Swing Workshop



Sunday, August 12–
Saturday, August 18, 2018


Performers and Seminars

A Week At Camp

How To Register

Fees & Registration

Arrival At Camp




Performers and Seminars

Register for one of these early morning classes

NOTE: Links to instructor Websites will open in a new window.


Swing Piano

—Michael Creber 


Students must pre-register for one of these seminars and must bring portable keyboards and headphones to camp. If space permits, afternoon students will be welcome to join the morning class.

Beginner/Intermediate This course is for swing pianists of all levels. The morning class will concentrate on the foundation skills: basic jazz harmony, understanding chords, working with lead sheets, building basic jazz voicings, and the pianist's role in the band. This would correspond to the first three chapters of Mark Levine’s The Jazz Piano Book (highly recommended!). As always in swing camp we are working on skills to help you have more fun playing in groups with other players!
Intermediate/Advanced This is a special class offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons. As in the morning class, we will tailor the material to fit the levels of the players, so expect to dive into soloing over changes, Bill Evans left hand voicings, inner voice movements, and all that really fun stuff!

Tom Keenlyside


Woodwind and Brass Workshop

—Tom Keenlyside 


Students will not need to register separately for morning and late-morning horn classes.

This course will provide in-depth look at numerous aspects of playing brass and woodwind instruments in a collective jazz setting. Techniques to be discussed and practised include jazz phrasing, articulation, expression, and sound production on all wind and brass instruments. We will also focus on playing in tight ensemble. In addition, we will study various aspects of jazz improvisation - playing through many different types of chord changes and the blues. We will create a fun, supportive environment in which all players will be encouraged to improvise.
Special Late Morning Class for Advanced Players
This course is intended for more advanced horn instrumentalists, with a focus on effective soloing on various chord changes, chordal substitutions, altered modes, and usable pattern playing. We will also discuss soloing subtleties such as spontaneous improvisation through composition and motif playing. Effective and efficient practice techniques and tone production will be a constant theme.



The Music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn 

—Bill Coon 

Every day we’ll play one Ellington and one Strayhorn song and explore two important aspects of their music.
1. Composition: How these masters created such memorable pieces and what can we learn from them to make our own composing process richer?
2. How to improvise, play or sing the melody and comp more effectively using these great songs as a starting point. Open to all instruments and voices. Reading music will be helpful.



Chord Tone Improv: 

—Ron Peters 

We don’t speak by reciting the alphabet, so don’t approach soloing by playing a scale. Chord tones are the “words” of musical phrases. And those words (arpeggios), make phrases that can build a story (solo). Playing the arpeggios is the key. Beboppers called this “change running” and it will take your soloing to the next level. (Please know your major scales)



Creating Beautiful Lines 

—Mike Rud 

Time for your solo. You've learned the melody and started thinking about the chord changes. Now how do you play long lines of 8th notes that really work? Mike will help you create your own swinging melodic solo lines using tried and true techniques! Suitable for any instrument.

Ray Piper


Brazilian Guitar 

—Ray Piper 

The class will look at bossa nova and samba and the subtle differences between the two and learn how to get that unique Brazilian swing and apply it to some Brazilian standards. We will look at the typical chord voicings used and the rhythmic structures incorporated in this style, getting a clear understanding of how it all fits together and applying it with a percussionist who will assist us in class.



Creative Comping — Beyond the Basics 

—Greg Glassman 

In this class we’ll move beyond just playing straight 4-to-the-bar.

Taking great songs from various styles in the jazz idiom, we’ll explore and apply a variety of rhythmic approaches for accompaniment that work well in solo and group settings.

We’ll also work on expanding and organizing our chordal vocabulary. Then we can have fun playing and creating our arrangements in different areas on the fingerboard!

Tony Marcus


Six String Rhythm Machine 

—Tony Marcus 

It’s become rare to find jazz players who are masters of steady 4/4 rhythm guitar. Outside the Django world (and the folks there actually have a quite different rhythmic concept) there are really only a handful of such folks performing today. This class will build on the moveable chord shapes you already know and add new ones every day in the context of arrangements of some of the greatest standards ever written. As most of us don’t have the luxury of always playing with bass and drums, we’ll also explore how to embody an entire rhythm section with one guitar.



