World's First Online Bluegrass Academy Coming Soon

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Bluegrass fans around the world will soon be able to learn fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass, and guitar online directly from some of the biggest names in bluegrass music with the launch of the new Academy of Bluegrass.

ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass

ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass

Bluegrass fans around the world will soon be able to learn fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass and guitar online directly from some of the biggest names in Bluegrass music with the launch of a new Academy of Bluegrass.

The ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass consists of: The School of Banjo with Tony Trischka, School of Guitar with Bryan Sutton, School of Fiddle with Darol Anger, School of Bass with Missy Raines and School of Mandolin with Mike Marshall. Each school contains hundreds of high quality beginner, intermediate and advanced video lessons. Every student has the opportunity to send their teacher a recorded video of themselves practicing and receive a personal video response with individualized instruction from the teacher.

The Academy of Bluegrass is expected to launch early June 2011, with an Exclusive Sneak Peak Video available for download at

Tony Trischka -- Banjo
Tony Trischka is one of the most influential banjo players in the roots music world. In his 40 plus years as a consummate banjo artist, his stylings have inspired generations of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. A true luminary in the banjo world, his technical and conceptual advances opened the way for players such like Bela Fleck and Alison Brown. His recordings with them and others such as Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Pete Seeger, members of REM, William S. Burroughs, Natalie Merchant, Alison Krauss, and Steve Martin are part of every banjo-lovers musical reference. The Grammy-Nominated Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, the latest of his 16 recordings for Rounder Records, won several IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards in 2007, including ‘Banjo Player of the Year’. Tony has raised the awareness of both the banjo and his music with numerous articles in the national press, interviews on radio, and television appearances. His solo album for Smithsonian Folkways Records, Territory, was named ‘Best Americana Album’ at the Independent Music Awards. He recently produced Steve Martin’s latest album Rare Bird Alert, which features performances by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks. Tony is also the musical director of the forthcoming documentary The Banjo Project, to be aired on PBS in the fall. Tony is one of the banjo’s top teachers, and has created numerous instructional books, DVDs, and CDs. The groundbreaking Tony Trischka School of Banjo launched in July of 2009, and is the online home for banjo students all around the world.

Bryan Sutton -- Guitar
Born near Asheville, NC in 1973, Bryan started playing guitar at the age of 8. Sutton first came to prominence as part of Ricky Skaggs' bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder. At the beginning of 1999, Bryan retired from Kentucky Thunder, following his heart to devote himself to studio recording. As a leading session guitarist, he continues to appear on numerous recordings, from gospel albums to Rhonda Vincent's Back Home Again to top-sellers like the Dixie Chicks' Fly. His guitar playing anchors the sensational Dolly Parton bluegrass albums, Little Sparrow and The Grass Is Blue (Sugar Hill), and the singer returned the favor by collaborating with Bryan on his solo album Ready To Go. Filling in for the injured Tony Rice with the Bluegrass Sessions gave Bryan continued acclaim as he amazed audiences with his distinctive precision guitar leads. Bryan was awarded a Grammy in 2007, and has been honored as IBMA ‘Guitarist of the Year’ in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2011 he was named ‘Specialty Instrument Player of the Year’ at the Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

Darol Anger -- Fiddle
Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Darol Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his founding of numerous pathbreaking ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, the Duo, and other ensembles. Today Darol can be heard on NPR's "Car Talk" theme every week along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. Since 1977 he has recorded and produced scores of important recordings, and has received numerous composers' residencies and grants. A MacDowell and UCross Fellow, he is a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks. Anger is also committed to string education and helped found the String Resource Board for the International Jazz Educators Association. He is a contributing editor for Strings Magazine, teaches at the Berklee College of Music, and at Mark O'Connor and Aladair Fraser’s Fiddle Conferences. He has given string clinics all over the world and continues to discover and expose new string talents.

