ETSU adds minor in Old Time, Scottish, and Irish music

East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, perhaps the first major state school to offer a degree in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies, has announced a new concentration.

Starting with the Fall 2021 semester, students within the Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies program will have the option of choosing minors in either Old Time Music, or Scottish and Irish Music. New courses are being added that will focus on fieldwork, archives and music collections, musicianship and artistry, ballads, Gaelic language and culture, shape-note singing, audio production, traditional dance, and more. There will also be study abroad opportunities for students in the Scottish and Irish Music minor.

Associate Professor Roy Andrade, who will direct the old time minor, says that he is pleased to see traditional string music brought up to the same level as the other program options.

“The new courses will give students a chance to experience old-time music from many perspectives. This music can be very personal, and we hope to provide a place where students can find meaning in the music while developing their musicianship.”

A number of new old time classes have been added to the course catalog already:

BLUE – 2910 – Old-Time Music History I
BLUE – 2920 – Old-Time Music History II
BLUE – 2940 – Digital and Archival Resources for Traditional Musicians
BLUE – 2930 – Practical Musicianship Skills for Old-Time Musicians
BLUE – 3920 – Art of Interpretation for Old-Time Musicians
BLUE – 4910 – Tradition Bearer Field Experience

The Irish and Scottish Music side will be helmed by Jane MacMorran, a champion Scots fiddler, who says that adding Gaelic studies will give the students a clearer picture of where the music evolved.

“Students will have an opportunity to study Scottish and Irish music in a cultural context, developing a deeper understanding of the music they love.”

New course offerings for the Scottish and Irish Music minor include:

APST – 4310 – Scottish & Irish Traditional Music 
APST – 2320 – Gaelic Language & Culture 
APST/BLUE – 4327/5327 – Ballads of Appalachia & the British Isles
APST – 4567/5567 – Scottish & Irish Folklife 
APST – 2460 – Intro to Scottish & Irish Studies 

ETSU is currently offering courses in the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program both in-person and online.

If you have an interest in choosing one of these minors at ETSU, you may contact Andrade or MacMorran by email.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.