Down Home Up Here Workshop: Bluegrass Mandolin
- School of Music workshop
Topics covered will include technique, chords and backing up singers/other instrumentalists, playing melody and improvising, and composition within the bluegrass idiom. Good technique is the foundation of playing, so we’ll talk about the left and right hands and their relationship to one another, along with ideas for technique for each. We’ll also cover connecting chord shapes and voice leading bass lines, improvising over fiddle tunes and bluegrass standards, and how to start writing your own tunes. I’ve got as many questions as anybody else, so join me in the discussion to learn how to play the mandolin!
This workshop is part of the Down Home Up Here Festival and runs from 12-2pm. Workshops fees are seperate from your festival ticket.
Please note: The Passim School of Music is located at 26 Church St. Cambridge, MA. Classrooms are located on the third floor and, unfortunately, we do not have an elevator.
Ethan Setiawan is a Boston-based mandolin player who’s won such accolades as the National Mandolin Championship, the RockyGrass Mandolin Championship, and a full-ride scholarship to Berklee College of Music. As an involved member of the Boston alt-bluegrass scene, his path has wended its way through traditional bluegrass, to Bach partitas, to free jazz, and his debut full-length album is made up of original tunes drawing from all these wells. The album was conceived and crafted as a whole; the tunes were written for the band, who were chosen for the tunes. To write the album, he dove deep into the compositional techniques and tunes of some of the pioneers of the current wave of bluegrass: Bela Fleck, Matt Flinner, David Grisman and Mike Marshall, to name a few. After months of writing, discarding, and editing, a body of tunes emerged as clear candidates for a record. Over several years, the community around Ethan in the Northeast and Midwest evolved into the perfect band for a project such as this. The band features Julian Pinelli and Avery Merritt on fiddles, Sam Leslie on guitar, and Jacob Warren playing bass. The recording process took place at the Record Company in Boston, and the resulting album contains close friends and bandmates, a batch of carefully crafted tunes, and the freshest grooves in bluegrass. Skilled engineer and mandolinist Dan Bui of Twisted Pine engineered and mixed the album. He has shared the stage with Julian Lage, Darrell Scott, Bryan Sutton, Mike Marshall, the Steel Wheels, Casey Driessen, Don Stiernberg, Matt Flinner, and Jacob Jolliff, and has performed at venues such as Savannah Music Festival, IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Streetfest, Prairie Home Companion, the Walnut Valley Festival, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Freshgrass, the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, and Club Passim. He’s a member of bands Theory Expats, The Leafless, Corner House, The Harmolodic String Band, and OctoPladd.