Annie Savage (M.M.Ed) has released a new Savage Fiddler Method book. “Join The Jam! A Method of Jamming for Traditional String Players” is the second installment in Annie’s educational book series. Her previous book, “The Savage Fiddler Method,” has become a popular resource and is a cornerstone of Annie’s educational method and programs.
Annie guides players to “think like a real musician.” She teaches that jamming is the fine art of playing well with others; a skill that is used in bluegrass, blues, rock, and nearly all forms of music. Jamming is the combined skill of improvisation and knowing when to play and when to not play. It is seldom taught in conventional music classrooms, and yet, is an essential component to the enjoyment of playing music.
Attendees at the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Business Conference in Raleigh, NC experienced the Savage Fiddler Method when Annie hosted a workshop during the annual event. The IBMA Education Committee tapped Annie to present her method at the conference, and her book was also available.
“Join The Jam!” expands on Annie’s first method book with a goal of giving string players a thorough understanding of thinking in terms of chords, back up and harmony parts; all in addition to teaching the licks and skills needed to play like a fiddler with authentic style and accurate technique. The book presents a variety of exercises and technique checks to guide the player in an easy, fun and interesting way. This second installment of the Savage Fiddler Method, “Join The Jam!” does for JAMMING what the Savage Fiddler Method did for PLAYING TUNES.
“Jamming is the fine art of playing well with others on your instrument,” Annie says in the book’s introduction. “It is a critical thinking skill that is a cornerstone skill for the 21st century string player to know about in order to become a well-rounded player and mentor.”
The first part of the “Join The Jam!” book focuses on creating breaks out of the melodies of several jam friendly songs, understanding licks and plugging those licks into songs. Students are encouraged to begin to craft their own style of break (or solo). The second part of the book involves several ways of getting traditional string players to think in terms of chords, using arpeggios, twin parts and ensemble work.
“An essential part of jamming is knowing how to play back up by ear so I encourage players to use the notation if necessary and then quickly learn to chord without seeing the changes,” Annie says.
Annie brings a vivacious and versatile program to the classroom and the stage. It is a popular method that she has developed over thirty years of performing professionally with a versatile range that runs from down-home bluegrass fiddler to conservatory musician. Annie began Suzuki violin before she turned 3 and she is an enthusiastic performer and teacher of a primarily Bluegrass, Celtic and Classical repertoire, believing that all of these genres have their unique place on the American stage. She is a certified Wernick Method instructor.
Annie has performed with artists including Ricky Skaggs, Aretha Franklin and Asleep at the Wheel and has produced 13 CDs. A founding member of the band Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Annie can currently be found touring and teaching with her new project, The Savage Hearts (www.thesavagehearts.com). The group released a very special new album on October 21, 2016, called Playing It Forward.
Along with string pedagogue Annie Savage, The Savage Hearts includes Kevin Slick, Kit Simon, and Bianca Bentz. The group specializes in high energy performances and providing educational outreach. Playing It Forward, includes feature spots for the band member’s own children and students of the Savage Fiddler Method right along with well-known guest fiddlers like the award-winning Becky Buller, Greg Blake, Jeff Scroggins, Ellie Hakanson and more. Playing It Forward includes songs from the Join The Jam! book which allows readers to hear professional performances of those tracks.
Annie’s desire is to bridge the gap between notation and by-ear learning and to help foster a deep understanding of musicianship in her students and through the workshops she offers. Through a conservatory background that includes graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Boston Conservatory and studies at the Berklee School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory as well as 12 years of teaching orchestra in public schools and universities, Annie has grown to believe that the ultimate joy of making music lies in a student’s ability to play and perform with others. Her teaching method and website, are designed to teach the art of jamming and improvisation with a careful eye on the development of technique.
Annie lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She claims one overriding professional goal: “Total world domination through vibrating wooden boxes!”