2023 Targhee Music Camp Instructor Bios

Joe Craven – Pursuits of Possibility

Joe Craven’s “Pursuits of Possibility” Class

We are offering this “Pursuits of Possibility” class with Joe Craven for advanced beginners to thriving intermediates who want to up their game in composition, jamming and improvisation. This class will be open to all instruments and will focus on special topics of creative process “Joe-style”; “Songetry” (intro to lyricism), Improvisation (preparing for whatever may come) Rhythm Boot Camp; (the importance of where notes go over what notes you choose) and more!   Joe will get you thinking and feeling music-making in new ways in this fast paced, jam driven class. There will be a limited number of seats in this class.

About the class

How do you make satisfying music informally a) in the moment, b) in composition and c) with different arrangements to suit the intention or performance setting? Want to jam confidently with folks you’ve never met, and/or say something different every time you take a solo? Joe will introduce frameworks for “intuitive improvisation” in music based on what you already do, show you different ways to look at and interpret existing tunes or songs and how to jam successfully in groups with varying levels of ability.

It’s all informally learned and without paper. There is no jazz theory requiring advanced mental or technical skills. Joe connects these sessions to what you already do as a person moving and communicating through a typical day. He then moves the class forward from there, connecting movement and sound to working with what you already know, (which is more than you think).

This course will take a three pronged look at:

  • Movement; rhythm as a priority over note choices.
  • Soloing; how to have what you say mirror the way you improvise speech.
  • Incremental learning; how to practice music anytime/anywhere without an instrument in your hands.

Joe will introduce applying spontaneity in string band settings with both rhythm and melody. Joe connects your improv skills you already possess in speech and physical movement to your music. The important goal is to stay in the music and keep playing – even if you don’t have familiarity with the music being played. You will learn the value of particular skills as a footbridge to absorbing, retaining and expressing music both in singing and through your other instruments. The key is less attention to WHAT you’re saying – and more about HOW and WHEN you’re saying it!

Joe Craven Bio

After 35 years in the biz, Joe Craven wears a lot of hats; instrumentalist, vocalist, music producer, actor, storyteller, visual artist, carnival barker, noisemaker, fashion insultant, former museologist and creativity educator. He enjoys ‘playing forward’ folk tradition and process by mashing ideas and sound tools from a variety of unexpected places creating new music altogether.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Joe has made music with Jerry Garcia, David Lindley, Alison Brown, Howard Levy, Vassar Clements, Rob Ickes and many other innovative artists. As an award-winning educator, he has taught with jazz vocalist Inga Swearengen, bassist Victor Wooten, children’s music innovator Paul Reisler and jazz percussionist Jason Marsalis; been a featured artist/educator in the PBS television Music Gone Public series, and created music and sound effects for commercials, soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy-nominated projects.

Joe is the Executive Director of Vocáli Voice Camp and RiverTunes Roots Music Camp in California and he’s presented at numerous schools, universities, music camps and the American String Teacher’s Association. Joe is a keynote clinician at Wintergrass in Seattle and a coast-to-coast Master of Ceremonies, having emcee-ed at a wide variety of music festivals, including DelFest, Telluride Bluegrass and our own Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival in 2019. A recipient of a Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year Award and a Swannanoa Gathering Master Music Maker Award, Joe has consecutively taught for over a decade during our Fiddle Week and also teaches creative process during Contemporary Folk Week. From Carnegie Hall to street corner busking around the world and back – Joe’s at home and loving every minute.

“Everything Joe touches turns to music” – David Grisman