- Levels Taught:
- Beginner, Intermediate
I offer lessons in clawhammer (down-picked) banjo, from basic technique to drop-thumb style, the "Galax lick," sweeping the strings, approaches to song accompaniment, use of tunings, and much more.
- Teaches students:
- Ages 10+
- Teaching since:
I am a professional musician, specializing in traditional American and Irish music and song; I can, however, also teach classical guitar and beginning-intermediate violin. My CD, "American Stranger," has received critical acclaim and I have authored two books on DADGAD guitar for Mel Bay Publications.
I taught myself guitar at the age of thirteen, but took three years of lessons at Washington University, where I also studied English and French. As an adult I became interested in fingerstyle guitar in open tunings, especially DADGAD. I am, however, happy to teach in standard tuning--including basic guitar proficiency, classical guitar, and "folk" guitar.
I have played violin since I was eleven, taking lessons until the age of sixteen and playing in both high school orchestra and the local youth symphony. I later learned to suspend much of my classical technique in order to play both old-time and traditional Irish fiddle as authentically as possible; but I still retain my initial training and apply good basic violin technique to my fiddle and (of course) her violin teaching, while tailoring it to the musical idioms of each of students.
I have also studied voice, which again, however, I have never allowed to interfere with my performance of traditional songs--largely because I had developed a traditional approach to the singing of both American southern mountain repertory and traditional Irish song many years before receiving any formal instruction. This training, however, has given me greater insight into how to get the most out of your voice for almost any style.
I also taught myself to play lap dulcimer, basing my approach on the Eastern Kentucky styles associated with Jean Ritchie, Barbara Edwards, and Anne MacFie—that is, primarily using a small dowel stick or noter to sound the melody, and playing counter-melodies for song accompaniments.
My clawhammer banjo-playing is influenced by various Appalachian instrumentalists and accompanists (including Dock Boggs, Clarence Ashley, Hobart Smith, and Lily May Ledford), but my style is also influenced by years of playing with midwestern and southern-style fiddlers.
I welcome students ages 10 or above, and have learned to adapt my teaching style to the individual student, helping each one to make the most of his or her talents and enthusiasms, while emphasizing sound technique and good practice habits.
I'm very excited about my lessons.