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Vic Rawlings

Northampton, MA, USA

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Teaches Lessons: Online, In Person

Styles: Clawhammer and Old-Time, Other

Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Teacher Since: 1990

Pricing: Sliding scale: 55-100 / hour

Listing Created: 10/9/2014
Listing Updated: 8/9/2021

More About Me

I enjoy teaching students the music they want to learn; I'm mostly a traditionalist on the banjo, but am friendly to non-traditional material and technique. I play and teach many styles on the banjo, focusing on clawhammer, 2-finger picking (mixing thumb- and index-lead), and upstroke styles. Some of my banjo heroes are Dock Boggs, Roscoe Holcomb, Lee Sexton, and Morgan Sexton.

I teach in my studio in Northampton, MA as well as in Amherst, MA and throughout the Pioneer Valley, and on the performance faculty at Smith College and Amherst College. I also teach in the Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville area. You can come to me or I can come to you. I also offer Zoom, Skype and FaceTime lessons.

I am also interested in non-traditional approaches and welcome students who are interested in expanding how the banjo is usually played and heard.

I use tab as a teaching support, but heavily favor more traditional, ear-based teaching methods as a way to help students learn to play by ear and more directly develop their overall musicianship. Recordings (audio and video) made during lessons help between lessons. Improvisation is an essential element; I encourage students to develop this ability from the very first lessons.

I co-directed the feature-length film LINEFORK featuring Kentucky banjo legend Lee Sexton and his wife, Opal Sexton. My first trips to visit the Sextons were in 2004. Co-Director Jeff Silva and I began filming in 2012 and continued through 2015. We are grateful to Lee for his generosity with his time and music and to Opal for the warm welcome. Please visit the LINEFORK Facebook page or to watch the trailer.

As a multi-instrumentalist (guitar/banjo/mandolin/electronics/cello) I have contributed music to film, theater, and television soundtracks.

I am also active as an electro-acoustic musician. Visiting artist / teaching residencies have included CalArts, Oberlin Conservatory, MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Princeton, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, among others.

Please see these websites:


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