Junior Appalachian Musicians

About us


What is Alleghany JAM

Alleghany JAM (AJAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Appalachian Heritage by enriching the lives of youth in our community through traditional music. Thank you to our sponsors! The program meets after-school​ Mondays and Thursdays from 3:15-5:30 pm at our JAM House. ​​

We offer instruction in Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Dulcimer, Bass, Singing, and Clogging.  

A Little About AJAM

Alleghany JAM meets after-school Mondays and Thursdays from 3:15-5:30pm at our beautiful AJAM House at 360 N Main St., Sparta, North Carolina.

Children in grades 3-8 take a total of 24 classes during the school year.

When the students arrive they are given a free snack and refreshment. Then each one takes three 35-minute classes a day which includes one instrument class and two activity classes.

Instrument classes include: fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, (bass or stringband for more advanced students). Activity classes include: singing, dance, and dulcimer.

Students do not need their own instrument because AJAM has

instruments to loan and everything you need to get started.

We have six wonderful and knowledgeable teachers helping students learn music and dance each day. We also have special, monthly enrichment programs to learn about heritage musicians, our region, culture, and traditional music.

There are many additional, fun events that our students are encouraged to participate in such as our in-house fiddlers convention, Alleghany Jam Coffeehouses/Open Mics, local festivals, dances, and charity events (like the Special Olympics).

At the end of each semester we put on a concert that is free for all family members and the public to come enjoy.   This year we are starting a monthly AJAM Teen Gathering. Stay tuned for exciting details to come! 

If your child or teen has an interest in music, dance or likes to sing they will love being a part of Alleghany Jam! It’s a great place to make new friends, learn what makes our region special, have fun, and share music with our community.

Our History

Alleghany JAM was started in the spring of 2000 by Helen White, a guidance counselor and musician, who noticed that the once prolific music traditions of the area were no longer celebrated by the average student or family. She was also deeply concerned about the general cultural isolation of students and their families and saw the reintroduction of the music of the region as an appropriate means of offering positive after school activities for kids that would also generate community pride across the generations. JAM encourages a sense of 'belonging' both through offering opportunities for students to play traditional music with others, and through activities that foster an appreciation for their ancestors and place in history. 


Until 2017, JAM was housed by Sparta School, but it received no direct funding from the school system. In 2016, Alleghany JAM became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  In 2018, JAM moved from the school into a near by house and further established itself as a separate entity. 


Since its inception, Alleghany JAM over 1200 students have participated in Alleghany JAM, and it has become a well-respected entity within and beyond the county. It is funded through grants, donors, and fundraising events. Today it serves students in grades 3-8 teaching classes in guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, dulcimer, dancing, and singing. 

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