Austin Scelzo was introduced to various fiddle traditions at Mark O'Connor's early Berklee String Camps, learning from powerhouse players like Billy Contreras, Jason Anick, Casey Dreissen, Jeremy Kittel, Andy Reiner, Bruce Molsky, Mark O'Connor, and Christian Howes. Austin's Bluegrass journey began with the Western CT based group the "Angry O'Haras", then later "On the Trail", with which he recorded fiddle and vocals. He actively records and performs with the Southern New England based Bluegrass band, the Rock Hearts (615 Hideaway Records)
Austin is also an active bluegrass community advocate, teaching Wernick Method Jam classes, creating and maintaining the performance venue "Bluegrass Coffeehouse" and launching the Connecticut Bluegrass Music Association. He was selected as one of 25 candidates for the International Bluegrass Music Association's "Leadership Bluegrass" after committing his work to performing and serving the bluegrass community. He was nominated for International Bluegrass Music Associations "Mentor of the Year" in 2023. In 2024, the Connecticut State Government also named him 2023 Connecticut Arts Hero, an award that "celebrates the remarkable contributions of Connecticut residents who have made a profound impact in, for, or through the arts"
His performance credits include showcasing at the IBMA "World Of Bluegrass" in Raleigh, NC, bringing bluegrass to the Netherlands, twin fiddling with Grammy Award-winning and 11 time IBMA fiddle player of the year Michael Cleveland, signing with 615 Hideaway Records, winning the 2022 Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival Band Competition with On the Trail, and performing at festivals across the northeast, including Jenny Brook (VT), Blistered Fingers (ME), Podunk (CT), Ossipee Valley (ME) to name a few.
After four years of service in the public schools as a Darien Public Schools Orchestra teacher, Austin decided to take a big risk in transitioning from a creative orchestra teacher to musical entrepreneur. This decision followed his growing love for bluegrass music and desire to serve and provide resources to that community. He also grew in his love for online teaching during the pandemic after his YouTube channel gained attention from the video lessons he posted for his students. He launched the Bluegrass, Country, and Roots Online School to follow its success in 2021. Nowadays, Austin still visits schools as a clinician, presents at professional development sessions, and shares resources for public school teachers to incorporate non-traditional approaches to education on YouTube and in his blog
Austin is also passionate about helping and encouraging others to make bold decisions in their career, openly sharing his honest look at the life of a musician and entrepreneur, his thoughts on overcoming insecurities as a performer or teacher, and his overall Teaching Philosophy.
Other teaching credentials include teaching at Ashokan Music and Dance Camps (Southern, Western, Bluegrass), Silver Bay Bluegrass Camp, Fiddle Hell Massachusetts, and kids Academies at Grey Fox, Jenny Brook and Fiddling on the Hill, as well as festival workshops at Jenny Brook, Thomas Point Beach, Podunk.
"I am passionate about education, empowering others, and inspiring a lifelong love of music in people of all ages. I aim to draw the best out of my students and love to coach them in whatever direction they might desire. My eclectic background in classical, folk, and jazz styles lends me a wide variety of opportunities for teaching and performing.
I teach privately, in person or virtually, offer an online courses in creative string playing, harmony vocals, and country/bluegrass fiddle, and host Wernick Method group jam classes designed to get folks playing together right away.
If you are a new prospective student, make sure to check out my free resources first:
Pop, Rock, Alternative Strings for violin, viola, cello, bass
With my public school experience, I also offer teacher training/coaching and residencies designed to help students and teachers infuse creativity into their musicianship."