Mike Marshall -- Mandolin
Growing up in Central Florida, Mike cut his teeth on traditional American music. At age 19, his interest in diverse music styles eventually led him to the San Francisco Bay Area to join the original David Grisman Quintet in 1978. This band toured Europe and Japan and performed on the Johnny Carson Show. Together with the legendary jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, Mark O’Connor, and guitarist Tony Rice, they helped set a new standard for American string band music. Since then, Mike has continued pushing the boundaries of acoustic music and can be heard on hundreds of recordings as a composer, featured artist, sideman, and producer. Mike is one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile string instrumentalists in American today. A master on mandolin, guitar, mandocello and violin, he has created some of the most adventurous instrumental music for over 35 years. His concert tours have taken him around the globe, and you can hear his mandolin on the theme for NPR’s ‘Car Talk’ every week. In addition, Mike composed and recorded the theme music for the San Francisco based radio program ‘Forum’ heard daily on KQED Radio. As a teacher, Mike founded a weeklong mandolin camp in 2002 with old pal David Grisman. The Mandolin Symposium takes place the last week of June at U.C. Santa Cruz with over 150 mandolinists and 10 of the greatest players/teachers in the world.

Missy Raines -- Bass
Missy Raines is the most decorated bass player in the history of the International Bluegrass Music Association -- with 7 ‘Bass Player of the Year’ Awards to her name. A former member of the Grammy-Nominated Claire Lynch Band, and acclaimed duo Jim Hurst and Missy Raines, Missy is one of the most popular figures in the bluegrass community and a trailblazer in her field. Her rich pedigree reaches from legends such as Mac Wiseman, Kenny Baker, Josh Graves, and Eddie Adcock, to contemporary artists like Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby. Missy also toured and recorded with the rootsy, edgy Brother Boys. Missy has toured and performed extensively all over the world for the last 25 years and has taught bass at dozens of workshops and music camps. Today Missy continues to stretch musical boundaries with her own band, Missy Raines & The New Hip, a diverse and critically acclaimed quartet which has been touring since 2008. The New Hip bridges the musical worlds of newgrass and jazz in the spirit of musical influences ranging from Sam Bush and David Grisman to Miles Davis.

Students learn at the ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass in a very unique way. Most bluegrass education DVDs and websites provide only a list of videos to watch. The "Students" are then left to their own devices to practice on their own and make mistakes that never get corrected. Learning by the ArtistWorks Patent Pending “Video Exchange System” gives the student the ability to not only watch the videos, but also get critical personal feedback from a master of their instrument.

Students in each of the Academy of Bluegrass Schools watch and study the video lessons at their appropriate skill level - the course is self-paced and available 24/7. Students interested in personalized feedback and instruction from the teacher submit videos using the easy “Video Exchange System” to upload their video. The teacher reviews each video submitted and responds to the student with either a video or written response, which gets posted in the Video Exchange Center. Submitting a video is not required, but all students can watch all Video Exchanges 24/7. The exchanges between teacher and student are permanently stored and paired on the site for the entire school to learn from, an approach which breaks new ground in online music education.

Getting advice from an expert musician has been rare in the past. The ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass allows students to progress to their highest level of playing by having direct contact with bluegrass greats Tony Trischka, Bryan Sutton, Darol Anger, Missy Raines, and Mike Marshall. Just participating in the online community enhances the learning experience at the AOB, although students learn faster by submitting a video for review. Each student is given a Student Profile page to encourage socializing with peers, which deepens the online community. A very active “HUB" allows students from all of the AOB schools to interact and further their bluegrass knowledge.

This groundbreaking use of Video Exchange for the music instruction has been implemented at the Martin Taylor Guitar Academy, the Qbert Skratch University, Andreas Oberg Guitar Universe, Peery Piano Online, and Howard Levy Harmonica School.


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School of Fiddle with Darol AngerSchool of Guitar with Bryan SuttonSchool of Mandolin with Mike MarshallSchool of Banjo with Tony TrischkaSchool of Bass with Missy RainesArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass