Instructors

You will love our staff at the Fiddle & Pick. We recommend you pick an instrument first.  Then call every instructor who teaches that instrument. We want you to find the right teacher for your needs. Each instructor has a different teaching method and area of expertise. They also keep their own lesson schedule, tuition rates, and payment policies.

Download and print our handy Directory of Programs & Instructors PDF:

FiddleandPick-Teacher-Brochure (PDF)

FIDDLE & VIOLIN

Gretchen Priest-May

Irish, Old-Time fiddle tunes, Bluegrass; converting violin bowing to fiddle-style bowing; tenor banjo

Gretchen divides her time between performing with PLAIDGRASS, teaching various fiddle styles, and running the Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee which she founded in 2008.

Prior to opening the Center, Gretchen toured with the Bluegrass Band, Crucial Smith, and the Celtic rock band, Ceili Rain. She has been a featured performer on the Grand Ole Opry, Mountain Stage, Winfield and many festivals across the country. She often teaches various fiddle workshops when traveling with her band PLAIDGRASS.

Gretchen Priest created PLAIDGRASS by merging the traditions of Irish, Old-Time and Bluegrass music. Her love of Irish melodies, Old-Time rhythms, and bluegrass harmonies with strong improvisation is what makes PLAIDGRASS unique. PLAIDGRASS features guitar, mandolin and stand-up bass for the bluegrass sound, or features bouzouki, bodhran drum, and banjo for a more Irish sound. Whatever the configuration, it is always an exciting journey that is executed with speed and finesse on a variety of instruments.

Contact: (615) 812-2192 Americelticowboy@comcast.net

Stephan-DudashStephan Dudash

Jazz, swing improv, classical, Suzuki method, contest fiddle

Stephan Dudash is a 5-string violist—the Big Fiddle with five strings (created by David Burgess). His music will move you, swing you to your feet, and fill your heart with romance with his own brand of gypsy violin music. Whether it’s popular love songs, standards or some of Stephan’s own sizzling compositions, you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard these songs done on a string instrument before. Born in Mankato, MN to a Hungarian father and an American-born Celtic mother, he tinkered on the piano until he discovered violin at age 11. Just two years later he was attending Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan where he was privately and orchestrally trained.

At age 15, he started his professional career in a band headed by Chris Brubeck, son of jazz piano virtuoso Dave Brubeck. Since then, he has performed all over the world with a list of greats including: Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, and Janie Fricke. Most recently he has been specializing in Gypsy Jazz music touring with the John Jorgenson Quintet. Besides fiddling, Stephan is no stranger to vocalizing and is also known to play mandolin, guitar, bass guitar and hand percussion. Stephan has just finished his third CD, ‘Gypsy Quest’

Contact: (615) 585-3147

David JohnsonDAVID JOHNSON

Irish, Old-Time, Bluegrass, Classical, Country

David Johnson has extensive professional experience in the classical, jazz, Irish, Old Time, and country styles. Having studied Violin Performance at the University of Iowa and at Middle Tennessee State University, he is a member of the Paducah Symphony, the Jackson Symphony, and the Murfreesboro Symphony, and has recently been named Concertmaster for the new Parthenon Chamber Orchestra in Nashville.

Mr. Johnson toured with Country Music artist Randy Travis for 27 years, and has fiddled for square dances in Lebanon and Gallatin as his travel schedule permitted. He has studied Jazz with David Baker, with the MTSU Jazz Studies Program, and with the Nashville Jazz Workshop. Mr. Johnson teaches Violin/Fiddle lessons for the Cumberland University Arts Academy in Lebanon, TN, and is  the Adjunct Instructor for Commercial Violin at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Contact: (615) 478-2151 / johnsondais@comcast.net

BANJO

Alan-OBryantAlan O’Bryant

5-string banjo, Bluegrass, traditional; Blues for the banjo

Alan is a member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band.  He has played with some of the greatest bluegrass musicians including: Bill Monroe, Kenny Baker, Bob Block, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Butch Robins, James Monroe, Jerry Sullivan and the Sullivan Family, and Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper.

Alan has been nominated multiple times for IBMA Banjo Player of the Year. In addition to the awards he received with NBB, Alan appears on a number of award-winning projects including Dolly Parton’s The Grass Is Blue, which was recorded in 1999.

Alan has a home project studio named OBanyon’s Terrace Studio. NBB’sTwenty Year Blues (honored with a Grammy nomination in 2005) was recorded there. This Could Be Magic, a tune that appears on David Lee Roth’s Strummin’ With The Devil cd was also recorded at his studio. O’Bryant’s studio is peaceful, relaxed and acoustic-friendly. He often works with veteran engineer Tim Roberts. Alan has recorded and produced projects for Gene Bush, Valerie Smith and Becky Buller, The LaWarre Family, Junior Barber, Roy Harper, Brittany Bailey, Cordless, Paul Hopkins, Adam Olmstead, and the Gibson Brothers. Chris Henry’s fine mandolin record Monroe Approved was mixed and mastered at Terrace Studio, too.

O’Bryant is a long time resident of Pegram, Tennessee.  Alan currently gives private banjo lessons at Fiddle & Pick. He is well qualified as an instructor. He has taught at numerous banjo camps over the years, including the Banjo Institute Clinic, The Disney Institute, and NashCamp.

Contact: (615) 662-2248 / obanyon@aol.com

GUITAR

Stan-LawrenceStan Lawrence

Fundamentals; Bluegrass & singer-songwriter style; mandolin

Stan Lawrence likes to brag that he’s done everything . . .once. He studied composition and guitar at Indiana University and plays all kinds of music: folk, country, classical, even a little jazz. He’s tried his hand at instrument building, the movie business, construction, teaching, and comes by his credentials in the Music City Flyboys through his experience as an aircraft mechanic (he’s even a pilot, though not an active one.)

He has been a resident of Nashville for twenty-five years, co-writing two songs on Terri Clark’s debut album, done some session work, and maintains a small recording studio in his home in Inglewood, in East Nashville.

He teaches guitar, mandolin, and as much music theory as they can stand to aspiring bluegrass pickers and singer-songwriters.

Contact: (615) 668-2426

 

JAKE WORKMAN

 

Jake Workman began playing the guitar when he received one for his 13th birthday. As with most teenagers, his early music included the songs of his favorite rock bands such as The Beatles, Boston, AC/DC and Van Halen. Practicing for 6+ hours a day was not out of the ordinary for Jake.  During middle and high school years he joined up with a couple friends and formed a rock band called “Wayward Son”.  About a year and a half after he started the guitar, Jake’s introduction to bluegrass music came when his parent’s surprised him with a banjo for Christmas. Jake’s love for bluegrass grew over the next few years as he attended jams and festivals throughout the Western states and eventually the entire country.  Jake began to enter instrument contests and has won many titles on guitar, banjo and mandolin. It was in 2007 at Winfield, Kansas while attending the National Flatpick Guitar Championship, that Jake met the other musicians that later would help form the band, Driven.

During that time period, at a jam session somewhere in Utah a talented fiddle player named Rebekah Travis caught Jake’s eye. By the time Driven played their first gig of 2011 Jake and Rebekah were married and she had joined Driven as the full time fiddle player.

When not playing with Driven, Jake spends his time teaching private lessons, doing studio work, and performing with various other bands in the Salt Lake City area, many with Rebekah.  He has a degree in Jazz Guitar Performance from the University of Utah.  Jake was featured on the cover of the May/June 2015 issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.  Jake is most influenced by traditional bluegrass, but his playing will also showcase extensive knowledge in the rock and jazz genres as well.

In December 2015 Jake was called by Ricky Skaggs to join his band, Kentucky Thunder.

Contact: (801) 245-9699 or jakeworkmanguitar@gmail.com


Paul-AbramsPaul Abrams

Belmont/MTSU guitar instructor; specializes in Jazz, Gypsy Jazz, Ragtime and Bluegrass

Paul is an Adjunct Faculty Instructor of music (guitar) at Belmont and has been a member of the adjunct faculty since 1998. He teaches guitar to music majors and elective students.

Paul received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Fordham University in New York. Throughout his career, he has studied with Sal Salavador and Arnie Berle of Guitar Player Magazine. He has taught guitar at many schools around Tennessee: Nashville Jazz Institute, Nashville Tech, Belmont University, University of Tennessee, and Trevecca Nazarene College.

In 1969, Mr. Abrams joined Soulosophy, a jazz/rock group that had several single releases with Columbia Records. Mr. Abrams music credits: Performance – Bo Thorpe Orchestra, Paul Ross Orchestra, and Lynn Oliver Orchestra; Recording – Epic, Vanguard, RCA, and Mercury Records; Television – Hee Haw, Pop Goes the Country, and Kenny Rogers and Tammy Wynette specials; opening tours for Barbara Mandrell, Eddie Rabbit, the Statler Brothers, Conway Twitty, Marty Robbins, Dottie West, Don Williams, and Ken Kraggen. Mr. Abrams is currently a member of the American Federation of Musicians and the International Association of Jazz Educators.

Contact: (615) 310-7275

GUITAR/TENOR GUITAR (4-String Guitar)

Tim Roberts

Guitar and beginner tenor guitar; fiddle tunes for tenor guitar

Contact: (615) 473-3898

imtimrob@gmail.com

DOBRO & STEEL GUITAR

IAN O’BRYANT

(615) 479-9757

ian.obryant@yahoo.com

HARMONICA

PT GazellPT GAZELL

Beginners to advanced instruction with styles including: Bluegrass, Country, Swing & Jazz.

