Robert Barrett

​​​​Bluegrass Music Instructor

a few words about me

Hi, I'm Robert Barrett

          I have been playing guitar, banjo and dobro in various genres for over 55 years.  My mother loved music and she often took me along with her to symphony concerts, dinner theaters and live music venues when I was a child.  As a kid I delighted in the music of the early rock 'n rollers and treasured the folk song era of the late Fifties and early Sixties.

        In the 1960's I played guitar in the folk music group The Fraternity.  Our single "Mara" reached Number 5 on the local top 40 hit list.  We opened for

national acts such as the Beach Boys and the Box Tops when they came to town.  

        I performed in two Rock 'n Roll bands in the 1970's: Phylum and the Final Affair.  This was followed by a return to college and a career in psychotherapy, which I continue to practice to this day.  


        Bluegrass became my passion in the 1990's, and for the past quarter century I have immersed myself in performing and promoting this wonderful pure-American form of music.  I sang vocals and played banjo, guitar and dobro in the Peace River Band, the Calusa Valley Boys, Thunder Mountain Railroad, and the Southwind Bluegrass Band.  


         I am the past president of the Southwest Florida Bluegrass Association and founder of the Acoustic Music Society of Southwest Florida.  I am the current Vice President of the Heartland Bluegrass Association.

why choose me

Reason One

My emphasis is on the joy of listening to and playing music.  Early on I provide students with fun things to practice, such as easy warm-up exercises and a few easy tunes to learn.  Students are encouraged to join in my periodic jam classes or participate in local jam sessions, because the best way to learn to play music, and the most fun, is with other musicians.

Reason Two

I stress hearing music, not just memorizing musical notation or tablature.  I want students to pay attention to dynamics and overall presentation.  I provide instruction on how to add energy to a delivery.  In addition to sound and pitch, lessons focus on the importance of proper meter and pacing in the performance of music.  I encourage students to learn the basics, and then create their own style as they gain competence.

Reason Three

I address the little things that make a difference.  For example, in Bluegrass, as well as in other genres, it is essential to learn back-up, fill-in licks, kick-offs and endings.  When playing with a group of musicians, 95% of the time you will be playing back-up or providing rhythm, or both. Transitioning from back-up to taking a solo can be daunting.  I also teach methods and tricks that add flavor to a song.  

A good performance is all about stage presence and energy.

student reviews

"Bob is a p​atient and thorough teacher."

Jerry B.

“Bob’s easy manner and knowledge make lessons truly something to look forward to.”

Larry P.

“The progress my 13 year-old has made in such a short time is amazing.” 

Greg C.

“Bob is a master teacher and an incredible musician.” 

Karla S.

"With no musical background I feel like I have accomplished a lot."

Tom D.