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.  

Children need music in their lives more than ever .

This semester, Alleghany JAM is pleased to offer classes in fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and dulcimer. Due to the pandemic we have chosen to give private, 1-on-1 lessons to our students so they have the highest quality instruction possible until we are able to safely gather in group classes again. Most of these private lessons will be online but read below if your child needs in-person lessons.

Although private lessons usually cost a lot more than group classes we are keeping our tuition exactly the same for the fall semester (including discounts for those who need financial assistance or for families that have 2 or more kids attending AJAM.

Our teachers are making videos to go along with private lessons on our Alleghany JAM Youtube channel plus we have a brand new 100+ page Alleghany JAM Tune & Songbook we're really excited about! Each registered student will get a free copy, (a learning aid for our lessons this year).

Space in our program is limited so register early to save your spot! Our children need music in their lives more than ever. We hope your child will choose to return and participate in Alleghany JAM’s music programs this semester.

  • Each student takes three 35 minute classes (one primary instrument and two activity classes) on Mondays and Thursdays 3:30 – 5:30pm.
  • Group classes begin September 16th and end December 16, 2021. Students at GCS and PCS will be bussed to Sparta, but parents need to arrange for pickup. Please pick up students promptly at 5:30pm
  • Please plan to attend the parent orientation meeting on the 1st day of class (Sept 16th) from 5pm-5:30pm at the Alleghany JAM house (360 N Main St., Sparta).
  • Unvaccinated adults and children are asked to wear masks for their safety and the safety of others. We care about the health of our local families & community.
  • Children grades 3-8 are welcome – no musical experience necessary and we also have intermediate classes for students who are play music already.
  • Register soon to save your spot. Class sizes are limited. Register online today or you can print this registration form and mail it to Alleghany JAM, PO Box 1326, Sparta, NC, 28765 or give it to your school teacher.
  • Please register by September 6th though we will still accept some registrations until Sept. 13th. The sooner you register the better we can plan and the more likely your child will get the classes they would like.

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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