ETSU Bluegrass offers summer session online

The Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies program at East Tennessee State University has announced an online summer series of courses beginning over this next few months. These are available for both students already enrolled in the program who are completing their degrees, and for those outside the program who are simply interested in a private study of the music.

Department head Dan Boner is especially proud to welcome back to ETSU a former student and faculty member, Tim Stafford. Known these days as the guitarist and a primary songwriter for Blue Highway, Tim also continues a career in academia, most recently teaching Masters level classes for Appalachian State University.

He will be offering a new class, Introduction To Bluegrass (BLUE 3110), an overview of the history of the music based on a study of the principal figures, their lives, times, and music. Degree students receive 3 credits for this class, which will run between June 8 and July 10.

Boner says that Tim is one of the ETSU success stories.

“Tim Stafford’s involvement goes back to the inception of Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies in the early-1980s. He was in the Program’s earliest bluegrass bands when Jack Tottle started it all. Students in this course will be lucky to study with such a proficient writer, historian, and exceptional musician.” 

Other courses available this summer include:

  • American Roots Music (BLUE 2150) – taught by Jane MacMorran
  • Introduction to Sound Equipment and the Recording Studio (BLUE 1810) – taught by Ben Bateson
  • Appalachia and War (APST 3520) – taught by Ted Olson
  • Appalachian Folklore and Folklife (APST 4957 – Special Topics) — taught by Ted Olson

ETSU has offered summer session classes in the past, but never this many at once, will all sessions online. They provide an outstanding resource for older folks, who can register for any of these for only $100 if over 65. Full details can be found online.

Also new this summer at ETSU is their Life In Music Summer Guest Artist Series. These interview sessions feature prominent bluegrass and roots artists in discussion about their lives and careers. All the Life In Music sessions are conducted via Zoom, and are offered free of charge to the public.

The Guest Artist Series started last month, and bluegrass fans will not want to miss Tuesday night’s (June 2) class which will feature Doyle Lawson. Those details are also on the ETSU web site.

Interested students can apply for admission to the summer sessions using this web site. The classes are available to both degree and non-degree students. Scholarship assistance is available.

Like most US colleges, ETSU is hopeful of returning to campus for the fall semester, but they are ready should that not be possible,

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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.