13th ANNUAL ACOUSTIC GUITAR WORKSHOP - ITALY 2017
31 May - 4 June 2017
Recoaro Mille (VI) ITALY
Learn Acoustic, Flatpicking Guitar with
ROBERTO DALLA VECCHIA and CHRIS NEWMAN
SOLD OUT (waiting list)
The Acoustic Guitar Workshop is a five-day residential picking workshop for acoustic guitar musicians. It is held each end of May in the scenic village of Recoaro Mille on Italy’s Alps, close to nearby airports in Venice and Verona.
Guitarists come from all over the world to create an international community of musicians, all living together and sharing the learning experience.
The non-competitive atmosphere and well-balanced program provide students with the perfect setting for learning flatpicking style, taking chances, and interacting with other musicians.
Roberto Dalla Vecchia has a deserved reputation for warmth, patience, and extraordinary teaching skills. Attendees are unanimous in their praise of Roberto, and for the quality of experience offered at this highly regarded workshop.
Don’t talk yourself out of a life changing guitar experience because you feel that “you’re not good enough.” You’ll find that the other students are just like you – crazy about the guitar and anxious to learn and play with others.
The Acoustic Guitar Workshop will take place from the 31st May-4th June 2017, don’t miss this chance to spend a few days in this romantic and historic country, home of some of the world’s best foods, wines and landscapes.
Over half of the students return every year. Come join the family!
What is the Acoustic Guitar Workshop about?
The Acoustic Guitar Workshop is all about hands-on playing. All the exercises and pieces are supported by a booklet printed in both standard and tablature notation. Attendees will be divided into two groups according to their level. All students will have classes with both Roberto and guest instructor.
Only 18 students are allowed to attend so each class is small and you'll go back home with:
* Newfound passion and renewed energy for playing guitar
* Enough homework and song tabs to keep you busy a long time
* New songs for your repertoire
* Friendships that last a lifetime
* Opportunity to jam with Roberto & Chris
The Daily Schedule
|Wednesday 31st May
2.00pm Orientation, Group Picture
3.30pm-7.00pm Afternoon Workshop
9.00pm Song Circle Night
|Saturday 3th June
9.30am-12.00am Morning Workshop
2.30pm-7.00pm Free Afternoon
9.00pm Never Ending Concert
|Thursday 1st June
9.30am-11.30am Morning Workshop
2.30pm-3.30pm Question Time with Paride
4.00pm-6.00pm Afternoon Workshop
9.00pm Roberto & Chris in Concert
|Sunday 4th June
10.00am-11.30am Morning Workshop
2.30pm Goodbye to the Next Year
|Friday 2nd June
9.30am-11.30am Morning Workshop
2.30pm-3.30pm Question Time with Paride
4.00pm-6.00pm Afternoon Workshop
9.00pm Quiz Night & Open Mic
Recoaro Mille is a small village situated at 1000 meters (3000 feet) in Norther Italy, in the heart of the Little Dolomites - an inspiring setting with spectacular views. The area provides a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, tennis, swimming, chair lift rides and more. On a clear day you can see all the way to Venice… maybe, depending on much of that local vino you have been sampling…anyway Venice is only 90 minutes away by car.
There are several picturesque towns, small villages and hamlets dotted around Recoaro which make lovely day trips, these include Montecchio where Romeo and Juliet’s castles are perched on a hill above the town. The northern tip of Lake Garda is only 90 minutes drive from Recoaro via a stunning and at times hair-raising journey across the Little Dolomites.
Verona with its ancient treasures makes another lovely day trip. A trip to Verona is like stepping back in time, thanks to its enduring medieval and Renaissance architecture. Verona's crown jewel and the centerpiece of any walking tour is the Arena Amphitheater. Built in the year 100, it is one of the world's best-preserved buildings and the second only to Rome's Colosseum.
About Roberto Dalla Vecchia
Acoustic guitar artist Roberto Dalla Vecchia succeeds in bringing together a crystalline technique and solid musical background with delightfully inspired compositions. His aptitude and dedication to the guitar have caused mentors, fellow musicians, and the public to take notice.
His six CDs have received international praise and recognition and all make marvellous listening. He is the winner of Acoustic Guitar Magazine's 2003 Homegrown CD Award.
