Ilkley Guitar & Voice Retreat

Simon Mayor & Hilary James
Workshops for voice and song accompaniment for guitarists

16th – 18th September 2016. The Craiglands Hotel, Ilkley, W Yorks

Simon and Hilary will be offering these two concurrent workshops in the delightful location of The Craiglands, a grand Victorian hotel, offering extremely comfortable accommodation and set in six acres of beautiful grounds on the upper edge of the beautiful spa town of Ilkley, just below the famous Ilkley Moor. The hotel is about 15 minutes walk from Ilkley station, and approximately 30 minutes by road from Leeds/Bradford Airport. There is free wifi and full disabled access.

Pictures of Ilkley and The Craiglands appear to the right. The weekend will run from approximately 5.00pm on the Friday to late afternoon on the Sunday.

Bookings & fee

The fee for the weekend is £395. This includes all tuition, entrance to the Saturday evening ‘Simon Mayor & Hilary James’ concert, full board from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon (breakfast, buffet lunch, three course evening meal, unlimited coffee, tea and soft drinks during the day. The kitchen will cater for special dietary needs; please let them know in advance.

Please use the booking form to secure your place. We ask for a 50% non-refundable deposit and the balance three weeks ahead of the event.

Booking Form

Bringing a friend?

If you’ll be attending as a couple and sharing a room, or if you’d like to bring a spouse or friend who will be sharing your room but not attending the course, please use the contact form to request a special rate.

If you have any other questions please contact Anne Jones on 0118 926 8615.


Information for guitarists

(scroll down for singers)

What Will I Learn As A Guitarist?
Simon MayorIt’s too easy to get stuck in a rut with song accompaniment, tied to familiar chord shapes and using the same old basic right hand fingerpicking patterns. The aim of the weekend will be to explore innovative ways of accompanying even the simplest of tunes by finding alternative chord shapes, harmonic substitutions, innovative bass lines, new right hand patterns and techniques, and even learning when a couple of bars of silence can add a huge amount! Matters of technique will be covered too: basic right and left hand positions, tone production and variation, and any other points as they crop up. Simon will also touch on the dreaded subject of music theory! To have a solid understanding of this is a great springboard to innovation, and hopefully it will be demystified to a large extent over the weekend.

The weekend will also be a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and to learn to play as an ensemble. Hilary James’ vocal workshop will be covering some of the same material, and the two groups will marry at the end of the weekend for a grand concert – playing to an audience of themselves!

Music (in both standard notation and tablature) and MP3 sample files will be sent out in advance so you can acquaint yourself with the melodies. Above all, the weekend is meant to be a fun, relaxing time, and the amount of preparation you put in is entirely up to you – there will be no exam!

The approach will not be geared to any one musical genre, but the emphasis will be towards strong melodic material. Please feel free to make audio recordings of the sessions.

What Style Of Guitar Should I Play?
The course is aimed at acoustic guitarists using standard guitar tuning (EADGBE). The bass string may drop to D for the odd piece, but the realms of open tunings will be avoided. We’ll be covering both fingerstyle and plectrum (so please bring one with you).

How Good Do I Have To Be?
While all are welcome, it does help if you are already able to change chords smoothly and are familiar with the simple right hand ripple patterns for accompanying songs. It also helps if you have a reasonable knowledge of how to read either guitar tablature (easy) or standard music notation (a steeper learning curve but worth the effort). In short, it’s aimed at the ‘improving’ or intermediate level player. If you feel you’re less experienced than this, you may still benefit by absorbing the concepts discussed – even if your fingers won’t do the necessary just yet; indeed, many find the group experience itself very rewarding.


Information for singers

The Workshop
Singers of all abilities are invited to join singer and musician Hilary James in this relaxed weekend of vocal delights. Enjoy the pleasure of singing either with a group or solo as you discover the potential of your own voice. Explore a variety of vocal genres from folk to blues, jazz, ballads, sea shanties, lullabies, comic songs and more.
Hilary will be working largely ‘by ear’ with simple, improvised vocal harmony but, for the more experienced, written parts for some songs will be available.
As well as singing a cappella the group will team with Simon Mayor’s guitarists for some joint pieces.

About Hilary James
Hilary James has received enormous acclaim for her singing, easily crossing the great musical divides from folk ballads to blues and Berlioz. Played on radio everywhere from to Latvia to Los Angeles she’s also famed for an unusual taste in bass instruments including her giant mandobass… and she might even manage a step-dance if the wind’s in the right direction. Her recordings have featured in the Radio 2 playlist as well as the annual Sunday Times Best Ten World Music Albums list. 

Hilary James‘One of Britain’s finest voices’
BBC Radio 4

’Evocative virtuosity and faultless singing’
The Daily Telegraph

‘The voice and range of an angel’
Blues Matters

Hilary’s website is at www.folksong.co.uk


Booking Form

 
The Craiglands Hotel

The Craiglands Hotel

Wharfedale

Wharfedale from Ilkley Moor

Cow&Calf

The Cow & Calf rocks

Ilkley-in-bloom

Ilkley in bloom

Hotel

Looking east from Ilkley Moor

The-Old-Bridge

The Old Bridge