Paul Sedgwick grew up in southern California. He headed north after high school and received a BA in Dramatic Art from UC Davis in 1983. He moved to Levelland, Texas, where he attended South Plains College, and received an Associate of Arts degree in Bluegrass Music in 1985. Continuing east, he was admitted to Brandeis University's Dramatic Writing program and received his MFA in 1989. Finally, owing to a burgeoning career in education, he received his Masters degree in Education from UMass Boston in the year 2000.

Mr. Sedgwick started playing banjo in 1973. He was the first American to travel to Gambia (West Africa) in 2004 to learn to play and build the Jola ekonting. He returned to Gambia in 2006. The ekonting is now regarded as an essential model for understanding the African roots of the banjo.