Existential Banjo


Episode 1
Little Pink America
with Corky Siegel &
Sons of the Never Wrong

Episode 2
People Get Ready
with Sue Demel, vocals

Episode 3
MTA (Poor Ol' Charlie)
with Tony Trischka

Episode 4
Suite for Americas:  Dorian
with Nora Barton, cello

Episode 5
Midnight Rider
with Darol Anger. violin

Episode 6
Vincent Black Lightning
@ Chicago City Winery

Episode 7
Hasna ya Layla
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni

Episode 8
Opus 821
with Geraldo de Oliveira

Episode 9
Gaudete & Sleepers Awake
with David Jennings, vibes

Episode 10
Corrina, Corrina
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni 

Episode 11
with Erkan Ogur
(Concert in Istanbul)

Episode 12
Last Thing On My Mind
with Tom Paxton, songwriter

New Releases

A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 


Two New Hal Leonard books



To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)


About Michael J. Miles



When Pete Seeger first heard Michael Miles, he sent a letter to Michael saying that "in all my 70 years this is among the most beautiful recordings I’ve ever is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.”

Michael Miles is one of America’s most inventive clawhammer banjo players. Add guitar, vocals, jazz instruments, orchestras and complex historically-themed theatrical presentations to the mix and, two decades later, Michael has a critically acclaimed catalog of original compositions, stage performances, music CD’s and music instruction books.

Michael's performance credits include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival, Harris Theatre in Chicago, American University in Beirut, Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland, MIAM Graduate Conservatory of Music in Istanbul,  and the Royal Opera Theatre in Marrakesh.





“Michael was outstanding--maybe the best we had at Butterworth Elementary”
   - Elementary School Prinicpal

“Thank you for putting my idea on the board! Your music made me feel delighted with joy. I just wanted to say thank you.”
   - Megan, 3rd grade

“I liked composing our own song, him playing his banjo for us and having the opportunity for an expert guitar player to come.  I look forward to learning harder and more challenging things and hearing him play again next year.”   Susan, 7th Grade

Depending on budgets, availabilities, schedules etc, residencies can run as short as a few days or as long as a few months.  What’s most important in creating a successful residency, is developing a partnership with the classroom teachers.  This is essential.  Miles recognizes his role as a guest in your world, and brings his creative and musical expertise in ways that compliment and expand the classroom activities. 

I.  MUSIC & LITERATURE  (all grades)
Miles has a BA in Oral Interpretation and an MA in Music performance.  Miles has created numerous shows with professional artists  blending music and literature on stage.   He has brought this to classroom settings where students bring literature to life by staging stories and creating accompanying music. 

Recent examples include:  The Tiny Seed, Holes. Why Do Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears, Mufarro’s Beautiful Daughter, and Where The Sidewalk Ends,  and The Cat in the Hat

II.  SONGWRITING FOR SPECIAL EVENTS & TOPICS  (all grades)   These special events can be Black History Month; to create an official school song; to supplement DARE programs in schools; to celebrate a season; to prevent bullying.  One class set the Gettysburg Address to music, another wanted to write a song about arthropods.  The sky is the limit!  Songs have a particular power of communication.  Miles has created dozens of songs with students of all ages.  

Here are the words to one song created for Black History Month:   

"Do What’s Right"
Do what’s right, yeah yeah yeah yeah. 
Do what’s right.   
Do what’s right, do what’s right
and don’t do wrong

Stand up for yourself, do you best everyday.
Use your words, not your fists,
Martin Luther King did say (to chorus)

Ruby Bridges prayed for the people
who hated her
She said, “Please forgive these people
even if they say bad things.
They don’t know what they’re doing.  
They don’t know what they’re doing."
(to chorus)

Rosa Parks in Montgomery Alabama where
black people had to sit in the back of the bus   
We are tired of being treated badly  
Rosa said, “its time to change, it’s time for us.”
(to chorus)

Guitar Program Residencies where Miles works with young guitarists.

Global Voices where Miles connects students across the world. 

Send A Song To The President where students share their ideas for a better world.

Students gain confidence for solo performance.

Students sing selection from "Carmen." 

In Beirut singing "We Will Build A New World."

Students in Chicago sing "My Favorite Things."