Teaching

The Bee Eaters believe that music belongs in everyday life; a cultural expression in which all may participate.  As sought after music educators, they are committed to sharing their collected musical knowledge, acting as mentors to many promising young players and helping to motivate a new generation of acoustic musicians.

Through the freedom of self-directed homeschooling, all three Bee Eaters were encouraged and nurtured to always learn what they loved most, eventually leading them down a life path of music.  Bee Eaters’ co-founders Tristan and Tashina Clarridge began learning violin at age two, (studying baroque music from Rob Diggins and fiddling styles from Megan Lynch) and have spent the past two and a half decades immersed in a broad range of rich musical learning environments, both as students and as instructors.  Introduced early on to the life-changing experience of music camps, they studied from luminaries such as Darol Anger, Alasdair Fraser, Mark O’Connor, Bruce Molsky, Natalie MacMaster, and many other purveyors of the traditions of bluegrass, jazz, Swing, Appalachian old-time, Celtic, classical, Scandinavian and Indian music.

Together and individually, The Bee Eaters have instructed numerous times at Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conferences and at Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, as well as many other conferences and camps, including their own.  They have been featured guest instructors at The Berklee College of Music, led workshops at many notable music festivals, universities, elementary, middle and high schools, and taught hundreds of community workshops and private lessons throughout the country.

Tristan and Tashina co-founded the Shasta Music Summit, a project now in it’s 9th year which unites masterful acoustic innovators from around the globe with the next generation of acoustic musicians for a series of workshops and all-star concerts, driven by a bold vision of strengthening the interwoven connectedness of music, community, and culture.  Watch a short documentary about the Shasta Music Summit here.  Visit the homepage of the Shasta Music Summit here.  Visit the homepage of Shasta’s sister project, Big Sur Fiddle Camp, here.

 

SETTINGS IN WHICH WE TEACH

The Bee Eaters are able and willing to customize a workshop to fit any length and nearly any situation.  Here are detailed descriptions of some common workshops we offer.  Please email us if you have any questions or if you’re interested in discussing a Bee Eaters teaching visit.

 

General community music workshops

The Bee Eaters offer workshops aimed at bringing music back into people’s everyday lives, and/or bringing our take on music to folks already deep into it.  Since music is for everybody, we welcome the chance to work with all levels of players and all instruments.  We offer instrument specific instruction for fiddle, cello, percussion, singing, bass, mandolin, guitar, hammer dulcimer…  Players of any other instruments are welcome, and encouraged.  We don’t have to play the same instrument as you to share music together.

We teach traditional (and contemporary) melodies from bluegrass, old time, celtic and pop music repertoire, then use them as vehicles for exploring improvisation, group playing, rhythmic concepts, accompaniment techniques and harmony, as influenced by student interest and skill level.  We hope to open up avenues for people to connect with each other musically; to open their ears further and freely communicate through the language of music.

 

School presentations/assemblies

The Bee Eaters offer school presentations, adaptable for any age student.  We understand the current challenges of funding music in the schools, and we will do our best to work with any budget.

A typical 1 hr visit includes playing for the class, offering a stylistic sampling of many musical traditions and cultures including our own arrangements of recognizable pop melodies, then showing how these influences coalesce to form the group’s own original sound.

We take questions from students and teachers about our band, the music, and our rather unusual combination of instruments, share experiences of life and music on the road, then engage students in hands-on participation, creating music all together by tapping and clapping rhythms and singing.

 

School music class visits

The Bee Eaters have instructed as guests in many University, High School and Elementary school settings.  We play together for the class, offering a stylistic sampling of musical traditions and cultures, including our own arrangements of recognizable pop melodies, then show how these influences coalesce to form the group’s own original sound.

We share samplings of recordings that inspired us musically, with the goal of broadening the student’s palette of musical awareness and influence.

We then take questions from students and teachers about the band, about practicing and becoming a musician, and about our rather unusual combination of instruments, and our traveling lives.

We then engage students in hands-on learning, first exploring rhythms, memorizing a melody vocally, then playing and arranging it collaboratively on our instruments, while offering instrument specific techniques to individual students, as dictated by level of skill.

 

Tristan Clarridge- cello workshops

Cello is an instrument capable of much more stylistic versatility than classical music often gives it credit for.  A five-time Grand National Fiddle Champion and sought-after touring cellist, Tristan Clarridge is at the forefront of a cello revolution, helping to define new places for the instrument amongst folk music of all sorts.  The past decade has seen a massive folk cello revolution, with cello finding its place in many genres such as bluegrass, old-time, celtic, jazz, folk and new acoustic music, both as a lead and accompaniment instrument. We’ll use our time to explore music in general, with the cello as our versatile lens, and as directed by student interest. We’ll learn traditional and newly composed tunes from bluegrass, old-time and other traditions, and use them to explore groovy rhythmic accompaniment ideas, improvisation, and technique. We’ll listen to inspiring recordings, and explore concepts to improve our timing, intonation, bow control, and quicken our musical ears.  We’ll focus some attention on collaborative playing – i.e. how to make music with others, finding a role for the cello in any stylistic setting. Fiddlers and any other instrumentalists are welcome to participate, or to just listen. All ages are encouraged, and all music will be taught by ear.

 

About the hammer dulcimer

The santur (early hammer dulcimer) is a struck chordophone and is considered one of the most ancient musical instruments in the struck chordophone family. The hammer dulcimer family includes the Romanian Cymbalom, Greek Sanduri, Turkish and Indian santurs and English hammer dulcimers. In China one finds a hammer dulcimer called a Yang-Chin. The santur is found in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Kashmir and India. The name santur means (san meaning “100″ and tur meaning “strings”). It is debated whether the name maybe of Akkadian or Aramaic in origin. Both the Assyrians and Babylonians have records of the existence of the santur since 669 B.C.