The Handmade Music School is excited to announce the Handmade Youth Stringband Program starting January 24th, 2024!
Handmade Youth Stringband Program
This weekly gathering is, at its core, a group music program for youth (ages 7-18) to explore traditional music, dance, and arts from the Blue Ridge Plateau of Southwest Virginia. More expansively, it is a community of youth and families connected by their interest in learning about and taking care of the traditions of our Appalachian people and places.
Meeting Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30PM in 12 week-long semesters, this program is open to all experience levels, from first-time players to advanced players.
At our weekly gatherings, students will take interactive classes in their choice of fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, advanced stringband, and bass taught by dedicated musicians and instructors. Regular components also include dance, singing instruction, and inspiring sessions with visiting artists. Music is taught with a focus on playing together in community.
This program will take place at the Floyd Events Center, which is part of the Floyd EcoVillage. The facility features a beautiful setting on 75 acres just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the charming town center of Floyd.


SOLD OUT! Registration is now closed. Please email to get on a waiting list. Thank you!


The Handmade Youth Stringband Program is $190.00 per 12-week semester (approximately $15/session). The semester runs Wednesdays from January 24th-April 24th, 2024 with two break weeks on February 21st and March 20th, 2024.  Payment plans are available upon request. 

Families who have more than one child registering receive a 10% sibling discount.

The cost includes light snacks, and all learning materials are provided.  Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments, however, instruments may be provided by Handmade Music School if requested.


Our mission is to make this program accessible to all, regardless of finances. Partial and full scholarships are available depending on need. Please fill out the scholarship form HERE. These scholarships are determined by the HMS Scholarship & Outreach committee. You will be notified within 2 weeks of your application date.

Cancellation Policy

Registration fees are fully refundable if cancellation is made two days before the program registration is closed. If cancellation is made after registration is closed, only 50% of the registration fee will be refunded. (*In case of emergency, refund policy can be discussed with Handmade Music School faculty).

If you have questions about our registration, costs, or discounts please contact

Handmade Youth Stringband Program

Sample Day Schedule

Sample Daily Schedule (*subject to change)

  • 3:30 – Arrival and 1st class period
  • 4:00 – Snack and full group programming
  • 4:30 – 2nd class period
  • 5:00 – Jamming and stringband practices
  • 5:30 – Pick up

Daily programming includes level-specific instrument instruction, “Appalachian Arts” instruction (dance, rhythm practice, crafts, singing, immersive Appalachian music and dance history), time with visiting musicians, peer-to-peer jamming, stringband coaching for all levels, and more. The semester wraps up with a performance for family and friends on the last session of the semester.

Snack Break

Light snacks are provided by the HMS but you are more than welcome to have your student pack a snack, especially if they have allergies.

We recommend students bring their own water bottle but we do have water available at the EcoVillage.

Meet Our Teachers

Click on the images to learn more about each teacher

Kirsten Griffiths
Kirsten GriffithsDirector
Jason Dilg
Jason DilgMandolin
Sophie Moeckel
Sophie MoeckelAppalachian Arts, Dance, Fiddle
Sam and Melissa Leary
Sam and Melissa LearyGuitar, Banjo
Gina Dilg
Gina DilgFiddle, Dance
Jamie Collins
Jamie CollinsGuitar, Bass

Stringband Instructors

Upper intermediate/advanced students are taught in a stringband-style format with a rotating group of teachers

Raistlin Brabson
Raistlin BrabsonStringband
Jared Boyd
Jared BoydStringband
Corbin Hayslett
Corbin HayslettStringband

Guest Mentors

Dylan Locke & Heather Krantz
Dylan Locke & Heather KrantzGuest Mentors
Mac Traynham
Mac TraynhamGuest Mentor
George Slusher
George SlusherGuest Mentor
Jesse Smathers
Jesse SmathersGuest Mentor

Teacher Qualifications

The Handmade Music School is extremely selective when considering who will be teaching at our weekly youth music program. All of our teachers are experienced educators and musicians who have been involved in our traditional music and dance community for years.

Each teacher is required to go through our safety procedures before being hired. This includes:

  • A background check
  • Mandatory HMS teacher meetings that include program training, policy updates, and emergency preparedness training
  • The team includes staff who are certified in First Aid & CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Qualified to teach music and dance curriculum and produce activities that are fun for the children while offering educational value

Policies & Procedures

Drop-Off & Pick-Up Policy

Drop-off and pick-up will take place in the lobby of the EcoVillage. Please park in the parking lot in front of the EcoVillage Event Center. Parents/guardians are asked to walk your student(s) into the main lobby of the Event Center. Please do not send your student in without the accompaniment of an adult chaperone.  A Handmade Music School staff person will check your student(s) in for the day.

Pick-up: Parents/guardians are asked to come inside to the Event Center to pick up their child between 5:25pm and 5:30m. Please do not arrive later than 5:30pm. If there is an unexpected reason to be late, please call (540) 251-2571 and let a HMS staff person know.

All students must be signed out by a parent/guardian. If someone is there to pick up your student(s) and they are not listed on the “allowed pick-up” section of your registration form, we will call the main parent/guardian contact we are given for approval. Your child will not be allowed to leave before we can get a signature, we require this signature as a safety precaution for our students.

Contact With Student

If you need to contact your student at any time throughout the program, or drop something off to them, please call 540-251-2571 to alert a HMS staff person.

*Please make sure that all individuals that have permission to pick your child up are listed under “allowed pick-up” on your registration form. We will not allow your child to leave until we have parent/guardian approval. If there is anyone who is not allowed to pick up your student, please list this in the “NOT allowed to pick up” area on the registration form AND notify us so we have that information ahead of time.

HMS Behavior Policy. If the student was to interrupt the program due to bad behavior (screaming, name calling, not following instructions, not respecting the space, etc.) the following steps will be taken:

  1. A staff member will speak to the parent/guardian about the situation day of occurrence. This will be considered the first verbal warning. A staff member is required to fill out the first behavior report including all appropriate signatures.

Injury or Emergency Procedures

If the student’s parent/guardian cannot be reached and the program staff have followed the emergency procedures below, the parent/guardian agrees to assume all expenses for moving and medically treating this student.

  1. In a life threatening emergency ONLY, 911 will be called first.
  2. In a non-life threatening emergency, the program coordinator will call home. If there is no answer, the emergency contact given will be called. The director will administer First Aid as needed.
  3. If none of the above answers, the program coordinator will call an ambulance if necessary to transport the child to a local medical facility.
  4. Based upon the medical judgment of the attending physician, the child may be admitted to a medical facility.
  5. The program coordinator will continue to call the parents, guardians or physician until someone is reached. Please make sure you provide correct emergency contact information

Closures and Inclement Weather

The Handmade Youth Stringband Program follows the Floyd County school schedule for closures due to inclement weather.

Illness General Statement

If your child is sick please keep them home from programming. If a student notifies an instructor that they are not feeling well, the parent will be notified to pick up their child.