ll learn to use pentatonic scales in a way that sounds great combined with a chord progression, not like aimless noodling. You’ll learn about thematic soloing and improvising, how to create lines with a sense of forward motion, how to combine the melody of a song with fills, melodic variations, arpeggios, and more. The workshop will be taught by Grammy-winning guitarist Scott Nygaard, who is one of the most inventive and original flatpicking guitarists in the bluegrass/acoustic music scene, and has recorded, toured, and gigged with Tim O’Brien, Joan Baez, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Darol Anger, John Reischman, and many others.
The fee for the eight-part workshop is $200 and, in addition to admittance to all eight workshops, students will receive PDFs (notation and tab) related to each session, as well as access to recordings of each workshop. Workshop recordings will be available to students a week after each class, and you will retain access to all video and written materials after the live workshops have ended. Please join us for this unique, deep-dive into learning to improvise!
Here is Scott’s statement about what you’ll learn in Creating Bluegrass and Roots Music Solos:
Have you learned a few scales and arpeggios, but can’t figure out how to turn them into music? Have you gone further and learned major scales and arpeggios all over the neck of your instrument, but are thinking there must be something else you need to learn, because they still don’t sound like music? Do you wonder how the musicians you love ever turned these things that sound like boring exercises into exciting music?
In this workshop, we’ll look at how to turn scales and arpeggios into solos that sound great, whether you’re improvising or playing a composed solo. And you’ll learn that it’s not how many scales and arpeggios and scale positions you know, but how to use the major scale to your advantage. Because that lowly major scale contains 98% of the information you need to know to play bluegrass and roots music. You just need to know how to manipulate the major scale to do what you want it to do.
Since I am a guitarist, this workshop will naturally appeal to and be geared to some degree to guitarists, but I think mandolinists, fiddlers, and progressive banjo players can get a lot out of it as well. The only prerequisites are that you are comfortable with the major scale in the keys you play in, and have a desire to improve your soloing. You don’t have to be a budding virtuoso to benefit from this course. If you want to play simple, melodious solos on your favorite songs, you can benefit as well.
I hope you’ll join me,
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