About Us



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

 Since 2002 some of the country’s finest old-time musicians and students of all ages and levels have gathered on Big Cowan 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 –  five full days of  music classes for all levels. Each afternoon, we’ll be joined by masters of traditional music: guitarist and songwriter Carl Jones; sister and brother mountain gospel duo Sarah & Ron Howard and Cornbread & Tortillas, a lively ensemble of Latin and Appalachian musicians and dancers.   In the afternoon, students can join jam sessions organized by level on the Cowan Community Center’s shady grounds. There will be a wide variety of afternoon workshops including beginning flat foot dancing, fiddle and banjo from scratch, Old Regular Baptist singing, blues banjo picking and much more! In the evenings, enjoy faculty concerts on Tuesday and Thursday and square dances on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and of course, lots of jams sessions.

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! 

— Carla Gover (Artistic Director), Stacy Dollarhide (School Coordinator), Valerie Horn (Executive Director Cowan Community Action Group, Inc.) 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. 

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