Across North Carolina there are a variety of places to learn music. Whether you want to spend a week-long vacation learning from a master musician or explore a new genre in a classroom setting, there’s something for everyone here.
Explore some of the special places to learn music in North Carolina below:
Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week
Mars Hill College, Mars Hill, N.C.
The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains are the setting for this week-long learning event every June. Nationally celebrated old-time music instructors lead intimate and affordable classes for all levels of skill along with daily concerts and jam sessions. Courses include: Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Rhythm and Repertoire, Bass, Mandolin, Singing, Dulcimer, and Dancing.
John C. Campbell Folk School
Surrounded by mountains, the 372-acre Folk School provides experiences in non-competitive learning that are joyful and enlivening. Adults of all ages can take year-round, week-long and weekend classes in folk music and dance. The school also is home to the History Center, which provides an overview of Appalachian culture and traces the history of the school from its beginning in 1925. It also hosts a concert series, community dances, and special events.
Warren Wilson College, Asheville, N.C.
July through Early August
The Swannanoa Gathering is an educational program of the college, consisting of a series of week-long workshops in various folk arts held in July and August on the campus of the college, located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Workshops are offered in fiddle, mandolin and banjo, traditional song, Celtic music, old-time music, guitar and contemporary folk arts.
Brevard Music Festival & Summer Institute
Brevard Music Center, Brevard, N.C.
The Brevard Music Festival is a 10-week summer event dedicated to the next generation of gifted, young musicians. Every summer distinguished faculty from the nation’s leading orchestras, colleges and conservatories train more than 500 students who present over 80 concerts, encompassing multiple music genres to more than 40,000 fans from across the country. Over the past 80 years, BMC has welcomed world-class soloists including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, and other talented virtuosi. Interested students can apply here.
Eastern Music Festival
Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C.
Established in 1961 as The Guilford Musical Arts Center, the Eastern Music Festival is a summer music camp that provides educational experiences for students ages 14 to 23 in orchestral, piano, conducting, classical guitar and other areas related to the performance and business of music, as well as some stellar public performances.
Women! Mount Airy Old-Time
Andy Griffith Playhouse and Historic Earle Theatre, Mount Airy, N.C.
February 28 - March 2, 2019
Hosted by the Surry Arts Council with support from the N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, the event is held in conjunction with the Tommy Jarrell Festival. Classes and workshops in fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, flat foot dance/square dance calling, and harmony singing are taught by some of the most esteemed and respected women in old-time and bluegrass music.
Workshops at the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention
Old-Time Workshops Veterans Memorial Park, Mount Airy, N.C.
Friday, June 6, 2019, 2 p.m.
Every year, old-time music lovers gather in Surry County to celebrate the area’s historic Round Peak old-time music tradition, popularized by Tommy Jarrell, Charlie Lowe, and Fred Cockerham. The workshops at the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention, hosted by the Surry Arts Council with support from the N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, will be lead by award-winning old-time and bluegrass musicians from the area who participate in the Blue Ridge Music Trails.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area offers an online Traditional Artist Directory which includes many of the finest musicians, craft artisans, dancers and storytellers in the North Carolina mountains and foothills. Visit the directory to book artist for a performance or presentation or to plan a trip to a music event. More than 240 musicians are listed in the directory.
The Music Makers Relief Foundation, a nonprofit based in Hillsborough, N.C. works to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it. Music Makers has an an online music directory of touring artists in North Carolina (and the South) here.
African American Music Trails Artist Directory: Available in early 2019!