In Person Classes

The Cat and The Fiddle offers private classes on a variety of instruments.
To schedule a class reach out to the teacher of your choice, or contact us for general inquiries at:

Dakota Karper - Old Time Fiddle, Clawhammer Banjo 

Dakota Karper was born and raised in rural West Virginia where she grew up surrounded by Appalachian Old-time music. From a young age she took to this music with great abandon. Absorbing as much as possible, she apprenticed under master fiddler Joe Herrmann, spent weeks at Augusta Heritage Center, participated in various music festivals in and around West Virginia and studied classical violin at the Shenandoah Arts Academy in Winchester, VA. After spending 7 years in Baltimore, MD, Dakota moved back to establish her home base in Capon Bridge, WV where she now teaches Appalachian fiddle and performs regularly in the surrounding region. 

Influenced heavily by a culture that values its roots and heritage, Dakota has created a voice of her own that combines clear haunting melodies, driving bow strokes, and settled rhythmic grooves. Dakota was a founding member of the 'Short Mountain String Band', and "Hay Fever" and has most recently been performing with Brendan Hearn as 'Hemlock and Hickory' and with Megan Mette and Julius Bjornson as 'Devil in the Mill'. In 2019 Dakota opened her own traditional roots music school called 'The Cat and The Fiddle'. 

Contact: or call 443-860-2461
Cost: $35 per half hour class
Age Levels: Children and adults (Age 7 minimum)

Johanna Murray - Piano, Voice

Johanna Murray grew up in Omaha, NE and received her BA in studio art from Grinnell College (2012). She has been playing piano and singing since she was 8 years old, studying under instructor, Phyllis Dunne, for 10 years. She has continued practicing music and performing throughout her adult life, and recently studied piano under Hampshire County native and local pianist Jim Townsend. Johanna sang in the Nebraska Children’s Chorus for 8 years under the tutelage of world renowned conductors, including Dr. Z Randall Stroope. Music has always played an important role in Johanna’s life and she currently plays as a duo with her husband, Mike Everson. 

Johanna is also an experienced educator with two years of teaching experience in both Hampshire and Morgan County Schools. Additionally, she organized and facilitated educational arts/music programs through The River House as the Executive Director from 2017-2021. Johanna is a great fit for beginner students looking to learn the basics of not only playing the piano but also understanding foundational music theory. 

She assists her students in following their musical passions through studies of classical, traditional, and popular tunes. 


Cost: $25 per half hour class

Age level: Children and adults

Mike Everson - Guitar

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mike Everson started playing guitar 15 years ago in his hometown of Omaha, NE. Initially self-taught, he played blues and rock music as a hobby in high school. In 2008, he was accepted into the University of Nebraska-Omaha School of Music, where he began playing jazz-guitar as a student of guitarist Jeff Scheffler. During his college years he was routinely playing in bar-band gigs, and began teaching guitar at the School of Rock-Omaha. He also collaborated with a few friends in a band called “The Penrose Stairs”, releasing the album Apophenia (2013). Upon graduation in 2012, Mike continued to teach and became Music Director of SOR-Omaha until his departure in 2014.

After one year of traveling and working as a farmhand, Mike moved to Hampshire County, WV with (his now wife) Johanna Murray. Together they released the album Mother Tree (2017), which featured original songs inspired by their travels. Currently residing in Capon Bridge, WV, Mike continues to perform as a solo artist, in a duo with his wife called “Mike&Jo”, and as a guitarist and vocalist for local rock-band “The Bad McCrees”.

Mike teaches and explores the acoustic roots and evolution of blues, rock, and jazz music with his students. He understands the initial struggles of beginners, and appreciates the company of intermediate or veteran players who want to learn some new tricks. 


Cost: $25 per half hour

Age level: Children and adults (8+ yrs / 3rd grade min)

Virginia Ballard - Voice, Piano, Violin, Ukulele

Virginia Ballard teaches voice at all levels, and introductory piano, violin, and ukulele. 

Virginia started studying music at 4 years old, starting with violin and expanding into voice, piano, ukulele, and mandolin. She has been active in local performances throughout her life at school in Winchester, community theaters in Virginia, and various stages. 

During her time with her school choir, she performed solos in the Apple Blossom Coronation. She spent the majority of violin study with Ewa Tryczynska and began voice lessons with Deborah Balcom at the Shenandoah Arts Academy. Before starting at JMU she was invited to Germany to sing and spent 2 months performing with Die Mittle Saxon Semper Opera in Freiberg, Germany. 

Virginia studied voice with Dr. Dorothy Maddison for 5 years at James Madison University and earned her Bachelor of Music with a minor in German in 2021. While at JMU she studied classical, music theater, jazz, baroque, and contemporary voice. She also participated in JMU’s opera programs, choral groups, and competitions. Virginia began performing jazz in 2020 and continues to perform with friends as, “The Lou Hoo Quartet”.

Virginia guides music lovers to expand their vocal repertoire in a healthy and fun way, helping students with their favorite songs. She offers an early start to music literacy and encourages a lifelong love of music.

Contact: or text (540) 409-7703

Cost: Beginner Instrumental $25 per half hour OR Voice $35 per half hour class

Age level: Children and adults (Age 4 minimum)

Thomas Curry - Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Hammer Dulcimer

Thomas Curry began learning guitar at ten years old and continues to develop a style influenced by traditional Appalachian music, Bluegrass, and Carter-style picking. He applies the fundamentals of chord and string theory to create and introduce variety into a straightforward genre of music. 

In 2018, shortly after picking up the mandolin, he was introduced to Dakota Karper through Old Time Music Jams in Hampshire County. Inspired by a love of all instruments with strings, he began an apprenticeship under her in 2019.  

Since then he has picked at any instrument he could lay hands on, from the bass to the hammered dulcimer. Thomas has played at multiple venues and festivals to represent The Cat and The Fiddle including the Appalachian Festival in Frostburg, MD.


Contact: or text (740) 816-0068

Cost: Guitar, Bass, Mandolin $25 per half-hour class OR Hammer Dulcimer $35 per half hour class

Age Level: Children and adults (Age 8 minimum)