Colorado Roots Music Camp
Camp II


August 13-19 2023

Arrival: 4:00pm Sunday
Departure: 9:00am Saturday 


Colorado Roots Music Camp
Camp II


August 13-19, 2023

Arrival: 4:00–5:00pm Sunday
Departure: 9:00am Saturday 


Daily Instrument Classes

taught by professionals

Daily Jams & Music Circles

All Camp Harmonium

Classes Offered


Class Descriptions to come for 2023


2022 Class Examples below

Beginner Fiddle Class (one day) (Level 1) – Katie Glassman
Have you played fiddle for less than a year? Or maybe never? This class is for you. I’m going to teach the foundations of fiddling from the very start. We’ll learn a simple way to hold your bow, how to hold your left hand properly, and where to put all the stickers and guides on your fiddle. We’ll also get started on bowing and by the end of class, you’ll be making that beautiful fiddle sound, I promise! I’ll even bring some extra fiddles in case you’d like to see if the fiddle is for you.

Let’s Play Fiddle (Level 2-4) – Katie Glassman

I miss playing with people! In this class, we’ll focus on playing beautiful fiddle tunes together. We’ll harmonize, play slow and pretty, then speed it up, and stomp our feet. All the while, I’ll give you friendly tips on how to improve and get the most out of your fiddling skills. I’ll come prepared with tunes from country classics like Cindy Walker (Western Swing composer) to Texas old-time fiddle breakdowns, rags, and waltzes. After meeting one another, we’ll pick the perfect tunes to learn and spend time jamming together all week.
Swing Impro Workout (Level 3-4) – Katie Glassman
Western Swing music found its roots in country, breakdown fiddling, and jazz. The combination of these regional styles formed a unique string-based, big-band sound in the 40s and 50s, centered around the seminal Western Swing band, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. We’ll learn some twin fiddle tunes to capture the styling that gets us to the bowings and embellishments of the bands of that era, vital to capturing their authentic sound. After learning the melody and twin fiddle parts, we’ll delve into my 5 key ingredients to improvising a Western Swing solo. Practicing each “ingredient” with creativity and using guided repetition to solidify your skills, you’ll become a Western Swing improviser in no time!


5-String Banjo, Scruggs Style (Levels 1-2) – Lewis Mock
This class teaches the fundamentals of 3-finger style banjo picking. You will learn different rolls and techniques that you can combine to play over songs, some classic Scruggs licks and back-up, as well as the foundations of bluegrass style banjo playing. Bring your banjo, two finger picks and a thumb pick, and get ready to have some fun!


More Essential Country Guitar Techniques (Level 3) – Greg Schochet
We all know country guitar when we hear it, but where do those distinctive sounds come from? In this class you’ll learn how to twang, tic-tac and shuffle with the best of ‘em. Using well known classic songs as examples, we’ll look at the rhythm and picking techniques that will get you that gig on the Opry!

Swing Can Be Simple! (Level 2-3) – Greg Schochet
Do you love that swing sound, but don’t know where to jump in? We’ll build your swing chops from the ground up in this class, starting with the famous sock rhythm, learning a few new chord shapes, and some great tunes, of course.

Fingerstyle Guitar: Positively Popular Picking Patternswing Can Be Simple! (Level 2-3) – Doug Smith
Here we’ll take a look at a few popular picking patterns that have launched a zillion songs, including The Alternating-Thumb, or Travis Pick, and the 3+3+2 pick, used by Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot and many Hawaiian Slack Key players.

Fingerstyle Guitar: The Many Ways of Chord Shape (Level 3-4) – Doug Smith
Can you fingerpick a C chord? Try sliding it up the neck to the 6th position to play a beautiful sounding Fadd9 chord. We’ll explore different sounds using mostly recognizable shapes that can add color to your playing. Ability to read tablature will be helpful. PS: Not sure what the 6th position is? We’ll discuss that, too!)


Additional class descriptions to come for 2023


2022 Class Examples below

Beginning Guitar (Level 1) – Dave Firestine
Where do we start with this new instrument? At the beginning! How do we tune it? How do we hold it? What is the First Rule of Rhythm? What is the Universal Chord? We will learn common chords and see how groups of chords are used together in songs and tunes.  Our time together will focus on what will help you play with better understanding and confidence.

