MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS
Founder / Director / Teacher — Mike teaches violin, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, ukulele, voice, bass, and specializes in teaching/coaching youth bluegrass bands
Founder/director of The Floyd Music School. Nationally recognized and a member of the Virginia String Teacher’s Association, I also direct the Songwriter Mentorship Program at the International Bluegrass Music Association and am a member of Folk Alliance International.
I’ve played strings and fretted instruments for 45 of the last 50 years and taught for 25. My approach is traditional, with emphasis on the heritage music of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Honored at The White House by President Obama for achievements in Heritage Music Instruction, Summer, 2008 and listed as a ‘teacher of note’ within 27 counties in Southwestern Virginia by The Crooked Road organization.
My students play in the Roanoke Youth Symphony and Blacksburg Community Strings, have won first place in numerous Bland Competitions and fiddle contests, have attended Shasta, Mike Block and Mark O’Connor summer music camps and Roanoke Symphony’s Summer Music Institute. Former students have attended the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Belmont University in Nashville, North Carolina School of the Arts and the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Graduates of my studio are also signed recording artists on the Traviana records Label.
For me performing and recording are in harmony with teaching, and I would not excel in either effort without the other.
As a singer/songwriter and recording artist, Mike’s 2018 album release, “Small Town” debuted on the Billboard Bluegrass at #2 in December, 2018. His latest album, “Fathers & Sons” has enjoyed three top-ten hit songs and has been in the top ten album charts for 8 months.
He tours internationally with the Mike Mitchell Band, and plays in regional Jazz and Classical ensembles. Mike is also a session musician for Bluegrass record labels, worldwide.
Co-Founder / Teacher — Jen teaches piano, flute, and beginner harp
Jenny’s love for music began at an early age. Her father, Toby Mort, had a great LP and 45 collection and there was always music in the house. Toby was an afternoon DJ on KPLM Radio in Palm Springs, CA. His show was devoted to classic country music. Jenny was always singing and took voice lessons as a young girl before studying piano with Joyann Gongaware in Hemet, CA. Jenny also played flute, trombone and bass in the Hemet bands and played flute and piccolo in both Hemet High School’s award-winning concert and marching bands. Playing guitar for youth church was a favorite pastime during her teenage years.
She graduated from Point Loma College (now, Point Loma University), in San Diego with a teaching degree. As a 6th and 4th grade elementary teacher, she began her own family, homeschooled all 7, and is a stepmom to 2 more. Hannah and LJ Brooke both studied violin with Mike and were in the Roanoke Youth Symphony for several years. (LJ went on to the University of Miami and graduated in 2019 with a BA in violin performance and is currently a graduate student at North Carolina School of the Arts, and a part-time teacher for Floyd Music School)
Jenny focuses on the reading of music and music theory, with her students playing in churches and in their school bands. She is also the Administrator of Floyd Music School and manages both our FMS Record label and the Mike Mitchell Band.
Apprentice / Teacher — James teaches beginner guitar
James has been playing the violin/fiddle and guitar since he could walk! Having grown up with the FMS curriculum and methods, he’s now apprenticing in the teaching studio with his dad. He’s doing a fine job with the younger kids, online! We couldn’t be happier about his decision to join the family business. Keep a look out for his Mel Bay Children’s guitar method videos.