A Group Class: Old Time String Band

(banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, singers welcome also!)

Instructor(s): Phil Jamison

This class is for advanced beginners and intermediate musicians who want to learn more about playing their instrument, while also experiencing the joy of playing with other musicians. We’ll work on some skills pertinent to each instrument as we learn how to play together and achieve a cohesive band sound. Besides working on the particulars of each instrument, we’ll consider each individual’s responsibility in a band, how to start and end tunes, tempo, rhythm, lead, backup, chord choices, singing, and band dynamics. We’ll also discuss some basic music theory, and considerations when playing for dances or concerts. We will be learning by ear. When possible and appropriate, however, written materials may be made available as a memory aid

Phil Jamison
Phil Jamison


It is expected that students already know the basics of how to play their instrument. You should be able to tune it, know the basic chords and/or scales in the keys of G, D, A, and C, and lead instrument players should know a handful of tunes and/or songs in these keys.

Bring your list of tunes and songs.

About Phil Jamison

Phil Jamison is an old-time multi-instrumentalist, dance caller, and flatfoot dancer from Asheville, North Carolina, who has been active performing and teaching traditional music and dance across the US and overseas since the 1970s. For over twenty years, from 1982 through 2004, Phil accompanied Tennessee fiddler Ralph Blizard as part of the New Southern Ramblers, and he has been a member of the Green Grass Cloggers since 1980. He has performed at Winfield, Merlefest, the Live Oak Festival, the Alaska State Folk Festival, the Ozark Folk Center, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and many other places. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant. Over the last thirty years, Phil has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his book Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance (University of Illinois Press, 2015) tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia.

Adept on fiddle, banjo, and guitar, as well as his feet, he has been on staff at numerous music camps, including Augusta, Ashokan, Pinewoods, Swannanoa, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. A 2017 inductee to the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame and a 2022 inductee to America’s Clogging Hall of Fame, Phil taught traditional Appalachian music and dance at Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina for many years, including twenty-five years as coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at the Swannanoa Gathering. Phil taught this class to rave reviews here several years ago; we are delighted to bring him back for an encore.