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Teaching & Learning Old-Time Music

The best way to learn old-time music, whether guitar, fiddle, or banjo, is to sit knee-to-knee with an experienced teacher who loves the music and loves to share it.

Tom teaches all levels of clawhammer banjo and old-time guitar backup. Each of his students receives individualized teaching that helps them develop their playing, and also provides the stories that make the music come alive. His personal preference for traditional acoustic music (which is normally taught by demonstration and by ear) makes him more interested in teaching that way. He's studied under banjoists Gerry Milnes, Craig Johnson, Dwight Diller, Riley Baugus, and guitarists Roy Bookbinder, and Norman & Nancy Blake. Tom has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center workshops during Old-time Week.


Tom and Betty both emphasize the importance of listening to old-time music as an important part of learning to play it, and understanding its history and context.

Teaching beginning to advancing old-time fiddlers, Betty accepts students of all ages. She plays tunes for and with her students and records lessons as her primary teaching method. She's studied with Rachel Eddy, Dave Bing, Bill Hicks, Bruce Molsky and Mike Bryant; the late Wilson Douglas of West Virginia was also one of her mentors. Betty uses and teaches older tunings characteristic of the old-time style. As someone who began playing fiddle as an adult, Betty has unique insight when she teaches adult beginners. With decades of professional experience working with young children and formal training in early education, she also has special skills to offer the very young student.

Tom and Betty each have students at Meadowood Music and at home. They also highly recommend the Augusta Heritage Center's summer and fall Old-time Weeks. For more information, please contact Tom or Betty from our Contact page, or follow the links below.

Are you interested in learning from a nationally-known teacher, finding out more about the music, or just listening? Then you need to know about the Maidencreek Old-time Music Festival, always held the second Sunday in July in Blandon, Pennsylvania. This unique Festival features all levels of learning, master teachers, many workshops and concerts, and opportunities to meet and play music with others. Find out more on the website.

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