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Ira Gitlin

Alexandria, VA, USA

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Teaches Lessons: In Person

Styles: Bluegrass (Scruggs)

Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Teacher Since: 1994

Pricing: $60/hr.

Listing Created: 11/16/2011
Listing Updated: 1/20/2020

More About Me

Since 1994 I’ve been on the teachers’ roster at the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, Maryland, and I taught at Baltimore Bluegrass from 1994 until that store closed in 2000. I’ve also worked as a banjo instructor at the American University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In addition to numerous festival workshops, I’ve taught at Common Ground on the Hill , the Maryland Banjo Academy, the Swannanoa Gathering, Pete Wernick’s Jam Camps, the Augusta Heritage Workshops, and Banjo Camp North. I'm also a certified Wernick Method jamming instructor.

I try to show my students the big picture. Learning an instrument isn’t just a matter of learning this lick or that song; it involves learning how music works in general, and understanding how your instrument fits into the style of music that you’re playing. My goal is to make my students self-sufficient. Once you learn some fundamental techniques and a little theory (which is really nothing to be afraid of), you can move on to jamming and improvising—and that’s when the fun really starts!

Here’s what a few of my students have said:

“A real passion for bluegrass…the teacher we all dream of finding.” –C.C. (Paradise Valley, PA)

“An uncanny ability to break down the banjo into easy-to-understand and consumable pieces.” –S.Z. (Laytonsville, MD)

“The best, most understanding teacher in the world. No one even comes close.” –Z.M. (Weaverville, NC)

“Knowledge and first-hand experience with the roots of the music…He’s the real deal.” –D.S. (Washington, DC)

“I always leave my lesson looking forward to sitting down and learning what he has shown me, and it’s almost always something I can apply right away.” –D.W. (Alexandria, VA)

“Ira listens to where you are musically, asks where you want to go, and gives you practical instruction that leads you in that direction.”
–B.D. (Arlington, VA)

“Ira Gitlin is the BEST!!! “ –G.S. (Alexandria, VA)


Ira is a wonderful teacher and just plain a great guy. Also a musician's musician who can play just about anything with strings beautifully. If you're looking for lessons in his neck of the woods, you can do no better!! - eagleisland

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