Catherine Bowness

Catherine B.

Allston, MA

About Catherine B.

Background check: Last verified 02/16/2016
Catherine passed a background check on 02/16/2016 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
  • County/State Criminal Record Check
  • Sex Offender Registry Search
  • SSN Trace & Verification
For more information, please click here.
Catherine teaches: Ages 5 and up
Special needs
Teaching since: March 2010
Last sign in: Last week

Overview

I've been playing the banjo for 13 years, beginning in my hometown of Marton, New Zealand. I very quickly fell in love with the instrument and have spent a lot of my time practicing, performing, teaching, recording and collaborating with other musicians ever since. As a teenager, I was given the opportunity to travel to the United States where I attended banjo camps and got to study with some great banjo players (Tony Trischka, Noam Pikelny Alan Munde). In 2011, I graduated from the New Zealand School of Music with a BMus, majoring in Jazz Performance on the banjo. I moved to Boston shortly afterwards to pursue a career in music and have kept a busy teaching schedule privately in Boston and worldwide via Skype. I also perform throughout the United States with my bluegrass band, Mile Twelve. I'm very thankful to have met a wide spectrum of different people while teaching the banjo and am always eager to meet more people who are interested in learning and sharing this great instrument. Please say hi if this sounds like you!

N.B If you can't see an available lesson time that suits your schedule please send me a message. My availability changes weekly depending on my touring schedule so I may have just the spot for you.

~ About the lessons
I structure my lessons so students learn what they want to learn, while also building strong technique and a knowledge of the bluegrass banjo repertoire. Topics we will cover include Scruggs style, melodic style, single string technique, transcribing, arranging tunes, music theory and jamming or playing well with others.

We will start with talking about how to hold the banjo, tuning the banjo, playing with fingerpicks and how to read tablature. Then we will work through your first tunes in the bluegrass style gradually learning more tunes with harder techniques such as slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs etc. I take into account each students interests and goals so we will work on specific songs you request or licks you'd like to learn. You will have slow, medium and fast recordings of each tune we work on in the lessons as well at the tablature for that tune.

Photos and Videos

Mile Twelve live at Club Passim.

Experience

Music Performance

Oct 2014 - Present
Mile Twelve

Performed throughout the United States, Canada and Ireland with Boston based bluegrass band, Mile Twelve.

Private Banjo Lessons

Jan 2010 - Present
BB's Banjo Studio

Private Banjo lessons from my home studio and online via Skype.

Banjo group classes

May 2015 - Jun 2015
Club Passim Music School

Beginning and Intermediate group bluegrass banjo 6 week classes.

Saturday Music classes for children

Mar 2010 - Oct 2010
Wellington Music Center

Saturday morning group classes for children aged 5-9 learning the ukulele.

Education

Bachelor of Music - Jazz performance on 5-string banjo

Feb 2009 - Nov 2011
New Zealand School of Music

Languages Spoken

English

Fluent / Native Proficiency

Certifications

NZSM Alumni

Feb 2012
New Zealand School of Music

Awards

1st place in Bluegrass Banjo

Sep 2015
Freshgrass Banjo Contest

1st place in Bluegrass Banjo

Jul 2006
Uncle Dave Macon Days Banjo Contest
Write a Review

8 Reviews on Catherine B.

Silhouette-80
Mary Jun 8, 2016
Banjo · In home
Verified Student
BB is a great teacher. Her lessons focus allow me to start playing tunes right away. It provides immediate satisfaction to be able to make music with a new instrument.
Silhouette-80
Matt R. Jun 3, 2016
Banjo · Online
Verified Student
Great instruction.
Silhouette-80
Barbara Feb 20, 2016
Banjo · In studio
It is rare to find a great banjo player who is also a great teacher, but BB is the whole package. I have been studying with BB for about 3 years and have been impressed with her ability to craft lessons tailored to my learning style and abilities. She somehow manages to make the most of our time, whether I have practiced daily with a metronome or barely picked up the banjo. She is always prepared, attentive, patient, motivating, and wise about what will help me progress. She has a vast well of musical knowledge and teaching techniques to draw on in her lessons. BB is a truly gifted and generous teacher.
Thumb_56c4b159b7d76_review_Sapient_Headshot_FlorenciaBalsiero_lowres
Florencia Feb 17, 2016
Banjo · In studio
BB is such an amazing teacher! I started playing the banjo for the first time about 4 months ago and thanks to her I feel like I've really come a long way. She's enthusiastic, patient, eager to help and just a fun person to be around! I always look forward to my banjo lessons, her love for the instrument is contagious. I'm so glad I found her and absolutely recommend her as a teacher!
Silhouette-80
Ken Feb 16, 2016
Banjo · In studio
Catherine is a wonderful teacher with amazing patience trying to teach this old dog new tricks. She is very professional, yet caring and interested in my development as a musician. I usually leave the lesson enthusiastic to try new exercises, lessons and ideas. She is also a wonderfully accomplished working musician, and enjoys sharing what she's learned through her own experience. I highly recommend her.
Thumb_56c3b77086e1f_review_WIN_20150725_162325
Tim Feb 16, 2016
Banjo · In studio
I've been fortunate enough to work with BB for about a year and a half now. I'm sure if not for my busy home and work life she'd have me sounding like Earl Scruggs. Because she is so versatile herself in just about any style of banjo picking- Scruggs, melodic, clawhammer, traditional, modern, bluegrass, jazz- she can relate to the needs and struggles of pickers from all backgrounds and knows how to gently and encouragingly push them in the direction they need to go. There was a time that finding such expert instruction was difficult in the Boston area, but the ever increasing bluegrass scene has attracted some of the most talent players to the Boston area and for my money BB is at the top of the list.
Thumb_56c38edc75cdd_review_Cantab%20close-up
Ed Feb 16, 2016
Banjo · In studio
Catherine (aka BB!) has been my banjo teacher for about two years. During that time, I have made tremendous progress and have developed a real passion for the banjo. She is first and foremost an incredibly talented player herself and importantly, banjo is her main instrument versus other teachers who are, for example, guitarists who also play banjo. Banjo is its own thing and in my view this matters a lot!

BB teaches at the level of the student and has been very patient and encouraging with me especially at the beginning I struggled through more complicated passages and ideas. She is also flexible about both the "curriculum" (i.e., she is comfortable with the student helping to set direction) and the pacing and timing of lessons, which is great for me because I can't always commit to a set schedule.

Best of all for me have been the results. I have now gotten to the level where I can easily sit in with and contribute to pick-up jam sessions, and I have even performed a number of times with a group I formed. I would highly recommend BB as a teacher for anyone interested in learning the banjo!
Silhouette-80
Michael Feb 16, 2016
Banjo · In studio
I can't believe the stroke of luck that befell me in finding BB. With little musical talent, a horrible short-term experience with another banjo teacher a decade earlier, and no idea how to hold a banjo, I happened upon her two years ago. While it might be possible to find other talented banjo players who profess to teach, BB is—in fact—a fabulous teacher. For those of us who need a teacher who has a process, who can look at our individual learning needs, and be good humored and patient, she’s the one. My biggest worry in writing this review is that she will have a bit less flexibility with a larger teaching load, but if that mean more aspiring banjo players benefit from her talents, so be it.
Previously Viewed