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About Transylvania

Timothy Lake

Adjunct Music Instructor (Banjo)

Mitchell Fine Arts
Transylvania University
300 North Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797

Phone: (859) 233-8141
e-mail Timothy Lake

“I have no doubt that music makes students better professionals and better citizens of the world.”

Get your passport. Tim Lake believes the banjo is a gateway to the world of music, and he’s ready to take you there. 

He's performed in Austria, Ecuador, Japan, Ireland, and Norway in concerts and music festivals, giving him an international and cosmopolitan approach to teaching music. He has stories to tell from around the world and across musical genres.

In the classroom he explores the techniques of bluegrass music and legendary banjo player Earl Scruggs, as well as Beethoven and other classical composers. An appreciation for all music is central to Lake’s teaching philosophy. “Learning to appreciate all music opens us to the wonders of the world,” Lake says.

But no matter where in the world or what in the world he plays, Lake has a consistent reference for identifying good music—he calls it the three E’s. “Good music should entertain, elevate, and educate the listener.” 

Lake adds that a liberal arts education helps achieve that end. “The liberal arts approach helps us appreciate all of the knowledge that has come before. Without this appreciation, one could not hope to tackle the limitless world of music.”

Equipping his students with technical skills and a wide exposure to eclectic music, Lake hopes they will contribute to their communities by “carrying on the tradition of banjo picking and Kentucky music, both in the Bluegrass and throughout their life’s travels.

"I am always inspired by young, positive attitudes and open minds that create unlimited possibilities."

Lake has published 11 albums of original material:

  • "Banjo Sonata," Padraig Records (PAD 35448CD)

  • "We All Need Heroes," Padraig Records (PAD 35445CD)

  • "Kentucky Home," Padraig Records (PAD 35443CD)

  • "Live In Tokyo, Japan," Padraig Records/ (PAD 35442CD) and Audio Park (APCD-2005)

  • "Jazz with Bluegrass and Blues," Padraig Records (PAD 35440CD/CT)

  • "An American Concerto for 5-String Banjo and Orchestra," Padraig Records (PAD35438CD/CT) 

  • "Only In The Movies," Padraig Records (PAD 35437CD/CT)

  • "I Can Play the Banjo," LSR Records (LSR 3454)

  • "Sweet N Sour," LSR Records (LSR 3032)

  • "It's Got To Be Love," LSR Records (LSR 3030)

  • "Same Old Roadside Inn," Rounder Records (RR 3028)

Want to know more about Transylvania's music program?

Academic history

Courses taught

Recent publications

Areas of research


Professional memberships

Additional information

Academic history

  • D.M.A., Music Composition, University of Kentucky, 1991 
  • M.M., Music Composition, University of Kentucky, 1988
  • B.A., History, University of Kentucky, 1987
  • B.A., Music, University of Kentucky, 1983

Courses taught

  • MUS 10 Banjo

Recent publications

  • The Tim Lake 5-String Banjo Method, Books One, Two, and Three
  • The Tim Lake Guitar Method,  Books One and Two
  • "This Art We Call Music—An Approach to the Classics," Acoustic Musician, January 1998
  • "An Approach to the Study of Music," Acoustic Musician, December 1997
  • "Understanding Music—A Path To Follow," Acoustic Musician, November 1997
  • "Learning Music To Make Music," Acoustic Musician, October 1997

Areas of research

  • American music, specifically roots and traditional styles such as bluegrass and folk music


  • Recognized by ASCAP's Standard and Popular Awards Panel every year from 1994 through 2012
  • Kentucky Arts Council grant for cultural exchange through the Sister Cities Program, Shinhidaka, Japan, July 2008
  • Southern Arts Federation, Southern Artistry: Acclaimed Artist, 2006
  • Kentucky Arts Council grant for cultural exchange through the Sister Cities Program, Kildare, Ireland, July 2005
  • Kentucky Arts Council Professional Assistance Award for A Five-String Banjo Sonata In G Major and Symphony No. 1: A Symphony of Kentucky, 2003
  • University of Kentucky Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Fine Arts, 2002
  • Al Smith Fellowship in Music Composition for "An American Concerto For 5-String Banjo & Orchestra," Kentucky Arts Council, 1995

Professional memberships

  • American Federation of Musicians
  • Broadcast Music Incorporated
  • American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers 
  • National Academy of Songwriters
  • International Bluegrass Music Association
  • National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
  • The Folk Alliance

Additional information

  • Board Member of the Kentucky School For Bluegrass & Traditional Music
  • Faculty for Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, 2008
  • Featured as performer and host of a 2007 PBS documentary titled "Heart of the Hills: The Story of Mountain Music"
  • Original music for a PBS special titled "Made and Bottled in Kentucky," aired in September 1992 on Kentucky Educational Television
  • www.timlake.com

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