Scott Walker

Here is an account of my personal musical and teaching history, and in a certain way, how the Walker Family Band Camp came to be. 

I’ve been teaching for over 40 years. My original training in Hickory, NC, during junior high school was on the trombone and then the baritone horn, but I switched from the baritone to the cello in the 11th grade. I fell in love with the cello, and when I got to college at East Carolina “College”, I was immersed in a world of cello and orchestra music that was very new and very exciting. The same year I started on the cello, I also began learning to play the guitar as well. I enjoyed both instruments very much, and coming from a musical family, it seemed I was heading in the right direction. As it has turned out, the two instruments have taken me to very different, but wonderful places.

I loved my time at East Carolina “University” where I majored on the cello and studied classical music, receiving a teaching degree. I was fascinated with orchestra conducting, and following college, some of my most treasured musical memories included being named the “Associate Conductor” conductor of the Elon College Community Orchestra. For twenty years, from 1969 to 1989, I played principal cello in the orchestra, and conducted many standard orchestral pieces. I also was fortunate to spend a summer season conducting the Durham Symphony Orchestra, in Durham, NC. I conducted several concerts that summer. I remember conducting Candide by Bernstein, and a real highlight, Beethoven’s 1st Symphony, at the Forest Theater, part of the Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill.

Back in high school one of my classmates, George Groves, taught me to play the guitar so he could play the banjo and fill out the sound for our new folk trio, called the “King’s Men”. We learned folk songs off albums of “Peter Paul and Mary”, “The Chad Mitchell Trio” and most especially “The Kingston Trio”. For two years of High School we gigged and played many events all over the area. Amazingly, George is now a member of that very group. A real success story!

I enjoyed my foray into “informal” music during high school, but I left it behind when I went to college and later began my orchestra teaching career in the public schools in Burlington, NC. I married Carole Hampton, and we had two fabulous children Seth and Jennie. We joined with another couple, Jim and Susan Walton and their three children, and together we crafted a 2500 square foot log house on 8 acres in a very rural area, north of Elon, NC, near a place called Altamahaw-Ossipee. We lived there together for 13 years, developed a “farm” with chickens, pigs, bees and more, and created an official Quaker meeting which was held every Sunday at our house.

I took a job teaching at the New Garden Friend’s School in Greensboro, NC, in 1977 where we thought we were inventing education, or at least an essential alternative to the “evil” state system that did not understand peace, love, and the power of meditation. While I was teaching there we began to explore the possibility of teaching strings using the Suzuki method. Carole and I both became a Suzuki teachers, and from 1969 to the present, we both have enjoyed many wonderful experiences teaching countless numbers of students, and had the good fortune to teach with many wonderful colleagues in many different places all over the country.

We taught Seth and Jennie using the Suzuki Method, and we became totally immersed in that world. Both Carole (now Carole Shoaf) and I took Suzuki teacher training, and began teaching at summer camps and weekend workshops, and during the school year, making our living teaching many many private lessons. We also established a mail order business, called “The Enchanted Workshop”, and we sold teaching aids designed specifically for Suzuki students all over the world.

Something about this worked well for our kids. Seth moved to the guitar, and is now a touring professional singer songwriter living in New Orleans, with eight CD’s to his credit, and a large fan base all over the country ( Jennie is a Suzuki teacher and along with husband Jim Brunner, have brought two precious children into the world. Inspired by Carole’s parents, John and Janet Hampton, Jim and Jennie are raising the children in the tradition of Rudolf Steiner’s philosophies that were the basis for the creation of “Waldorf Education”. They will soon be living in Asheville, NC, supporting the “Azalea Mountain” Waldorf School there.

In 1988, a former student and present friend, Fred Lail, visited my home and played a fiddle tune for me on my front porch. That began a very rewarding journey into Irish fiddle music, on the fiddle, and the guitar. Since that time I have enjoyed playing in many jam sessions and have had the pleasure to perform with many wonderful Irish musicians in a variety of situations. I began to realize that I could teach kids Irish music, and I started introducing the music at Suzuki workshops, developing some of my own materials for teaching this energetic and beautiful form of music.

