This class profiles the guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele and harmonica, and provides students with hands-on experience and fundamental playing skills with each one. Further time is spent in the exploration of American folk music and its role in history with particular emphasis on the civil rights movement, labor songs, the 1930s, and the Vietnam War. Through live class performance and archival video recordings, students are directly exposed to the music that defined and shaped America. Hands-on access to these instruments also provides students the opportunity to develop their own skills, play in small group ensembles, and explore ways to bring this music and these instruments into their own classrooms. Each student must bring a guitar, and if possible, one other American folk instrument.

Instructor: Michael Miles 

Michael_Miles_Headshot_2012Michael J. Miles has taught guitar at Villanova University and VanderCook College of Music for 20 years. He is an author for Mel Bay Publications and Publications International. He has served as President of The Folk Alliance (1990-1993) and Program Director at the Old Town School of Folk Music (1984-1998) where his instructional programming brought the school international acclaim. A renowned banjo player with five highly acclaimed CD's, his one man show, “From Senegal To Seeger: Stories of the American Banjo, as well as his concert performances have been featured Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival among others. Multi-instrumentalist, writer & composer Miles has earned critical acclaim and professional collaborations with Bela Fleck, Pete Seeger, and the Philadelphia Orchestra’s dePasquale String Quartet. Theatrical works created by Miles include Chicago Rhythm & Rhymes; America 1941, How Africa Met Ireland In American Song, The Magic Banjo, America 1968, Songs of the Earth, & Transcontinental, America 1957 and the Tin Pan Alley Times. After many years as a self taught musician, Miles earned an MA Music degree from Northeastern IL University.

Watch Michael In Action:


VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288