Winter School

Here’s a sure cure for the winter blues:

Cowan Creek Mountain Music WINTER SCHOOL begins January 9th, 2023! 

winter mountainsOnce again, we will offer virtual classes to keep you progressing in fiddle, banjo or guitar.  Or you can take up a new instrument! – fiddle and banjo for absolute beginners is also on offer.  Each class meets for one hour each week via Zoom for 12 weeks, during the evenings. All class times are listed in Eastern Standard Time.  Tuition is $120 and more youth scholarships are available!  Youth ages 11 to 22 can receive full scholarships.  Class size is limited so register online soon by clicking HERE. 

Mark you calendar!   Carla Gover is hosting the Pick-a-thon – a FREE afternoon of 30 minute online workshops by the 2023 Winter School  faculty on Sunday, December 18, 2022.  You can meet the faculty, learn a new tune and get ready for more during the Winter School!  Look for the link to the big Pick-a-thon HERE.

Winter School 2023 Classes To Be Announced

What we offered in 2022:

Beginning Fiddle (Sarah Howard, Thursdays at 7:00pm beginning January 13th, last class March 31st)  Is for folks who have no previous experience with fiddle.  Sarah will start with the basics-  how to hold the instrument and bow to produce the sound you want.   Then you’ll jump right into learning some favorite easy tunes.  She’ll also give you tips on how to learn more tunes on your own.

Intermediate Fiddle:  Tunes by Kentucky Fiddlers You Never Heard Of  (John Harrod, Tuesdays at 7:00pm beginning January 11th, last class March 29th)  This class is for most fiddlers who have been playing for a couple of years and are hungry for new tunes.  John will prove that great music often comes from fiddlers who stayed on the farm, cherished their local tunes and never got anywhere close to Nashville.

Advanced Fiddle:  Tunes from Fleming and Lewis Counties (Jesse Wells, Mondays at 7:00pm, beginning January 10th, last class March 28th)  This class is for fiddlers who can play common tunes up to dance speed.  Experience in cross-tuning is recommended but not required.  Jesse will dig deep in the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music archives to explore the repertoire of great fiddlers like Buddy Thomas, Roger Cooper, Alfred Bailey, Bob Prater and more.

Intermediate/Advanced Guitar (Don Rogers, Mondays at 6:00pm beginning January 10th, last class March 28th)  Is for guitar players who have completed a beginner class and/or are getting comfortable with strumming and changing the basic chords.  Don will cover back up for some favorite Kentucky songs and tunes and give you tips on how to develop the accompaniment for your own favorite pieces.

Beginning Banjo (Arlo Barnett, Wednesdays at 6:00pm beginning January 12th, last class March 30th)  Is for folks with no previous experience with a string instrument.  Arlo will cover the basic clawhammer strum and the chords for simple, but fun, old time songs and tunes.

Intermediate Banjo:  East Kentucky Banjo Styles (Randy Wilson, Wednesdays at 7:00pm beginning January 12th, last class March 30th)  Is for banjo players who are comfortable with the clawhammer strum and can play a handful of tunes.  Randy will cover tunes and alternate tunings from the mountains, including tunes and songs from George Gibson and Lee Boy Sexton.


2022 Winter School Faculty:

sarah howardSarah Howard (Beginning Fiddle) is a fiddler, singer/songwriter and educator from Perry County, Kentucky.  She was one of our first Cowan Creek Mountain Music School students.  At 13 she studied fiddle with Ray Slone through a Kentucky Folklife apprenticeship and later learned from Art Stamper. Sarah joined the CCMMS faculty in 2007 and has taught harmony singing, fiddle and old time stringband.   She performs and records with her parents, brother Ron and his wife Kinsee as the Howard Family, a bluegrass gospel string band.

John Harrod cropped2John Harrod (Tunes from Kentucky Fiddlers You Never Heard Of) Shelby County, Kentucky first learned old time music from Darley Fulks, Bill Livers, Asa Martin and Lily May Ledford. In the 1980’s he produced a large and influential body of field recordings of musicians around central and northeast Kentucky. These can be heard on Rounder’s Fiddle Music of Kentucky (2 volumes) and Along the Ohio’s Shores. John performs with the band Kentucky Wild Horse and can be heard on their CD Spirits of the Lonesome Hills.  June Appal Records recently released  his first solo recording Johnny Come Along.   John has taught at Cowan since its founding and has also taught at Augusta, Swannanoa and the Festival of America Fiddle Tunes.

Jesse WellsJesse Wells (Advanced Fiddle) from Johnson County, Kentucky first learned fiddle from his father Jamie.  He graduated with a degree in guitar performance from Morehead State University and now serves as education coordinator for MSU’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music.  Jesse is a versatile multi-instrumentalist who has played in a number of old time, bluegrass and rock bands; currently he plays bluegrass with the Wooks and tours with singer/songwriter Tyler Childers.,-humanities-and-social-sci/kentucky-center-for-traditional-music/faculty-and-staff/jesse-wells

don rogersDon Rogers (Intermediate/Advanced Guitar)  has deep roots in Kentucky old time music. His grandfather and great uncles recorded on the Gennet label in the 1930s as the Kentucky String Ticklers. His father, Donnie, plays guitar with the Kentucky Clodhoppers. Don is a versatile multi-instrumentalist and singer who performs at regional festivals with Kentucky Wild Horse, with young traditional musician Jeri Katherine Howell, and with the Green Genes rock band. Don is also a songwriter whose work can be heard on Spirits of the Lonesome Hills and Winetown.  Don’s song “I’m a Kentuckian” is fast becoming a new state anthem.  Take a listen:

Arlo 2 (10)Arlo Barnette ( Beginning Banjo) grew up steeped in traditional music in Bath County, Kentucky, and began learning guitar from none other than his fellow CCMMS instructors: Karly Dawn Milner and Don Rogers. At 12 years old, he decided to get serious about playing guitar after hearing Don play Tony Rice’s “Plastic Banana” and was soon helping him accompany square dances at the local 4-H extension office. He first attended CCMMS in 2011 and there met his wife, fiddler Zoey Barrett, a year later. Besides teaching a CCMMS he offers private lessons for guitar, piano, drums, and ukulele. With a multi-instrumental education in old-time, classical, jazz, rock, and other styles, Arlo is currently a member of Zoe Speaks, Cornmaíz, and Cornbread & Tortillas, and is a producer/accompanist for Maizie Manna.

RANDY-WILSON-229x300Randy Wilson (Intermediate Banjo) from Leslie County, Kentucky, is a talented multi-instrumentalist, dance caller and story teller.  He recently retired after decades of engaging public school kids in Leslie and Knott Counties with traditional and home made music, storytelling and dance.  Randy has also taught at Hindman’s Family Folk Week.  He  performed and recorded Heritage on June Appal Records with the late poet James Still.  In 2003 he appeared at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. and in 2007 at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington.

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