Intermediate Banjo Workshop with Bertram Levy

Handmade Music School Workshops offer unique learning experiences in music or dance with master teachers at the Floyd Country Store. The workshops are timely, engaging, and dynamic sessions targeted to serve participants with varied interests and goals. Register today for a shorter 1-2 hour workshop, an all-day learning experience, or a multi-day camp!

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The Handmade Music School presents an Intermediate Banjo Workshop with Bertram Levy on Sunday, April 7, 2019 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Cost is $30.

Hour 1: The Cockerham Clock, according to Fred and the Piedmont Swing

After a decade as a bluegrass banjo player, my visit to Fred Cockerham changed my entire approach to the instrument. Fred’s clock-like rhythmic underpinning was awe-inspiring and I have embraced it for 50 years since. While I would not describe myself as a Round Peak player, I emulate his rhythmic figures and a sense of dissonance. Combining that with my previous years on the back-beat resulted in a unique style I call the Piedmont Swing. It is characterized by melodic clarity, a movable pedal (off the fifth string), and an unstoppable drive. We will practice these rhythms and apply the techniques to a few well known tunes

Hour 2: Over the Waterfall Above the 5th Fret

The banjo has a real sense of logic and beauty above the fifth fret and is my favorite place for the key of D in G tuning. Using the swinging rhythms learned in the first hour, we will make Henry Reed’s Over the Waterfall and Oscar Wright’s Shootin’ Creek rock up the neck.

  • A banjo
  • Some clawhammer experience
  • An open mind!
About Bertram Levy

Bertram was one of the original members of the North Carolina based Hollow Rock String Band of the 60’s. Lead by fiddler Alan Jabbour, they played only music learned directly from the old-time fiddlers in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Their 1968 album is credited with launching the traditional American fiddle music revival.

Imbued with a mission to keep the music alive, Bertram has spent over 50 years spreading the Southern fiddle revival to generations of old time musicians, including his own young daughter, Madeline, with whom he will be performing and teaching in the UK. In 1997 he created the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, which has become the model for traditional music festivals throughout the United States.

Widely known for his unique “piedmont swing” banjo style, a crossover of bluegrass and old-time claw-hammer played on nylon strings, Bertram’s solo album “That Old Gut Feeling” is considered one of the great banjo recording classics. He has also recorded the music of Henry Reed with Alan Jabbour and Henry’s son James and the music of Surry County with Kirk Sutphin. He is a powerful dance fiddler and author of several anglo concertina tutors including his latest “American Fiddle Styles for the Anglo Concertina”. His previous visits to the UK were in the early ‘80s and now in his 75th year Bertram returns to pass on his music to the British friends of old time music

For more information about Bertram, visit

This workshop requires a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14 participants.


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