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Registration Open for Fall Music Lessons with Boone Junior Appalachian Musicians

Beginner guitar students practice at the Jones House

 The Town of Boone will offer group music lessons this fall through the Boone Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program. The fall semester will begin the week of September 13 and 15, with weekly classes held on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons at the Jones House. Classes consist of 3-6 students, and instruction is available for beginner and beginner-plus level students in banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. 

Boone JAM is affiliated with the broader Junior Appalachian Musicians program that extends across the Southern Appalachians in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina The goal of this initiative is to promote traditional music education through small group instruction on instruments common to the region, and in doing so, to give individuals, especially youth, a greater appreciation for their cultural heritage. 

Brandon Holder, a former teacher with the program, currently organizes Boone JAM as Town of Boone Cultural Resources Coordinator. 

“Boone JAM helps students of all ages not only learn to play a traditional instrument, but also to grow in confidence, to develop a sense of community among other musicians, and to stay connected to our region’s rich musical heritage,” Holder says. 

Since Boone JAM’s inception in 2004, hundreds of individuals have been introduced to traditional Appalachian music by a pool of talented local musicians. For many, music remains an integral part of their life. 

JAM students Josephine and Hayden Walker both have earned awards at numerous fiddle competitions, including the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention.

“Some of our students go on to pursue music scholastically and professionally,” explains Holder. “It’s encouraging to see those who are affiliated with Boone JAM that are excelling in their craft.” 

Evidence of this can be seen at the most recent Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA, where a number of Boone JAM students, instructors, and alumni represented the program well. Asa Nelson took home the top prize in old time fiddle, while Anneli Burnett and Anissa Burnett (a current JAM instructor) were 2nd and 4th, respectively. In the youth competition, Josephine Walker placed 3rd in old time fiddle, and Tucker Conner was 5th in folk song. 

The fall JAM semester consists of 45-minutes lessons taught in small groups over the course of 13 weeks. Classes take place at the Jones House weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The semester begins the week of September 13 and 15, culminating in a mid-December public recital for family and friends. 

Liam Lanham plays clawhammer banjo for the end-of-year recital

Tuition is $75 for students ages 8-17 and $125 for students age 18 and over. Rental instruments are provided for a cost of $50 per semester. Discounts are offered to families with multiple children participating, and scholarship assistance is available upon request. 

Registration for music lessons is open online at www.joneshouse.org through September 4. For more information about Boone JAM and other music programming call the Jones House at 828-268-6280 or email brandon.holder@townofboone.net. 

Boone JAM receives funding and support from the Town of Boone, the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wayne C. Henderson Festival, Inc.