One of the many things to enjoy in Ashe County is the traditional old time music. Passing this musical tradition to the next generation is the purpose of the Ashe County Arts Council sponsored Junior Appalachian Musicians – JAM. This is the tenth year for the program in Ashe County.
The Ashe County Arts Council partners with the Ashe County 4-H Afterschool Program to offer music to 4th-6th grade students who want to learn to play banjo, guitar, or fiddle. The JAM program is available at the elementary schools during afterschool. First year students learn chords, strumming, picking and more. Second year students continue learning new techniques, adding music to their repertoire, they practice timing and playing with a group. Second and third year students are asked to help with the teaching of new students, thus encouraging the idea of passing on the traditional music to the next “generation”.
Instructors include Amanda Wright and Martha Spencer. Classes meet two days a week at each school. The Arts Council has instruments available to students on a loan basis. Blue Ridge JAM will start Oct. 3, Mountain View JAM will start Oct. 8 and Westwood JAM will start Oct. 9.
The JAM program also includes JAM club, a Monday night jam session for students interested in playing as a group. Recently students performed at the Backstreet Park Concert and Christmas in July.
Student will receive JAM information and application forms through the schools. Students must be enrolled in afterschool and the lessons are included in the regular fees associated with afterschool.
This program is funded, in part, by a Folklife Initiatives Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, a Wayne Henderson Festival Grant, and is sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council. For more information call 846-ARTS.