Dick Weissman was born in Philadelphia, where he began piano lessons at the age of seven. His musical career was interrupted by a teenage career as a semi-professional ping pong player. Following the advice in Pete Seeger's banjo book, Dick bought a five string banjo at a pawn shop in the skid row section of town, abandoning it when he couldn't figure out how to tune it without breaking strings. While attending Goddard College in Vermont, Dick met Lil Blos, who offered to teach him how to play the banjo. At about the same time Dick won a guitar in payment of a gambling debt that was part of his ping pong expertise.
Spending his junior year in New York and New Mexico, Dick met the gospel blues guitarist Gary Davis in New York, and had the great experience of sitting in on a number of occasions with Gary at the house of Tiny Ledbetter, Leadbelly's niece. Dick studied with guitarist Jerry Silverman during this New York sojourn, and met the superb banjoist Stu Jamieson in Albuquerque.
After graduating from college, Dick moved to New York, and spent the next four years alternating between attending graduate school and becoming active in the folk music scene in Greenwich Village. Eventually he dropped out of Columbia, performed with Happy Traum, did a two week gig at Folk City opening for Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and with John Phillips and Scott McKenzie formed the folk-pop band The Journeymen. Three and a half years, three Capitol albums and several hundred concerts later, Dick moved back to New York and became a studio musician, record producer and songwriter.
In 1972 he moved to Colorado, got a music degree, wrote numerous instructional books for banjo and guitar, and performed widely. This evolved into a writing career, co-authoring the award-winning Folk Music Sourcebook and writing the best-selling The Music Business: Career Opportunities & Self Defense. At the same time Dick taught at the late Colorado Women's College, later getting an MA from the University of Oklahoma, and working for NARAS as their National Educational Coordinator in Los Angeles in 1987. Moving back to Colorado, Dick became a tenured professor in the Music & Entertainment Industry program at the University of Colorado at Denver. While in Colorado he wrote a number of other instructional folios, two feature film scores, and he focused on performing and recording original instrumental music.
In 2002 Dick and his wife Susan Planalp moved to Oregon, and they live in Portland, where Dick continues to perform, record, and to teach seminars and workshops. To date Dick has written 15 published books on music and the music business, is featured on six instrumental CDs, and has written over fifty instructional folios for various music publishers.
Dick has taught or lectured at University of Denver, Clatsop Community College, the Denver Musician's Association, Elmhurst College, the Jamaican Trade Board, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, the Salt Lake City Musician's Union, the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of Colorado.
Dick is available to teach seminars, workshops or short term classes on the music business, songwriting, American music, politics and ethnicity, and master classes on banjo and guitar. He can be contacted at r2S@comcast.net.