Joe Craven – Topical Class

Joe Craven’s Topical Class

We are offering a “topical class” with Joe Craven for advanced beginners to thriving intermediates that want to up their game in jamming and improvisation. This class will be open to all instruments and will focus on special topics with Joe, who will share his musical insights in a jam driven class. There will be a limited number of seats in this class.

About the class

How do you make satisfying music informally a) in the moment, b) in composition and c) with different arrangements to suit the intention or performance setting? Want to jam confidently with folks you’ve never met, and/or say something different every time you take a solo? Joe will introduce frameworks for “intuitive improvisation” in music based on what you already do, show you different ways to look at and interpret existing tunes or songs and how to jam successfully in groups with varying levels of ability.

It’s all informally learned and without paper. There is no jazz theory requiring advanced mental or technical skills. Joe connects these sessions to what you already do as a person moving and communicating through a typical day. He then moves the class forward from there, connecting movement and sound to working with what you already know, (which is more than you think).

This course will take a three pronged look at:

  • Movement; rhythm as a priority over note choices.
  • Soloing; how to have what you say mirror the way you improvise speech.
  • Incremental learning; how to practice music anytime/anywhere without an instrument in your hands.

Joe will introduce applying spontaneity in string band settings with both rhythm and melody. Joe connects your improv skills you already possess in speech and physical movement to your music. The important goal is to stay in the music and keep playing – even if you don’t have familiarity with the music being played. You will learn the value of particular skills as a footbridge to absorbing, retaining and expressing music both in singing and through your other instruments. The key is less attention to WHAT you’re saying – and more about HOW and WHEN you’re saying it!

Joe Craven Bio

Joe Craven is not just an entertaining musician with a penchant for the mischievous, he is a teacher and student all at once and he will draw you into his performance by including you as though you’re part of the show itself. His gift of gab is unprecedented and his musical knowledge impressive. Joe’s openness and expression of gratitude for the gifts he’s acquired make it all the more fun for him to share them with his audience.

Creativity educator, former museum curator, visual artist, actor/storyteller, event emcee and recipient of the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year, Joe has made music with many folks – notably violinist Stephane Grappelli and Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia – to multi-whirled string guy David Lindley, harmonica wizard Howard Levy and seven years recording and touring with banjo fusionist Alison Brown.

Always looking for the next expression and object to make music with, Joe is a musical madman with anything that has strings attached; violin, mandolin, tin can, bedpan, cookie tin, tenor guitar/banjo, mouth bow, canjoe, cuatro, CBG, berimbau, balalaika, boot ‘n lace and double-necked whatever. Joe has created music and sound effects for commercials, soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy-nominated projects. An educator for over twenty five years, he has presented at well over 100 schools, universities, civic and community groups. He has paneled at the American String Teacher’s Association, is a keynote clinician and a co-director of the youth academy at Wintergrass in Seattle for over ten years. Joe is the Executive Director of RiverTunes in California and a coast to coast Emcee of a variety of music festivals, including Delfest and the 40th Telluride Bluegrass.

Whether a presentation to folks in Costa Rica, corporate heads in Contra Costa, CA, Goodwill Industries, The United Way, young men in a juvenile detention center, families in homeless shelters, a university lecture in Washington, jamming with Gnawa musicians in Morocco, on stage at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli, or on stage with an angel food cake pan in front of thousands of school kids in Scotland… no matter who and what Joe’s connected with, he’s at home and loving every minute.

‘Everything Joe touches turns to music,’ says mandolinist David Grisman, with whom Joe played for almost 17 years. No one who saw Joe wring a percussion concerto from his garbage-bag raincoat during a downpour at the Strawberry Music Festival could disagree.