The attached video clip is of a Riverside Folk Session guitarist playing a flat picking version of a Johnny Cash tune, Walk the Line.
Riverside Folk sessions train aspiring young minstrels to perfect their instrument skills in the context of playing in a group. Throughout our ten week program, we give them the tools they need to learn many traditional folk tunes. Just as in speaking and writing we must memorize quotes in order build up a vast storehouse (in our imagination) of phrases, words, imagery, and ideas, so too in music, the minstrel must memorize many tunes and musical phrases to advance in his abilities.
At Riverside, our pedagogy is to inspire the minstrels by revealing to them how the tunes sound when played in a band setting. We also record the songs live and film our sessions when the group is ready. They look forward to these magical moments of music. The parents tell us that they go home and play in the kitchen or in the living room, and want to form their own folk bands. This is exactly what we are hoping for!
Riverside Folk has a unique mission: to prepare the young to play their instruments, steep them in the tradition of American roots music, bring the music back home, and start their own groups.
A pedagogy which links skills and knowledge to end goals–goals that are rooted in reality–is a vital part of the whole vision of Riverside. When education is divorced from culture, when it is mere skill building or preparation for further academics, it loses its impact on the young. When they experience the tangible result of their work, they see with more clarity its importance, and their ability at an early age to give of themselves through what they have learned.
If you can imagine this pedagogy applied to writing and speaking you will understand the great impact our Tutorial will have on boys in particular. Please see our posts on the Tutorial to learn more about this deeper way of learning.