Fingerstyle Boot Camp (Level 2-3) – Steve Baughman
Do you ever feel your playing is stuck in a rut? Have you always wanted to try fingerpicking ?  This class will get your picking hand doing stuff that will add a new dimension to your music. We will cover some of the old standard patterns, like Travis picking, but also get into several more exotic patterns and percussive techniques that will give life and energy to your playing.

Improvising Made Easy (Level 2-3) – Rolly Brown
Have you always wanted to learn how to play lead? Improvising is not that big a deal. 99% is just showing up. We’ll start with 1, 2, and 3 note approaches to playing blues lines, exploring the importance of cadence and phrasing. then we’ll apply the same principles to folk, country, and even jazz. The foundation is all about making your guitar recall the human voice. Bring your instrument and screw up your self-confidence. Bring a recording device!

Essential Country Guitar Techniques  (Level 2-3) – Greg Schochet
We all know country guitar when we hear it, but where do those distinctive sounds come from? In this class you’ll learn how to twang, tic-tac and shuffle with the best of ‘em. Using well known classic songs as examples, we’ll look at the rhythm and picking techniques that will get you that gig on the Opry!

Intro to Django (Level 3-4) – Raul Reynoso
This class is designed to introduce you to the wonderful world of virtuoso guitarist Django Reinhardt and Parisian Hot Club Swing! Django continues to be one of the most influential musicians in history, and echoes of his music are even heard in the playing of Bluegrass legend Clarence White. We’ll learn the basic chord shapes unique to this style, and special right hand techniques to get you playing Django favorites like Minor Swing- By the end of the week, you’ll be well on your way to starting your own “Django” band.

Where Blues Meets Jazz (Level 3-4) – Rolly Brown
Come along and explore the large blurry area where these two closely related genres meet. Beginning with an exploration of how the bass line can imply chords which transform a basic 12 bar blues into a jazz progression, we’ll then see how a blues player can add a touch of jazz to his playing, and how a jazz player can increase the blues feel of certain jazz standards.

Bluegrass Guitar Boot Camp (Level 3-4) – Greg Schochet
This class is all about getting the reps in! We’ll look at the essential elements of good bluegrass guitar playing, make sure everything is in order, and drill the good habits in. We’ll give ‘em 10 on solid rhythm, smooth picking, good tone and making smart choices at the jam.

Bass Classes for 2023

Class Descriptions to come for 2023


2022 Class Examples below:

Beginner Upright Bass (All Levels) – Conner Hollingsworth
In the Beginner Upright Bass class we will focus on developing the fundamental skills that are required of a bassist to help every member of an ensemble really feel the groove and play their best. This will include developing a strong and beautiful sound, keeping rock-solid time, playing in tune, as well as understanding and hearing basic chord progressions. We will apply these skills to some timeless songs that showcase the foundations of roots music. Of course, the class will be flexible enough to adapt and benefit the needs of all who are involved.

BIntermediate Upright Bass (Levels 2-4) – Conner Hollingsworth
In the Intermediate Upright Bass class we will start to tear down obstacles in our playing by exploring what to expect in a variety of settings such as bluegrass, swing, country, and blues. We will develop a concept of authentic sound through study of the masters. By learning skills such as walking bass, slap style, basic arco, and basic soloing concepts we will learn how to really put some fire in our performances. We will apply these skills to songs that showcase some more complex harmonic progressions. The class will naturally adapt for the benefit of all.


Folk Mandolin (Level 2-3) – Radim Zenkl
In this class will learn how to accompany folk songs in several different ways. Along the way, we will cover right-hand techniques, left-hand positions, chords, backup rhythms, tremolo, cross-picking, introduction to improvising, ear training, and learn a few traditional tunes. Our goal is to enable you to join a jamming circle in a couple of days.

The Wold of Mandolin (Level 3-4) – Radim Zenkl
We will focus on bluegrass, blues, swing and Latin, featuring its typical aspects such as chord forms, strumming patterns, techniques and traditional tunes. Many of the ‘trade secrets’ will be revealed, including a step-by-step system of improving your improvisation skills, and adding some pointers for practicing after the camp.

