Mac Traynham

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About Me

66 years young. I have been an advocate for the traditional ‘sound’ of old-time music as found in music of the original mountain people of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. I am a multi-instrumentalist specializing in Clawhammer banjo and old-time fiddle in a corresponding style that seems to attract flatfoot dancers. In solo performances I include my guitar and harmonica as I feature local ballads, folk songs and instrumental numbers. I have several CD’s which feature my work as duet with my wife Jenny, as well as a trio with our daughter Hanna. I have worked with numerous Old-time bands playing for local community events and have performed for audiences in UK, Denmark, and Australia in the past 8 years. Since the early 1990’s I have led workshops and taught classes at music camps in several states including Alaska, Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. I currently do online workshops for the Junior Appalachian Musicians program as well as for the Floyd Country Store’s Handmade Music School. I currently do private online lessons from my banjo workshop next to my home.

Teaching Style

At first meeting I generally like to see where a student stands on mastery of the basic fundamental right and left hand techniques. If they can demonstrate basic skills of tuning and right hand timing skills then I will start with a simple tune to begin students learning basic right and left hand techniques. I will introduce a tune playing it at a medium pace so one can begin to hear what I want them to sound like. I will go into showing the basic fundamental techniques and work with the student phrase by phrase to guide them to being able to string the phrases together. For students who learn best visually, I can provide tablature to help explain what is going on for every beat as one moves through each phrase to play the tune. I encourage students to video me demonstrating the tune at the end of the lesson. I email tablature afterwards if requested.

Available By

  • Zoom
  • FaceTime
  • Google Hangout

Payments Accepted

  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Credit Card
  • Virtual Tip Jar

Some Supplies You Might Need

Working instruments, strings, rosin for fiddlers. Electronic tuner and metronome are helpful. Cell phone with video making capabilities.

Work Sample

*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.