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Donald Rusnak

Arlington, VA, USA

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Teaches Lessons: Online, In Person

Styles: Bluegrass (Scruggs) , Clawhammer and Old-Time

Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Teacher Since: 1968

Pricing: Price varies

Listing Created: 1/30/2013
Listing Updated: 2/5/2016

More About Me

Playing since 1959 but really got serious around 1961 and 1962. My first lessons where from my dad who was a professional tenor banjo player in Pittsburgh, but showed me a few basics on the 5 string when he bought me my first 5 string at Sunny Surplus in Washington, D.C. I then took lessons from a classical banjo instructor in D.C. then on to private classical lessons at my home in Alexandria, Virginia. Classical was not for me and I soon went on to Bluegrass and Old-time styles learning from the Seeger book and any other instruction books I could get. Slowing down all the old 78's and 33 1/ 3 records was another help. Was influenced by all the styles and began to try to play them all. Having ADHD helped. While attending college in West Virginia and later Virginia Tech, I began to attend the bluegrass and Old-time music festivals.-Galax, Union Grove etc. And there met some wonderful players. Wade Ward, Kyle Creed, Fred Cockerham, Tommy Jarrell, George Peagram, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, to name but a few. Was lucky enough to get a lesson from Wade Ward and to play his banjo for a spell. I was introduced to the Galax or Roundpeak style for the first time at the Galax Fiddlers convention in 1968....I began teaching bluegrass and Old-time styles around that time. After graduating I became a banjo teacher and luthier in Fairfax, Va. later to become a charter member of the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old town Alexandria, Va. as a banjo maker. I opened my own music store in Arlington, VA. Founded and played banjo in "Home Brew" a pretty traditional bluegrass band between 1973 -77. Retired now but I have never stopped teaching. I no longer play out as much I used to and I must consider myself a better teacher than I am a performer. I gear my lessons to each student and want you to get to a point where you can go on for yourself. I am primarily a "by ear" teacher using TABS just to get you started. I focus on giving you the BASICS. I can take a student from raw beginner to the beginning of advanced in straight bluegrass. I can teach most Old-time styles and a few hybrid styles through advanced/master. I can provide new and used/collectable banjos of all types.

Founder: Capital Area Bluegrass & Old-time Music Association 1978
Featured twice in Banjo Newsletter.
Former Arlington County Adult Education Banjo Instructor
Over 3,500 students taught since 1968---Some have gone on to be teachers themselves and great players

Teaching weekdays from 12:00 noon till 9:oo pm
One hour lessons once per week or twice per month.
I can also teach via Skype..
Arlington, Virginia location close to Metro.
References gladly given.

Calls prefeered: 703 303 0539 and leave message. I am always here but cant always come to the phone because of teaching schedule.


Our thanks to BanjoHangout! What a great addition to the banjo culture.

Keep Picking!

Don Rusnak


Could call me about lessons
269 419 8667

- Williamsr

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