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JAM believes

that children who are actively engaged in traditional mountain music are more connected and better prepared to strengthen their communities for future generations.

We envision

a world in which all children have the opportunity to experience community through the joy of participating in traditional mountain music together.

Our mission

is to provide communities with the support and tools they need to teach children to play and dance to traditional old time and bluegrass music.

What’s Happening in the JAM World

Arts Partnership to Offer JAM in TN

Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM) has announced its partnership with South Arts of Atlanta, Georgia. The two non-profit organizations will be collaborating on In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Arts & Culture, a special project that will focus on developing seven new after school JAM programs throughout Eastern Tennessee.

South Arts is a non-profit, Regional Arts Organization whose mission is to advance Southern vitality through the arts. Their work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective through a portfolio of activities supporting the success of artists and arts providers in the South. South Arts was founded in 1975 to build on the unique heritage of the South and to enhance the public value of the arts.

In These Mountains will leverage resources offered by South Arts and JAM to develop
Junior Appalachian Musicians programs for children beginning as early as fourth grade in the
East Tennessee counties of: Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, and
. JAM will provide the outreach, assistance and training to parents, traditional musicians, and representatives from schools and arts/youth serving organizations who are interested in planning and managing JAM programs for their communities. Planning groups associated with a qualified nonprofit organization, school system or local government will also be eligible to apply for start-up funding provided by South Arts.

In These Mountains will ensure the passing of traditions from one generation to the next, while encouraging and supporting life long learning for all participants. In addition to serving as a safe after school activity, new JAM programs will provide intergenerational opportunities to share, teach, learn, preserve, document and carry forward the folks arts and culture of Central Appalachia. Through cultural programs such as JAM, children who are actively engaged in traditional music education will be more connected and better prepared to strengthen their communities for future generations.

Are you interested in developing a JAM program for your community in this 7-county area, or have information that could help? To learn more, In These Mountains, please contact us

JAM Welcomes New Program Director

Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM) has announced the recent hire of traditional music educator, Jim Lloyd, of Rural Retreat. JAM is the parent organization for more than 40 after school Junior Appalachian Musicians programs throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The non-profit is a resource center for the students, teachers and families, with an overall mission to help provide the tools and support communities need to teach children to play and dance to traditional old time and bluegrass music.

Lloyd has more than thirty years experience teaching people, young and old, to play Appalachian music on any instrument with strings…and some without, such as the melodeon. Since 2016, Lloyd has served as lead teacher for the JAM program at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts in Marion, VA, where he developed a performing string band. The group has represented the JAM program in parades and public performances, and will be soon featured at the Virginia State Fair in October. His experience playing with renowned performers such as Wayne Henderson, The Elkville String Band, and the Konnarock Critters is beneficial when showing new musicians the ropes of the performing world. Lloyd will also be working with the regional JAM concert band, comprised of advanced students from the Galax JAM, Ashe JAM, Alleghany JAM, and Floyd JAM programs.

Lloyd has often been called a keeper of stories, as he carries with him generations of music and tales from the legendary musicians he spent time with as a young man. He will be utilizing this historical knowledge to develop projects to engage JAM students with the full cultural traditions of the music. Lloyd will also be working directly with teachers and staff to help programs be more successful through the development of new instructional resources.

In addition to being a resource center with benefits reaching more than 1,600 kids each school year, JAM works in rural communities with limited or no arts education opportunities to develop new JAM programs. Lloyd will be assisting current Executive Director, Brett Morris Martin, with this task. JAM also provides its affiliate programs with free materials they need to get going and stay going, such as musical instruments, which is made possible by a long partnership with Hungry for Music, a non-profit organization from Washington, D.C. which has a similar mission to place instruments into the hands of children.

Additionally, JAM provides both high-profile and community-based performance opportunities to kids who are currently in a JAM program or got their start there, such as annually at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Wide Open Bluegrass festival, Merlefest, FloydFest, and the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival.

JAM believes that by engaging children with traditional mountain music, they are more connected and better prepared to strengthen their communities for future generations. Cultural education gives young people the background and connections about where they are from, and helps create a life long love of music and place.

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