The Bluegrass Shack
904 Old Baldwin Road
New Athens IL 62264

E-mail Mark or call

E-mail Chris or call

Mark Raborn and Chris Talley specialize in acoustic workshops for all skill levels and all age groups. Workshops taught include banjo, ukulele, jam (group playing) and guitar workshops. Classes are taught locally at The Bluegrass Shack in New Athens, IL, and literally all across the United States! In the past two years, we have taught in Georgia, Colorado, South Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas. If you would like to have a workshop in your area, feel free to contact us and let us know what you have in mind!

Ukulele Workshops for Seniors!

Our Ukulele Workshops for Seniors are probably our fastest growing segment of workshops. These are generally taught in Assisted Living Facilities or Nursing Homes. We work with the Activity Director to set these up, and we have found the residents absolutely LOVE learning to play the ukulele. The classes run 60-90 minutes, and The Bluegrass Shack provides all the ukuleles, music, stands, etc. The facility provides tables and chairs (or wheelchairs) for the participants. There is no musical experience required, and no music reading. We have books with large, bold print and color coding. The songs we pick include folk, Americana, country and bluegrass. Most participants choose to sing along while they are strumming, but it is not required.

Click here for a soundclip from a Raborn & Talley Ukulele Workshop for Seniors at an Assisted Living Facility with 14 residents participating.

Click here for a soundclip from a Raborn & Talley Ukulele Workshop for Seniors at a Nursing Home with six residents participating.

Banjo Workshops!

Our Banjo Workshops have also been very popular. One of the things that sets Raborn & Talley Banjo Workshops apart from others is that both Mark and Chris co-teach the workshops, and every workshop is custom tailored to the skill level of the participants and their desired goals. We teach in both large group and small (split) group formats. We also work individually with one or more participants as needed or desired. Previous workshops taught have included both one and two-day workshops, and have covered topics such as:

* Back-up
* Playing in a Group/Jamming
* Creating Your Own Breaks
* Basic Music Theory
* Harmonic Chordal Scale & Application
* Rolls & How To Use Them
* Chord Forms for Major & Minor Chords
* Left and Right Hand Positions
* Complete Banjo Setup (Hands-on from the Participants)
* Improvisation
* The Nashville Number System
* Specific Tunes
* And More!

Jamming Workshops!

Chris teaches jamming classes at The Bluegrass Shack every week. These groups learn everything they need to know to play in groups, including lead breaks, backup, lead and harmony singing, jamming etiquette, chord anticipation, song structure and more! These classes are taught over several months and participants come every other week. As the songs become familiar, students volunteer to sing lead and play breaks on all the songs that are covered for that time period, and then everyone performs together at the New Athens Home for the Aged.

Mark and Chris also co-teach shorter Jamming Workshops which can be done over a one or two-day time period. Two days or more generally works best due to the amount of material that is presented. Workshops are custom tailored for the participants, and material covered depends upon the experience level of the participants.

The Bluegrass Shack


Copyright 2005-2017 by Bluegrass Shack Productions
Last updated: July 13, 2017
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