Music Student

School of American Music guitar student Ace Folsom is pictured during an online lesson.

THREE OAKS — The School of American Music (SAM) in Three Oaks has received a $10,000 grant from the Pokagon Fund. The grant will enable the school to extend its need-based scholarship program this summer up to 100 percent of the cost of lessons.

“With families feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are going into an economically difficult time,” says SAM President Garth Taylor. “Music is important, especially now when we need an escape from the bad news as we wait for the pandemic to end. This grant helps us to help our community in this time of need.”

To meet safety concerns, SAM offers music lessons in several formats: online, via Zoom and other software; socially distanced face-to-face lessons starting the week of June 7 at the Three Oaks Arts & Education Center (14 East Maple Street), and, when the governor allows, socially distanced face-to-face lessons in its studios at the Three Oaks Public Library. The School of American Music is offering online courses in Piano, Violin, Voice, Guitar, Ukulele and Mountain Dulcimer for new and existing students.

Guitar student Ace Folsom comments, “I have been taking online lessons for two months, and I’m very glad for it. The lessons are an important part of my day and they keep me focused on learning music and guitar without interruption.”

Taylor says the school’s staff and directors have been working to provide remote teaching capabilities and trying out various platforms.

“These are unusual times that require unusual approaches,” he says. “The need for music education hasn’t stopped because of the coronavirus, and it’s our job to find a safe, effective way to deliver lessons.”

Executive Director Donna Mitchell adds, “Our primary platform for online lessons is Zoom, but individual instructors have been experimenting with Google Meet and other platforms.”

She adds that many of the details of online lessons are being left to individual instructors and students, including which meeting platform is used and lesson days and times.

SAM is seeking additional support to extend its up-to-100 percent scholarship program for the year. “We want everyone to take advantage of this program,” says Taylor, “all ages, new and returning students, home school students.”

For information about online lessons, call SAM at 269-409-1191 or email To find out more about SAM and its lesson offerings, and to register online, go to the school’s website,

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