OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Year two of the Bluegrass Music Academy’s Fall semester opens up on Sept. 5. Students can learn how to play guitar, mandolin, banjo and the fiddle in a group setting.
“You’ll see probably 40 instruments scattered around this room: banjoes, fiddles, mandolins, guitars, bases, and people singing and its just a joyful noise,” said Randy Lanham, the education director.
Registration costs $80 for the eight week semester. Lanham says the mission of the academy starts with the instrument and ends with community outreach.
“We’re trying to teach them to learn to play together and then after we get ’em playing together. We’re actually helping them to go out into the community and play in nursing homes, and shelters, and hospital settings,” said Lanham.
The minimum age requirement to sign up is 8 years old. However, the age requirement to learn banjo is 12 years old. Final class placement will be at the discretion of the instructor. Lanham says there’s no cap on the age of students.
“Probably the oldest student I can remember was in her eighties. She was nearing 90. She would remind me that all the time when she came in to play. It was so cute. She was like ‘you know Randy..I’m almost 90 years old, and I’m still picking and grinning’,” said Lanham.
The academy will also soon offer online teachings. The academy is made possible by the funding it receives from the Marilyn and William Young Foundation.
“Bluegrass music is part of our heritage and its our responsibility to continue the next generation of learning this craft. I think that it gives confidence to the children, and it also gives them an opportunity an outlet for creativity,” said Sarah Hemingway, the executive director of the foundation.
Spring lessons made way for 160 people to learn an instrument, and 100 people have already signed up to learn more this fall. Lanham hopes the 45 minute long classes will eventually also fill the gap of bluegrass music teachers in the community.
“I feel blessed everyday of my life that god has given me the gift to perform. To teach others, to teach teachers, and to equip and help these people,” said Lanham.
Clogging classes will also be offered beginning on Sept. 19.
A limited number of instruments are available to loan to those that do not have their own instrument to play. A $50 deposit is required but is refundable once the instrument is returned in good condition.
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