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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

Job Opening – JAM, Inc Executive Director

Note from the Director

Friends and Colleagues,

It is with a mixture of emotions that I would like to let you know that the time has come for me to retire from the position of Executive Director of Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. I will be leaving at the end of May, but will remain involved as a consultant and contractor for education and outreach initiatives as needed. We are at a good point for a transition – the guides/templates/policies and website will be in good working order, and we have a hint of a financial cushion with which to welcome a new executive director. As well, we have a good board of directors, and a dynamite program director (Brett Morris Martin) and book keeper (Betty Lee Sturdivant) in place.

My goal when starting JAM in Alleghany County (NC) Schools was to develop things sufficiently that ultimately someone else could take over, sustain and enhance the vision. Little did I know 13 years ago that our little Sparta program would develop into a regional model – now serving close to 1000 kids in 3 states (with inquiries from 3 others..). JAM, Inc is now ready for an ambitious, well organized administrator who can guide the organization to a new level of outreach and sustainability.

I want to thank each of you for the support and encouragement you have given me in bringing JAM this far and I look forward to that support continuing as we help a new director bring further to life the ambitious vision that “All mountain children in the Southern Appalachians have access to the joy of participation in the music of their heritage.” JAM is an important program whose time arrived. I have watched transformations of children, families and communities as they have become involved – far beyond just learning some simple tunes. I was privileged to have been charged with JAM’s early development and I now look forward to watching its growth and evolution.

-Helen White

For more details about the JAM, Inc Executive Director position, please visit the full job announcement

Appalachian Music Module Training Opportunity

Join us for a free teacher training opportunity Wednesday, March 27 at the Mountain Heritage Center of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC from 9 am – 12 p.m.

Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc (JAM, Inc) is offering this training to public school teachers to introduce the Appalachian Music Module (AMM). The AMM is a curriculum unit about traditional Appalachian music. The unit has 15 lesson plans designed for a fourth grade audience and is correlated with NC Fourth Grade Standards in Language Arts, Social Studies and Music. (However, the unit can also be used for student audiences older than fourth grade.)

Lesson topics and activities range from Early Appalachian History, Writing a Ballad, the Evolution of Appalachian Music, to Instruments in Traditional Music (and much more!) The AMM is supplemented with footage from The Appalachians DVD, numerous audio samples, the Discover Bluegrass DVD, Mist Over the Mountains by Raymond Bial, and All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan. For more information about the guide, please contact us or visit our website at

If you are interested in attending, please contact us to reserve your spot today. The last day to reserve a spot will be Wednesday, March 20. Contact us by e-mail at or by telephone at (276) 773-0573.

For more information about the Mountain Heritage Center, you can contact them at (828) 227-7129 or visit

Thank you! Please feel free to pass this announcement along.

Attention JAM Students!!!

Attention JAM students in Western North Carolina! You are invited to a Traditional Music Performance Workshop for Youth. Please spread the word to any young people who would be interested.

This workshop is for youth who are performing mountain heritage music and would like to learn more about stage presence. Should you look at the audience? Should you tell a story or just play? How the heck do you use those microphones? How do you choose something to perform? Remember to smile.

Judy Rhodes will lead this performance workshop. Judy’s family has lived in the Western North Carolina area since the early 1700s and she brings with her a deep knowledge of the culture and music of the area. She is a performer and has served as a judge for the Mountain Youth Talent Contests for a number of years. In addition to being a gifted songwriter, Judy is also a piano teacher, children’s choir director, and mother to four children.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Ages: All ages are invited but workshop is geared for 3rd – 12th graders
Time: 10:00am – 12:00noon
Location: Sylva Library, Community Room (upstairs)
Cost: This workshop is provided through funding from the NC Arts Council for the Jackson County Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program.
Registration: Deadline – Monday, February 25. Please contact the Jackson County Cooperative Extension Center at 828-586-4009 or to register.

We hope you will join us!

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