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Town of Boone Offers Affordable Traditional Music Lessons; Registration Now Open

Lauren Hayworth (right) leads a recital with banjo students Ethan Smith, Liam Lanham, and Taylor Gabriel (left to right)

Registration is now open for spring music lessons through the Boone Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program, which commences its spring semester beginning the week of February 15 and 17. Classes are made up of 3 to 5 students and are held weekly on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at the Jones House. Instruction is available for beginner to beginner-plus levels in banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and ukulele.

Boone JAM is affiliated with the broader Junior Appalachian Musicians programs that extends across the Southern Appalachians in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina The goal of the program 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.

Since Boone JAM’s inception in 2004, hundreds of students have been introduced to traditional Appalachian music. A number of these students have gone on to pursue music scholastically and professionally. Likewise, some have joined the ranks of the talented Boone JAM instructors who pass on their skills and knowledge to budding musicians of all ages.

One such individual is Anissa Burnett, a skilled multi-instrumentalist who plays fiddle with the Burnett Sisters Band. Once a JAM student herself, Burnett has since racked up blue ribbons at fiddlers conventions across the regions and has earned a degree in Bluegrass, Oldtime, and Country Music Studies from East Tennessee State University, where she now also has a career. Despite her busy work and performance schedule, Burnett still makes it a priority to serve as a music instructor.

“Boone JAM played such an important part in my musical development when I was growing up,” says Burnett. “It’s an honor to be able to stay involved with the program, and it’s rewarding to see up-and- coming generations of students grow in skill and confidence during the course of the semester.”

The spring JAM semester consists of 45-minutes lessons taught in small groups of the course of 13 weeks. Lessons 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 on February 15 and culminates in a recital for family and friends in May.

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 February 7. For more information about Boone JAM or private music lessons 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.