Music Lessons for Stringed Instruments


Introduction on background and approach: 

I've been teaching guitar and other instruments on and off since I was in high school, when dinosaurs walked the earth. I'm an advocate for learning different instrumental styles and a varied repertoire of songs and tunes within the realm of traditional and tradition-based music - what might be called folk, old timey and bluegrass. I try to include a little background on songs to help students appreciate the context they come from and the richness of folk tradition. I love traditional music, and I hope that learning an instrument will kindle a similar response in my students. I learned my music mostly by ear, although I had several teachers, and I generally teach in this manner. I incorporate music theory and and reading only as needed to help you play better, but not enough to hurt you!

Over the years I think I've found a nice balance between pressuring students to practice hard and play correctly on the one hand and encouraging them to relax and have fun on the other. I am patient; I realize that people learn at their own speeds.  I've seen students who struggled in the beginning become fine musicians with time and practice.

Specific skills and techniques that are taught:


  • Basic music reading & tablature
  • Basic and simple barred chords
  • 3 finger plucking & arpeggios
  • Strumming techniques
  • 2 finger picking (Travis picking)
  • Bass runs
  • Carter family picking
  • Traditional flat picking
  • Playing melody leads in fingerpicking, Carter Family picking & flatpicking
  • Tunings: Standard, dropped D, open G, open D

5-string banjo:

  • Old timey up-picking
  • Old timey clawhammer
  • Old timey two and three finger picking
  • Bluegrass three finger (Scruggs style) picking
  • Tunings: Double C, Drop C, Mountain minor, Open G


  • Basic accompaniment with finger picking rhythms
  • Playing melody with fingerpicker picking

Mountain dulcimer: (Beginner & intermediate):

  • Playing melody with finger or noter stick
  • Playing simple harmonies
  • Fanning with a flat pick
  • Plucking arpeggios
  • Tunings: Ionian, Dorian, Aeolian, and Mixlydian modes; playing melody and simple harmonies; arpeggios and fanning with right hand.

Ukulele (Beginner & intermediate):

  • Reading music to play single notes
  • Reading tablature
  • Playing chords
  • Strumming techniques
  • Finger picking


Training/ education in music instruments:


  • 1956-1958: Steve Newberry at Freeport Guitar Studio: Music theory and reading, plucking and arpeggios to accompany songs.
  • 1961-1962: Olga Sevila, independent instructor: Barred chords and variety of strumming techniques to accompany songs.
  • 1961-1963: Artie Traum at Noah Wolfe’s Guitar Studio in NYC: Finger picking, flat picking and Carter Family picking to accompany songs and play solos.


  • 1961-1963:Artie Traum, NYC. Clawhammer & bluegrass styles
  • 1968-1969: Pam Ostergren, Ann Arbor, MI. Up-picking and clawhammer
  • 1972-1974: Roy Swayney, traditional banjo player, Blaine, TN. Old timey two-finger picking


  • Beginning 1971: Self-taught with instruction manuals

Mountain dulcimer:

  • Beginning 1973: Self-taught with instruction manuals.


  • Beginning 2016: Self-taught with instruction manuals.

Music Teaching Experience:

  •  Private and group guitar lessons at home: off and on since 1962
  • Guitar classes – 2012-2013. Old Town Elementary School, Winston-Salem, NC
  • After school music program, Paideia School, Atlanta, GA – 1978-1984. Guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer
  • String band class, including guitar, banjo, autoharp and mountain dulcimer, Paideia School, Atlanta, GA – 1978-1980
  • Guitar and ukulele instruction, Laurel School, Knoxville, TN  – 1971-1973
  • Guitar instruction- Herb David Guitar Studio, Ann Arbor, MI – 1968-1970

Teaching locations and Fees:

  • Banjo - Jackson's Music, 1409 S. Stratford Rd, Winston-Salem, NC  (336 760-9635)
    $25 per half hour lesson, paid monthly
  • Guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, ukulele - Old Muddy's Music Shop,
    5455 Bethania Rd, Winston-Salem, NC (336) 391-9192
    $25 per half hour lesson, paid monthly