How to Play the Musical Saw -- Saws Provided!
Morgan Cowin

The musical saw is a simple, inexpensive acoustic instrument with a clear, sweet voice. It is amazing to watch, relatively simple to learn, and can be a lovely complement to vocal and instrumental music of all kinds!  The saw is an unusual instrument that gets lots of attention — you will definitely stand out from the guitar players — and it brings a new dimension to musical performance. It works especially well when combined with the female voice (OK, male voices too), all kinds of stringed instruments, the piano, etc.

The workshop will include the history of the musical saw, different kinds of saws, where and how to find one, the costs, and the basics of how it is played. If you “have an ear” and can whistle, sing, or play another instrument on pitch, you can easily learn to play the saw. Morgan will have seven saws with which you can play, but please bring your own saw and (violin) bow if you have one.

Morgan Cowin was a music minor in college, playing classical guitar, but now his only instrument is the musical saw, which he has played for 38 years. He won 1st Place at the Festival of the Saws in Santa Cruz in 1982, and is now the President of the International Musical Saw Association (IMSA). You can learn more about the IMSA and the musical saw at You can see some photos and videos of him at: He enjoys playing a variety of music styles, including folk, bluegrass, blues, country, rag, some rock & roll, contemporary (Beatles, Paul Simon), Broadway show tunes, and even some classical music. In 2006 he was invited to play at several International Musical Saw Concerts in Hong Kong and Shen Zhen, China, and in 2007, he was taken to the Japan World Musical Saw Festival in Tokyo and Osaka (and also played in Nagoya and Yokohama). He helps produce the annual International Musical Saw Festival in Santa Cruz each August (August 8 & 9 this year), and plays each weekend at numerous jams around the Bay Area. He is also a volunteer performer with Bread & Roses.