Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids

Please read thru info below before registering.
Then click REGISTER button at bottom of page.
Thank you! 

grey fox bluegrass academy for kids
bluegrass musics classes for kids
bluegrass music; kids learning to play

Bluegrass Music Classes for Kids at the Festival

Since 1999, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids (BGA) has been teaching kids to play, sing and perform bluegrass music on site during the festival. The free, four-day, camp-like program consists of instrumental instruction; ensemble and harmony vocal practice; and guest appearances by musicians performing at Grey Fox. The grand finale of the program is the ‘Big Gig’ Sunday afternoon on the High Meadow Stage. Approximately 100 kids participate each year. They have fun, learn new skills, improve their playing and singing ability, grow in confidence and make friendships can last a lifetime.

Thanks so much to BGA Director Mark Panfil, for making BGA happen virtually in 2020. Check out the Bluegrass Academy for Kids 2020 video and enjoy their performance for the virtual Spirit of Grey Fox!

Note: BGA 2022 will be limited to 10 students per class (4 fiddle classes, 3 guitar classes, 1 banjo class, 1 mandolin class, 1 acoustic bass class, 1 dobro class, and 1 cello class). The BGA Seniors is postponed this year. 

National & International Recognition

We are committed to keeping traditional bluegrass alive by passing it on to the upcoming generation through education. BGA has been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited, IBMA newsletters, bluegrass association publications and on Voice of America Radio. Several bluegrass festivals now have learning programs based on the Grey Fox model. Above all, we are happy to be connecting kids with bluegrass music.

BGA Staff

BGA Director, guitarist and dobro player, Mark Panfil, is a lifelong music educator from Western New York. He is a founding member of the Creek Bend Bluegrass Band, former Chair of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music, and a long-time instructor at Augusta Bluegrass Week in Elkins, WV. Since the pandemic curtailed in-person gatherings, Mark has led a weekly bluegrass jam for kids in Western New York. He will be joined at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival’s BGA by our kid-friendly instructors, who will be announced shortly.

Classes

We offer instruction in banjo, bass, cello, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. Classes are limited to ten students each. While singing is part of the program every day, we do not offer classes just for vocalists.

Bluegrass Music Classes for Kids

Seniors Program – Postponed 

There will not be a BGA Seniors Program in 2022. We encourage our more advanced teen players to join a class of their choice in the larger BGA — perhaps take up a new instrument. 

bluegrass music; kids learning to play

BGA Schedule (subject to change)

Bluegrass Academy for Kids
Bluegrass Music Classes for Kids

Thursday – Orientation

4:00-5:00 pm On-site registration if classes are not full. Pick up pre-ordered tee shirts.
6:00-7:00 pm Sign in, get name badge, tune up, be in seats by 6:55.
7:00 pm General orientation for all students. Bring your instruments! You will be playing the first night!
7:15 pm Student assessment by instructors and class adjustments.
8:00-8:45 pm Traditional Square & Contra Dance with music by BGA instructors. Great ice-breaker for BGA kids and their families!

Friday

10:00-Noon Harmony Singing, Sectional Instruction & Ensemble Practice
Noon-1:30 pm Lunch with your family
1:30-2:00 pm Special Guest Performance with Q&A
2:00-3:30 pm Harmony Singing, Sectional Instruction & Ensemble Practice

Saturday

10:00-Noon Harmony Singing, Sectional Instruction & Ensemble Practice
Noon-1:30 pm Lunch with your family
1:30-2:00 pm Special Guest Performance with Q&A
2:00-3:30 pm Harmony Singing, Sectional Instruction & Ensemble Practice

Sunday – Gettin’ Ready for the Big Gig!

9:30-10:45 am Rehearse, Certificates, Class Photo, etc.
11:15 am Meet backstage at the High Meadow Day Stage and get tuned up.
11:45-12:30 pm The Big Gig on the High Meadow Stage

Sign Up for the Academy

Program Requirements

Before enrolling, please be sure your child:

  1. Can attend classes all four days, from Thursday night’s orientation thru Sunday’s High Meadow Stage performance.
  2. Will have an instrument for all sessions, including orientation.
  3. Has a basic knowledge of his/her instrument. For instance, fiddle students should be able to play an A scale and play a simple tune such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Guitar students should be able to play A, D and E chords and change comfortably between chords.

Recommendations

Before enrolling, please be sure your child:

  1. BGA is intended for kids age 8 and up. However, if your child has not quite turned 8 but has been taking lessons, plays with basic proficiency AND has an adequate attention span, we will consider accepting him or her if room allows.
  2. We recommend that students bring a tuner to class with them — either an electronic tuner, tuning fork, or pitch pipe.
  3. Guitar, dobro and banjo students should also bring a capo suitable for their instrument.

Registering Your Child

  1. Registration begins on April 1 each year.
  2. There is no charge to participate in the academy. However, tax deductible donations are very much appreciated. BGA is part of the 501(c)3 Grey Fox Education Fund.
  3. Kids 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed parent or guardian. Kids 13 and up need to purchase a ticket to attend the festival. Please visit our TICKET PAGE to purchase tickets. 
  4. To register your child for BGA, click the registration link at the top of this page, fill in all questions and click “submit” ONCE.
  5. Many of you will want to know what the BGA tunes will be this year. Links will be posted on Mark Panfil’s website by early June.

Thank you!

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Grey Fox Bluegrass Academy for Kids Registration Form

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