Bryan McDowell
Black Mountain, NC
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Bryan McDowell

Bryan M.

Black Mountain, NC
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Looking for someone to help you reach that next level? Whatever your stringed instrument, I can guide you there. From the rank basics to traditional tunes, to timing and tone, technique and theory, I can show you what you need to make your journey easier. Rely on my 15 years of music teaching experience to save you countless hours of bewilderment and frustration!

My journey as a musician which began at the age of 8 has now carried me to 48 states and a dozen countries, including 4 tours in continental Europe. I spent 7+ years performing, recording, and giving workshops with talented acoustic acts based in Nashville and the southeast. I am lucky to have been involved and contributed to a handful of IBMA and Grammy-nominated albums.

Increasingly, however, I turn my focus toward private teaching.
I find great joy and pride in helping a student reach their goals and surprise themselves with their own potential.
Go ahead and get in touch, and let's try a session together!

Background and expertise in Bluegrass, Americana, Country, Old Time, Swing and Jazz, etc...
Also winner of 21 championships, including 2 national titles in Winfield, KS.

About Bryan M.

In the last decade, I’ve logged a million miles and thousands of hours of playing time as a sideman for bluegrass and acoustic acts. I’ve applied my talents to award-winning projects with top artists, adding fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and often vocals, to these albums.
I've been so pleased to carry this background experience into my work as a teacher of these stringed instruments. It's such a great value to be able to answer what questions people have about the professional touring life!

When involved in any part of the musical realm, it quickly becomes evident that everyone is unique in their learning style, and we all have an equally unique set of goals for our own music.
My goal is to meet students where they are and guide them to a high level of enjoyment and understanding of the music they play. My wish is to give you a command of your instrument that you can confidently take anywhere, to any setting!

On all instruments offered, I show students new skills through tunes and songs and add new variations to exercise ability and stretch the imagination. On the way, I strive to aid and challenge the development of students' ears in light, constructive ways.
We’ll walk through the fundamentals together and go over techniques and exercises that help musicians get the most out of an instrument. We’ll listen in detail to the tone and quality of the music we produce, and adjust lesson material to the areas that will most benefit the student.
And, we’ll focus on becoming stress and tension free players, creating clear paths for the music that you mean to play.

I enjoy helping people enter new circles and find fulfillment collaborating with other musicians. These environments are where you'll have the opportunity to apply principles learned in formal instruction, and more importantly, where you get to create your own voice! Expect to hear some advice from me on being a team player...

I’m always happy to provide quality tablature and other forms of notation when appropriate and have taught many the basics of the Nashville Number System.
Yet, I do believe acquiring the skill of simply 'hearing and doing' to be a key milestone in the path to musical freedom, and I tend to devote some time to nurturing this trait. With practice and diligence, you can play anything you hear!


Write a Review
14 Reviews
Mary H.
Profile-location-online Online

Just started, but Bryan provides just the right guidance and challenge. Very much enjoying learning to play and having a great instructor!

Posted Feb 1, 2021
David M.
Profile-location-online Online

The combination of being a really nice guy and he knows what he's doing, makes having a lesson with Bryan enjoyable, informative and gives me the sense that I'm a better fiddle player when the lesson is over from when it started.

Posted Dec 19, 2020
Brad B.
Profile-location-online Online

Brian was very patient in my first lesson and strove to customize the lesson to me.

Posted Oct 24, 2020
Carmen T.
Profile-location-online Online

Oh that was great fun and I loved it. He is a great instructor. I really learned a lot in a short period of time.

Posted Mar 27, 2020
Chris H.
Profile-location-online Online

First lesson. I think this is going to be great. Super nice to work with.

Posted Jan 10, 2020
Tony C.

I am greatly encouraged by my progress. Except for the limitations of my hands, I want to continue with Bryan. Many thanks. Until January, have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Blessed Christmas.

Posted Nov 22, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Bryan elevated my guitar playing in just a few short lessons to a level I never even thought I would reach. His lessons are very relaxed and he works on what you want to focus on.

If there is a specific song you want to learn, beginner, intermediate, or advanced, Bryan has a version for you. He is an awesome teacher, a great guy, and an outstanding guitar player. Booking that first lesson with him was the best thing I could have ever done for my guitar playing.

Posted Nov 19, 2019
Profile-location-online Online

Bryan's lessons are very engaging, in depth and encouraging. Practicing/homework is enjoyable. Highly recommend Bryan as a teacher.

Posted Oct 18, 2019
Tony C.
Profile-location-online Online

Excellent. Patient. Informative. Looking forward to the next.

Posted Oct 18, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My children take fiddle, bango and guitar lessons from Bryan. He makes the lessons fun and engaging. He does an amazing job teaching them on their level, and my children excitedly look forward to their weekly lessons. He is very professional and detailed, taking the time to send videos each week for them to use to practice. We are very thankful for him, and since beginning music lessons, all 3 of my children have progressed quickly in their knowledge and love of their instruments.

Posted Apr 3, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My son is brand new to guitar, Bryan is exceptionally patient and considerate with him. I would definitely recommend him to anyone look for a great teacher!

Posted Apr 1, 2019
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Bryan is a wonderful player, teacher, and person. He is patient and methodical.

I highly recommend Bryan!

Posted Mar 31, 2019

It would be tough to find a better fiddle, guitar, or mandolin teacher. But to find all three in one person? And who knows how to introduce tough a- level repertoire and make it seem easy? Bryan is the man. Would take from him again in a heartbeat!

Posted Mar 30, 2019
Prithika B.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Jan 8, 2021

Photos & Videos

8 Photos & Videos


Private Music Instructor
May 2004 - May 2019


Touring Musician with...
Jan 2012 - Aug 2018

Claire Lynch Band, Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, Mountain Heart, Lee Ann Womack



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


IBMA Recorded Event of the Year
Sep 2017


18 Regional Instrument Championships
Oct 2010


National Flatpicking, National Mandolin, and Fiddle Championship
Sep 2009

Walnut Valley Festival

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