He has made various teaching methods, has individual students, and has also gained respect as an instructor at workshops including Steve Kaufman's Kamp and the Musique Acoustique Workshop in Virton, Belgium.
He is one of the instructors for the leading online instruction company Truefire.
About Chirs Newman
Chris is an entirely self-taught virtuoso who's been obsessed with the guitar since the age of four, when he badgered his parents into buying one for him. A "brilliant English master of the acoustic guitar" (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH) and a "dazzling player” (ACOUSTIC GUITAR, USA), his work is "nothing short of brilliant" (DIRTY LINEN, USA). He is one of the few guitarists in the world who can be called a master of Celtic, European swing jazz and American bluegrass styles.
Chris has been principal guitar tutor for Newcastle University’s Folk B.Mus course since its inception and many of his alumni form the new wave of British acoustic guitarists currently to be seen gracing festivals around Europe. In addition, has been a visiting tutor at the University of Limerick, the University of Ulster and the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark. He is a regular flatpick guitar instructor and performer at Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp, held annually in Maryville, TN.
“Guitar players don’t come any better than Chris Newman... I’d blithely cross snow-capped mountains and ford raging rivers to see him play” - The Living Tradition (Scotland)
About Paride Fioretti
Paride Fioretti has been assistant at the Acoustic Guitar Workshop since day one.
A fine acoustic guitar player, Paride was first attracted by the electric guitar struck by the virtuosity of masters like R.Blackmore (Deep Purple) J.Page (Led Zeppelin) Y. Malmsteen, S.R. Vaughan. He embraced the acoustic guitar later on thanks to the meeting with Beppe Gambetta.
On Thursday and on Friday Paride will be leading a Slow Jam. This is the ideal setting for beginning - intermediate players interested in learning bluegrass repertoire and jamming etiquette, or just playing and singing music with other nice folks. It as a learning jam and mistakes are welcome.
A natural talent on the microphone, Paride will emcee the Open Mic night and the Never Ending Concert.
A sky resort in the winter, Albergo Rifugio Valdagno is located 1070 meters (3000 feet) above sea level. The place embraces history, nature, traditions and good food.
Bedrooms contain 2-4 single beds with bathroom and TV.
Bring an appetite, but don’t bring your tightest-fitting pants. The meals prepared by Chef Daniela and her crew are one of the highlights among people who return year-after-year. Daniela's personality brightens the kitchen, and she prides herself on accommodating special food needs for vegetarians.
More info at www.albergorifugiovaldagno.it
Tuition and Registration
Student Package: Workshop + Board and Lodging - € 430.00
* All Workshops (14,5 hours of instruction)
* Welcome goodie bag
* Workshop booklet
* 5 Lunches and 4 Dinners
* Wine/Beer at Lunches & Dinners
Partner Package: Board and Lodging - € 195.00
* 5 Lunches and 4 Dinners
* Wine/Beer at Lunches & Dinners
SOLD OUT (waiting list)
Reserve your space NOW!
Space is allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are only 18 slots available, a deposit is required to hold your space.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When do I check in/check out?
A. You should arrive Wednesday between 10:30 a.m. and noon. The workshop ends with Italian style ... that is with one last deliciuos lunch on Sunday at 12.30 a.m.
Q. What do I need to bring?
A. Bed linens, pillows and towels are provided by the resort. Don't forget picks, capo, strings, tuner, music stand, etc. Last but not least, bring any other acoustic instrument you have, jam sessions will be even more fun!
Q. May I audio record the classes?
A. Yes, bring a recording device and you can enjoy learning and revisiting the information all through the year after camp!
Q. I'm a vegetarian, can I sign up for the camp without the meals?
A. Meals are included in the price and we always have vegetarian options – and not just cheese sandwiches, either, don't forget this is Italy! Our chef, Daniela Braggione, is famous for her delicious meals incorporating fresh salads, flavorful sauces, and delightful desserts.
Q. Are there rooms for couples?
Q. Can I book extra nights of accommodation?
Q. What's the weather like?
A. It's usually around 70 degrees during the day, which makes the natural beauty of the mountains and Recoaro Mille even more breath-taking, but on occasion it has rained or been foggy. At night it's usually in the low 60s or high 50s. Spring weather can vary a lot in Recoaro Mille, so bring layers of clothing.
