Beginning Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 Music in the Mountains will be bringing another set of youth music workshops to Nevada County and surrounding areas. This exciting opportunity is completely free of charge and will give the chance for students to engage with professional musicians and music teachers. These classes are intended to give young people a creative outlet to express themselves freely in these challenging times. 

No previous experience is necessary for these camps. Instruments and equipment will be provided. Students are encouraged to invite friends and get ready to have fun learning music.

         “We are so fortunate in this community to have such a variety of musicians and musical experiences,” noted MIM Executive Director Jenny Darlington-Person, who grew up on MIM’s music and educational experiences. “We give thanks to a generous grant from the California Arts Council and we are excited to be able to offer these programs free for all to attend.”

Students have a choice between two instructional offerings:

1. Taiko Drumming with Mitzi Garnnett: “Taiko, a Japanese style of drumming, was used to call the Gods to alter existing conditions such as warding off pestilence, bringing rain, blessing a harvest or inviting the ancestors to join in celebration of the family. Villages used the drums to communicate, soldiers were sent to war and fishermen called in from the sea.  A few frontiers people took the lead in bringing Taiko to America.”

Mitzi Garnett, long standing student of Grand Master Tanaka, has carried that torch and formed Grass Valley Taiko. Founded in 2000, the group actively participates in many community events. Mitzi’s creative interpretations of traditional pieces along with those created by the members of Grass Valley Taiko, presents a variety of styles and rhythms to please and delight their audiences.

2. Music Improvisation with Wheyland Whitney: “What does it mean to perform? Where does inspiration come from? Everyone is born an artist, then something happens – how can we reclaim that state of being?”

In this class, participants will find out what it means to make quality sound through singing, drumming, moving, and playing. There is no pressure and no experience needed, just a willingness to have fun exploring the sounds of music.

Participants will listen to great performers and improvisers (Bobby McFerrin, David Darling, Miles Davis, Pauline Oliveros), and make up music based on ideas discussed during class. Together participants will explore what it feels like to be a performer, especially with regard to fear, anxiety, and the pressure we put on ourselves to be good.

MIM is delighted to offer these programs and other musical offerings to the community and thanks donors, grants, and community partners for their support.

  • What: FREE Taiko Drumming & Music Improv Classes
  • Where: Center for the Arts 
  • When: Wednesdays, 5/12, 5/19, 5/26, 6/2  
  • Time: 4:00-5:30pm
  • Ages: All ages encouraged but priority will be given to ages 12-24
  • Price: FREE – a value of $40 per class (thanks to a grant from the CA Arts Council) 
  • More Information:
  • Email:

 Music in the Mountains has been performing and producing high-quality classical music in Nevada County for 40 years.  Celebrating their Ruby Anniversary in 2021, MIM continues to bring wonderful classical music performances and educational programs to Nevada County.  The public is invited to join MIM this season for world class musical performances live and streaming to your home.  For more information call 530-265-6124 or email  Always open at