Mountain Empire Community College’s Mountain Music School is a week-long event dedicated to the preservation and continuation of Appalachian music and culture. 

Located in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, the school provides opportunities for students age 10 and up to experience traditional old-time music with fun and supportive instruction by talented, encouraging instructors who are masters at their craft. 

Students may select an instrument and skill level of their choice, including beginning and advanced old-time fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, dog house bass, string band, shape-note singing, and traditional ballads. Students and instructors also dance and sing along at daily concerts featuring some of the region’s most gifted old-time musicians, and all receive a Mountain Music School tee-shirt.

Launched in 2004, the school was created by Mountain Empire Community College and Roadside Theater member Ron Short to address a growing concern that traditional mountain music was not being passed down to the youth of Southwest Virginia. Today, the school has grown to include more than 100 students of all ages, many of whom travel from throughout the country to participate.

For more information visit

Cite This

“About: Mountain Music School.” October 29, 2014.

Interested in copying, distributing, and/or adapting this work? Please view our license information.