Jam Session Survival Kit 

—Joe Vinikow 

The jam session is a fun, freewheeling conversation with your fellow players: the real-time classroom for swing and jazz. You'll learn some of the essential repertoire, and get a solid introduction to the structure and etiquette of a successful jam, to maximize your enjoyment and learning potential. Open to all players and singers.

Rebecca Kilgore


Guitar Accompaniment for Vocalists 

—Rebecca Kilgore 

Here’s a basic guide for vocalists who want to learn to accompany themselves on the guitar. The emphasis will be on swing chords. We will start with some easy songs and easy chords and progress from there. We’ll go over chart-following, but no tablature or music reading are required. Players from last year’s class are very welcome — new songs!

Ali Romanow


Swing! Baby Swing–Intro to Swing-style Rhythm Guitar 

—Ali Romanow 

Become the heartbeat of the band. Build your knowledge of moveable chord shapes, right hand techniques, turnarounds and transitions to provide rock solid rhythm. Using a selection of old standards and new classics we’ll explore the challenges of self-accompaniment, band dynamics, chart reading, as well as some tools to navigating the great cosmic mystery that is music theory. Whether you’re new to the world of swing guitar or an ol’hep cat looking to learn new tricks, you’ll walk away with a swing in your step (and your hands) as well as a few boppin’ tunes under your belt.



Hearts, Minds, Voices! 

—Jennifer Scott 

Let’s take the time to get inside the repertoire we want to sing and perform.

This class will allow you to get inside the melody, harmony, structure and lyrics at a higher level.

What makes you want to sing the song, what does it mean to you and how can you perform it with conviction, confidence and authenticity?

Elements of phrasing, acting, musicianship and practical performance skills will answer these questions. Students should be prepared to bring a song to sing in class — other repertoire will be provided.



Blue Is the Colour 

—Karin Plato 

Singing and playing the blues can be an immensely soul satisfying experience for the vocalist and for the listening audience. Some blues tell a tale of feeling “down and out”, or they may express a type of melancholy. In contrast there are many songs that are sung joyfully with positive themes and lyrics, but remain “bluesy” in style and approach.

We’ll sing a variety of songs related to the blues, we’ll study some of the blues forms, and we’ll each compose an original to share in pop up performances.



Sing a Song of Jimmy! 

—Steve Maddock 

Jimmy Van Heusen will forever be considered one of the unsung heroes of the Great American Songbook. He wrote over 800 tunes, 50 of which we consider to be standards. This class will explore some of his most popular songs (many of which were written for either Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra!) and will also introduce singers to some of Van Heusen's lesser-known melodies.

Dale Rasmussen


Vocal Jazz Ensemble 

—Dale Rasmussen 

Join us as we dive in and sing fabulous vocal jazz harmony. You already love to sing beautiful, exquisitely crafted jazz melodies and other sophisticated contemporary repertoire, and now you're ready to make harmonies on these wonderful songs. We'll sing unique, “spicy” vocal arrangements that challenge your voice, train your ear and expand your understanding of vocal harmony’s limitless possibilities. All participants will get the chance to sing harmony parts, with voicings that tantalize and draw in the listener, including extended 7th voicings, 13ths and beyond. It promises to be a fun, fascinating and rewarding session for singers who love great songs.

Within the context of a number of project tunes, we'll also focus on blending and shaping that goes into pulling off these fantastic—and often tricky—vocal parts. Being comfortable with basic harmonizing and some basic sight-singing experience will be helpful in this class.

Guido Heistek


Swing ‘Ukulele 

—Guido Heistek 

This class will be challenging, but will also be a blast. It will move your uke playing into new and exciting territory. We will explore moveable chords up the neck and learn how to play common jazz progressions in different positions on the ukulele and in several keys. Then we will use these progressions as the building blocks for playing jazz standards. An understanding of moveable chord shapes is very important for playing jazz ukulele. It makes it possible to change keys with ease, and play in “difficult’ keys like Eb or Ab. Moveable shapes are also very important in chord melody, swing style strumming, and can also be the foundation for soloing ideas! We will play “ensemble” jazz pieces together as a group, and we’ll learn at least one solo chord melody arrangement. In addition, we’ll take some time to work on rhythm, groove and right hand techniques that can really get your playing swinging.

Intermediate to Advanced level.

Note: This is not a course for beginner uke players.

