What To Do Before Kamp

Our Kamp is an instrumentally based Kamp. We have vocal classes but the core of instruction is based on instrumental work. This can help you back-up yourself or another vocalist. Learn the exercises, scales, rolls and fiddle tunes that will make you a great musician.

Note: The paragraphs that call for practicing up on the 4 Hour Bluegrass Workout songs are for all the classes except Fingerstyle. Though some fingerstyle pickers can play these tunes, they generally pull from a totally different set of tunes. Fingerstyle players should work on what they are working on and possibly try to find arrangements to some of the
Work Out series tunes. Bass, fiddle, dulcimer, flatpicking, banjo, mandolin students should concentrate on this list (The Work Out series) along with what they are currently working on.

1.   The use of fiddle tunes in your plectrum (pick) repertoire helps to coordinate right and left hand, strengthen hands, develop ear skills, sight reading and scale work plus they give the player something to share with another player ie. A jam.

2.   Prioritize Your Goals
What do you want to get out of Kamp? To be a better picker? To be a better Jammer? To develop a particular style? To try out a new instrument? Narrowing your focus can help you prioritize so you will gain the most out of Kamp. Decide on a few topics of interest before you arrive. Listen for those topics or ask about them and let the rest of class go.

Focus on a few things for this coming year and the following year work on a few other topics. Don’t expect to master these or any topics at Kamp. You learn it and understand it
here in Tennessee and then practice and perfect when you get home.

3.   Arrive Well Rested and Mask Up if arriving by plane.
We had a few folks get Covid on their flight in. First thing they said as they were leaving was "I wish I had worn my mask on the plane". Get plenty of rest before you come to Kamp. You will be busy from the AM to the PM to the AM again. You will probably return home exhausted, so don’t start out that way.

4.   Strengthen Up Your Calluses and Vocal Cords
The month before Kamp, ramp up your practice time. You won’t want to sit out of the evening jam sessions because your fingers have given out on you. If you will be doing a lot of singing, try to strengthen your vocal cords as well.

5.   Examine Your Instrument
Check out your instrument for any work that will need to be done. We are one of the very few Kamps that has Kamp Doctors on hand. You may want to take care of instrument issues before Kamp but you can also make appointments and discuss any repairs with our staff luthiers – The Kamp Doctors. Donnie and Debbie Barbra will be on hand both weeks to do repairs. You can contact Donnie in advance at  donniebarbra@yahoo.com if you think you will need extensive or time sensitive work done to your instrument. A well set up instrument makes life so much better.

6.   Review Your Repertoire
Avoid having to stop and say. “I used to play that song” by going over the tunes that you know. You can link over to a List of songs that many people play at Kamp. This will give you the chord structure. Many of these tunes can be found in Steve’s Four-Hour Bluegrass Work-Out (Book and 4 CDs) Volume 1 and 2.

7.   Write Your Name on Your Stuff
Use a laundry marker or similar to label all things that you bring. You will be amazed at what turns up in Lost and Found. Thank you through the years for all those capos, straps, T-shirts and more left behind.