New Junior Appalachian Musicians program planned for Johnson City students

Published 8:56 am Friday, December 27, 2019

JOHNSON CITY — Three new community Junior Appalachian Musicians ( JAM) programs are being organized for students in the Tri-Cities area by the new non-profit arts organization, Upper East Tennessee Traditional Music Group Inc.

This initiative is a major expansion of the existing JAM program at University School on the campus of East Tennessee State University, which began in 2013 in collaboration with the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program in ETSU’s Department of Appalachian Studies. It was the first JAM program to be organized in Tennessee.

Through JAM, an after-school music education program model dedicated to teaching old-time and bluegrass music to students in grades 4-12, participants learn traditional Appalachian music from local teaching artists on such instruments as guitar, fiddle and banjo. JAM is currently available in more than 50 localities throughout East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

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The first JAM of Upper East Tennessee is slated to begin Jan. 14, 2020, with group classes for students in grades 4-12 to meet each Tuesday through May 12 from 3:30-4:45 p.m. at Ashley Academy, 1502 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City. Tuition is $200 for 18 weekly group instruction sessions.

Interested students may register online at by Jan. 2, 2020. Donations to support JAM of Upper East Tennessee may also be made at that website.

Two additional JAM chapters will open in Carter and Unicoi counties in 2020.

These programs are made possible through JAM of Upper East Tennessee’s partnership with Atlanta-based South Arts and the parent organization of Junior Appalachian Musicians Inc. of Independence, Va. (

For more information, email .