Folk & Bluegrass Legend Alice Gerrard Leads Master Class in Songwriting Dec. 9-10 - The Birthplace of Country Music
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Folk & Bluegrass Legend Alice Gerrard Leads Master Class in Songwriting Dec. 9-10

A photo of Alice Gerrard with and acoustic guitar slung over her shoulder.

BRISTOL, Va. (Nov. 21, 2023) – Songwriters will have the unique opportunity to hone their craft with one of the most iconic figures in folk and bluegrass music, Alice Gerrard, during a two-day workshop at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum Dec. 9-10. The workshop is entitled “Songwriting in the Tradition,” but students are given the freedom to choose the style of song they are interested in writing. Class size is limited.

“Songwriting is personal, and everyone will have different ideas,” said Gerrard. “There are as many different approaches to songwriting as there are songwriters. You are not alone!”

At 89 years of age, Alice Gerrard is a pioneering figure in the realms of folk and bluegrass music. With a career spanning over six decades, Gerrard has left an indelible mark, both as a performer and scholar. She was a central figure in the folk music revival of the 1960s, collaborating with influential artists such as Hazel Dickens and Mike Seeger. Gerrard is celebrated for her mastery of banjo, guitar, and vocals, seamlessly blending traditional Appalachian sounds with her own unique interpretations. A GRAMMY nominated artist, Gerrard was honored with the International Bluegrass Music Association‘s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001.

The workshop takes place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day. No particular skill level is required, just the desire to write a song or finish one you may have started. Students are encouraged to bring along a rhyming dictionary or thesaurus, notebook, their own instrument, recording devices, and fragments of inspiration, both melodic and lyric.

“This is an opportunity to collaborate with one of the most influential women in the history of folk and bluegrass music,” said museum Head Curator Dr. Rene Rodgers. “Under Gerrard’s guidance, participants will complete an original composition. As an added incentive for younger songwriters, the program will be discounted for high school and college students.”

The cost for adults attending Gerrard’s workshop per person is $150 (+tax/fee). The cost is discounted to $100 (+tax/fee) for high school and college students with the discount code ALICESTUDENT. Visit the Events page at to pre-register.