Morning Classes

All music classes held 9-12 am at the Cowan Elementary School. Parents with young children, check out Kids on The Creek.


Beginning Banjo (Brett Ratliff) is for folks with no previous experience playing a string instrument. Students will learn the basic clawhammer strum and chords for accompanying simple old time tunes.

Early Intermediate Banjo (Montana Hobbsis for banjo students who have completed a beginner class and most folks who have been playing a couple of years. Montana will focus on solid right hand technique while you cover banjo tunes that are easy and fun to play.

Intermediate Banjo (Carla Goveris for banjo students who can play a handful of tunes and are comfortable with the clawhammer strum. Carla will explore Kentucky banjo styles and alternate tunings while expanding your repertoire of favorite old time banjo tunes and songs.

Advanced Banjo:  Southeast Kentucky Banjo Styles (John Haywoodis for advanced banjo players who can play common tunes up to dance speed.  John will offer a closer look at old time banjo techniques such as up-picking, drop-thumb and two-finger style while focusing on the repertoires of George Gibson, Morgan Sexton and Roscoe Holcomb.


Beginning Fiddle (Megan Gregory) is for folks with no prior experience.  Megan will start with the basics – holding the instrument and bow technique to produce the sound your want,  while learning some favorite easy tunes.  She will also give you the tools to learn more tunes on your own.

Advanced Beginning Fiddle (Erynn Marshallis for students who have completed a beginner class or who have taken fiddle in Pick & Bow and most fiddlers who have played less than one year.  Erynn will share bowing and noting hand tips to make playing easier and more fun. You’ll also learn how to play in a jam and hear a few stories about Erynn’s favorite Kentucky fiddlers. Bring a recorder and your fun fiddling spirit!

Early Intermediate Fiddle (Linda Jean Stokley) is for folks who have completed a beginner class and most fiddlers who have been playing at least two years.  This class will build your repertoire of tunes that are easy and fun to play.  Linda Jean will also introduce playing the fiddle in alternate tunings for an authentic Kentucky sound.

Intermediate Fiddle (Barbara Kuhns) is for fiddlers who can play a few common tunes and are ready to expand their repertoire.   Barb will focus on the tunes from her friend and mentor, J.P. Fraley, while covering the bow technique and phrasing for his melodic and memorable tunes.  She will also introduce cross-tuning. (Sorry, this class is FULL. Please consider registering for John Harrod’s Int/Adv Fiddle class, which is going to be really awesome too. )

Intermediate/Advanced Fiddle:  Kentucky’s African-American Fiddlers (John Harrodthis special-focus class will start at an intermediate level and go from there.  John and his teaching assistant, Katie Peabody, will explore the contribution of  African-American fiddlers to Kentucky’s old time and jug band traditions.  Get ready to put a little swing in your fiddling!

Advanced Fiddle (Jimmy McCown) is for fiddlers who are comfortable playing common tunes at dance speed.  Jimmy will share tunes from some of his favorite east Kentucky fiddlers including Art Stamper, Paul David Smith and Kenny Baker.


Beginning Guitar (Roy Tackett) is for folks with no prior experience.  Roy will cover the essentials, such as holding the pick, the basic strum, chords for common old time tunes and backup for a few simple songs.

Intermediate Guitar (Russell Wright) is for guitar players who know a few basic chords.  Russell will cover essential chord progressions, walk-ups, right hand technique and the skills you need to arrange guitar back up on your own.

Advanced Guitar  (Michael Garvin) is for guitarists who are comfortable backing up common tunes. Michael will focus extensively on thumb-picking, a style of guitar playing popularized by Merle Travis.  In this style the right thumb articulates the bass notes while the index finger plays the melody.

Mandolin (Don Rogers) is for all comers.  This is a great class for getting started on mando as a second instrument.  More experienced players can expand their repertoire of favorite Kentucky tunes.


Old Time String Band & Singing (Karly Dawn Milner) is for intermediate and advanced level players of any string instrument and singers of any range or age. Students will work in small groups to polish tunes and songs for performance.  You’ll cover a wide range of pieces, from mountain fiddle tunes to songs with instrumental accompaniment, while building the confidence you need to work well in a band and take the stage yourself.

Class size for all instruments is limited to 10. Please register as early as possible to be sure you get the class you want. If interested, you can indicate a second class choice on the 2018 Registration Form in case your first choice isn’t available. Students registering for the string band class should indicate what instrument they will be playing.

Unsure of what level you should take? Sign up for the one that you think would best fit, and know that once you get here, you can try the class out on Monday and make sure it works– if not, we can find the class that suits your level!  

Tuition for 2018 classes is $200 for Kentucky residents and $300 for out-of-state students.  Tuition for Kids on the Creek is $150.  Opportunities for youth scholarships and workstudy are available.

2018 Registration Form

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