I have played bluegrass banjo since I was 16 (I am now looking at Social Security). I have been instructing for twelve years and have recently relocated from Virginia to California. I use various teaching methods and aids and have participated in training programs with the finest banjo players in the country, including Sonny Osborne, Bill Emerson, Tony Trischka, Ned Luberecki, Pete Wernick, Jim Mills, Bill Evans, Charlie Cushman and Alan Munde. If you are interested in clawhammer "Old Time" banjo I have a program for you as well. My banjo philosophy is that while we may aspire to play banjo like Earl Scruggs, it is not necessary to be at that level to enjoy playing playing the banjo The organic simplicity of bluegrass and old time music, the repetition of components, and the strong melody lines makes entry level playing fun and rewarding. Age is is not an issue. If you have never played an instrument before, no problem. Is playing banjo something you've always wanted to do but were timid to try? Play at home, but unsure of playing with others or going to a jam? I provide a supportive environment with a program designed for you. Playing banjo is within the reach of anyone who is willing to try. *** Lesson Details *** I believe that anyone learning bluegrass should first learn the chords to favorite easy songs, and a simple way of accompanying. Playing songs smoothly in real time while using a songbook (or a fellow picker) for the words, is easy, fun, and builds a rhythmic/chordal foundation and repertoire. Easy jamming is highly recommended and will be part of the learning program. Good sounding rhythm techniques can be added easily as they are learned. Through this process, overall technique is expanded and the music sounds more interesting. Once we have the chords and rhythm, different types of soloing can be added. The easiest method is to "fake it" by just playing simple licks and rhythm techniques while following the chord changes. The next step up might be to play an exact tabbed (a form of written banjo music) basic solo, or (better) a self-composed one featuring melody. This phase is exciting to enter, and of course it creates motivation to really improve and master those solos we all want to play. Since all students come to bluegrass banjo with their own unique skills and experience - I will design a program just for you to ensure you reach you playing goals. *** Travel Equipment *** Little equipment is required for bluegrass banjo other than the instrument. *** Specialties *** 5 string Bluegrass Banjo Clawhammer "Old Time" Banjo
Teaches all skill levels
Teaching since 2010
Teaches ages 16+
Has background check
First lesson revealed a generous and capable instructor. With out hesitation I recommend Mike.
Mike has done a great job teaching me. In a year and a half, I have gone from never playing a stringed instrument, to being able to jam with friends and family. I learned basic three-finger Scruggs style bluegrass banjo, and I making moves now to become an intermediate player. I really recommend Mike. He is kind and warm-hearted, and works with you to meet you where you are and improve your game. I now know about 10 songs that I can play lead on, and I can roll or vamp as back-up on any other bluegrass song. Mike has set me up now to work with intermediate techniques. Mike will help you learn!
I have been taking banjo lessons with Mike for two months. The instruction has been really useful for me. I debated for a long time about whether or not to take formal lessons. I am so glad that I did. Mike is a very good musician and instructor. I am progressing and enjoying the experience. I highly recommend him as an instructor.