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IBMA Announces Programs Introducing Bluegrass To The Next Generation

By Mandolin Cafe
May 22, 2006 - 2:15 pm

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International Bluegrass Music Association

International Bluegrass Music Association

The International Bluegrass Music Association announces two new IBMA programs that focus efforts to introduce bluegrass music to the next generation of musicians and fans: a Bluegrass Lesson Plan Competition for teachers and a series of Regional "Bluegrass in the Schools" Trainings for artists and bands interested in developing in-school presentations.

The goals with the Bluegrass Lesson Plan Competition are to encourage and reward the creation of instructional units at all grade levels in an effort to expose students to the sounds and the analysis of bluegrass music. Lesson plans will be judged by a team of experienced teachers knowledgeable about bluegrass, with the aim of honoring plans that deliver high quality instruction in an interesting way. In addition to being bluegrass-related, IBMA is looking for lessons that meet nation-wide educational standards and are also easily adaptable by other teachers who may or may not be familiar with the genre.

Four prizes of $300 will be awarded to the best lesson plans (K-12), with up to six additional lesson plans receiving $100 "honorable mention" awards. The top lesson plans will be posted on a new page of the IBMA website for use by teachers and home schooling parents around the world.

The deadline to send in lesson plans is November 30, 2006. Judges will review plans from December - January, and winners will be notified February 1, 2007.

In addition to their prize money and having lessons posted online at, teachers who write winning lesson plans will receive a plaque and will be invited to attend the Special Awards Luncheon at the 2007 World of Bluegrass events in Nashville, Tenn. For more info and an application form, email

The first Bluegrass in the Schools Regional Training for artists is scheduled for Saturday, June 10, 2006 from 9 a.m. - noon at the Festival of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky. The course will include info on IBMA educational tools, a "tip sheet" for artists with ideas on how to develop and present educational programs for students based on a survey of bands who are already doing this successfully, a live demonstration of a bluegrass program for students with a Q&A session and a presentation on elements of motivation for students at different age levels, along with info on how to pitch and fund programs for local schools.

There is no additional fee for the training, other than having a festival ticket for that day. Entire bands or individual musicians representing local or national touring bands are welcome. Class size will be 20 (minimum) - 50. Attendees will receive a Bluegrass in the Schools Certificate of Participation for the training session.

Presenters will include Tom Kopp, Ph.D. and Kentucky Blue (a popular Kentucky-based band that presents educational programs to students on a regular basis), among others.

Additional trainings are tentatively planned for Minnesota (the MBOTMA Fall Jamboree in November) and Arkansas in the fall. In 2007 we hope to be at SuperGrass in Bakersfield, Calif. (early Feb.); the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival in Boston, Mass. (mid-Feb.); and Wintergrass in Tacoma, Wash. (late Feb.)

To register for the first Bluegrass in the Schools Regional Training in Lexington, Ky., call 888-GET-IBMA, 615-256-3222, or email

"Bluegrass in the Schools" is an ongoing, wide-ranging program to help young people discover bluegrass. Thanks to the efforts of our membership, progress so far includes:

* A 67-minute educational DVD, Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music, complete with downloadable lesson plans for each of six units, designed for students age 8-13 (available at $3.00, for educational purposes). More than 3000 of these DVDs are in schools and educational programs now.
* Teacher Workshops held in conjunction with major bluegrass festivals across the country, to give educators the tools to utilize bluegrass music in the classroom.
* Matching $100 mini-grants to help fund live educational presentations of bluegrass music for students
* A variety of programs implemented by our members in local schools---including bluegrass camps and workshops at festivals; after school bluegrass clubs; artist in residency programs; special bluegrass-related lesson plans and units; live educational presentations from touring bands at school assemblies; youth-based educational programs based at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky.; and a growing number of university-level courses and degrees focused on bluegrass music.

* Bluegrass Lesson Plans Competition
* Bluegrass in the Schools Regional Trainings, to help bands develop and fund in-school presentations.

Additional information:
IBMA web site

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