This has transformed my performing interest as well as the scope of my teaching. I began to create opportunities for students to learn and enjoy fiddle music for themselves. I created a student group here in Greensboro NC, called “The Walker Street Fiddlers”. We are heading into our 15th year of performing at various venues in the area. I have seen a large number of students come through the group, graduate from high school, and return to visit and play with us from time to time! We now have a very active adult division that has grown very strong as well and includes members who were in the original student group!

Also during this time, the “Walker Family Band” was formed, with my daughter, Jennie and my brother, Landon, and Scott “With” Manring. We have enjoyed recording, performing, and along with some other like minded musician/teachers, we created “The Walker Family Band Music Workshop”, a summer fiddle camp, held every summer at the Blowing Rock Conference Center, in Blowing Rock, NC. This has been very successful we have been told that it is considered a high point of the year by many campers. We have also taken this workshop to other locations, including Wilmington, NC, Savannah, GA, Jacksonville, Fl. and Austin, Texas.

The Walker Family Band camp finished its eleventh year last summer in 2013, and as we head into this summer, we are so excited that the camp has a like minded faculty who return year after year and we count on to make the camp enjoyable for everyone! With these teachers and an amazing staff here at home and in Blowing Rock, we have created an environment that is full of learning at all levels, of wonderful music performances from the teachers and students, and full of mutual feelings of respect and caring between all participants. We look forward to making new friends and greeting old ones this summer.

Now I live on the corner of Scott and Walker in Greensboro with my wonderful partner, Teresja Poole, and life is full and interesting. I am enjoying watching Teresja’s children, Meghan and Sam Parrish, grow into fine people and wonderful musicians! I just retired from a 13 year career as a Suzuki and orchestra teacher at a local private school here, the Greensboro Day School, and I am enjoying time to plan and carry out more activities of my own making!

Stay tuned for the next chapter and maybe you will be interested in coming to our camp one day, or maybe you will be inspired to pick up and instrument and see where it takes you! 

Thank you,

Scott Walker

Musical Roots

6 Responses to “Scott Walker”

  1. Lisa Lithall Says:

    Dear Scott,

    I am a Suzuki cello teacher in the Chicago area. Would you be interested in coming to Chicago this spring to do some workshops with my students ?
    We had Abby Newton few years ago and really enjoyed that style. Please let me know if you are interested.

    Thank-you, Lisa

  2. Janet McCauley Says:

    Hello there Scott,
    Greetings from a student from WAY back, from Burlington orchestra days! Although I’m not a professional musician, music still occupies a huge part of my life. Classical lessons off and on over the years, but the last 5-10 years mostly devoted to Scottish and Irish fiddling! Thus finding we have a lot of mutual friends. Would love to attend some of your events, play a few jams. We still live in NC so this can happen. A belated thanks for all the instruction back in the ’70s, what a great foundation for a lifetime!
    Best regards
    Janet McCauley

  3. Fabienne Peyrat Says:

    Hello, your Irish Tunes Books have been recommended to me by a cello teacher as fun pieces to play together for my 11-year old violinist and 9-year old cellist. Their skill level corresponds to Suzuki books 6 in their respective instruments. Would you recommend getting Irish Tunes for Fiddlers/Cellists Books I or Books II – are the book levels different, or is it just more tunes?
    Thank you, Fabienne

  4. Michael Hess Says:

    I’m just checking to see if you are still coming to the Fall Festival at Bur-Mil Park on Oct. 8.

  5. Mary Ann (Mims) Davis Says:

    Hi, Scott! (Or Mr. Walker, as I remember you). :) I’m a former student of yours from the 70′s and just wanted to say hello and thank you! You were one of my favorite teachers, and orchestra was definitely my favorite class. Though I put my violin aside for many years when I began teaching elem. school, I did pick it back up several years ago to play in our community orchestra. Much to my surprise, it all came back to me, along with many memories of orchestra class.I’m glad you’re still out there influencing musicians!

  6. Lutz Keller Says:

    Hello Scott,
    So that’s what you’ve been up to since our high school days. Seriously, I had often wondered. I remember being impressed by the zeal with which you engaged the cello. Besides bassoon, I still dabble in “early music” and what not. To see you again would be truly gratifying. To make music again sometime – even better.
    Ciao, Lutz.

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