Andy May -
School show, NC – MerleFest Community Outreach

Andy’s relaxed, common-sense approach to teaching is rooted in his background in developmental learning, his experience as a professional musician, and his interest in creative problem-solving. He has performed thousands of shows, taught many hundreds of people to play guitar or mandolin, and instructed extensively in the areas of performance, songwriting, and visual art. 

Within each person there lies the possibility of positive creative expression. I create the environment and give folks access to the tools they need to explore their creative path.

—Andy May

Andy’s own formal arts education includes attending the High School of Music & Art in New York City, where he received the prestigious Art Chairman’s Award, studying painting at the School of Visual Arts (NYC), and graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Magna cum Laude, with a degree in Fine Arts and Art Education.

Andy has been Artist-in-Residence in schools across the northeast, and he has led workshops on a variety of topics at venues including the Walnut Valley Festival (KS), the Augusta Heritage Center (WV), MerleFest (NC), and the Country Music Hall of Fame (TN). Among them, his beloved Acoustic Kids Showcases provide young musicians with festival performance opportunities, and his Roots of Bluegrass workshop traces the development of this truly American musical form from the beginnings of recorded music. Andy also offers private lessons on guitar and mandolin to students of all ages.

Andy May Songwriting Workshop, Walnut Valley Festival, 2013
Songwriting workshop

I thoroughly endorse and encourage your continued work in this area, and I think you’re uniquely situated to help implement future programming of this sort. Every school should be lucky enough to benefit from it.

—Robert Cogswell
Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program Director (retired) on Andy’s school programming

While he enjoys teaching students of all levels, Andy particularly loves working with beginning and intermediate-level musicians who are passionate about learning their instrument. He enjoys providing students with a solid framework that will free them to continue developing a deeper understanding of their own musical ability, even when they are not actively taking lessons.

MerleFest Community Outreach

…His manner is easygoing and conversational. He not only shares his music with students, but also the creative process through which songs are written and instruments are mastered.

—Joan Gardner
Cultural Organization of the Arts, RI

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