Junior Appalachian Musicians

Each Tuesday afternoon, from 4-6pm, the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center comes alive as sounds of the next generation of old-time and bluegrass musicians fills the campus. School age students (3rd grade and up) gather together in small groups to participate in weekly lessons and Jam sessions featuring instruction in banjo, guitar, mandolin, and the upright bass.

In addition to weekly instrument lessons, the Yadkinville Junior Appalachian Musician program features enrichment sessions in which students learn Appalachian history and music, music theory, and other skills applicable to their lessons. Semester showcases, where students get the opportunity to perform on the Willingham Theater stage, are held at the end of each semester. 


New students can call 336.679.2941 or email info@yadkinarts.org for more information

This Project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org.

Meet Our Instructors

Tim Harrison (Bass Instructor): 

From Yadkinville, NC, Tim got his musical start with the piano and brass instruments at an early age. He was a member of the Forbush High School Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band where he played different instruments in each (Sousaphone, Trumpet, French Horn & Trombone). He was also the winner of the John Phillips Sousa award his senior year of high school. As a member of the Pride of the ACC Marching Tarheels, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With his dad’s influence, he began playing the upright bass at the age of 18, never turned back and has played with various Bluegrass, Country and Rock groups over the past 30+ years. He is a founding member of the Triad’s popular Bluegrass/Americana group None of the Above which formed in 1994 where he has also been the sound engineer for the band. He has had the privilege to appear on over 15 recording projects with various groups over the years. One project, an all-male acapella shape-note recording, was selected to be stored at the Smithsonian Archives in Washington, DC. Since the Willingham Theater opened in 2012, Tim has served as the resident sound engineer and was recently awarded the title of technical director as well as production manager.

Jon Cornatzer (Banjo Instructor)

From Clemmons, NC, Jon is a seasoned professional and multi-instrumentalist who has spent years on the road as a performer. Jon, a self taught musician,  is also an experienced instructor who offers private lessons. Jon has served as a guest instructor and guest artist for the Yadkinville JAM program and will start serving as the banjo instructor in Fall 2023. As a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture Jon is not only musically talented but is also well versed overall artistically. He currently is the lead banjo player in the band, None of the Above and easily shares duties on lead and harmony vocals, while providing a succinct, dynamic sound and creative leap instrumentally. The ability to migrate between traditional and progressive bluegrass styles, highlights Jon’s expertise and musicianship, while adding a signature element to the established sound of None Of The Above.

Blaine Wagoner (Mandolin Instructor):

Blaine Wagoner is a native North Carolinian whose roots lie deeply in Yadkin County. He has been playing the Mandolin and dabbling with the fiddle for over twenty years and played with a touring gospel group for twelve. With nine years of experience teaching by tabs and ear both in and out of the public school/collegiate system with children and adults under his belt, Blaine is a perfect fit for our program. He is passionate about the education and cultivation of traditional music among younger generations and is excited to be able to share it with the youth of Yadkin County. On a daily basis, you can expect to find Blaine playing and singing for fundraisers, churches, senior groups, and community events all over Yadkin County. He has a great understanding and loves working with people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. 

Ethan Wagoner (Guitar Instructor): 

At 17 years old, young protégé guitarist Ethan Wagoner is going into his fourth year of being a JAM Instructor. Ethan is a Yadkin County Forbush High School student and has been playing the guitar since he was a child. Ethan has reached a high level of excellence and has won multiple competitions at various festivals and conventions. Ethan is the son of our Mandolin instructor, Blaine Wagoner and has been playing at church and in his dad’s band for years now. He has a passion for learning, as well as teaching, and is looking forward to sharing his talents and knowledge with all of the students he comes across.

Resources for Students