The Rogers School of Traditional Music offers lessons on several instruments and styles. The overarching principle for all types of lessons is that music should be fun. To that end, Dr. Rogers' teaching style is non-judgmental with no pressure, and guided by the student's interests.
The piano was Dr. Rogers' first instrument, and he feels that this is the most appropriate first instrument for children. To that end, we accept piano students as young as four years of age. Adult beginners and returners of any level are also welcomed. For children, we use Edna Mae Burnam's Step by Step Piano Course. For adult beginners, we use John Thompson's Adult Piano Course. During and after these courses of instruction, Dr. Rogers will introduce supplemental material according to the student's expressed interest. If students want to learn classical music, Dr. Rogers is happy to teach it. If students prefer more modern forms of music, such as ragtime, boogie, jazz, pops, etc., Dr. Rogers is equally happy to teach that as well. Students may also choose to learn sacred music suitable for playing at churches and religious functions.
Old Time Banjo
Dr. Rogers teaches old time banjo, often called frailing or clawhammer, in the traditional Sand Mountain style of northeast Alabama. Unlike most old time banjo styles, the Sand Mountain style stresses both the melody and the rhythm, resulting in a melodic sound that still has lots of drive. It works well for playing solos, accompanying a fiddler, or backing vocals. Dr. Rogers uses a variety of material and methods to teach old time banjo, including ear training, Muller and Koehler 's excellent Frailing the 5-String Banjo book, and plenty of supplemental material from various old time traditions. Students of all levels are welcome to take old time banjo lessons, from absolute beginners to experienced frailers who need a little push to get over a plateau in their skills. Click here for examples of Dr. Rogers playing old time banjo.
Dr. Rogers also offers lessons in the more modern three-finger bluegrass style of banjo playing. This is the style popularized by the late Earl Scruggs, whose personal style Dr. Rogers has studied in depth. For beginners, we recommend Janet Davis' book You Can Teach Yourself Banjo. We supplement this book with additional material appropriate to the student's interests and playing level. Advancing students can choose to study Earl Scruggs' material in depth, focus on chromatic bluegrass, or explore the well-documented banjo styles of other banjo players such as J. D. Crowe, Sammy Shelor, Scott Vestal, Bela Fleck, or Tony Trischka. Our bluegrass banjo lessons are appropriate for beginning and intermediate students. Click here for examples of Dr. Rogers playing bluegrass banjo.
Old Time Fiddle
The fiddle style that Dr. Rogers teaches comes from the hills of North Alabama. It also has influences from North Carolina, Ireland, and Scotland. We do not recommend a book for this style, but concentrate on ear training and use notation to learn fiddle tunes from basic transcriptions. Dr. Rogers will supply fiddle tunes from his traditional repertoire, or the student may bring specific tunes that they would like to learn. Once basic skills have been established, the student may choose to focus on old time or Celtic material. Dr. Rogers welcomes beginners as well as existing fiddlers of all levels of ability. Click here for examples of Dr. Rogers playing old time fiddle.
Resonator Guitar (Dobro)
The term "resonator guitar" refers to a six-string, square-necked guitar that is played horizontally using a steel bar held in the left hand. Many people refer to this style of guitar as a Dobro (derived from Dopyera Brothers, who developed this instrument). Dr. Rogers recommends Janet Davis' book You Can Teach Yourself Dobro to beginning reso students. As the student advances, he or she may choose to learn either bluegrass or Hawaiian resonator guitar, as these are the two styles of music in which this instrument is most commonly found. Click here for examples of Dr. Rogers playing resonator guitar.
Mandolins have been used in many styles of music throughout history, but are currently best known for their use in bluegrass music. Dr. Rogers recommends Wayne Erbsen's book Bluegrass Mandolin for the Complete Ignoramus! for beginning bluegrass students. Advancing students may be interested in studying transcriptions by Butch Baldassari or even the mandolin style of Bill Monroe himself. For students interested in Celtic or old time mandolin, Dr. Rogers will provide fiddle tunes from these traditions. Click here for examples of Dr. Rogers playing mandolin.
The Rogers School of Traditional Music is a Native American-owned business. All content copyright © 2012-2013 The Rogers School of Traditional Music.