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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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JAM program coming to Franklin County
Young musicians can learn to play banjo, guitar or fiddle
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Photo by The Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program is making its way to Franklin County in mid-January. The program will offer students low-cost lessons in guitar, fiddle or banjo. Above, students in Jackson County, N.C., already enjoy the program, which is offered in over 20 locations from South Carolina to Virginia.

Friday, December 27, 2013


A new musical program for youth is on its way to Franklin County, beginning in mid-January.

The Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program will be offered to fourth and fifth-graders at Burnt Chimney, Windy Gap and Dudley elementary schools.

"JAM seeks to preserve our important mountain music heritage by offering low-cost music lessons in fiddle, banjo, guitar and, eventually, other instruments of the Appalachian region to small groups of students in after-school settings," said Emily Tucker, JAM program director.

Students in the JAM program will get the chance to learn to play either guitar, fiddle or banjo from a "master musician," Tucker said.

"The instructor will be someone from our community who is an active player of the particular instrument," she added.

Students will also get opportunities for public performances.

Classes will be offered at Burnt Chimney Elementary one afternoon a week, and students will need to commit to attendance at all weekly classes.

"We're looking for around 30 students who are really committed," said Tucker. "It is important that they are committed so they can stay together (in the learning process) and learn as a group."

Transportation from school to JAM lessons will not be provided. Parents will be expected to transport their child to each lesson by 3:15 p.m. each Thursday and pick up their child by 4:30 p.m. Lessons will begin promptly at 3:30 p.m.

The fee for each lesson is $10. For those students receiving free or reduced-price school lunches, the fee is $5 per lesson. The fee also covers a snack for each child.

Lessons will be ongoing each week during the calendar school year.

Instruments will not be provided by the program. Parents will need to provide an instrument for their child.

"If there is a child who really wants to learn, but absolutely cannot come up with an instrument, we will make every effort to work with that child," said Tucker. "There may be a rental option in that circumstance."

Because the program is new to Franklin County, interest would need to be established before trying to expand the program.

"Once the program is off the ground, and as the students grow in their musicality, we hope to expand it to other schools and grade levels," said Tucker. "There is also a definite possibility of expanding the choice of instruments."

JAM Inc. links communities and helps them provide opportunities for children to participate in the old-time and bluegrass music traditions of the Southern Appalachians.

It seeks to give all children throughout the Appalachian Mountains access to the joy of participation in the music of their heritage, according to JAM's website.

The program was founded in 2000 in Alleghany County, N.C., by local musicians and educators.

Currently, the program is offered in over 20 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

To learn more about the JAM program, visit

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