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Bluegrass Heavyweight Gary Brewer Talks About Teaching Kids to Play Music

Bluegrass musician Gary Brewer sits with a guitar on his lap.
(Credit: Brewgrass Entertainment)

Gary Brewer, spawn of spawn of spawn of seminal Kentucky bluegrassers, talks to SPIN IMPACT about spreading the seeds of the famed Appalachian sound far beyond the renowned Brewer clan. To this end, he and his crew, Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers, donate time and cash to the cause of filling schools, colleges, and even senior centers with lessons, instruments, and inspiration.

Getting kids to play in fifth or sixth grade is hitting a sweet spot, Brewer tells us. “At that age they’re understanding timing,” he says. And rather than see the dominance of gaming culture as an enemy, Brewer says games are priming kids to feel the beat. “There’s music on those videos, you know, and they’re learning that – they’re beating their foot to that.”

Brewer also talks of his work with people experiencing disabilities. “We’re liable to go into a facility where some of the children are mentally or physically challenged, but they can still make music,” says Brewer, who would love to see increased resources going to the disability sector. “There needs to be more fuel, if you will, to help those children, because some of the most talented people in the world don’t even have hands.”

Harnessing the music industry’s most powerful voices, SPIN IMPACT is committed to planting the pedal to the metal on what needs doing for society to heal and grow in the most vital and pressing ways, ranging from criminal justice reforms to a true blossoming of free speech. And plenty in between – including, as Brewer discusses here with SPIN, achieving a marvelous education system.

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