Music has always been a part of rural life around the world, and many countries include it as one of the most basic and important subjects. Neurological studies of the brain have revealed recently that people making their own music on instruments requires more parts of the brain than almost any other subject. Whether or not making music can train the brain to make more connections while doing other subjects has not been proven, but there is no doubt that students benefit from music in more ways than one. Luckily, Appalachian music is complex enough to allow crossover in most genres of music with the fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo. Every day needs to have at least two thirty minute blocks set aside to explore the instruments' potential, to play just for yourself, and to play together with others. 
   There are many opportunities to play with local musicians to get a feel for the music's spontaneity and rural working roots. And because so much old time music is so old and a part of the folk music tradition, it is easy for anyone to alter old song lyrics with new ones and make the song truly their own.

     If you are a beginner or intermediate player, and can travel to Lumpkin County easily, you can participate in the Georgia Pick-and-Bow program during one of the ten week programs in the fall and spring During other times, you can always take private or group instruction from one of our local teachers like John Grimm (Vintage Music) for fiddle, Carl McDonald for fiddle, mandolin, and guitar; James Lambert for guitar and jamming. You and also stop by and play here at the academy most any day, and even get together on SKYPE with Etowah (banjo, guitar, harmonica), Sarah (mandolin), and Selu (fiddle) to get some pointers and encouragement. We'll be posting more details on local connections soon. Come to the open house on every second Saturday from 4:30 to 6 for more on making music the Appalachian way.
   Here's a downloadable mp3 recording of a generous musician at a recent fundraiser for Pick-and-Bow.