Class Format


The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the safe presentation of in-person gatherings of all types. Our safety protocols are guided by the findings of the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Buncombe County Health Department and those of Warren Wilson College.

For the last two years, we have required documentation, verified with a photo ID, that all participants have received a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have gotten the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC.

Covid is still with us, but its prevalence has receded to the point where we no longer require vaccination, but still strongly recommend it. Anyone testing positve for Covid during the Gathering will be asked to leave in order to limit the spread of the virus among the participants. Participants will be updated throughout the spring of any changes or additions to these safety measures.


The workshops take place at various sites around the Warren Wilson campus and environs, including classrooms, Kittredge Theatre, our Bryson Gym dance-hall and campus Pavilion, the campus gardens and patios, an outdoor amphitheater, and our own jam session tents. Each year we offer over 150 classes. Each class is a five-day course of study. Students are free to create their own curriculum from any of the classes offered for each week. Students may select a class choice and an alternate for each of our scheduled class periods, but concentration on a few classes is strongly recommended, since taking too many may not leave enough opportunity and/or practice time to absorb all the material presented, and class selections are required for registration. We ask that you be thoughtful in making your selections, since we will consider them to be binding choices for which we will reserve you space.

After their first class meeting, students have until Monday at 6:00 pm to switch into another open class if they find they have made an inappropriate choice, and are then expected to remain in those classes. Unless indicated in the class descriptions, classes have a maximum of 15 students, and when those limits are reached, classes will be closed and additional students wait-listed. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some of our class descriptions define required skills in detail, but when the following terms appear, Beginner refers to those with no experience at all, or those who play some but are not yet comfortable with the basics. Intermediate students should have mastered basic skills, and be able to tune their instruments, keep time, play the principal chords and scales cleanly, and know how to play a few tunes with confidence (dancers should know basic steps and figures, and how to lead and/or follow). Advanced students should be very comfortable with their instruments and able to focus on style, arrangement and ornamentation. Roman numerals after a class title indicate a difference in focus or skill level of the same subject, while capital letters denote different sections of the same class. Many of our classes may include musical notation or tablature, though in general, we emphasize learning by ear. Our classes have no age restrictions, but we require that all students, especially minors, be sincerely interested in the subject and not a distraction to others.