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 right now.

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 will get two 30 min lessons (24 lessons) with our teachers per week for 12 weeks. Week 1 starts September 7th and our season ends December 1st, 2020.
  • Most lessons will be online (Zoom) but some in-person, private lessons may be possible. Contact us at if you have questions. 
  • Parent-Guardians are responsible for driving their child to and from the AJAM house (360 N. Main St, Sparta, NC) for in-person lessons. Safety precautions (face coverings, social distance, etc…) are required.
  • Scheduling is flexible. Lessons can be scheduled directly with the teacher. Missed lessons will not be rescheduled. Good attendance is necessary to stay in the program. It is possible for two students to “buddy-up” and take lessons together on the same instrument if they are the same level. Please let us know if your child would like to do this and who with.
  • We provide discounts to those in financial need and families with 2 kids at AJAM.
  • The best way to register is online or you can also complete print this registration form and mail it to Alleghany JAM, PO Box 1326, Sparta, NC, 28765. 
  • Please register by September 1st though we will still accept registrations until Sept. 8th. 
  • Cost: $130/semester normal fee (pay in one payment or $40/mo)$70/semester reduced fee (pay in one payment or $20/mo)

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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