ETSU Bluegrass announces new instructors

The East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies program, which is included in the school’s Appalachian Studies department, has announced a number of new faculty members in the program.

Seven teachers are joining as adjunct instructors, who Program Director Dan Boner says will offer a variety of skills and experiences to their students.

“These talented instructors support our new concentrations in Bluegrass Music Profession, Audio Production, Old-Time Music, and Scottish and Irish Traditional Music. This combination of successful alumni, industry professionals, and bluegrass business leaders will help ETSU students stay one step ahead in the ever-changing musical landscape we are experiencing.”

New faculty include:

  • Andrew Small is teaching acoustic bass and leading band classes. His performance background includes time with Mandolin Orange, Sierra Hull, and the North Carolina Symphony, as well as his current gig on bass with Bill and The Belles.
  • Paul Schiminger, former Executive Director of the IBMA, is offering a course on finance and legal issues in the bluegrass profession. Prior to leading IBMA he had a long career in financial services and non-profit management.
  • Troy Boone is teaching mandolin and audio production. The current mandolinist with Amanda Cook, he had also spent time touring with Sideline.
  • Angelica Branum teaches vocal lessons and offers band coaching. She has been singing bluegrass all her life, and has performed with many top artists, Rhonda Vincent, Marty Raybon, Frank Solivan, The Stringdusters, and Country Current among them.
  • Katherine Forbes offers courses on marketing, identity, and creative strategy in the bluegrass industry. She is the founder of Designing the Row in Nashville, and has worked with people across many creative disciplines.
  • Jacob Metz teaches lessons in banjo and reso-guitar, the instruments he plays in his current gig with Darin & Brooke Aldridge.
  • Aynsley Porchak will both offer fiddle lessons and serve as a lecturer in American Roots Music. An accomplished fiddler, she is the first to win the Grand Master Championship in both the US and her native Canada. She currently performs with the Tennessee Bluegrass Band.

ETSU Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies confers a bachelor’s degree in its discipline, as well as minors. Full details can be found online.

The department is also accepting applications now for an Artist in Residence for the next academic year. This is a full time position for one year, though it can be renewed. The successful candidate will have experience in some or all of these areas: a performance residency at a local venue; workshops or masterclasses within the program and community; band leadership and mentorship; private instruction; public lectures, performances, or collaborative presentations; written or musical publications; course development and instruction in the candidate’s area of expertise.

They are also expected to have:

  • Professional-level musical ability and experience.
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Up-to-date and experiential knowledge of the bluegrass and roots music industry.
  • Ability to promote the program to a wide range of audiences.
  • Ability to collaborate with students to create musical work.
  • Ability to help prepare students for careers as bluegrass or roots music professionals.
  • Commitment to fostering a collegial learning environment in which equity, inclusion, and innovation are encouraged.

The position offers a $65,000 salary, with benefits.

Prior Artists in Residence at ETSU have included Brittany Haas and Mike Compton.

Anyone interested in applying will find all relevant details on the ETSU jobs site. Specific questions or concerns can be addressed to Dr. Nate Olson 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.