private (and excellent) music lessons!

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Robert Bowden (that's me up there) was born and raised in Palo Alto, California.  One day while strolling the aisles of Alec’s department store with his mother, he heard a tune playing over the store’s PA system.  It was Washington Square, a popular number featuring a 4-string tenor banjo.  He was mesmerized.  As he stood in the check out line with his mother, he vowed to her, “Just watch. I’ll be able to play that someday.”  He was 11 years old and already bitten by the banjo bug. From that day on and for the next several months, young Robert begged and pestered his parents for banjo lessons.  His determination won them over and they presented him with his first instrument – a 5-string banjo from Montgomery Wards.  After a couple of months, Robert’s first banjo instructor moved away. Recognizing a budding talent, he referred Robert to another music store and another teacher – Jerry Garcia.  Yes – the Jerry Garcia.  Under Garcia’s tutelage, Robert excelled at bluegrass, practicing licks in his room after school when most kids were out playing baseball. On the advice of Garcia, Robert’s Montgomery Ward banjo was upgraded – a gift from his big brother, David.  It was the mid 60s and the folk music wave was getting into full swing and so, too, were Robert’s dreams of playing bluegrass.  Now residing in the greater Sacramento area, Robert’s love of the banjo and bluegrass music have expanded to include mastering other instruments such as the fiddle, guitar, mandolin and yes…tenor banjo.  He has spent his lifetime playing, performing, recording and teaching, adding Clawhammer and Celtic music to his repertoire. From the gentle and patient manner in which he teaches his students of all ages, to his fiery live performances, Robert Bowden embodies bluegrass music in a way that would make Bill Monroe proud. 



I have had a lot of students that have passed through many courses, teachers and programs only to finally end up with me…actually learning.  Give me a chance to do the same with you.

Exceptional instruction

Simply stated, my mission is to help YOU achieve your dream of playing music on your instrument of choice. I will do all that I can to help you become a musician.

It's really about you



My Mission

My musical background-