In September of last year, TRAC was awarded a $7,500 grant for TAPS (Traditional Arts Program for Students) from the North Carolina Arts Council. This enabled us to offer after- and in-school programs that unite North Carolina elementary and middle school students with local traditional artists. Taught by experts utilizing traditional instructional techniques, students receive training in local artistic traditions that have deep cultural roots in their community. Classes are small and dedicated. Students use their own instruments or borrow them from TRAC’s musical library. They learn not only to play the guitar, banjo, or dulcimer but to feel the music and understand the reasons to continue the traditions. This school year, we have after-school classes in Bowman (banjo) and Harris (guitar) middle schools. In-school classes are held at Cane River and East Yancey (guitar) middle schools. And the littlest of students are taught all about the Appalachian dulcimer at Bald Creek Elementary School.
TAPS is free to any dedicated student, ages 8 to 17. Spaces are limited and practice is mandatory. Contact the TRAC office for more information, 828.682.7215.
Check out the Traditional Arts Program for Students (TAPS) students as they perform at a free concert in Black Mountain this past spring, “JAMming Across the Blue Ridge.”