Julian Smedley


Swing Fiddle Mechanics

—Julian Smedley 

Swing riffs we’ll learn to play by ear will help to emphasize the independent roles of bow arm and left hand fingers in the creation of a ‘swing’ fiddle style. While working the 2 hands independently, then in combination, we’ll learn some jazz standards and groom the Shuswap string section in readiness for two swing dances. Be prepared for some unusual exercises in pursuit of a fluid swing style.



Bass Explorations 

—Rene Worst 

This year, the focus of the bass class will be on how to improve your groove in the swing genre: two-feel, four-on-the-floor, western swing, modern swing, and swing waltz. We will also play some Brasilian and latin grooves and explore how to get a good sound out of your instrument.

Rene will try to accommodate all levels. Reading skills are an asset, but not essential, and all bass instruments are welcome. Each student will receive a play along book and recordings.

You can find Rene on Facebook




—Phil Belanger 

This will be a fun, hands-on class and is open to everyone. You’ll have lots of time to play and learn about some of the most common instruments in the percussion family. Playing as a group we will create some great grooves! We'll learn techniques for the snare drum using sticks and brushes, various hand drums, and lots of the smaller ‘toys’: shakers, cowbells, tambourines, etc. Bring any instruments you have, as well as brushes.


Special classes – open to all students registered at the BC Swing Camp

(note: the classes listed below take place in the late morning, following your main course;
they are open to as many participants who wish to join in; and Do Not require pre-registration)




Swing and Beyond Choir

—Brian Tate 

Lift up your voice with fellow vocal enthusiasts as we explore and sing the roots of jazz: gospel, spirituals, R&B, and music from the African diaspora. All voices are welcome. Music reading skills are not needed. There will be opportunities for soloists. Come and get your joy on!



Swing Blues 

—Rueben Gurr 

This class will focus on swing with a blues feel. All instruments and singers are welcome. With simple, easy to negotiate charts, we will sing, play, arrange and even compose a little through cool variations on the twelve bar form, as well as some classic jazz standards. During the week there will be “mini clinics” in jump blues, reggae, and R&B, for all instruments, including vocal harmony ideas.

Horn charts, lyrics, harmony parts and choreography will be supplied as well, although there will be plenty of room for improvisation. Our focus will be on the groove, but soloists will have more than their moment in the sun. There will be a session on how to “swingafy” a tune and lots of ideas for those who wish to solo through the changes. All levels are welcome.


Beginning Swing Dancing: 
The Engine of Swing

Where does the energy come from in swing dance? We're going to take some basic moves and break them down into detailed lead and follow techniques as you use your partner's momentum to make it easy and fun to swing dance. All levels are welcome.


The Jazzy Side of Songwriting

—Kristina Olsen 

Special late morning class:

This is a five day seminar that will build from one day to the next, with plenty of writing assignments and lots of fun creativity exercises.

Tanya Lewis & Toby Chernoff


Drop-In Introduction to East Coast Swing

East Coast, sometimes known as Jive or Jitterbug, is the classic six-count swing dance. If you know any swing dance steps, chances are they’re East Coast. This dance is fairly easy to learn, and our hour-and-half drop-in lessons will begin with the basic step, and then walk you through some simple moves. This is a good class to dust off the cobwebs and learn a few simple steps, or to learn from scratch. We’ll try to give students a decent repertoire of steps and variations, but we’ll also work on a solid grounding of leading and following.

We plan this class to best serve beginners and intermediates, but because these are drop-in classes (meaning you can come to one even if you’ve missed all the preceding ones) past experience tells us that the level may change a lot depending on who shows up on any given day.



Variations and Embellishments

—Tanya Lewis & Toby Chernoff

If you know the basic step, and you have a move or two under your belt, but now you'd like to start putting some style into your steps, then this class is for you. Each day we'll teach one or two small variations that you can add to your dancing to really make it swing. We'll work on some footwork variations, some follow styling, some turn variations, and possibly some basic Charleston steps, all of which will add a little variety to your East Coast swing.

We won't be teaching the basic step in this class, but you should be able to follow along if you've taken one or two of our introduction to swing classes throughout the week, or if you know the basic six count East Coast step (it's also sometimes called jive. If you do a dance that goes "rock step, step, step," chances are you're doing East Coast).


Here are the afternoon sessions for 2018.




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