2008 Instrument Building studentsSorry, all spaces in the 2016 Academy are completely sold-out. If you're registered for the Academy, be sure to check out the initial 2016 Academy schedule.

For a week before the festival begins, Planet Bluegrass offers the opportunity to immerse yourself as an active participant in the world of bluegrass.

From small classes with world-class professional musicians, to sessions on group jamming, vocal coaching, songwriting, one-on-one instruction, and a broad variety of electives including learning fiddle tunes, practice techniques, writing instrumentals, accompaniment, improvisation, and music history. Evenings feature band scrambles, barbecues, and plenty of jamming for novice through advanced ability levels. Many Academy students return year after year, creating long-term relationships with budding musicians from all over the world.

Song Session by the St. Vrain
Academy mandolin class

Instrument Classes

Every year we welcome many of the RockyGrass Festival performers - world-class bluegrass musicians representing several generations of the music's history and future. These talented musicians spend the week with us teaching instrument classes, leading jams, and sharing their wealth of musical experience.

Typically we offer three levels of instrument instruction for guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and bass as well as a single intermediate-level class in dobro. All we ask for all instrument classes is that you be at least a novice on your instrument - no beginners, please!

Kids Camp

The Bluegrass Academy experience isn't just for parents. Children of registered Academy students can also join in the fun with a special program for your children ages 7-14 who are either new to bluegrass or at a novice or intermediate level. Join us for four full days of instrument, vocal and band instruction that includes a final performance on Thursday evening. This is the perfect opportunity to bring the whole family to the Academy. Learn more....

Song Session by the St. Vrain
Instrument building instructors

Instrument Building Experience

Where else but on Planet Bluegrass do a few lucky participants have the chance to walk away with a hand-built instrument in just four days? All the instrument kits allow students to sample a variety of building techniques and materials during the process. Along with the mandolin family of instruments, this year we are offering two mandolin building graduates the chance to build a travel guitar. For the mandos, no building experience is required, just a good attitude and focus. With over 200 instruments built to date, this experience just keeps getting better. Learn more...

Academy Guests

If you are planning to attend the Academy with a non-musical family member, a very limited number of guest passes will be available to registered Academy students after the lottery has been completed. Guest passes allow your guest to camp with you on the Planet Bluegrass Ranch and enjoy the Monday and Thursday evening barbeques. You might also consider enrolling your guest in one of our non-instrument offerings: songwriting, vocals, or instrument building.

Photos: Russell Bramlett, Brian Eyster

Registration for the 2016 RockyGrass Academy was conducted via an online lottery from November 2-11. If you're new to the Academy, browse some photos from past years (click the image above) or view our slide-shows from past years.