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Master classes back at Bear on the Square

Annual fest brings music instructors for a 2nd year

POSTED: April 7, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/For The Times

Dahlonega's Bear on the Square Mountain Festival is a celebration of Appalachia, with traditional crafts, dancing and music around every corner of the downtown square.

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Dahlonega’s Bear on the Square Mountain Festival is a celebration of Appalachia, with traditional crafts, dancing and music around every corner of the downtown square. It’s paradise for fans of old-time and bluegrass music.

For the second year, the festival also will offer musicians a chance to improve their skills with Master Music Classes, a joint effort of festival organizers, North Georgia College & State University and the Southeast Bluegrass Association.

"The classes are really aimed at intermediate students that have the basic knowledge of their instruments," said class coordinator Joe Matteson.

The classes are "really intensive," said Matteson, with emphasis on hands-on practice rather than lectures.

Taught by well-known instructors and musicians, the sessions will take place on April 15 at Nix Cultural Center, where the music department is housed at NGCSU.

The teachers will include Curtis Jones, an internationally known guitar instructor who is considered "The World’s Fastest Flat Picker."

"He’s a tremendous guitar player," Matteson said.

"He teaches workshops all up and down the coast. He’s a great instructor, and just a great musician all around."

Some of the teachers also will perform at the festival, including old-time fiddler and Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee James Bryan, who will be the festival’s headliner, and old-time banjo player Carl Jones.

Classes will include: Bluegrass Banjo, taught by Atlanta banjo player Geoff Hohwald; Mandolin, taught by Bradley Laird, founder of Mandolin University; Guitar, taught by Curtis Jones; Bluegrass Fiddle, taught by Athens musician and teacher David Blackmon; Bass Fiddle, taught by Atlanta teacher and composer Sonny Houston; Old-time Fiddle, taught by Bryan; and Old-time Banjo, taught by songwriter Carl Jones.

Register early, space is limited.

Matteson recommends that students sign up in advance on the Bear on the Square’s website, www.bearonthesquare.org, due to limited space in the classes.



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