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Update on the Americana Music Academy Progress in Kansas

Posted by fiddlerdi on Monday, October 25, 2010

I thought I would take a few minutes and give you an update on our progress with opening of the Americana Music Academy in Topeka, KS.  We are up and running, slowly but surely adding teachers and students....I now have a Guitar teacher, a Vocal teacher, a Banjo teacher (these guys are hard to come by around here) a Fiddle teacher (your truly), a piano teacher and a Music Therapy teacher. We have started a Community acoustic jam that meets every Saturday afternoon from 3 to 5 pm that is supporting 10 to 12  players each week.  We have started a monthly Gospel Jam on the Second Sunday of the Month from 4 to 6 pm. The Lawrence location has started a Beginners Jam on Wednesday nights and we will start one in January at the Topeka location. 

The location in the historic church is still a little bare of any kind of decorations but we have added a wish list of things we need that is being sent around to our friends and neighbors and hope to have some music stands, some furniture and possibly a copier/printer before too long. It really doesn't take much to produce players....just devoted good teachers and willing eager students will create the desired results. We are in the process of lining up our annual Chrismas Show, with a Celtic Theme this year.  Many of our teachers, students and professional musician friends will help make this successful. .plus we get to have two shows now that we have an additional location in another city. I involve my students in a group performance of three or four tunes which everyone seems to enjoy.  I also think that others are inspired by seeing people of all ages participating in the performance.  It is a reminder to all that you are never too old to start playing an instrument.

This is not an easy undertaking but certainly one that could be copied many times over and improved on for other communities.  It does provide a need in a different area of music other than private studio and music stores for lessons and creates a community atmosphere in the process.  It is nice to have a centralized all inclusive hub to communicate and hook up with other players.  I am sure we have lots to learn and many opportunities ahead of us. So far it has been both fun and challenging to be in on the foundation of this organization. Hopefully I will have more exciting news to post in the future.

Diane Gillenwater



4 comments on “Update on the Americana Music Academy Progress in Kansas”

bj Says:
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 @6:10:54 AM

Sounds like you're making great progress!

We're talking about starting something similar through a non-profit dedicated to arts and music education. We already have the facility, though it's a somewhat plainjane room in an old railroad depot building. We're trying to get grant funding to install a wood floor over the concrete/lino so we can eventually hold square and contra dances here as well, both as a fun venue for students and teachers to play in and as a fundraiser.

Keep us posted!

Endif Says:
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 @11:07:42 AM

I'm a Kansas native from that area, and I'm so happy someone is making a formal effort to make those resources available. The old-time fiddlers I knew are all gone now. I particularly like your formalized jam sessions. Jamming is what keeps many people coming back, but it's not always easy to find an open jam.

Also, thanks for putting up some of your playing on FHO. I really liked your "Whiskey Before Breakfast" and used it to learn the tune.

Kelly McCallay Says:
Thursday, October 28, 2010 @11:38:32 AM

Great job Diane! I know it is hard work and time consuming, but worth it in the end. Just think of how many people you will influence! Does your academy have a website? Kelly

playmorebluegrass Says:
Thursday, June 9, 2011 @11:02:11 AM

How awesome is that!!!

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