September 23, 2017

Learn to play old time banjo!

  • Intro to Banjo - Day 1 of 3
     November 9, 2017
     6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Intro to Banjo - Day 2 of 3
     November 14, 2017
     6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Intro to Banjo - Day 3 of 3
     November 16, 2017
     6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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You will be in a workshop setting similar to what you might find at an old-time music festival. Our goal is to inspire you to get out to a few festivals and start playing with others!

What is Old-Time music?
Old-Time music is the genre name given by recordings companies to early string band music in North America, which was heavily recorded during the 1920s and 30s. These recordings offer a window into a time before our current homogenized and commercial culture – a culture which it ironically helped to create. The developments of this music are in some ways vague and mysterious, but they are certainly ridden with loads of cultural cross-contamination, and the tunes and traditions are still going strong almost one hundred years since their fifteen seconds of recorded fame. You’ll find people playing “old-time music” in every corner of the country, and it has kept up quite a community of gatherings and festivals. These events offer workshops, performances, and ample opportunity for tunes and dance!

What is Old-Time banjo?
The fiddle and banjo are the salt and pepper for Old-Time music from Appalachia. Almost no style of banjo playing supports the fiddle in this music more than the Clawhammer banjo style – which is why it has earned for itself the name “Old-Time Banjo”. This style is a very percussive, elusive, nuanced way to play the banjo, it’s techniques rooted from an ancient African instrument called the Akonting. If you’ve played three-finger/Scruggs style before, invert everything you know about your right hand. If you don’t know what any of this means, you’re gonna be in great shape.

Note: this is not three-finger banjo, which is a technique a lot of popular performers use.

Join us as we dig into the the five string banjo and its role in this music. We will learn basic old-time banjo picking techniques, tunings, tunes, and also listen to some great recordings! You do NOT need to read music – we’ll be teaching through call and response, and learning to play by ear. We’ll learn to finger a few easy chords on a banjo and play a song along with a group.


You must want to learn to play old time music with a group of like-minded people.

Registration Includes

Instruction, music, inspiration.

Skill Level

Any level of prior experience can find joy in this class.

Best for Ages…

18 and older.

You should bring…

A banjo (we will have a limited number of extra banjos available – please contact to let us know if you need one)

Feedback from previous Intro to Banjo classes…

“I liked the progress that we all made during the week — we played a song together!”

“The group setting is very helpful to me. I enjoyed learning from the instructor and also being carried by the group. Excellent format.”


1917 W Superior St, Duluth, Minnesota, 55806, United States


Located on street level. Handicapped accessible.

Main Floor Space


Question or comment?


1917 W Superior St
Duluth, MN 55806

Duluth Folk School
Office: 218-216-6929 or
Office Hours: Monday-Friday (9 am – 1 pm)

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Cafe: (218) 481-7888 or
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday (8 am – 8 pm); Monday & Tuesday (8 am – 3 pm)

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