Classroom and music teachers K-12, parents who home school, and group leaders in after-school programs, Scouting, 4-H, and other adults who work with youth are welcome to sign up for a free workshop planned for Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Bell Buckle, TN. “Using American Roots Music—Bluegrass in the Classroom” will take place from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. CT at the Bell Buckle Banquet Hall, 27 Railroad Square, Bell Buckle, TN 37020. SIGN UP BY APRIL 1 by emailing or calling 615-260-4807.  

The workshop will be set up in a socially distanced format and we ask that all participants and presenters wear masks. We will register up to 40 attendees. If the in-person workshop has to be cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, we will provide a link to a virtual version of the workshop. That decision will be made by April 5.  

The professional development workshop will be hosted by the IBMA Foundation with help from J. Gregory Heinike at the Bell Buckle Café and Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, supported by a grant from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and funds from a generous bequest from Dick Barnhart, a lover of bluegrass music. 

Catered lunch from the Bell Buckle Café will be offered at $10 each, and an attendance certificate for professional development credit will be issued upon completion of the course. Door prizes will include DVDs, CDs and posters. 


Using American Roots Music—Bluegrass, in the Classroom 

9 a.m.Check-in – coffee & tea, name tags.

9:15 – 10 a.m. A brief summary of bluegrass music history with video/lesson plan resources
Resource: Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music DVD (6 chapters with lesson plans) Presenter: Nancy Cardwell, IBMA Foundation executive director.

10:15 – 10:45 a.m. Bluegrass vocal workshop – demonstration and sing-along, two and three-part bluegrass vocal structure, how to sing harmony by ear. Presenters: Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike  

10:45 – 11:15 a.m. Bluegrass instrument demonstration – a live band talks about each bluegrass instrument, shows how it is tuned and played, and demonstrates its role in a bluegrass instrumental ensemble (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, acoustic bass). Also discussed are AABB structure of playing instrumentals and how we know how to start and end together. Presenters: Mike Scott, Valerie Smith, Rebekah Long Speer, Casey Campbell, and fiddle TBA.

11:30 – noon Square dancing with roots music – Teachers will learn basic square dance calls and steps that work well with bluegrass and old-time music. Presenter: Marcia Campbell, The Grand Ole Opry Square Dancers 

Noon – 1 p.m. – Lunch at the Banquet Hall($10 each – let us know if you have dietary restrictions)

1-1:45 p.m. Banjo lesson – Teachers will work in pairs to learn two or three chords on Deering Goodtime Banjos (13 available). We’ll sing along with songs we learn. Presenter: Mike Scott

1:45 – 2:15 p.m. Youth bluegrass band demonstration, Q&A
A group of young musicians will play a few songs, tell us how they got interested in bluegrass music, and answer questions from teacher/attendees. Presenters: Deanie Richardson & students (Giri & Uma Peters) 

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.Resources available to help teachers and home-schooling parents
Presenter: Nancy Cardwell – info on IBMA Foundation mini-grants, project grants, online resources, bluegrass coloring book, local bands who do educational presentations, materials from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum

 2:30 p.m. – Presentation of Attendance Certificates