About Us

We invite you to join us the last week of June for the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School!

During the 18th annual Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, 24-28, 2019, we will gather again on Big Cowan for a week of learning and community.

It’s a small, close-knit group that gathers here each year—some of the country’s finest old-time musicians, and students of all ages and levels – to celebrate our rich mountain heritage of lively tunes, heart-felt singing, spirited square dancing and storytelling.

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or accomplished musician, eight years old or eighty, you’ll have the opportunity to dig deep into the rich repertoire of Kentucky music and gain experience playing with other musicians.

Mountain music has been passed down through the generations as young learners listened to and played along with their older family members and neighbors. In keeping with this tradition, classes are taught in call and response, rather than written music.  Whatever your age or level, this will improve your ear for music, and help you join in the fun of playing with other musicians from the get-go!

It’s a jam-packed week with five full days of music classes for all levels. Each afternoon, we’ll be joined by masters of traditional music: Harlan County’s a cappella gospel singers, the Mt. Sinai Spirituals,  Lewis County fiddler Roger Cooper and our 2019 Master-in-Residence, banjoist Sue Massek. In the afternoon, students can choose between jam sessions for all levels, including a youth jam. There will be a wide variety of afternoon workshops including beginning flat foot dancing, singing at the Big Cowan Old Regular Baptist Church, fiddle, banjo and ukulele from scratch, shape-note singing and much more! And don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn into the magic of our Roving Storyteller Randy Wilson. Each evening students, instructors and neighbors will gather for a square dance, community theater performance or faculty concert.

So, take a look round this website for information about classes, scholarships, and how to sign up! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  Also a tip for using this website:  If you click on a tab, you will get the first page for that tab. But there may be much more!  Rest your pointer on the tab and you will see a drop down menu of more pages for some of the topics. Move your pointer down to the page you are interested in and double click on it. It may take a couple of tries.  And please let us know if there’s something you can’t find. Thanks! 

— Valerie Horn, Brett Ratliff, Stacy Dollarhide, and the rest of the staff and volunteers at the CCMMS

The Cowan Elementary School, Cowan Community Center and Appalshop are wheelchair accessible.  The Cowan Creek Mountain Music School is a family event; no alcohol, drugs, profanity or frowns are permitted. 

2019 Registration Form         2019 Youth Scholarship form

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