Q. What is your cancellation policy?
A. Cancellations prior to and including May 1st will recieve a full refund minus a € 20.00 administrative fee. Cancellations after that date will not be eligible for a refund.
Q. Where does the Acoustic Guitar Workshop take place?
A. Albergo Rifugio Valdagno
Via Cima Tunche 23,
Località Recoaro Mille
36076 Recoaro Terme (Vicenza)
Tel. +39 0445 77262
Q. What's the nearest airport to the Acoustic Guitar Workshop?
A. Venice airport (airport code VCE) is about one and a half hours drive (120 Km/75 miles) from Recoaro Mille, where AGW is held. Another option is Verona airport (airport code VRN), this smaller airport is about one hour and twenty minutes (92 Km/57 miles) from Recoaro Mille. From the airport you can either rent a car or take the train to Vicenza (see next question below).
Q. How do I get there?
A. You can reach Albergo Rifugio Valdagno:
1. by car: the risort is located 37 km north of Highway A4 Exit. On Highway A4 take exit Montecchio and follow road signs to Valdagno/Recoaro. In Valdagno follow signs to Recoaro Terme, after about 3 km turn left towards Fongara/strada Recoaro Mille. Drive the steep road for exactly 8,9 km and take a left onto Via Tunche.
2. by train: taking a train will get you to Vicenza. From there you can get a bus to Recoaro, but if you have had to start thinking of that option, just get in touch and we’ll arrange for someone to take you from the Vicenza area – the bus with a guitar and a suitcase isn’t a good plan.
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A personal note from Chris Downing...
Hello Acoustic Guitar Workshop fans,
Everyone has a lot of questions about a guitar workshop before they commit to attending. And it’s sometimes difficult for the organiser to describe what it is like objectively – somehow he is too close to the detail and all the organising to see the overall picture. So I agreed with Roberto Dalla Vecchia to write up my experiences of the two most recent workshops (2013, 2014) to give you an idea of what it is like (and what it isn’t, I guess!).
My name is Chris Downing and I have just retired from professional teaching on guitar and bass in the South West of England. I have attended a number of small workshops together with a trip to Tennessee to Steve Kaufman’s Kamp and the Bath Guitar Summer School. So I have a good sense of what workshops can be like.
I think the most important two elements to a workshop are the environment and the teaching. The venue - Albergo Rifugio Valdagno, the food, and the accommodation - is great for the workshop and just right for the numbers that attend. The teaching is done by Roberto and a guest, usually from the USA. It is always wonderful to get some professional teaching from someone who is playing Flat-pick guitar all the time in front of live audiences. And Roberto brings to us an Italian flavour to traditional Bluegrass, such as that played by Doc Watson and Clarence White. The lessons are interspersed with meal times of wonderful, locally sourced, Italian cooking, evening concerts, fun evenings, and late night jamming in the bar – so I hope you can see this is a great way to hang out with like-minded players and learn some new songs and techniques to take back home afterwards.
Attending the workshop was very pleasant mixture of study, practice and topped with a load of fun playing. Apart from two long lessons a day, there is plenty of time to practice what you have being taught, but perhaps more importantly for those who love to do workshops like this one – lots of time to jam with other players. You’ll always find someone at the same level as you to play along with. Of course Bluegrass and Celtic flatpicking are a great way to socialise and play at the same time. One of you plays the melody, one (or many) of you playing the backing chord-work. Fortunately the workshops on both occasions I went, had a wide variety of skill levels so no need to scramble to keep up with the fastest players getting past 250 BPM!! (I think I topped out somewhere between 180-200.)
Fun jamming goes on well into the night and last year Steve Baughman and I kept going on song after song from Bluegrass stuff to what you might call the 60’s and 70’s pop back catalogue until 2.00 AM one night and 3.00AM another night. I think we managed to keep the bar selling drinks hours beyond their normal closing time. Seems like flat-picker are hardy night-birds!