Additional class descriptions to come for 2023


2022 Class Examples below

Mandolins (Level 2) – Dave Firestine
This excursion into the mandolin world will challenging and rewarding. I have some topics that will help you play in many situations, like efficient chord shapes, and rhythmic variations. As always, I will be assisting with the attainment of proper picking direction and techniques. On the first day of class, we will discuss our strengths and challenges; Our time together will focus on what will help you play with better understanding and confidence.

Bluegrass Basics (Level 2-3) – Steve Smith
We’ll cover the basics necessary for playing Bluegrass mandolin in a jam or in a band. We’ll start with comping (Chop) and how to texture it. (Soloing) Ideas for working up solos using melody and scales. Fills, hammer-ons Pull-offs to use anytime and how to focus on drive and momentum. Handouts included and a lot of playing by ear.

Swing Mandolin Improv Basics (Level 3-4) – Steve Smith
In this class we’ll learn a couple of swing standards and break them down to see how the chords, arpeggios and corresponding scales can be used to to build improvised solos. We’ll also explore direct melodic and rhythmic variation from within the tune itself to build solos. We may also try singing and playing it back, using the ears as a guide to improvise.

Singing, Swinging, Sliding, Writing, Performing, Theorizing, Harmonizing (All Instruments)

Songwriting (All Levels) – Abbie Gardner
Writing your best lyric, making your best song – Whether you’re an experienced songwriter or just starting out, this class will focus on exercises to inspire you along with topics such as song form and finding a great song title! Join me as we explore many tried and true techniques and tools that you can use to bring out the best in any song. Come prepared to write and play and share your work!

Beginning Dobro (All Levels) – Abbie Gardner
Love the sound of the lap-style slide guitar but not sure where to start? This class will get you set up and playing by the end of the week! We’ll find our way around melodies and chords in the most commonly used lap style open tunings. If you don’t have a square neck resonator guitar, you’ll need to bring a regular guitar to temporarily “convert” to lap style playing. “Nut raisers” will be provided. It may also be helpful to get a solid metal slide bar (the most common is a “Stevens” bar), though there will also be some to borrow.

Music Theory (All Levels) – Lewis Mock
A little theory can help you understand what you are playing, what you just played, or what you want to play. It’s simply a way to use words to understand the music you are hearing in your head and to use those words to get the music out of your head and into the world. Scales, Arpeggios, chords….. just names for stuff you already hear. Let’s learn some of these words so you can get this music out!!

Find Your Voice (All Levels) – Cindy Scott
This class will give you a much better understanding of the voice as its own instrument. You will learn how to develop more power and control throughout your range OVER TIME, but there are likely to be some instant improvements, as well. We will cover how that invisible thing actually works, and what you can do to improve range, flexibility, and power. We will focus on some common issues vocalists worry about: vocal strain, singing through your “break” and much more! All levels welcome.

Parts is Parts: Singing Harmony (All Levels) – Cindy Scott
Using some basic games designed to help develop your ear, we will explore the wonderful world of Harmony! You will learn how to find harmony parts on your own. We will sing in two parts, three parts, maybe even four parts! We’ll all work together in class to compose parts so that we can show off what we learned at the student concert on Friday! All levels welcome.

Jam Classes & Informal Jams

There will be jam classes and a lot of spontaneous jamming during the camp, so join in as they are big fun. If you’re a newbie and experiencing the (unfounded) “Jam Fear” that everyone does, don’t be intimidated. Everyone experiences Jam Fear when they start, if they have any sense. At first it may be a little scary, but it’ll soon turn into a lot of fun. Some reasons you might hesitate:

  • “They’re going to hear me mess up.” No, they’re all busy trying to do their own thing. Very rarely in the average jam does anyone even hear the stuff you’re doing, since they’re worried about their own.
  • “I’ll make mistakes.” Yes, you will, as everyone does, and if you’re not beating the daylights out of your instrument, you’re the only one who will hear them.
  • “I’ll be put on the spot.”  No, in a jam, you can always choose to hang back. If anyone calls on you to take a solo, a shake of your head is a perfectly legitimate response.
  • “I can’t keep up.”  Maybe so, maybe not. If you can’t, you can still play the chords or notes that sound OK to you as the music passes by.

