The Jon Bekoff Project for the Advancement of Georgia Old-Time Music

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The Jon Bekoff (JB) Project was created in the memory of the musician Jon Bekoff (1959-2015) to promote Old-Time Georgia stringband music. The JB Project supports one-on-one and small group learning with mentors knowledgeable and skilled in Georgia old-time musical traditions.

jon GA

Jon was a gentle soul and loved to connect with people through informal learning and sharing of world music.  (For more details of Jon’s musical obituary written by Jon’s fiddle student, nicknamed “Moonshine,” see: https://oldtimeparty.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/jon-bekoff-curator-of-oldtimeparty-blog-rip/ )

Within the old-time tradition, Jon had a special fondness for Georgia Old-time music, and used to wear a t-shirt “In Gid We Trust.” In the last half year of his life, Jon made a pilgrimage from his home state of Massachusetts to Georgia, where he visited the home and burial site of the fiddler Gid Tanner, and made a video at Gid’s grave playing “a Gid tune” with Gid’s grandson, Phil.

(see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZcFb4YBU2o ). After Jon’s death, “Moonshine” collaborated with the Center for Public History in Georgia to endow this humble project to spread a little bit of Jon’s karma, through informal learning initiatives.

The Center for Public History staff at the University of West Georgia administer the Jon Bekoff Project for Georgia Old-Time Music Project as part of its Regional Music Project.

Who can apply?

The program accepts applications from:

  1. Individuals who want to pursue lessons, workshops, or classes in Georgia Oldtime music. Applicants need not live in Georgia.
  2. Mentors versed in Georgia old-time music who want to organize music jam-workshops or study groups; or who want to develop open-access instructional videos. Mentors need not live in Georgia.

Applicants in the first category will:

  1. demonstrate an interest in the music of Georgia string band traditions
  2. possess a basic command of their instrument

In most cases, the funds will go to the mentor, not the applicant, except for music camp scholarships.

Who can be a mentor?

Musicians who are experienced teachers of traditional Georgia string band music may apply to the Center for Public History to be accepted into the program. The Center for Public History program staff will maintain a list of approved mentors.

Mentor applications will include a biography and evidence of their expertise in this field. The review committee will evaluate these applicants to determine if if they meet the program criteria as mentors.

All mentors must submit a vendor profile form and W-9 form to  the University of West Georgia to process payments.

Award amount

Each project should specify a budget.  Typical grant awards are approximately $500.  Applicants may apply for up to about $1000 for large projects.

What types of experiences are eligible?

Mentors set the course prospectus relative to the grant award and can teach in the following settings, including but not limited to the following formats.  All projects are expected to be completed over a four to six month period.

  • 1:1 learning.  Student travels to mentor although the duo can choose to meet at mutually agreed upon settings outside of the mentor’s home. Student may opt to learn on several instruments during this time (e.g., fiddle, banjo, banjolin, guitar) to master all parts of traditional string band ensemble.(For example, this might involve  10  two to three-hour instructional sessions with a mentor for $500)
  • Small group intermediate workshop series.  An applicant organizes a small group workshop series with a specific mentor. The mentor and an applicant select a location to hold a workshop for three to six participants, selecting tunes to be covered in advance of each session, for learners to play together. For example, the workshop could be a “Skillet Lickers study group” to work through the repertoire of this or the group could focus on other famous Georgia old-time musicians like John Dilleshaw, A.A. Gray, Clayton McMichen, Riley Puckett, or others. The initial proposal will list the participants, but these could change during the course of the series with the mentor’s approval. (For example, this might be five, three-hour sessions for $100 per session per workshop leader.) Most of the tunes studied should be Georgia tunes.
  • Facilitated introductory Georgia music jam-workshop series– The mentor applies to the program to facilitate regional one-off educational demonstrations followed by jams, featuring the mentor’s repertoire of Georgia music.
  • Development of instructional materials for Georgia traditional music, such as YouTube videos, DVD, or other media that could be hosted online. Mentors apply for funding to create instructional materials focused on Georgia old time stringband music traditions.
  • Intensive residencies. This category provides an opportunity for out-of-town learners to study with a mentor over several consecutive days.  For example, the residency could be three five-hour days, which would include time devoted to listening to and discussing source material together. The application should describe the residency. The grant budget may include a small stipend for the out-of-town mentee for travel and residency support.
  • Other formats–We are open to other creative project ideas, provided they are in the spirit of informal group learning.  For example, if someone wants to organize a day of workshops and jams, to promote Georgia Oldtime and Blues music. Applicants can also apply for 500$ scholarships to attend a music week camp class if one of the classes is taught by an approved project mentor (e.g. Mick and Evan Kinney’s Rags and Blues fiddle class at Mars Hill, NC, June 5-12, 2016 see http://www.mhu.edu/oldtimemusic )

 

Application process

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed monthly. Awards will be distributed each year on a first-come, first-served basis, as funds allow.

Applicants should the following points in their application:

  1. A project narrative that includes the following:
  2. Name and contact information for the applicant
  3. Applicant’s musical background and experience
  4. Reasons for pursuing the apprenticeship, class, etc.
  5. Description of proposed type of apprenticeship, class, etc.
  6. Name and contact information for mentor or information about the class/camp
  7. Proposed project
  8. Proposed schedule
  9. Proposed budget
  1. Student applicants must also submit YouTube or other video recording that demonstrates their musical skills

Submit all applications to:

Dr. Ann McCleary, Center for Public History, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118 amcclear@westga.edu, 678-839-6141

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One Response to “The Jon Bekoff Project for the Advancement of Georgia Old-Time Music”

  1. Slippery Hill’s Jon Bekoff (RIP) Audio Archive | Old Time Party Says:

    […] post script: The Jon Bekoff Project  was set up by Moonshine to support informal Georgia oldtime music learning projects. The first […]

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