Somewhere in between the evening meals and jamming we had concerts from Roberto and Steve Baughman in 2014 and Roberto and Jim Hurst in 2013. This was a rare opportunity to see really close up how a pair of the stars of this playing style do it. Somehow being up so close feels like it rubs off and you will be able to do the same any day soon. Watching someone play this close up with an intimate audience is a whole different experience to watching the same players along with a two thousand other audience members at a ‘normal’ concert. There were twenty of us in the room!
We had an evening quiz on another night. Divided into two teams, we had to answer all sorts of musical questions to win a variety of goodies donated by the sponsors. You can only imagine how competitive everyone gets over trying to win something as small as a pick or a set of strings. So when the big stuff comes up for winning – special capos, software, subscriptions etc. – the quiz became hilariously competitive. The “buzzer” for answering the question was a bluegrass riff in G. Yes it had to be G and played real fast – I failed more than I succeeded bringing down on myself a lot of local dialect from my Italian fellow students. All I know was they weren’t saying,” Gosh Chris, how unfortunate, try that simple lick again!”
And lastly, Saturday Night is Concert Night, when it becomes open house for the workshop, friends, relatives, and local residents to come in and see us all perform. Some parts are rehearsed by us as a group, some are set pieces students have ready beforehand, and others are by visitors on the night. Both years we had a visit from a local young bluegrass band that had you believing you were spending the evening in Tennessee! It’s another late night of fun playing by everyone, as you can tell by the tired faces that appear at the next morning’s breakfast table.
Food and Drink
If you are English like me, or American, you’ll expect Italian food to be nearly all pasta with tomato based sauces, and mostly rather fattening. Well, unlike my local Italian Restaurant, we were never served Spaghetti Bolognese, Ravioli, Lasagne, Pizza, or Calzone; rather we had locally sourced food from a very wide selection of local recipes. Certainly I ate all I could, it was delicious, and didn’t put on any weight. I think the Italian food in this area of Italy is incredibly healthy and a real treat for those of us who like Italian food but usually get a very restricted British version of the Italian kitchen.
If you are vegetarian, no problem. Steve Baughman, our USA tutor in 2014, was vegetarian and just worked his way through the menus and sometimes doubled up a starter to make it into a main course. Lots of choice if you want to avoid meat dishes.
This is the area of Italy near to where Prosecco comes from so we always had something similar to that in varieties of red, rose and white (at no extra cost).
The only extra costs I incurred was in the bar where surprise, surprise, drinks weren’t free! But a beer in the bar wasn’t expensive – one Euro a glass. (And some creative varieties of grappa I never identified).
Teaching Sessions and Method
The teaching sessions take place at least twice a day - the main ones being two hours in the morning with Roberto and two hours in the afternoon with the Guest teacher – or the other way around.
The lessons take us through a variety of student level pieces and teaching. Techniques are taught as part of a piece of music we will be learning and we all play individually to have eth tutor check our progress at each stage and then we will go through it as an ensemble – line by line of TAB until we have completed the whole piece. This may later be used as part of a concert or you just add it to your repertoire. It is a very effect way to both learn new music and together with new – or the need to polish up – new abilities.
There opportunities to sit down one-on-one with the tutors and work through any problems or help with practicing things that were not in the course at all. The Tutors made themselves very available and in a small venue like this they were always close at hand.
Roberto and his guest tutor complement each other by offering up different styles, sounds, and ways of playing flatpicking music so you get a good range of sounds and dynamics from your playing.
Roberto writes and assembles a new course book for each year so every time you attend there are new challenges, new music, and new ways to play. Even though I have been a full time professional guitar teacher for the last twelve years I found the whole event very instructive, always engaging, and found new ways to teach the subject myself. So if you are a good player, don’t expect to find it all easy and familiar!
The two class groups are divided into ability levels and language – so all the lessons are given by Roberto in Italian and English and the visiting tutor usually only speaks English. But if your English is not up to much, you’ll find your fellow students will help you through everything. However if you don’t speak either English or Italian you may well struggle to keep up. But in the two years I’ve attended we have had Slovenian, Dutch, German, Swiss, British, Italian and American students. So it’s quite a mix.
