Music fosters lifelong connections among people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. One powerful way to facilitate more of these impactful connections is through music workshops. While performances connect artists and audiences in plenty of amazing ways, the two-way discussions and Q&A opportunities involved in the interactive workshop environment can offer valuable experiences for music fans and musicians to connect with one another on much deeper levels. The Bluegrass Ambassadors can attest to this. We seek out these deep connections by offering deep dive workshops every chance we get.
Play the video below to experience a music festival workshop in action, and scroll down for just a few of the types of workshops the Ambassadors offer to all ages, various venues and audience sizes.
Henhouse Prowlers + Bluegrass Ambassadors: Common Chords
The Henhouse Prowlers have played music in more than 25 countries and that number goes up every year. Whether it’s touring Europe in clubs and at festivals or working with the U.S. State Department through cultural diplomacy programs, the band has found profound commonality with people from different cultures through music. From performing Qawwali music in Pakistan and West African hip-hop in Nigeria to traditional Tatar songs in Siberia and Bluegrass in America, every culture has ‘music of the folk’ that courses through the minds of its people. Through these interactions with musicians and music fans across the globe, an understanding that people have a whole lot more in common than music (despite our differences) becomes evident quickly.
This workshop can be supplemented by a projector for the band to share some of the many videos and photos from their adventures. The full band typically performs 2-3 full international tunes as part of this interactive format.
Individual Instrument Workshops
Each member of the band can give workshops on their respective instrument from beginner to advanced level instruction. While this kind of programming is common at more traditional bluegrass festivals, don't be surprised at how welcomed it is at more multi-genre and jam band festivals.
Music Business: How to Build a Band and Make a Living Playing Music
The Henhouse Prowlers have been a fully functioning and touring band for more than 13 years. While the industry continues to change on both a macro and micro level, getting started on the right foot has never been more important. This class covers everything from promotion and finances to tips on how to get along on two month international tours. Being a life-long musician has its challenges, but it's more possible than ever if you're well prepared for the realities of life on the road (and at home).
Bluegrass for Students (No Instruments Needed)
This program will cover the history of bluegrass and how its roots represent a time in America when people from all over the world were immigrating to the US. The band touches on the history of each instrument alongside the techniques used (eg. violin or fiddle). A section on vocal harmonies and using voices as an instrument is also included. The artists will split the room into sections and demonstrate how to accent beats to make the ‘bluegrass sound,’ all while demonstrating how the band creates rhythm without drums. A section of the program will focus on the storytelling aspect of bluegrass and folk music in general, encouraging the students to think about writing their own songs. Throughout the allotted time, music will be used to demonstrate each concept and the band will teach the audience songs to sing and clap along. The full band typically performs 2-3 full tunes as part of this interactive format.
Bluegrass for Students of Music (with Instruments)
Sheet music may be provided ahead of time for this workshop, but the ultimate goal is to demonstrate the ability to play music without it. The band will talk briefly about the basic concepts of the genre and then break off into groups, focusing on things like rhythm/accompaniment, songwriting, improvisation and/or arrangement. This kind of workshop is best supported by connecting the classroom teacher to the Bluegrass Ambassadors ahead of time in order to discuss where the students are musically and opportunities to enhance their skills. The primary goal is to inspire the students to want to make and create music on their own. Depending on the ability level of the students, it’s often possible to write an entire song by the end of a workshop. (Note: Students do NOT have to play bluegrass instruments for this class.)