Traditional Music Courses

UL Lafayette, Spring 2017

Ragin' Steppers (zydeco ensemble) at Blue Moon Saloon, December 2015

Don’t read music?  No problem! All of our hands-on courses are taught by ear. If you are not accustomed to learning by ear, prepare to add a new facet to your musicianship.

UL student?
Counting toward Music Minor: AMUS 115, MUS 327, 329, 331. Cajun & Creole Studies Minor: AMUS 160 (Sec 1 & 2), MUS 327, 329, 360. ARTS Gen Ed Requirement: MUS 360

Not currently a UL student?  
Visit http://universityconnection.louisiana.edu/ or contact University Connection, 337-482-6729 to learn how to enroll.

 

Songwriting - MUS 319
Mon & Weds 1-2:15pm, Sam Broussard, Instructor

Maybe you’ve been playing music all your life and wondered what it would be like to write a song. Or you’ve been writing songs on your own and never had anyone else help you with them. Or you’ve been writing lyrics but not music or vice versa.

Instructor Sam Broussard left Louisiana in the 1970s with a major label contract and a reputation as a guitarist; he eventually returned home with equally impressive songwriting skills. In addition to his exquisite singer/songwriter releases Geeks (2000) and Veins (2009), Broussard wrote the regional hit “Bon Rêve” for Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys (for whom he plays lead guitar), and says that he “once lived a year off of royalties writing for Eurostar Stephan Eicher.” His most recent project is Broken Promised Land (Swallow Records), an album of ten original songs in French that he co-wrote with Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet, recently retired folklorist from UL Lafayette.

Prerequisite is a basic knowledge of music theory (Music 308 or permission of instructor after the first class meeting) and ability to perform your work at least to some extent. Class counts toward music minor and as a music elective for music majors.

Traditional Musics of North America - MUS 450 (G)
Tues & Thurs, 11:00am-12:15pm, Mark DeWitt, Professor

This course will focus on Native American music, old-time Appalachian music, and blues. We’ll ask: who made them, how they came to be, how they are put together musically, how they have been passed on, and what has become of them in our modern (and post-modern) world?

Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt holds the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music. He is author of the book, Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California (2008) and a contributor to The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More! (2012)

Intermediate Cajun Fiddle - MUS 328
Tues & Thurs, 9:30 – 10:45, Kevin Wimmer, Instructor

This class is for students who have completed Beginning Cajun Fiddle, those who can already play several tunes, or those who are otherwise proficient on the violin. Kevin Wimmer is a veteran fiddler from a musical family and studied with Dewey Balfa before going on to play with Balfa Toujours and the Red Stick Ramblers. He currently performs with Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

Beginning Button Accordion - MUS 329
Tue & Thu, 2:00  – 3:15pm, Chad Huval, Instructor

If you have a button accordion in the key of C and are wondering what to do with it, you are ready for the Beginning Button Accordion class. Some loaner instruments are also available. Please contact Dr. Mark DeWitt, dewitt@louisiana.edu, for more information. Instructor Chad Huval teaches at the Brazos Huval School of Music, plays in the Huval Family Band, and is starting his own accordion-building business.

Individual Instruction – AMUS 115
Prerequisite: group instruction class or by audition; $135 fee

Drew Simon, Cajun accordion instructor

Nathan Williams Jr, zydeco accordion instructor

David Greely, fiddle and vocals instructor

Private lessons for full-time students who have already advanced through group instruction or on their own. Lesson fee applies for non-majors. 1 credit (½-hour lessons) or 2 credits (full hour).

Traditional Music Ensemble - AMUS 160

All sections of this class require an audition. If you sing or play a melody instrument, please have two contrasting songs to play, such as one fast and one slow. For accompanying instruments, the teacher will play a couple of songs and ask you to accompany him. Please also bring your course and work schedules so that we can schedule the rehearsal time. Sign up for a 10-minute audition time by phone (482-1020) or email (dewitt@louisiana.edu). All ensembles meet two hours a week for one credit unless otherwise notified. Regular rehearsal times will be set after auditions for all groups.

 

Cajun Music Ensemble - Roddie Romero, Instructor
Auditions: Date and time TBA

UL Lafayette students who play violin, accordion, or guitar: here is your chance to play Cajun French music for credit. Singers and other instruments are welcome.

Instructor Roddie Romero taught himself the accordion and became a professional touring musician while still attending Lafayette High School. He inspired the “Roddie Romero Bill” in the Louisiana State Legislature, allowing minors the right to perform in adult venues if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Since then, he and his Hub City All-Stars have gone on to earn a Grammy nomination and tour the world, even as they continue to thrill audiences at home.

Zydeco Music Ensemble - Nathan Williams Jr, Instructor
Auditions: Date and time TBA

If you already play accordion, rubboard, electric guitar or bass, drums, or another instrument you’ve seen with a zydeco band, try out for the Ragin’ Steppers, our zydeco band for credit.

Nathan Williams, Jr. has a degree in jazz performance from UL Lafayette and fronts Lil Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers. They have released six CD’s and were nominated by “Offbeat Magazine” for best zydeco artist and album. He recently released a video of a performance at Festival International de Louisiane.

Bluegrass Music Ensemble - Len Springer, Instructor
Auditions: Date and time TBA

UL Lafayette students who play violin, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, dobro or guitar: here is your chance to play bluegrass music for credit. Singers welcome.

Instructor Len Springer is the leader and fiddler for the Louisiana Purchase Bluegrass Band. Their most recent CD is Story to Tell. Len toured widely with several Nashville-based artists including Brenda Lee, Donna Fargo, Ronnie Reno and Ray Price. He also worked as a staff fiddler for Top Tracks demo studio in Nashville. He was the founder and director of the South Louisiana Bluegrass Association, Inc.

Blues Ensemble - Corey Ledet, Instructor
Auditions: Date and time TBA

UL Lafayette students who play electric guitar, bass, drums, trumpet or saxophone, come and try out for our newest ensemble. Singers welcome.

Instructor Corey Ledet is a versatile musician who plays la-la, zydeco, and rhythm and blues. He and his band were nominated for a Grammy award in 2013. His latest CD is entitled Destiny. He has also performed with the group Soul Creole and was featured in the En Français: Cajun & Creole Rock and Roll project, performing “Hey Joe” (Jimi Hendrix), “Roadhouse Blues” (The Doors) and “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder).

B.A. in Music with a Concentration in Traditional Music

Visit the UL Lafayette and School of Music websites to learn about the Traditional Music Curriculum.

If you are interested in becoming a traditional music major, contact Dr. DeWitt.

The mission of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music is to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the foundations and diversity of traditional music worldwide and to advance the preservation, instruction, and performance of traditional music with an emphasis on traditions that have developed in Acadiana. 

For more information, please contact:

Mark DeWitt
337-482-1020
dewitt@louisiana.edu