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Bluegrass in the Schools

Updated: Jan 16

Thanks to the Bluegrass Foundation for their generous support of Music Education.

October 6th American Choral Directors Association Clinic

I served as a clinician at Central Connecticut State University teaching harmony singing by ear in 2022

Teaching traditional bluegrass 3 part harmony by ear in College / University

Nov 8, 2022 Rockland County Music Educator's Association

Austin Scelzo presents:

Bluegrass Music Deep Dive "Bluegrass music developed in the 1940s as a distinct genre of American folk music. It draws influences from blues, celtic, jazz, country, and pop styles. The bluegrass band consists of 4-7 players who sing and accompany themselves on the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass (and sometimes dobro). Learn more about the music, sing some vocal harmony, and learn the basics of bluegrass jamming in this bluegrass music deep dive. Instruments available to try - bring an instrument if you can."

Watch my April 2023 Leadership Bluegrass Presentation on the Topic

Annie Savage, Greg Cahill and members of the 2023 Leadership Bluegrass class will introduce a ready-to-use tool to connect schools and bluegrass music. This tool, a revision of the IBMA Foundation’s Bluegrass Music in the Schools pamphlet, gives every bluegrass clinician and artist an entree into schools and provides a complete resource for any school to plug into their existing music curriculum.

Includes tips on program funding and how to create new revenue streams for touring artists through opening up public schools for assemblies and clinics.

Virtual workshop presenters will include Annie Savage, Greg Cahill, Austin Scelzo and Gieselle Tambe-Ebot.

The Bluegrass & Roots Music Education Database

Click Here to access a list of artists and organizations that provide live, educational programs for students or who offer resources for use by teachers and home schooling parents.  If you’d like to be added to this ever-growing list, please contact us at Resources, organizations, and individuals listed may offer programs and resources for bluegrass music or related roots music. Please investigate further to find the resources and contacts that fit your needs. 

CLICK HERE to download a tri-fold Bluegrass in the Schools brochure that you may print off and use. The brochure may be used by bands interested in creating educational bluegrass presentations for schools, or by teachers who would like to check into the idea of having a bluegrass program or assembly at their schools.

"This database and brochure is the product of a team effort on behalf of LBG Class of 2023, the LBG Alumni Association, and the IBMA Foundation. Please share the attached pamphlet and IBMA Foundation Clinician Database widely with your local public schools. If you do this work and would like to be added, shoot me your email. This is our effort to present a current and inclusive list of educators in bluegrass and old-time for the ease of schools who are looking for clinicians, musicians, and historians to share on the topic of this music we love and share. 

As the point person on the Ed panel for LBG 2023, Annie Savage had been contacted by the LBG Alumni Committee, who asked her to present an educational topic in April following the conference. The panel discussed at length about equity, inclusion, and bluegrass in public schooling. Aka- how to get bluegrass into public school string programs and for bluegrass as a vehicle of simple chord changes to continue to earn its rightful place in public school orchestra programs as a uniquely American form of creative string playing. This led to a need to reframe the bluegrass narrative to align with blues, jazz, and old-time- and other more diverse forms of music making that can more directly connect culturally to the kids who are sitting in those public schools. We reached back to a project that Greg Cahill was instrumental in setting up and the IBMA Foundation and Nancy Cardwell became the point person that I and the LBG Class of 2023 Ed representative Austin Scelzo have worked with the Foundation over the rest of the last year to bring to a final product phase. 

The work on this project was huge in scope. Big shout outs to Brandi Waller-Pace, Austin Scelzo, and Dr. Jordan Laney who helped with this project directly and coordinated the breakout groups during the LBG conference). Shout out to the LBG Class of 2023 who brought the names and resources to this list of diverse clinicians and resources that can now be found on the IBMA Foundation website. And finally, to Nancy Cardwell and the IBMA Foundation and their team for helping us see it through to its completion and hosting it on their website. 

It's about connecting dots, creating actionable goals, and driving them to completion. I am proud of the work we did here and I encourage you to check it out and use it. All of us can reach into our local public schools as a way to share this music we love. We have tried to produce inclusive, creative, and current materials for you to use to do exactly that. Happy to answer any questions you have or help you approach your local school."

Download PDF • 2.80MB

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1 Comment

Hi Mr. Scelzo

- Allison Valji (Your favorite student) 😁

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