The Foundation for Bluegrass Music  (a separate 501c3 non-profit charity and sister organization to IBMA) believes strongly in passing along bluegrass music to the next generation of fans and musicians. One of their goals - and ours, too! - is to help educators (elementary through university level, including home schooling parents) to become more “bluegrass aware.” The classic bluegrass sound jelled in the mid-'40s with Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, so it is a relatively new style of music. It's also one of the very few musical genres to originate in the United States, so it has a "roots music" cultural value for American students in particular.
Like jazz and blues, bluegrass is also a valid style of music for teaching improvisational skills. Perhaps more so than most other genres, bluegrass music connects students to a larger, multi-generational and international community of musicians and fans who love the music. Learning to play a bluegrass instrument is usually a life skill—something a student will continue to do for a number of years after he or she has left high school music programs.
The Bluegrass in the Schools program includes:
A 68-minute educational DVD, Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music, complete with downloadable lesson plans for each of six units, targeting students age 8-13 (available at $3.00, for educational purposes) *newly updated!
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 $200 mini-grants to help fund live (band), 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 in which a bluegrass band works with orchestra students who already play stringed instruments, special bluegrass-related lesson plans and units (in all content areas), and live educational presentations from touring bands at school assemblies
An online Bluegrass in the Schools implementation Manual
A Bluegrass Lesson Plan Competition with award-winning lesson plans posted on bluegrassfoundation.org for free use by teachers
Regional Bluegrass in the Schools Workshops for Artists interested in developing in-school bluegrass presentations.
For more info about the Bluegrass in the Schools Program, click here  or call (615) 256-3222.
(Photo: The Gettysburg Bluegrass Academy for Kids, directed by Ira Gitlin on the right.)