Jim Robertson

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About Me

Jim Robertson started playing guitar during the folk music boom of the 60s. Prior to that his parents gave him a Hohner Marine Band harmonica. At age 16 or so he took up guitar and learned to play the folk songs that were popular then. Next came the 5-string banjo, followed soon after that with fiddle and mandolin.

Jim has never stopped playing. He has played in classic country, bluegrass, old time, jug band, jazz, and rock bands. In 2010 he started studying Northern Indian classical music and was honored to be the first person of European ancestry to be awarded the Pandit Dr. Laxmikant Doshi Award for excellence as a student of Indian music.

He has been teaching music since 1975 and has taught privately, at festival workshops, and has presented guest lecture/demonstrations at UNC Greensboro and Longwood University on the subject of Hindustani music.

He currently performs 18th and 19th century American music at historical sites and museums. He is in several musical groups playing a wide variety of genres ranging from Scottish/Irish traditional music to Western Swing to psychobilly-electro-punk-bluegrass to progressive jazz and hosts two weekly local Irish sessions. He has also played with several local professional theater companies.

Instruments Jim Robertson teaches:
Several styles of guitar including finger style, acoustic blues, and bottleneck
Lap steel guitar: dobro and electric
Fiddle: Basic, bluegrass, Old Time, and Irish
Mandolin
Ukulele
Dulcimer: Mountain and Hammer
5-string Banjo: Bluegrass, Old Time, Minstrel
Tenor Banjo: Irish tenor, jazz
Harmonica
Anglo Concertina
Scottish bagpipes, beginner lessons on practice chanter
Indian Classical: Sitar and sarod

Teaching Style

Jim Robertson’s Music Teaching Philosophy

Everyone has music inside. My job and my passion is to help bring that music to the surface. While not everyone has a want or a need to play in front of others I always try to direct students in that direction, but would never force a student to perform against her will.

Music is one of the best ways to learn mental focus and escape the pressures of life. It is also a great way to learn organization and patience. Anyone who wishes to play an instrument should do so, but should be prepared to enjoy the process of learning and always strive to improve the product. Regular practice is the key to success. Sadly, there are no shortcuts. With my experience as a teacher I can help students to find the direction to musical satisfaction that works best for each individual.

Available By

  • Zoom
  • FaceTime
  • Skype

Payments Accepted

  • PayPal

Link to Additional Work

Some Supplies You Might Need

A functioning instrument, possibly a printer, possibly a book or books, possibly a recording device. I’m flexible except for the instrument.


*TRAIN is a free service offered by the Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Humanities, which receives no proceeds from instruction. Our mission is to connect artists directly with students, and all instructional arrangements and financial agreements are made exclusively between the artists and the students. The Virginia Folklife Program does not assume responsibility or liability for these arrangements.