Mike Mitchell makes his home in Floyd, VA where he is founder and director of The Floyd Music School.
Mike has played strings and fretted instruments for 35 of the last 40 years and has taught for 20. He uses a traditional approach, but emphasizes the heritage music of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
"I bring experience, expertise and charisma to the classroom or private studio. For me performing and recording are in harmony with teaching, and I would not excel in either effort without the other."
His students play in the Roanoke Youth Symphony, have won first place in numerous Bland Competitions and fiddle contests, have attended invitation-only summer music camps, and are playing in regional bluegrass and blues bands.
Mike was honored at The White House by President Obama for achievements in Heritage Music Instruction, Summer, 2008
Mike is listed as a ‘teacher of note’ within 27 counties in SWVA by Virginia’s The Crooked Road organization
He plays with the best bluegrass bands in the two Virginias and is a first-call session player as well.
With the experience of teaching for more than 20 years, combined with his intuitive people-management skills, Mike brings a special charisma to the classroom (both in the studio and online). He is skilled at teaching all ages and levels, and has experience working with both special needs children and adults. Mike's creative instructional styles and techniques mixed with his academic approach bring excellent results to the classroom.
This 5 level course in Violin/Fiddle follows a traditional method. We use the String Builder series, written in the 1950’s by Dr. Samuel Applebaum, in conjunction with the method books of the 19th century’s great masters: Wohlfarht, Sevcik, and Kreutzer. Suzuki music is also used. Now you might be thinking, “O no, I have to buy all of these books right away…” but that is not the case. String Builder Book 1 will take you through the first level alone, we then add Suzuki book 1 for the second level. At level three we will add Wohlfahrt violin studies book 1 and Sevcik Bowing Studies book 1. Further method books and performance pieces will be added at continuing levels. Our fiddle tunes will be taken from a number of sources, and our own Floyd Music School transcriptions.
For fretted instrument study, we use the Mel Bay guitar method books in conjunction with method books from Berkeley Press. An interesting banjo method, first published in 1908, is the Emile Grimshaw method. This teaches banjo in both noted music and Tablature. The Complete Mandolinist by Marylin Mair is the most comprehensive mandolin method available today, and I highly recommend we use it!
All this being stated, I understand that some folks want to learn to play by ear, or strictly by TAB. As long as they are willing to practice and put in the work needed, I am willing to teach!