Photo by Jim Dombkowski
“That banjo attraction and his continuing passion for music has people shaking and moving to American roots music.”— D.E. Bentley, Owl Light News
I am obsessed with all things clawhammer. It’s an expressive style whose beauty is a consequence of its limitations. No two clawhammer banjo players sound quite the same because the technique naturally lends itself to the player’s individuality. It’s percussive, it’s melodic, it’s worldly, and it’s versatile. I have won or placed in several regional banjo contests including GrassRoots 2016, Northeast Fiddlers Convention 2019, and Oldtone 2019 playing the clawhammer style. If you want to learn more about this incredible banjo tradition, please do get in contact.
I have taught clawhammer banjo lessons in the Rochester, NY area since 2015 and I am currently on the faculty at the Hochstein school of music and dance.
These days I teach clawhammer banjo lessons online. I like to meet folks where they’re at on their personal banjo quest, though I tend to focus on skills pertaining to groove, rhythm, playing by ear, and playing with others. I love that the clawhammer banjo can be incredibly rhythmic or incredibly melodic, or both at the same time. Another thing I like to do with students is provide another instrument to play along with. If I play chords on the guitar, you can play a melody over top. And if I play a fiddle tune, you can be the rhythmic accompaniment or the twin picker. Lessons are pretty laid back, and I like to follow your lead. But if you’re looking for a shot of inspiration or motivation, I can do that too. Check out these video playlists below if you’d like to learn more about the clawhammer style or if you’d like to really dive into your rhythm practice.
I teach online on Monday afternoons from Noon to 5pm in one-hour lesson blocks. Check the booking calendar on my teaching website to reserve a lesson spot at a time that’s convenient for you. Once you book it, I’ll follow up with more info.
Online Metronome – and check out my YouTube lessons for tips on how to use it.
Anytune – software for slowing down or changing the pitch of recordings so you can play along with them.
Native Ground Books – good clawhammer banjo arrangements for learning and tips on how to augment the tunes as your playing progresses.
Slippery-Hill – THE archive of source recordings of old fiddle tunes.
Bernunzio Uptown Music – your banjo store for anything from tuners to rare 200 year old instruments.