Preserving and sharing the musical heritage of our mountains, JAM links traditional musicians with our region’s youth.

JAM introduces children to the region’s rich heritage or traditional music.

Realizing the need to preserve this vital aspect of mountain culture, as well as to offer positive activities for under served youth, local musicians and educators founded the program in Sparta, NC in 2000.

Now in over a dozen mountain counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee JAM is providing access to the joy of music to hundreds of youth, while instilling renewed interest and pride in the area’s heritage and traditions.

Program   Overview

An average of 25 students age 8 to 14 participate each semester. Classes are held at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, in small groups by instrument.

Students may choose to learn guitar, fiddle, mandolin, or banjo.

  • Instruments are loaned free of charge.
  • All participate in supervised practice sessions.
  • Students learn local music history and theory, ear training, dance, and rhythm development.
  • Group jams and performances enhance the experience.
  • Field trips to concerts and other events introduce students to today‘s culture of traditional music.
  • Instructors are drawn from our wide field of local Bluegrass and Old-Time musicians.
Our Cultural Heritage

In addition to classes, JAM kids learn about various instrumental and singing styles through Enrichment Concerts.

Guest artists offer history and stories, along with their music, often inviting the students to participate in dancing, singing or trying new instruments.

At the heart of our region’s music is sharing with others. Each semester ends with a public concert. To this end, the students learn to form string bands, arrange their tunes, and perform on stage.

Many JAM  students go on to compete or perform at festivals, & will carry the joys of making music throughout their lives.


Galax JAM is a program of Chestnut Creek School of the Arts (CCSA), and is governed by an Advisory Board of Directors made up of musicians, school personnel, parents, and community leaders. The Advisory Board sets program priorities and develops the curriculum and budget.

To register your child for JAM you will need to come to the school at 100 N. Main Street, Galax, VA