These are the classes scheduled for 2013 at Brown’s Creek:
- May 26 Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning June 1: 5 days of classes [instead of 4]
- June 16 Sunday afternoon to Friday morning June 21: 4 days of classes
West Virginia Folk Festival begins on Friday 21 of June and runs thru Sunday 23 June
- June 30 Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning 6 of July: 5 days of classes
- August 25 Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning 31 August: 5 days of classes
This is Labor Day weekend. If students want to say over for an extra night, something can be worked out.
- September 29 Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning 5 October: 5 days of classes
There is a small fall [heritage] festival 3 miles down the road. If anyone wants to stay over one night, something can be worked out.
- There will also be a weekend workshop in Pittsburgh if my health permits me to get there. Right now the plan is for Friday evening December 6 thru Sunday noon December 8. For more info and to stay updated on schedule changes for this class email Cindy Harris
4 day classes: Students arrive on sunday and leave friday morn. Room and board and tuition is $540
5 day classes: Students arrive sunday and leave saturday morn. Room and board and tuition is $640
The classes are much smaller here than other places. Usually 4-5 students max.
My good friend Bob Sattler teaches the most important way of developing a person’s own style on this African downstroke technique of playing this old traditional mountain music.
My son Caleb has also been teaching for many years and will be here as much as possible to help with teaching what I insist is the most important way of learning.
Each of them have developed their own style of teaching, but i will stand behind my statement that as far as i am concerned, there are no better teachers in the area of beginners to low intermediate anywhere. They are not Dwight Diller clones. There can be no clones in this fragile but powerful music.
I also will be on board. I have had some health problems this past year. But my greatest addition is in the area of helping my students “catch the context” of our culture and heritage here in these mountains of east central WVA. This is my 41st yr of teaching this music [mostly on banjo] and i have had time to sort through and pick out what I have learned is the most important parts of this “way of the old traditional WVA mountain music”
in case you are wondering, the part that is most important to the old mountain musicians as well as what we teach is the rhythm. And it has to do with the overall “rhythm of life”. The rhythm/right hand is 85% of the whole; the noting/left hand then adds it’s 12% of the whole: That leaves melody/tunes being worth approx 3% of the whole.
Get the right hand rhythm down and you get an 85%, even if you do nothing more. Get the right hand rhythm “dancing” and then the left hand rhythm “counter-dancing” with it, you get 97% of the whole.
But you can now get a glimpse of the value of “tunes, tunes, tunes”. No right hand rhythm and not left hand counter rhythm, but 300-500 tune melodies… That equals 3% total.
I didnt make this up; check with the old folks. No one copied another because they were playing their own “inner pulse” and any melody notes were just a vehicle to make rhythm equaling their “inner pulse”. But that applies to all homemade music coming from deep in the innards [spirit, not mind] from folks from all over the world. Thus it is always changing minute by minute.
This then is why I desire that all my students start to begin to learn [if they haven't already] their own dialect, whether it is the dialect of their vocal use of nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc or the rhythm that is built into the dialect of their own “inner pulse”. They are the same for playing this old WVA mtn music.
It’s a real challenge, this. However it is a very rewarding journey often into a person’s unknown, her/his inner being. but it’s just “simple music played simply by simple folks” OR “Deceptively simple but extremely complex music played from the human spirit, not the mind, which contains the fragile, but powerful, cultural messages and heritage of a people who were/are just as complex as all other humans on the face of this Earth. Wilson Douglas, a WVa fiddler who has now passed on, said, ‘It takes about ten  years just to start to begin to[understand and] learn this old fiddle [IE: traditional Old Time] music’.”