Leela Grace (Singer/ Banjo Player/ Guitar Player/ Performer/ Songwriter/ Percussive Dancer Extraordinaire) is a Columbia, Missouri native who has performed and taught nationally for over 20 years, first with her family, and now as a solo musician and with her sister Ellie (as Leela and Ellie Grace). She likes to say that she spent her childhood and teenage years taking herself way too seriously and catering to her own perfectionist tendencies, so she is trying to make up for that now! J For the last nine years, in addition to touring nationally, she has been offering instruction in by-ear harmony singing, clawhammer banjo, and percussive dance to individuals and groups in her hometown.
In August of 2007, she relocated to Portland, Oregon, where she has continued to spread the joy. She is a kind, entertaining, experienced teacher who tries to disarm her students with laughter, silliness, song and dance while, unbeknownst to them, they are not only learning to sing, dance, or play the banjo, but also learning to believe in their own ability. Leela's devious plan is to do her part to create world peace by returning voices, simple joys, and power stolen in childhood to their rightful owners.
Here's what a few of Leela's banjo students have said about her teaching:
"After muddling through years of instruction books and tabs, Leela's clear instruction helped me to hear the music in a way that elevated my banjo playing to a new level. Her creative arrangements of classic tunes have inspired me as I work to develop my own style." -- Jim R.
"I would highly recommend Leela to banjo students at all levels. Leela is a skilled musician, has a wonderful ear (for hearing all your flubbed notes!), and a super way of motivating you to develop your skills. In about 18 months Leela helped me develop from a true beginner to being able to say "I can play the banjo" and prove it! She quickly taught me the basics and then gradually helped me hone my basic skills by adding drop thumbs, double thumbs, slides/pull-offs, triplets etc as I grew in my abilities. I highly recommend her to anyone!" -- Bud S.
"Leela is a great and generous teacher. She introduced me to some magical banjo tunes and tunings and helped me hugely in learning to listen and play by ear. Her easygoing teaching style and sparkling, clean playing lured me down the first strange, crooked, and colorful paths of old time music." -- Jim B.
Teacher's Web Site: www.leelaandelliegrace.com