Kids’ Academy

An exciting trend at bluegrass festivals in recent years has been the rise of “kids’ academies” – programs designed to give young pickers an intensive but fun experience with other kids who share their interest in the music.

The Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Kids’ Academy will be open to all kids ages 6 to 18 for fiddle (or viola), mandolin, guitar, banjo, resonator guitar, and bass (or cello).

Our music director will once again be Ira Gitlin, winner of the 1992 National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. The Kids’ Academy will consist of five sessions that are each two hours long. Look for the area marked Kids’ Academy or ask at the Brandywine Friends booth for the location.

Beginners and more experienced players are welcome.Parents, please use judgment for very young beginners as to whether they are emotionally ready for this format of teaching. There is a registration fee of $25 per student, payable to Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival in the instruction area. Scholarships available if needed. Water will be provided.

Students will need to bring:

  • their own working instruments.
  • a suitable chair without arms that fits your child.
  • every guitar, banjo, and mandolin player will need to bring a strap.
  • guitar and banjo players will need capos.
  • extra strings for emergencies.
  • tuners for students who can tune themselves are helpful but not required.

Friday evening

  • Meet and greet
  • Assess playing level
  • Form groups
  • Run through song list

Saturday morning

  • Sectional instruction


  • Ensemble instruction

Saturday afternoon

  • Sectional instruction


  • Ensemble instruction

Sunday morning

  • Ensemble practice and main stage performance