School Programs

Andy May - School Show

Andy performs at a local school for MerleFest Community Outreach

I thoroughly endorse and encourage your continued work in this area, and I think you’re uniquely situated to help implement future programming of this sort. Every school should be lucky enough to benefit from it.  ~Robert Cogswell, Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program Director [Full review] [Related Reviews]

For over fifty years, Andy has been a professional musician and a teacher. He has performed thousands of shows, taught many hundreds of people to play guitar or mandolin, and instructed extensively in the areas of performance and visual art. Andy has been Artist-in-Residence in elementary and junior high schools in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York, and he has led seminars in creativity and in programming for both youth and adults at music festivals such as the Walnut Valley Festival (“Winfield”), MerleFest, and the Augusta Heritage Center. Among his most popular school programs are:

Solo Shows

Andy brings his original music, and the traditional music underlying it, into the schools and shares it with the kids. In a program tailored to the school’s needs and the age of the audience, he also shares the creative process– and a bit about what it’s like to make a living making music.

I particularly enjoy presenting shows to schools and other groups of children because it allows me to combine my training as an art educator with my experience as a professional musician. My shows offer an alternative to what the mainstream media sources often present to kids. I tell kids what being a musician is really like. I demonstrate that they can make music that is personal and accessible, and that music belongs to them. ~Andy


The Bluegrass Show—with Andy May and the Bluegrass Band

Andy appears with some of Nashville’s finest bluegrass musicians to bring a top-notch, fun and musically enriching show to Tennessee’s schools. This program offers students and teachers the opportunity to join Andy in exploring the songs, instruments and history of this wonderful style of American music that was actually born here in Tennessee. In the context of a show rich in vocal harmonies and instrumental wizardry, Andy provides an underlying theme of encouragement that supports youngsters in making positive creative choices in their lives.

In The Bluegrass Show, I talk about the history of the music, and about the instruments. Guitar and mandolin have been my friends since I was very young, and I share my excitement about playing music. I talk about how one learns to play an instrument—about practice, determination, and the desire to learn—and about how that becomes mastery. I also cover band dynamics: how people use their social, as well as musical, skills in a band. ~Andy


The Roots of Bluegrass Music—Music appreciation and history

Bluegrass is one of the truly American musical styles, incorporating a wealth of influences from many musical traditions. In this presentation, Andy narrates an audio journey through the archives of early recordings of American country music. He discusses the impact of technological advances on American music and traces the development and birth of bluegrass, providing recorded examples of the musical influences that Bill Monroe, “the Father of Blue Grass Music,” brought together to create the style.

In The Roots of Bluegrass, I discuss how the development of audio recording and radio —technologies we take for granted today—impacted people’s lives and affected the development of American country music. I play recordings made as early as the 1920s of musicians such as the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, the Skillet Lickers, the Delmore Brothers, the Golden Gate Quartet, and many others whose influence can be heard in bluegrass. I end with several cuts of classic bluegrass by Bill Monroe and his quintessential Blue Grass Boys band of 1946. ~Andy

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