Roberto is a professional Bluegrass Flatpicking guitarist based in Vicenza, Italy. He has a large number of CDs in his name and a few flatpicking books as well. He is a regular International performer across Europe. He is an excellent and professional teacher who has a large group of regular students who study with him in Vicenza. Unlike several professional performers I have taken lessons from, I always found Roberto’s lessons to be well thought out, professionally prepared, at the right level of student ability, and fully engaging. You’ll never find yourself out of your depth as a student with Roberto – or bored if you are a good player already. You’ll enjoy all your time with Roberto
Roberto always chooses a guest guitar teacher to share the load with him on these workshops. He chooses someone who has the same empathetic approach to teaching as himself
In 2014 we had Steve Baughman from California who specialised not only in flatpicking, but also introduced us to the challenges of Claw hammer Guitar an alternative tuning – “Orkney”. So this added another dimension to our learning and playing – including daily retuning – well I did say you would need a tuner didn’t I? This style was new to all of us, and what an exciting palette of sounds this opened up. We spent many happy hours learning a whole new technique of claw hammer playing alongside the Orkney Tuning that made us all sound so good – even as complete beginners. We all came away with a better understanding of how alternative tunings would give us new sounds and new ways to create drone tones and very open string melody lines.
In 2013 Roberto chose Jim Hurst to come along. Jim is old school Bluegrass and plays with a beautiful tone. And he sings mighty tunefully as well. Jim taught us how to tighten up our playing in all departments – cross picking, rhythm accompaniment, adding jazzy chords, and some soloing tricks as well. Every so often Jim would give us all a break and sing and play a song from his latest CD. A real treat in such a small group and very different to seeing Jim playing in a concert hall environment. I had some wonderful discussions with Jim about the roots of Bluegrass and he was able to explain to me the depth of the culture of Bluegrass in ways I had never understood before. Jim was a great teacher and a real treat for all of us who were there.
Students and What to Bring
Well some of this must be quite obvious – you need a steel strung acoustic guitar for a start – although Roberto did lend a guitar in 2013. You’ll also need flat-picks, some spare strings (just in case) a tuner, a pen and paper (or music paper) and you might want to bring an audio recorder with you.
Recording all the lessons and concerts is no problem at all so a simple hand held recorder would be a good idea. That means you can review all the lessons after you return home and make sure you get the maximum benefit from the days on the workshop. If you can’t so that, don’t worry. Others who do record it will be happy to send you a copy of their recordings later.
Don’t forget to bring warmer clothes than you might expect at this time of year. We are way up in the mountains and the temperature is probably ten degrees colder than down in Verona and Venice – so shirts and pull-overs are nearer the mark than just a tee-shirt. Woolly underwear however would be overkill! This is Italy in the summer!
Location and the Hotel
The Albergo Rifugio Valdagno is way up a valley road and I’d guess the Mille part of the address means it’s a thousand metres above Recoaro town itself. We are at the bottom of the ski lift in a small skiing resort surrounded by mountains. Called the Piccole Dolomiti, it is the southernmost part of the Dolomites. The mountains you can see from the steps of the hotel are about another 1000 metres higher than our location and would form a wonderful area for those partners who won’t be playing, to go walking. In this part of the mountains there are well made footpaths to take you to the very top and along ridges to make a complete circle of your walk. Don’t underestimate how far these walks might be though. They look fairly short from the hotel, but I have been assured they can take many hours to complete. If you wish to take a guide, they are available and both the hotel owner and his wife are guides.
Rooms are generally of the skiing holiday type, as this is what the hotel is used for in the ski season. Rooms have two, there and four beds and the two years I have been I have shared with two other players. Having said that, the room are fairly large so you don’t fall over each other. Frankly, I have only slept in the room as jamming has kept me playing until 2.00 or 3.00 in the morning. I had no problem sleeping after staying up that late!!
The bar area and another area adjacent to the restaurant are where all the late evening jamming takes place. But somehow the mixture of drinks, hospitality and music keeps us in the bar area until we can’t stay awake anymore. Beer and wine is very inexpensive even though this is a hotel bar.
Personally I have travelled to Marco Polo airport in Venice and taken the local travelling to Recoaro Mille from there. Don’t forget to make arrangements if you are travelling by air for your guitar. I’ve used an early booking by British Airways because you can take the guitar as hold baggage and still take a cabin case into the aircraft. Roberto tells me he has bought two tickets on Ryanair – one for him and one for the guitar – so there’s another option.
All the best,