Grass Seeds & GS2
Grass Seeds and GS2 are MBOTMA-sponsored youth workshops held in conjunction with the Winter Bluegrass Weekend. The groups meet for one session Friday night, two sessions on Saturday and one session Sunday morning. The kids then have the opportunity to show us all what they have learned with a main stage concert on Sunday at 1:00.
GS2: For more experienced students who are at least 14, there is GS2, which includes advanced instrumental technique, 3- and 4- part vocal harmonies and improvisation. Please see the information below pertaining to selection for GS2.
If you have any further questions, please contact Eric Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-271-4392.
Friday: 7 - 9 p.m.
Registration is not complete until payment has been received.
Registration fee for the three-day workshop is $85 per student.
Payments can be made online with a credit card or by check mailed to the address below. Note that registration is NOT complete until payment is received.
Faculty: The High 48s plus Chris Silver
This year, longtime Grass Seeds favorites The High 48s (thehigh48s.com) will return as instructors. In addition to being one of the busiest bluegrass bands in the upper Midwest, the High 48s are also in demand as instructors, both in person and – more recently – online. They’ve also been a huge success as faculty at MBOTMA’s summer jam camp over the years. The High 48s are Clint Birtzer on guitar, Rich Casey on bass, Eric Christopher (ericonfiddle.com) on fiddle/violin/viola, Mike Hedding (mikeheddingmusic.com) on mandolin and Anthony Ihrig (anthonyihrig.com) on banjo.
This year, Chris Silver (chrissilver.wix.com) will teach GS2. If there are strings on it, Chris plays it -- and plays it well. Before forming the Chris Silver Band, he was a member of Stoney Lonesome and is also well known for his songwriting. Chris has deep roots in bluegrass, but his playing draws on influences well beyond the genre, making him the perfect instructor for GS2.
What is GS2?
It has always been a struggle in Grass Seeds to accommodate such a wide variety of ages and ability levels. The past several years, we couldn’t help but notice how many young, advanced players were showing up at the festivals. There has also been an increase in the number of Grass Seeds registrations in the 14- to 18-year-old age group, many who have attended Grass Seeds several times.
It was obvious these older kids needed a very different, more age-appropriate experience than we were offering in Grass Seeds. We needed to provide them with their own social experience and move away from teaching only the traditional bluegrass tunes. They clearly want to learn to play what they listen to. We experimented with a few different things, but didn’t really hit on anything that worked. That is until 2011, when we started GS2.
Now in its sixth year, GS2 has been quite a success! These kids have had a great experience and are really an inspiration to the younger ones. Our goals for GS2 are the same as Grass Seeds and the structure of the weekend is pretty much the same, we are just raising the bar by including advanced instrumental technique, three and four part vocal harmonies and improvisation. GS2 decides as a group what songs to work on. We encourage them to choose more progressive songs from the contemporary artists they enjoy listening to. Then they get to work creating their own arrangement, not just reproducing it as recorded. They will focus in on what it takes to be a member of a performing group. The discussion topics are also determined by the group so we can best meet the specific needs of the kids that year.
The minimum age to participate in GS2 is 14 and space is limited to about 10 students. We recommend at least four to five years of playing with a good working knowledge of common chords and scales. Basic instrumental technique should be solid and familiarity with ensemble playing is expected. Students must be able to learn quickly by ear. Previous participation in Grass Seeds is not required. Everyone who is interested in GS2 will participate in a jam session first thing Friday night, the instructors will make their decision at that time. All participants must register for Grass Seeds, we cannot guarantee your child will be selected for GS2 at time of registration. There is no additional cost for GS2 and no refunds will be given if your child is not selected. GS2 will have the same schedule as Grass Seeds and students will be required to perform in the concert on Sunday.
Support Grass Seeds
Grass Seeds is a unique opportunity to develop young musicians as there are few programs like this one. Our goal is to keep the registration fee as low as possible and the quality of instruction as high as possible. Tuition alone does not cover the cost of the program.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Minnesota Bluegrass to support Grass Seeds. You can do that online at the Donate page of Minnesota Bluegrass or by sending a check to Minnesota Bluegrass at PO Box 16408 Minneapolis MN 55416 and specify your donation is for Grass Seeds.