We are a group of Brookline parents and kids that learn and perform traditional bluegrass and roots folk music in an ensemble setting.  Our goal is to create an engaging and enjoyable experience that develops musical skills, nurtures the love of music, and builds community. 

 

Each family jam session consists of a 60 minute class proceeded by a 30 minute "snack and tune" time.  This allows everyone to unpack their instruments and get settled for the class.  The three instructors begin the lesson by performing a song and teaching everyone to sing the tune.  The class then divides into smaller groups (fiddle/cello, guitars, and ukuleles) to review and play the song independently.  

 

After learning the instrumental version of the song, the class practices the song as a group.  Each class concludes by reviewing past songs and listening to next week’s melody.  While a “learning by ear” approach is used to teach the class, videos, sheet music and lyrics are provided to support the educational process.


Our jam sessions are hosted by members and fueled by a table of potluck goodies, which minimizes the costs and maximizes the fun. 



 



















Muddy River Ramblers - Village Fair 2015.mov


INSTRUCTORS

Mia Friedman (Violin/Fiddle)

Born into a musical family, Mia started playing violin and singing at an early age.  She has her roots in Americana and old-time Appalachian traditions, and blends this with contemporary experimental music in her compositions.  In 2012, she graduated from New England Conservatory.  

Mia is an active composer, performer, and educator. Mia and Ari (Mia’s sister) produced their first album “Unruly Hearts” in 2011, which featured grammy-nominated Sarah Jarosz.  Their second album, “Land On Shore” was released in 2013 and the most recent album "Out of Stone" was released in July of 2015.
Mia's song “Across the Water” won the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the folk category.

Katherine McShane (Cello)
Katie McShane is a creative cellist based in Boston, MA.  A versatile improviser, dedicated educator, and engaging composer, she conveys a message with unique personality in all of her work.  She is the leader and co-leader of three projects which actively tour and record - "Lichen," "Every Kim Parcell," and "Kateboard" - as well as a member of the Italian pop orchestra “Tredici Bacci.” Katie holds a B.M. from Ithaca College in Music Education and is currently pursuing a M.M.  in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory while teaching at Conservatory Lab Charter School in Dorchester, MA.

Stash Wyslouch (Guitar)
A recent Berklee graduate, Stash has studied and played with some of the best musicians in different respective genres ranging from Bluegrass, to folk music, to rock and jazz.  Stash toured nationally and internationally with the band "The Deadly Gentlemen" fronted by Greg Liszt, banjo player of the band Crooked Still.  The band's 2013 album is "Roll Me, Tumble Me."  His first solo album "Stash!," released in August of 2015, is a powerful collision of heavy metal, bluegrass and country.
OUR STORY

The idea for a multi-generational group music class began with a conversation between Kate Risse and Rob Guillemin, two Brookline parents with children learning string instruments.  In August 2012, both families attended an exhilarating week at Maine Fiddle Camp, learning songs in small groups, performing on stage, and enjoying some of the best traditional music around.

There was something special about the traditional music experience. It's driving beat and circular patterns energize dancers and engage musicians of all inclinations and capabilities. The music's connection to foot-stomping, hand-clapping, sing-out-loud enjoyment is direct, immediate, and inescapable.  We wanted to keep the experience alive for ourselves and our families without having to wait for another 11 months.

Luckily, two instructors from Maine Fiddle Camp were very enthusiastic to co-lead an ensemble of mixed ages and various string instruments.  By October, a six-session course was created and group of Brookline parents and their children were on their way.  The experience surpassed everyone's expectations, opening a new path for families and neighbors to connect and learn together, while creating a deeply fulfilling musical experience.

Ever since, we've organized Family Jam group-classes each fall and winter/spring season.  We hope that you join us on this musical journey by visiting one of our lessons.
MUSICAL GOAL

The goal of this course is to develop musical skills in an enjoyable, fast-paced, participatory manner.  We also want to build a supportive musical community by being inclusive and welcoming.

To these ends, the music repertoire focuses on traditional bluegrass and old time traditional music, including Mountain and Celtic genres.  These simple, cyclical melodies cater to many skill levels (from easy base lines to fancy ornamentation), offering a great forum for children and parents to develop their varied musical talents together.

The traditional music format also lends itself to a variety of string instruments, including fiddle, cello, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.  We even have several ukuleles players and an intrepid recorder performer.  At the end of the six lesson course, a recital is scheduled to show off our new songs and celebrate our growing skills.