[Harp-L] WAS: MHW Events/HCH 2018 Reflections/NOW: How to Encourage Kids

Bob Loomis miltloomis@xxxxx
Wed Jun 6 11:23:30 EDT 2018

 Mick Zaklan's allusion to what has happened in bluegrass is interesting and may hold some keys to attracting youngsters. In my home state, the California Bluegrass Association has run music education programs for kids for decades, including providing free instruments and instruction. A number of today's hot young BG players have developed starting with these programs.
IMHO there are some interesting differences in how bluegrass is perceived and how the blues might be perceived among parents. I hesitate to raise the issue, and you seldom sees discussion of it, but the obvious fact is that bluegrass arose in a primarily white culture (though African American players influenced some its earliest stars) and it is apparent in attending bluegrass festivals that there has been little crossover to non-white players and audiences,  though based on my own observations quite a few Asian Americans are now BG players. I would wager there's way more crossover to white audiences for the blues.
Also, many bluegrass festivals are specifically family-oriented with activities for kids, often in outdoor, camping settings rather than in urban hotels. Blues festivals are often in more urban settings and -- at least AFAIK -- not usually camp-outs. I wonder if since the blues is the primary music genre promoted at most harp fests and among harp players, simply the background and association of the blues with urban, often barroom and roadhouse settings might sway some parents away from encouraging children in this direction. Just a thought. Certainly SPAH has been diligent in providing a broad spectrum of genres.
There is an association for the promotion of blues harmonica among youngsters that is active here in the Northern California Bay Area (based, IIRC in Santa Rosa?) but I am not sure how successful it has been. Perhaps someone on the list with more knowledge can comment.  All this just off the top of my head while having early-morning coffee. I know Dixieland and trad jazz players and fans also have had a rough time passing on their legacies. Perhaps others can comment on those efforts, if pertinent.
Happy Webtrails,Bob LoomisConcord CA USA
Mick Zaklan wrote:

 " ... Difficult passing the torch of an older activity or hobby to youngpeople; but I notice that other groups have been successful.  I've seen
plenty of Bluegrass groups comprised of youngsters ... (snip) "

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