ABOUT KEVIN

MUSIC STORE OWNER AND TEACHER

Kevin was a founding partner in Down Home Guitar, which grew from Anchorage’s smallest retail music shop in the late 1970s to its largest by the late 1980s, owing to the friendly energy of the staff and to the store's community commitment, being a center for information, lessons, jam sessions, concerts and other music events.

 

WILDERNESS GUIDE

After a decade at Down Home Guitar, teaching guitar and banjo lessons and organizing concerts, workshops, jams, Kevin began working as a river and wilderness guide, taking musical instruments on trips and regularly including music as a part of the wilderness experience. For the next 18 years Kevin guided on some fifty rivers in Alaska and rivers in a dozen other states in the US, including the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Idaho’s Salmon River, West Virginia’s Upper Gauley, and California’s Forks of the American.  During this time Kevin also co-authored best selling travel guide “The Alaska Adventure Book,” and captained an Alaska team that placed 7th among thirty teams in the first ever Project RAFT international whitewater goodwill games.

 

FULL-TIME, MULTI-AGE MUSIC INSTRUCTOR

In 2005 Kevin returned to teaching music full-time, opening Playful Arts Studio and specializing in Suzuki guitar instruction for young children but also offering a broader array of guitar instruction for adults, teaching mandolin, banjo, ukulele and other fretted instruments.

At the Anchorage Folk Festival, Kevin’s studio ensembles typically include some 25 students from kindergarten to high school age performing rousing renditions of tunes like Pirates of the Caribbean, Paperback Writer, and Blackberry Blossom — in time, in tune — 5-year-olds and high school students all playing together and each having an important part. 

PERFORMER

Kevin and/or his music have appeared in a number of newspaper articles and adventure travel documentaries, including a Nissan Pathfinder Adventure Travel Series and a documentary on Project RAFT, the first competitive international river running goodwill games for rafting. For five years Kevin performed regularly on mandolin with Don Schultz, one of Kevin’s musical heroes from the 1970s and 80s when Don played banjo for Alaska’s wildly popular Dr. Schultz Band. Since 2006 Kevin has performed with a number of bands, including Fiddle Dee Dee, a popular Anchorage band playing interactive music for young children.

 

FELDENKRAIS CERTIFICATION

In 2016 Kevin began a four-year Feldenkrais® training program directed by Aliza Stewart, who works with top classical musicians from around the world privately and at festivals such as Yellow Barn and Marlboro Music to help them recover from injuries and regain greater physical and expressive freedom and pleasure from their art.   Kevin was authorized to teach Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM)® lessons in May 2018, and will offer “Feldenkrais for Musicians” at his retreats.

THE STORIES BEHIND THE MUSIC

To get my Suzuki training – from Frank Longay, who co-wrote the Suzuki guitar method – I had to turn down a trip guiding a well-known Hollywood action film star on a trip down the Happy River in the Alaska Range ... a potential doorway to whitewater and river- related stunt work in films.   It was the fork in the road where I decided to transition out of guiding and back into music.

– KEVIN CASSITY