Bluegrass In Schools

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music believes strongly in passing bluegrass music along to the next generation of fans and musicians.

One of our goals is to help educators (elementary – university level, including home schooling parents) to become more “bluegrass aware.” Bluegrass music, a relatively new style of music (the classic sound jelled in the mid-‘40s with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys), is 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, it’s 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 community of musicians and fans who love the music. Learning to play a bluegrass instrument is usually a life skill—something that folks continue to do for a number of years after they leave high school music programs.


The Foundation for Bluegrass Music’s “Bluegrass in the Schools” program includes:



  • A 67-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)
  • 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, educational presentations of bluegrass music for students
  • A variety of local programs implemented by our members, including: bluegrass camps and workshops at festivals, after school bluegrass clubs, two-week artist in residency programs where a bluegrass band works with orchestra students who already play stringed instruments, special bluegrass-related lesson plans and units planned during the school day, and live educational presentations from touring bands at school assemblies.
  • An online Bluegrass in the Schools Implementation Manual
  • An international Bluegrass Lesson Plan Competition with award-winning lesson plans posted on this website
  • Regional Bluegrass in the Schools Workshops for Artists interested in developing in-school bluegrass presentations.


For more info on the Bluegrass in the Schools program, contact Nancy Cardwell at  (615) 256-3222 , 888-GET-IBMA or For info on the Foundation for Bluegrass Music go to or contact Dan Hays at