Music Education

The Crooked Road’s Traditional Music Education Program (TMEP) is a multi-faceted educational initiative. It is designed to support existing traditional music programs and instructors, to encourage the implementation of new traditional music programs, to support youth music performance, and to incorporate traditional music coursework and instruction in Southwest Virginia’s schools.


About the Program

Established in 2010, the TMEP provides unique educational opportunities and programs for the region’s youth, and has already fostered tremendous pride and interest in celebrating the musical and cultural heritage of Southwest Virginia. The TMEP combines both direct learning and professional development designed to align with The Crooked Road mission to promote the unique musical traditions of our region.

TMEP Numbers Served

The TMEP has served more than 21,000 teachers, students, school administrators, traditional music program staff and instructors, youth performers, and musicians since 2010. These numbers include more than 2,000 teachers and 19,000 students and youth performers. More than 300 teachers have been trained through Crooked Road teacher training workshops. The program also introduces youth performance opportunities affiliated with TMEP including a youth performance series that has showcased young musicians in over 100 performances todate, and a Youth Music Festival, which features ca. 200 youth musicians each year.

TMEP Contact

One Heartwood Circle
Abingdon, VA 24210
276-492-2400 ext. 2409

Artist Roster for School Performances

TCR’s Artist Roster is a publication which highlights 24 traditional music artists from Southwest Virginia that present age-appropriate and engaging programs in schools. TCR is distributing the Artist Roster to school systems and educators to encourage school programs of traditional music by high-quality performers, and is partnering with schools and other organizations to present school performances.

Traditional Music in the Classroom – A Teacher’s Guide Cover

Traditional Music in the Classroom – A Teacher’s Guide

The Teacher’s Guide is a new TCR publication designed to help teachers easily and effectively integrate traditional music into existing K-12 and college curricula. The book/CD set has been distributed to school libraries, school system teachers and administrators, and music educators. The set includes eight lesson plans and resources for K-12 teachers, traditional music programs, and others, as well as a CD of correlated tunes recorded by Southwest Virginia musicians and ensembles, a PowerPoint presentation, “The Origins of Appalachian Music,” which accompanies one of the lesson plans, and a PDF of the book with hot links to online resources.

Training and Other Services

Teacher Training Workshops

Traditional Music in the Classroom teacher training workshops, based on lesson plans in TCR’s Teacher’s Guide, are designed to provide guidance and resources to K-12 teachers of both music and non-music classes to integrate elements of traditional music into the classroom. The workshops are fully compliant with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs), and are creative and engaging in-service or professional development opportunities.

Youth Music Performance Series & Youth Music Festival

This highly successful series features outstanding youth performers from Southwest Virginia. The annual Youth Music Festival at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace takes place the second Saturday in May, and features youth musicians in old time, bluegrass, gospel and dance performances. These programs encourage interaction among young musicians and enable young performers to gain valuable experience playing on stage with professional sound and lighting in front of a live audience.

The 2023 Youth Music Festival and Competition will take place on Saturday, May 13. Competition registration will start at 10 am and continue through the day; competition starts at 12 noon.  Jam spaces and workshops available throughout the day! Click for entry information: Youth Music Festival Competition Entry 2023 – FINAL

Training and Other Services

The Crooked Road is working with Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM, Inc.), our communities, and our partners to establish after-school traditional music programs throughout the region. These programs provide musical instruments and instruction in fiddle, banjo, and guitar from qualified instructors, as well as enrichment opportunities such as traditional singing, dance, storytelling, and regional traditional music history and culture. Typical instructor to student ratio is 1:7, with each program involving approximately 30-50 students in grades 4-8. More than 2,000 students have enrolled in classes in five programs since January 2012.

Current Programs:

Bland Co. JAMS
Carroll Co. JAM
Floyd JAMS
Henderson JAM
Montgomery Co. JAM
Scott Co.
Washington Co.
WiseJAMS – Coeburn
WiseJAMS – Big Stone Gap

For more information about Junior Appalachian Musicians, Inc. (JAM, Inc.), visit

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