Sam Maren

Contact Info

(828) 675-1639


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Variable, but generally quite flexible. Prefer at least one week’s notice for specialized lesson plans.

Groups I Can Work With

After school programs; Artist’s residencies in schools; Home school groups; Private art classes; Special needs groups; Public workshops

Areas of Interest/Specialties

Appalachian Folk Arts including: Instrumental music and singing, folk tales and storytelling, making folk instruments, folk toy making. In addition, Haiku poetry workshops which can be tailored to fit many different learning objectives.

Teaching Artist Statement

My teaching philosophy is based around my belief that humans (and children especially) are natural learners. When children are given an interesting, stimulating, and challenging environment, learning begins to take place spontaneously and on many different levels within each child. As a teacher, I try to present lessons that engage each student and provide the opportunity for the children to develop relationships with various aspects of the topic, the teacher and each other. I find that integrating music, and especially singing into the lessons, helps the students to develop these important relationships and thereby have more meaningful learning experiences. I believe that songs and stories always enhance the lesson.

Sample Lesson Plans

2nd grade – Sound, Vibrations, Music & Rhythm Sticks
3rd Grade – Poetry by the Sea – The Way of Haiku

Artist Bio/Resume

Sam grew up in a family where both parents played guitar and sang traditional ballads, folk songs, and blues. Sam learned to play and sing at an early age. Sam’s interest and admiration for traditional Appalachian folk culture grew when at age 23, he moved from his native New Jersey to Muddy Creek Mountain in rural West Virginia. There, he listened to the tales and stories of his old mountain neighbors who ranged in age from 70 to 103 years old. Sam has lived with his family in the Southern Appalachians for the past 37 hears. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Bluefield State College in Bluefield, WV and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Marshal University. Sam has taught folk music, storytelling, musical instrument and toy making workshops for children each summer since 1996. He directed the musical education program at Greenbrier Episcopal School in Lewisburg, WV and worked extensively with Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, WV in their Creative Classrooms arts education program and at Kid’s College. Sam has received extensive training in the Kennedy Center’s Teach SmART Institute in the Arts for Educators program, which is intended to help teachers integrate art into their curriculum.


I can’t recall specifics, but just about everyone seems to appreciate what I do… And the secret to that is that I love what I do!