The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is offering Bluegrass Band classes this fall beginning on Oct. 3 to enhance basic string instrument skills. The Hall of Fame will also open a new banjo exhibition in November.
Led by Hall of Fame Education Director Randy Lanham, the classes are designed for students who have basic knowledge of playing their instrument, can tune their instrument, and are adept at following chord charts and tablature.
Students will receive music digitally via email in advance of each class. In addition to in-person classes, students will have access to tablature, chord charts, and recordings for 10 songs. Class sizes are limited to 25 students, and social distancing guidelines will be followed to ensure the safety of students and instructors.
Registration for fall Bluegrass Band classes is now open. Class times are offered at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The registration fee of $75 covers six classes, which take place every other Saturday through Dec. 12.
“Like all organizations, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum must be creative with how we deliver great programming like Saturday lessons,” Executive Director Chris Joslin said. “Offering two sections of the Bluegrass Band class is a great opportunity for intermediate and advanced players to transition to playing music with others and learning how to interact with other instruments. In addition, Randy Lanham will make it fun and safe for everyone who participates.”
More information and registration information is available at bluegrasshall.org.
In November, the Hall of Fame will open a new exhibition, “From Kentucky to Maine: Jimmy Cox Banjos.” The exhibition will feature six custom Jimmy Cox banjos, excerpts from a video oral history interview conducted by the Hall of Fame, and images celebrating the luthier’s craftsmanship.
A banjo maker and innovator, Cox — originally from Wolf Creek, Ky., — left his boyhood home for a life in the northeast, carrying with him a love of bluegrass music and the 5-string banjo. Born out of necessity, his passion for creating the perfect banjo turned into a business and has fueled the custom banjo market for decades.
“I had a pretty good banjo in the late 50s, but I never could get the kind of sound out of it — the clarity, sparkle, and dynamic range I thought a banjo could have,” Cox said. “I worked on it a lot to try to improve it but never to my satisfaction. It was then that I thought I was going to try to make one.”
In addition to telling his story, the exhibition features a display of Cox custom banjos from the private collection of Owensboro residents Glenn and Mary Higdon.