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Jane Keefer
Group Classes for Adults & Teens
Ensemble Classes, Individual Instruction

  • Old Time String Band

  • Individual: 5-String Banjo
    Mountain Dulcimer
    Hammered Dulcimer
    Styles: Old Time, Appalachian, Folk, Carter Family
    Ages Taught: All ages
    Levels: Beginning to intermediate
    Private Lessons: Register for Lessons Online: Click Here

    Teacher Info

    Like many modern traditional players, I started out doing something other than music, namely theoretical chemistry and physics (phD 1969, Univ of Illinois). This led to Southern California in the mid-70's where I encountered a small but intensely dedicated group of string band music enthusiasts. I was entranced and within the space of several years acquired a banjo, fiddle and dulcimer to go along with the guitar I had owned since my teens. When the budget was trimmed in 1977 and I got laid off, I never looked back.

    I am pretty much self-taught, and that means my technique is not always "correct" in a classical sense. Still, having a penchant for analysis, I soon discovered that if you read music, either tablature or notes, you can also write it. This led to teaching for a local music store and ultimately some 1200 arrangements and several years later to a modest mail-order business and numerous published tablatures.

    I especially enjoyed group classes where I could combine some individual tutoring with group teaching as a "performance" art. I am perhaps most proud of my "folk ensemble" class that introduced beginning and intermediate players to the joys of Old-Time String Band playing. I've taught since 1977 in a myriad of settings for individual and groups for instrumental arrangements in tablature for flatpick and fingerpicking guitar, clawhammer and 3-finger banjo, strum and fingerpicking mountain dulcimer, mandolin and fiddle. Fiddle arrangements are also available in standard notation for use on any instrument. I've published scores of tablature arrangements in Banjo Newsletter (BNL) and Pickin' Magazine and recorded with Truman Price "Songs & Tunes of the Oregon Trail".

    As a solo performer, I focus on traditional songs and tunes from the Appalachian mountains, sung and played on the 5-String Banjo, Mountain Dulcimer, Fiddle and Guitar. Material includes lively dance tunes, novelty songs from the 20's and 30's, ballads and songs from a variety of sources with a special emphasis on Carter Family songs. Newer songs and an occasional original, all crafted in the traditional mold, are mixed in for good measure.

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