The fact is that just like that cold water, it’s sometimes a bit scary to jump in the first time, but once you’re used to it, you’re telling everyone that they should jump in; what a bunch of weenies! Please, give the jams a try which may include: Swing Jams, Slow Jams, Bluegrass Jams, Acapella Jams, Honkey Tonk Jams or Old Time Jams.

Jam Classes

Fiddle Tune Jam:  All Instruments, (All Levels)
Roots is all about playing together! At this jam we will play tunes from many traditions but focusing on familiar tunes. Do not be surprised if we try some French Canadian and Irish tunes. In reality, the focus of this jam will be decided by You, the jammers! Let’s find a groove and ride it!

Registration Fees

Online registration opens one year prior to the retreat.

Online registration opens one year prior to the retreat.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the coronavirus guidelines be?

  • Covid-19 vaccination required by all participants & staff (uploaded in advance).
  • Negative covid-19 test results provided within 3 days of arrival (uploaded in advance).
  • If enough tests are available, camp may request 2nd covid-19 test upon arrival.
  • Mask wearing is “strongly suggested” and we ask that we all respect each others’ choices regarding masking, distancing, levels of participation, etc.
  • Hand washing or sanitizing is “strongly suggested” before entering line. Hand sanitizer is available at common used space like microwave and/or juice machines, coffee.
  • Take advantage of larger class room locations or meet outside

What is the Charlie Hall Scholarship Fund?

As the founder of Colorado Roots Music Camp, Charlie Hall was a trail blazer in bringing quality music instruction to the Pikes Peak region. In pursuit of this, he also gathered informal scholarship money to support younger students who were unable to financially afford attendance at Roots. In recognition of this forward thinking approach to growing young musicians, the Charlie Hall Scholarship Fund was officially launched at the end of the June 2018 camp. Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp (RMMC), which has been home to Roots since its beginning in 2006, has taken the opportunity to continue Charlie’s outreach by formalizing the scholarship. As a 501(c)3, RMMC is able to offer a charitable receipt for contributions to the scholarship fund. GO DONORS!


  • How to give: Donors can support the next generation of musicians by writing a check to Roots Music Camp earmarked “Charlie Hall Scholarship Fund” and sending to: Roots Music Camp, 709 County Rd 62, Divide CO, 80814. Donations accepted by credit card as well by calling the camp office (719-687-9506).
  • Who my apply: College age and younger (age 25), preference to first time campers.
  • How to apply: Contact the Colorado Roots Camp Office by email at ([email protected]) for application details.
  • Scholarship amount: Full Registration for Chalet, Rustic Cabin or Campground accommodations. Commuters too!
  • Number of scholarships: As funds allow for student interest, our goal is for 1-2 scholarships per camp session. Unfortunately, if there are no donors, there is no scholarship. Again, GO DONORS!
  • Awarded Scholarships: Scholarship applications will be reviewed and awarded by the Colorado Roots Music Camp Leadership Team.

Do you have wi-fi or cell phone reception?

A wi-fi signal is available in most facilities. Because of camp’s remote location and limited availability of high internet speeds, video or music streaming is not available. With cell phone reception limited at main camp, a land line phone is available in the office foyer of the Dining Hall/Lodge. Ridge accommodations (Eagle’s Nest, Rocky Ridge, Sky-Hi-View, Solitude Center) have limited service based on individual carriers.

What foodservice is offered? Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?

Camp is pleased to offer a great selection of food choices which include a main dish option, vegetarian option, salad (lunch & supper), and dessert (lunch & supper). Cold beverages (water, orange, apple, grape, crabapple) and hot beverages (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) are also provided.

As much as possible, the camp will accommodate dietary restrictions. An option will be given to list all of your dietary restrictions during registration. We cannot accommodate dietary preferences.

RMMC is not a peanut/nut free location since we serve a variety of campers and guest groups utilizing their own kitchen facilities.

What should I bring to camp?

