Banjo, Bluegrass, Levels 2/3

Instructor(s): Avram Siegel

Being able to play with solid timing, to create your own breaks, and to improvise fluently, are some ultimate goals in to learning to play the banjo. In this class you will add to, and build on, what you’ve already learned in order to do just that.  We will see how melody, harmony, and rhythm work together and we’ll learn how to present musical ideas effectively. Topics to be covered in this class will be, among other things, playing rhythm and backup and learning more about fitting the banjo into a band setting, playing in unfamiliar keys, learning your way around the fingerboard, working up your own solos and licks, and learning some specifics of right and left hand technique to improve your tone, timing and speed.

Avram Siegel
Avram Siegel


Students must have familiarity with the basic open and closed chord shapes, and have proficiency changing between them.  They should know some of the standard repertoire of bluegrass songs and Scruggs arrangements and licks on the banjo.  Also, students should be comfortable with basic roll patterns associated with the style.

About Avram Siegel

Avram Siegel is regarded as one of the most original banjo players to emerge from the California bluegrass scene. His bluesy, syncopated rhythm is always fresh and exciting while capturing the essence of the traditional Scruggs style. He shows remarkable restraint and taste in every musical situation whether inside or outside the bluegrass tradition. He has, for over 25 years, taught regularly and performed in a wide variety of bands, from the Grant Street String Band to the Vern Williams Band and Peter Rowan. He has performed, toured and recorded with two of California’s most exciting bands, True Blue (with Del Williams and Ed Neff), and the Kathy Kallick Band.

Avram has extensive training, both academic and practical, and has developed a detailed and comprehensive teaching method that has turned out some of California’s most popular and successful young musicians. Besides teaching privately, and regularly teaching workshops at festivals, Avram has taught at many of the finest music camps on the west coast, including the California Bluegrass Association’s music camp and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop.  This year he is also scheduled to teach at the  California Coast Music Camp and Beppe Gambetta’s guitar workshop in the hills of Slovenia.  He currently teaches regular ongoing “jam” classes and periodically offers classes on harmony (music theory) and the fingerboard, band clinics, and various other music workshops, and he has recently released a detailed beginning banjo DVD on Music Star Productions.. He’s an excellent teacher, and we’re glad to have him back.