NixWorks Academy Zoom Classes and Workshops

NixWorks Academy Classes and Workshops

What students are saying:

Michael’s approach is straightforward as he provides a clear explanation of the music theory and its hands-on application on your instrument. Barry/guitar

I’m getting real benefit from these sessions. The introduction of learning theory along a horizontal axis has made concepts much easier to understand. Richard, guitar

Thank you for your great work. I definitely would recommend your class. Yenna, uke

Thank you so much for your terrific teaching. Katie, banjo, guitar & Robert, mandolin

Slow Jam Class with Michael Nix, Winter/Spring at Lava Center for the Arts starts 1/29/2024

Slow Jam Class is offered for adult players who would like to learn how to successfully play music with other people in a coached group setting. Each person brings or suggests a song or instrumental that they would like to play with the group. We only go as fast on that song as the person suggesting it can play. We have played everything from folk tunes, Beatles, classic rock, fiddle tunes, bluegrass and blues. We have a lot of fun while putting some good playing skills in place. It’s a great environment to work out everything from basic strumming with others to beginning soloing strategies. Drop ins are welcome.

Classes take place at LAVA Center for the Arts, 324 Main Street, Greenfield, MA, on alternating Monday evenings from 7:30 to 9 pm.

Class Dates:


Tuition is by sliding fee donation from $5 to $25 per class. Donations can be made at each class, or for a number of classes ahead of time. Donations can be made at:

Venmo: @NixWorks

PayPal: @NixWorks

Or by Check: Send a check made to Michael Nix, NixWorks, to Michael Nix, NixWorks, PO Box 400, Greenfield, MA, 01302.

Register by calling, email (mnix at, text message, FB message.

Register on line by clicking on the Banjar image: BanjarPhoto_tiny

Slow Jam Class is a coached slow jam session once a week for acoustic instruments (guitar, banjo, mandolin, uke, fiddle, etc.) that is structured so that everyone who participates will successfully learn the skills to play music in a group setting. These classes are structured with the adult player in mind. I will offer my coaching and guidance in the class.

Class overview:

-- The class will run an hour and a half.

--Each person will suggest a song to work on. You may submit a pdf or a hard copy to me, and I will distribute to the class by pdf, which can be printed and looked over before the first session. When we play a person’s song, we go only as fast at that person can handle playing the song. We work on making that person successful in playing both melody and chords. Of course you will have to expect that there are different levels, and not everyone may be able to keep up with a more advanced person’s song, but we can talk about strategies to deal with that. The important thing is that the person who brings a song will determine the speed and complexity of what is played. That way everyone will find some success. As the class progresses we may agree on a bonus song or two to include in the sessions.

--We will work on musicianship within a group, how to listen to one another. How to keep track of what is going on, how to get back on if you get lost. How to shape phrases when you play melody, and how to keep your dynamics soft and support the melody when you play chords. Using dynamics and articulation to shape melody and phrasing.

--For those who are improvising, we will work on very simple improvising strategies. We will work on accompaniment patterns, fills, and solos.

--For those of you who are arranging, we can hand out parts and try out your arrangements in a live setting.

--Each student will be responsible for bringing a folding music stand, and their own music printed from the pdf’s provided.

Music Theory for Plucked Strings with Michael Nix, Starts 2/8/24

NixWorks Academy
Music Theory for Plucked String Players with Michael Nix
A Hybrid Class – In-person or on Zoom.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Michael Nix teaches an overview course on fundamental music theory for plucked string players laying out the concepts of scales and chords along a string and across the fretboard rather than the traditional keyboard centric presentation. The course will not utilize classical notation. Any instrument - guitar, banjo, mandolin, etc. -with a G string is welcome. Each session will cover an hour of material. A great way to introduce your self, or fill some of those holes in on your basic theory skills! A PDF of the session materials will be sent upon registration.

• Session 1: The rudiments of music
A graphic overview of music theory, the musical alphabet, half steps and whole steps, sharps and flats as functions, the Chromatic scale, enharmonic equivalents, and chromatic scale fingering considerations for fretted instruments.

• Session 2, Major, Minor Scales and Modes
The tetrachord, Scale formulas, the diatonic rule, how to generate a major scale in any key along a string, modes, the minor scale, folding the scales across the strings.

• Session 3: Triads - 3 note Chords and the V7 chord
Chords as vertical structures, deriving triads from the major scale, names of the chord members, deriving the seven chords in a major key, identifying chord qualities, adding the 7th to the V chord for maximum tension, doubling notes to derive plucked instrument chord shapes, folding the triads over across the strings.

• Session 4: Tension and Release, I, IV and V: The "Three Pillars of Harmony"
Tension in music, melodic tension, harmonic tension, the relative tension of of I, IV and V, common chord progressions using and how they work, simple song forms based on I, IV, V progressions.

Level: Skilled beginner (6 months) on up.

Prerequisite: Any instrumentalist is welcome to participate. Your instrument should have a G string as all of the basic concepts will be laid out along this single string. You will be best prepared for this class if you have had some beginner lessons, and can play a bit of melody and G, C, D chords on your instrument with some facility. You do not need to know how to read music, but it may help your understanding of the system of music.

When: Thursdays in February and March 2024
2/8/24 Session 1
2/22/24 Session 2
3/7/24 Session 3
3/22/24 Session 4

In Person: NixWorks Office, LAVA Center for the Arts, 324 Main Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
Zoom: A link will be sent upon registration.

Price: Four 1 hour sessions
$140 for the four class session
Payment may be made by Venmo, PayPal, or Check.

In Person by email : mnix at nixworks dot com

Register on line by clicking on the Banjar image: BanjarPhoto_tiny

Zoom Registration form:

Michael Nix taught Music Theory at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, MA.

Michael Nix performs on classical guitar, Banjar, banjo, and mandolin, throughout the United States and Asia; has recorded for the PBS series, "American Experience," several independent documentaries, numerous CD projects; and his compositions are performed internationally. His music has been heard on "Weekend Edition," and other NPR programs. His new solo Banjar album of compositions and commissions, Aperçu was released on PARMA Recordings Big Round Records and distributed by NAXOS.

A banjo innovator, Nix designed the Banjar; a modern seven nylon string banjo combining elements of the five-string banjo and classical guitar; bringing the classic finger-style banjo of the late 1800's into the twenty first century. His instrumentals, songs, and compositions draw from classic finger style banjo and guitar, infused with folk, jazz and world music traditions.

NixWorks website:

Michael Nix and New Classic Banjo Project performance site:

NixWorks accepts registration payment through PayPal. Thank you!

For Bookings or More Information

Contact Michael Nix