Appalachian music classes offered at OCAC

The Oxford Community Arts Center is offering Appalachian music for children and adults taught by Susan Pepper. Pepper, a native of Cincinnati, spent the past seven years in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina immersed in the region’s renowned music traditions, performing and teaching music, and collecting ballads from traditional singers.

This singer and multi-instrumentalist (banjo, dulcimer, and guitar) has been teaching music and performing as a solo artist since 2003.  “Folk music is a wonderful avenue for developing a solid foundation of musical skills and knowledge, as well as fostering creativity and musical expression,” Pepper states.

In 2008, Pepper earned a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies with a focus in music traditions from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.  In 2010, she released her CD of field recordings entitled On the Threshold of a Dream: Unaccompanied Singing from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Pepper has taught in the Appalachian Studies Program at Appalachian State University, and directed an after-school Appalachian music program called Junior Appalachian Musicians (J.A.M.) in Sparta, North Carolina.  She has performed at venues across the region, including Appalachian State University, the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival Ballad Swap, the Urban Appalachian Council of Cincinnati, the Appalachian Culture Fest and more.

On Monday evenings beginning March 19, three five-week sets of classes are being offered; Beginning Folk Guitar and Advanced Folk Guitar for children, and Beginner Dulcimer for adults and everyone.  The 5-week sessions run from March 19-April 23 with no class on April 9th.

Folk Guitar for the Complete Beginner is scheduled on Mondays, 4:30-5:30 pm for children from 8-13 years old.  Students will learn basic chords and how to play and sing songs like “Skip to My Lou,” “I’ll Fly Away,” and “Keep On the Sunny Side.”

Advanced-Beginner Guitar for Children from 8-13 years old who already have a little experience and is scheduled on Mondays, 5:30-6:30 pm.  In this class, students begin to pick out melodies, learn new chords as well as expand their repertoire.  The cost for each of the guitar sessions is $65. Class sizes are limited.

Begining Dulcimer is a wonderful opportunity to brush the dust off of your dulcimer and learn to delight your friends and yourself!   This class is open to adults and folks of all ages and will be held on Mondays from 7-7:45 pm.   Students learn basic playing techniques on the mountain dulcimer, also called a lap dulcimer, and will come away knowing several Appalachian mountain songs and tunes.  The cost is $50 for the 5-week session.  Class size will be limited.

To register for any of these classes pick up a registration form from the OCAC office,  download a registration form from the OCAC website or contact the Oxford Community Arts Center at 513-524-8506.

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