PT Gazell has earned his position as a master of the diatonic harmonica by taking the long way around from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin to Nashville, Tennessee… First picking up the instrument in his late teens, the Wisconsin-born, self-taught player honed his craft by taking on all manner of musical styles and traveled a circuit that included bluegrass, folk, country and jazz festivals and venues.

He has toured with various country artists including Johnny Paycheck and Mel McDaniel. As a solo artist, PT has 5 solo CD’s and tours Europe and Asia regularly. Joining forces with German Harmonica manufacturer C.A. Seydel in 2007, PT introduced two signature model “Gazell method” instruments. These harmonicas feature a
revolutionary new valve material that PT researched, as well as his personal setup for half valved diatonics. These instruments are quickly becoming an industry standard.
Learn to learn to improvise and play melodically while getting the basic fundamentals that are required.

PT teaches using tablature from well-known songs and selections from his discography, as well as exercises designed to help you succeed.

MULTIPLE INSTRUMENTS

Eric Frey

Eric Frey is from Clay, Alabama and has been playing the Upright Bass since he was eight. He first learned from his father while attending local bluegrass jams almost every weekend and festivals in the summer. Eric took private lessons with Cleveland Eaton at the University of Alabama at Birmingham while in their Music Technology program.

In 2003, he was hand-picked to join the Red Stick Ramblers and became an invaluable addition to their brand of Cajun Gypsy Swing. Eric stayed with the band until their final performance in 2014 at the Blackpot Festival, a unique festival-cuisine-culture experience that he continues to help organize. Eric is currently playing with The Revelers, a Cajun/Swamp-Pop/Zydeco outfit based in Lafayette, LA. Over the years, he has appeared on almost 40 recordings singing and playing many different instruments including bass, banjo and triangle, and has lent his ears to producing and co-producing several projects.

His song, “Bloodshot Eyes” was nominated in 2010 for Song of the Year by “Offbeat Magazine.” Eric’s song “Katrina” was prominently used in the HBO series, Treme, as well as the film You’re In Charge. He has been featured on 4 Grammy nominated recordings, including the 2012 Grammy Award Winning Best Regional Roots category, for The Band Courtbouillon. Eric has acting experience in seasons 3 & 4 of Treme, 2013’s Bonnie and Clyde, and I Saw the Light-a biopic about Hank Williams.

Claw-Hammer Banjo

Eric will take students who have never played before and teach them the basic rhythm of the instrument. That will lead to exploring the different ways to use that rhythm in an Old-Time style. Eventually, he will teach different tunings and how to approach playing tunes in different keys. All along the way, students will learn tunes and how to play with other musicians. After all, accompaniment is the goal of playing music in the first place.

Bass

Bass is Eric’s favorite instrument and he teaches electric and upright. He begins with the basics of playing along with any kind of jam and works up to walking the bass over fun chord changes. Along the way, he teaches some applied music theory in ways that aren’t nearly as painful as they sound.

Guitar

Eric takes beginner guitar students. He starts with basics, like how to tune, proper technique, how to hold a pick. Then he will teach some chords and how to easily switch between them. Eventually, students learn right hand rhythm and how to play chords with an alternating bass. Before long, students will be backing up every jam imaginable.

Contact: 337-849-3523 / ericlfrey@yahoo.com

HIGHLAND BAGPIPE & IRISH WHISTLE

Goodman PicDAVID GOODMAN

David Goodman teaches private lessons at the Musical Heritage Center. His students take private lessons on a practice chanter before learning to play the Highland bagpipe. The practice chanter is a small investment used to master the melodic fingering of the instrument before going “all in” with the big pipe.

Piping students will have the opportunity to perform and compete on a solo basis at Highland Games across the country. They will also have the opportunity to play in a band setting with the Nashville Pipes and Drums.

David will also teach Irish whistle in a private and group class series. Whistle students will be taught tunes that they can play and perform in most Irish music sessions.

David began piping at the age of 11 at the Hamilton School of Piping, under Pipe Major Lars Sloan. Since studying under Lars, David has received mentorship from the likes of P/M William Caudill, and P/S Robert Beaton.

He attended St. Andrews University on scholarship for piping where he graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, with a minor in Bagpipe Performance.

David currently plays in Grade 1 of the Eastern United States Piping Association. He plays with the Atlanta Pipe Band and is pipe major of The Nashville Pipes and Drums. He has recorded and performed with The Chieftans, Alyth McCormack, Trace Adkins, Rend Collective, Sloan Wolfe, The Tartan Terrors, and The Rogues.

Contact: (615) 979 1644

Board Certified Music Therapist

Heather Connor

Contact: (615) 828-8353 HConnerMTBC@gmail.com