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Flatpicking champ to hold workshop, concert

Music teacher Steve Kaufman will be in Albany this November for an all-level flatpicking workshop and concert.

Music teacher Steve Kaufman will be in Albany this November for an all-level flatpicking workshop and concert.

ALBANY, Ga. — Three-time National Flatpicking Champion and world-renowned music teacher Steve Kaufman will come to Albany Nov. 2-3 for an all-level flatpicking workshop and concert.

Experienced and would-be musicians will have an opportunity to learn guitar flatpicking from the man who has received gold awards since 2002 from Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s reader’s poll for running the best workshops, seminars and camps.

“I finished my (annual) two-week summer camp (Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamps) in June, and I usually start my (workshop) season in August each year after the camp in Maryville (Tenn.),” Kaufman said in a phone interview. “I just got back from a series of events in Europe — did workshops in Italy, Croatia and other countries — and I have a number of workshops planned all over the United States.

“I’m pretty much working every week somewhere around the world. I try to set each workshop up as an annual event, so when I do a show at a new place, I go ahead and book for the next year as well. This is my first time coming to Albany.”

Registered participants will be evaluated by Kaufman during the Nov. 2 workshop session, which will be held from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. at the Merry Acres Events Center on Dawson Road, while the 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Nov. 3 session will cover core picking skills and techniques, repertoire and building blocks for growth.

Kaufman will perform in concert at 8 p.m. on the second.

Musicians on all levels should benefit from the workshop conducted by the man about whom Bluegrass Unlimited magazine wrote, “As a professional guitar teacher, Kaufman has perfected his teaching skills as much as his picking technique.”

Already a budding musician, the teenaged Kaufman picked up an album by bluegrass greats Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, which, incidentally, featured flatpicking great Doc Watson, and he was instantly hooked.

He was selected among the Top 10 at the National Flatpicking Championships in Winfield, Kan., in 1975 at age 18, and two years later he finished second to Mark O’Connor. In 1978, at age 21, Kaufman won the first of his titles and by rule had to wait five years before competing again.

He returned when eligible, and in 1984 won his second crown. When the championship eliminated its rule barring past champions for five years in 1986, he returned and won an unprecedented third national title.

Kaufman has been offering private lessons for more than 20 years and has an instructional catalog with more than 100 items of written material. He’s also recorded 19 instructional DVDs and videos and has conducted seminars and workshops around the world.

Fee for the Albany workshop is $90, but enrollment is limited. Enrollment and general information is available by phone at (229) 869-2498 or (229) 347-9728 or by emailing tbishop@jsmithlanier.com or mdykes@mchsi.com. Tabs and music paper for the workshop may be downloaded for free at www.flatpik.com.