  • Warm casual clothing (sweatshirts, jeans, etc.)
  • Light coat/jacket
  • Rain gear
  • Cap or hat for sun protection
  • Comfortable hiking shoes or boots
  • Warm sleepwear
  • Bedding is only required for chalet and rustic cabin accomidations unless requested as a part of online camp registration
  • Bathroom items (soap, shampoo, towel, etc.)
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle
  • Money for Trading Post: Roots Camp
  • Camera
  • Instruments

What should I NOT bring to camp?

  • Pets (large or small)
  • Firearms
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Illicit drugs
  • Marijuana
  • Dirt bikes
  • Firework
  • Four Wheelers
  • Drones

How can I prepare for altitude and weather at camp?

ALTITUDE – Camp’s elevation is 9,620 feet so it is important for campers and guests to take time to adjust to the high altitude. About one in four visitors to Colorado suffer from acute mountain sickness, the mildest form of altitude illness. Common symptoms include headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue and dry throat. Things you can do to minimize or avoid altitude sickness include:

Drink plenty of water before and during your time here to prevent dehydration.
Avoid strenuous exercise (hiking, jogging, etc.) and salty foods when you first arrive.
A good first night’s rest is very helpful in giving your body time to acclimate.
If coming from sea level or low elevation, a day or night spent in Colorado Springs (6,035 ft) will help allow your body more time to adjust to the change in altitude.

SUNBURN – The sun is more intense at this altitude so be mindful of how quickly sunburn can occur. Use adequate sun protection including sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) or clothing (long sleeves, hat or cap) for outdoor activities. Reapply sunscreen periodically throughout the day as needed.

SUMMER WEATHER – Each day offers a sample of the seasons: spring in the morning; summer in the afternoon; fall in the evening. Even winter can be represented in early June with snow! Rain and hail storms can also come at a moment’s notice just to keep things interesting. Being prepared with appropriate clothing is the key to enjoying the variety of weather the Rocky Mountains offer!

WINTER WEATHER – Colorado winter temperatures range from -10°-0°F at night to a high of 35°-45°F during the day. Because of low humidity (8-10%) temperatures feel like 45°-65°F. Sunshine makes all the difference with an average of 300 days of sun per year. Clothing items to bring include: warm winter coat, snow pants, gloves, snow boots, and hat.

PATHS & WALKWAYS (WINTER) – Be aware that paths and walkway conditions (especially on slopes) are a direct result of changing weather conditions (snow, melting & freezing temperatures). While the camp will do its best to remove snow and spread gravel, we need your help to take care and caution as you walk.

WINTER DRIVING CONDITIONS – Be aware that road conditions are a direct result of changing weather conditions (snow, melting and freezing temperatures). While we plow the road to camp and to facilities, plan for the conditions to be snow packed and slick. Four-wheel drive vehicles and two-wheel drive vehicles with chains or bands are recommended.

LOST & FOUND – Any item left behind by a guest will be kept for two weeks and then donated to charity.

QUIET HOURS – In consideration of others, noise should be kept to a minimum between 10:30 p.m. – 8:00 a.m.

SMOKING – RMMC is a smoke free facility. Smoking is only permitted in the outside designated areas, and only when a fire restriction is not in place. Every precaution must be taken to prevent a forest fire.

What are your creation care practices?

STREAMS & POND – Please keep the mountain streams clean and do nothing that would pollute them. While clean, it is unsafe to drink from the stream and pond.

TRAILS – Please stay on trails and roadways when hiking. This allows the plants to maintain a strong root system and prevents the fragile hillsides from eroding away.

TRASH & RECYCLING – Litter should be put in trash receptacles to maintain the natural beauty of the mountains. Recycling bins are located in the foyer by the Dining Halls and in cabins with kitchens or kitchenettes.

WILDFLOWERS, TREES, & ROCKS – Please do not pick wildflowers or other plants. Leave natural and historical objects in their place for others to observe and enjoy. Standing trees, living or dead, must not be cut or carved. Rocks are not to be rolled or thrown from high places or thrown at any time.

WILDLIFE – Please enjoy wildlife from a distance and leave wildlife alone in their habitat. Do not leave food outside for animals of any size (chipmunks, foxes, deer, bear) for your safety and theirs.

Do you have to be Mennonite to attend camp?

While teachings during the retreat are Bible-based and from a Mennonite perspective, campers of all faiths are respected and welcome to attend.