Instructors 2021

Adrian Gross – Mandolin

Adrian’s mandolin workshop will cover everything you need to take your playing to the next level. All aspects of good mandolin playing will be covered – proper pick technique, playing with confident rhythm, building a jam-ready repertoire and most importantly, how to play with fellow pickers. We’ll also work on adding tremolo and double stops to bring life to your breaks and how to start improvising over tunes we know. Off we go!

Adrian Gross was born in Montreal, lives in Toronto, and has been playing music all his life. As one of Canada’s most sought-after mandolin players, he has developed a reputation for his inventive playing and unique voice on the instrument, always with one eye to the tradition and one looking forward. With the Slocan Ramblers, Adrian has performed at music festivals across North America, from MerleFest to RockyGrass, and has been nominated for Juno and IBMA Momentum awards. Adrian is also a highly regarded instructor, having taught at Old School Bluegrass Camp, RockyGrass Academy, Nimblefingers, and more.

Darryl Poulsen – Guitar

We will be learning about rhythm and lead bluegrass guitar playing. Rhythm guitar is fun and can shape how an entire band sounds. We will work on variations and different styles of rhythm guitar playing to help expand your repertoire. We’ll also work on flatpicking techniques for fiddle melodies, bluegrass instrumentals, and breaks to vocals songs. There will be lots of jamming and playing along with bluegrass songs so we can apply these techniques. There will be opportunities to sing too!

We’ll also work on tempo and techniques while playing slow and fast. You’ll  learn various ways to practice to a metronome to improve your timing, tone and leads. There will be some hand-outs (Tab) but we will learn a lot by ear. We will also be listening to some of the great lead guitar players such as Clarence White, Tony Rice, Doc Watson and others.

Darryl Poulsen was born in Alliston, Ontario and began avidly playing guitar at a young age. He studied jazz at Humber College under the tutelage of Ted Quinlan and Don Thompson, during which time he was awarded for his outstanding achievements. Since then, Darryl thoroughly immersed himself in Toronto’s music scene, making a name for himself as a guitarist, both acoustic and electric, who is highly sought after as a performer, session artist, and teacher (Rockygrass, Nimblefingers, Camp HeHoHa, Northern Lights, Old School Bluegrass Camp). Well versed in a variety of genres, Darryl found his true passion in bluegrass and has garnered a great deal of success with the international touring band, the Slocan Ramblers (2019 Juno Award Nominees, 2019 IBMA Momentum Award Nominees, 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominees). The Slocans have been winning over audiences from Merlefest to RockyGrass, and everywhere in between.

Bluegrass Banjo – Guy Donis

In this class we’ll work on Scruggs, melodic, and single-string styles–and how to integrate them easily in your playing. We will also work on a better understanding of the instrument (how you think about the instrument s is as important as the way your hands are moving).

We’ll also address the following common questions from banjo students:

  • Why am I playing better at home than in a jam?
  • How can I feel less nervous playing with others?
  • How can I play faster?
  • And any of your suggestions will be very welcome!

Five-string banjo virtuoso, Guy Donis has toured and recorded with numerous bands including Notre Dame De Grass, Trio De Guitares De Montreal, and Montreal Symphony Orchestra along with his own projects. He has been nominated for Canadian Folk Music Awards for his solo work and with Notre Dame De Grass, and for an Independent Music Award for his last Solo CD “Roots, Risks & Rêveries.” He has been part of two international banjo compilations: “Banjo Influences” and “Magic Banjo”.

Guy has been teaching for over 30 years privately and at music camps and colleges throughout Europe and North America.

Chris Coole – Clawhammer Banjo

Chris Coole got his first banjo when he was 17 years old after falling in love with the sounds of folk and early country music. Today, Chris is known internationally for his clawhammer banjo style, songwriting, and singing. Coole is a sought-after teacher of both banjo and guitar at workshops and festivals across Canada and the U.S.  His teaching approach is featured in the instructional DVD “The Elements of Clawhammer Banjo” (Woodhall Music). Chris is a founding member of many Ontario Bluegrass Bands including One Horse Town, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, and the Lonesome Ace Stringband among many more. He has released several solo albums and performs regularly with Ivan Rosenberg and David Francey as well as backing up several all-star folk and bluegrass performers.

Fiddle – John Showman

With over 20 years of professional performing and teaching experience, I believe that the way to sound your best is to build your playing and technique one dedicated, small step at a time. In my years as a player, I’ve learned that all fiddle playing is comprised of simple building blocks that anyone can learn, with patience and practice,  and I can teach them to you. Whether you’re just starting off, or are an expert player looking for new directions or techniques, I can help you find what you need to take your playing to the next level and beyond. John has performed in bands such as New Country Rehab, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Lonesome Ace Stringband and many more. He performs regularly with Tom Power.

Bass – Sam Allison

Sam Allison is a gifted teacher of stringed instruments.  His students include Kerri Ough of The Good Lovelies and Tim O’Reilly of the Barrel Boys.  He has been featured on recordings with many Canadian artists such as Sarah Harmer and John Southworth.  Allison attended the Humber Jazz Program for Double Bass and has performed and taught all over the world.  From engagements with the Danish Royal Family to the City Jazz Festival in Istanbul, Allison’s presence is always musical and delightful.