For 15 years, blues musician and producer Hugh Pool has aided bands both big and small in their search for the perfect sound at his North Brooklyn studio, Excello Recording. And this weekend, he’s opening his doors to the public, during a “Rock Facilitator” spring weekend.
“When you reach a certain point it becomes your responsibility to pass on accumulated knowledge,” the longtime Greenpoint resident told the Gazette.
As a multi-instrumentalist who has performed all over the world with the Hugh Pool Band and duo Mulebone, Pool is a dedicated artist and master of his craft.
For those music enthusiasts looking to glean some of the insight he’s gained over the years, Pool’s offering two workshops: A “Bottleneck Classic Slide Guitar Workshop” and another class cheekily titled “Getting’ Yer Act Together on the Guitar (even if you only have 15 minutes every other day).”
The “bottleneck classic” is a three-hour intensive group lesson on Saturday, covering “the main tunings for Delta and Chicago slide-blues guitar.” This class is for intermediate players, and Pool says that around half of the attendees so far are regularly performing his artists.
The second guitar class, which will be held on Sunday and still has one or two spaces available, is geared toward more casual guitar players (as the name suggests) who might want to learn some new exercises, and even a new way of approaching their practice routine.
“It’s about finding a way to fool yourself into making the mundane interesting,” Pool said. “I’m able to make a stupid game out of things, and I think I can describe that to people with a set of exercises.”
He compares his strategy to the way that athletes build up their aerobic systems so they get more out of anaerobic activity. To that end, he wants to teach musicians how to overcome the pain of playing, from aching fingertips to bad posture. A former lacrosse player in college, he likes the idea of “educating the whole man.”
The curriculum has been a work in progress. One of the first lessons he gave was in a Hong Kong bar, and he’s since opened his studio for a few more workshops over the past three years. In the future, he’d like to expand the program and possibly offer three seminars a year. He also envisions adding more classes to the program, like workshops on taxes and songwriting for musicians.
Pool said it can be difficult to monetize workshops in an age when even his 14-year-old son turns to the Internet for free lessons. But he’s aware that the people who come to him are seeking a more personalized experience.
And the “Rock Facilitator” weekend isn’t just about classes: Pool will also play a solo concert with new, unreleased material on Saturday night.
“I could DJ the whole night playing unreleased stuff,” he said.
On Sunday, he’s hosting a yard sale of sorts, selling off guitars, keyboards and other gear.
Pool concedes that the recording studio scene in North Brooklyn has changed a great deal over the years (“there are now 60 studios instead of three”), but he’s tapped his creative side to keep coming up with new ways to “keep the dream alive.”
“I just have too much s***t,” he said bluntly about the garage sale. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Visit the Rock Facilitator website for more information: www.rockfacilitator.com.
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