Music in Your LifeMusic is the most abstract of our arts and is often poorly understood. From the Pythagorean pentatonic scale to diatonic modes and the elements of modulation, from Afro-Latin rhythmic claves to Celtic and Balkan dance rhythms students learn that our planet's music is one unending weave of fabric. Each ethnos a thread and each culture a knot worthy of study.
Chris Caswell has been respected as a performer and teacher throughout the United States and Europe for over three decades. He has become known for his depth of knowledge and his ability to strip away unnecessary mystique through straightforward mechanics. During a lesson, a student will typically receive a bit of technique, theory, some new repertoire, and maybe a little acoustics or historical lore.
Group and Individual SessionsChris's main instruments are the Celtic harp, the Scottish bagpipes, Irish pennywhistle and flute, the Irish bodhran (hand drum) and Scottish snare drumming. General classes include Rhythmic Repair, Guerilla Music Theory, and Pibroch Choir.
When possible, lessons are set up with a minimum of one individual and one group session per student per month. This balance of private and group attention has evolved over several years to provide each individual with his or her own path of growth while developing a support group to keep motivation high.
NEW! Online and Skype lessons allow for unprecedented opportunities to take up an instrument. Sign up here and Chris will contact you to schedule lessons and go over the details.
The Celtic HarpA renowned innovator and composer for the harp, Chris music is intrinsically Californian, displaying not only his Celtic roots, but Latin American, pan-European, and Middle Eastern as well. The harp is a nearly ideal instrument with which to study the construction of scales and the use of modes. Its haunting voice was born in the bronze age, yet is completely contemporary.
The Highland BagpipesThe pipes have always been used for times of celebration. Few instruments can compete with the Scottish pipes for emotional immediacy and dramatic effect. This oft-maligned instrument is the direct inheritor of an ancient musical tradition pre-dating modern Europe. The power and subtlety of its dronal music, plus its appeal in the form of pipe bands, makes it particularly attractive for teenage pupils.
Mentored by master players Donald MacPherson and Donald Shaw Ramsay, Chris has played and taught pipes for over 35 years.
Flutes and WhistlesThe rich sound of a 19th. century wooden flute or the simple tinwhistle combines with the elusively free spirit of Irish tunes to create a surprisingly deep and expressive music. A great instrument for learning of the freedom within limitations.
Chris began touring professionally in 1976 with Robin Williamson and His Merry Band, predominately playing whistle.