American Roots Music Program

Darol Anger and student in Berklee American Roots Music Program

The American Roots Music program is open to undergraduate Berklee students at the college’s Boston campus. American Roots Music program courses can be taken in fulfillment of the American roots music minor at Berklee. The program explores the lifeblood of America’s musical and cultural heritage found in a wide range of American roots styles, including:

  • blues
  • gospel
  • folk
  • early country music
  • bluegrass
  • old-time
  • cajun
  • western swing
  • polka;
  • and Tex-Mex; among others.

Watch an excerpt of an American Roots Music Program concert:

The expressive urgency and depth of these styles is supported by strong fundamental musical skills and values, and it is in recognition of the richness of these idioms, and of the ways that they fuse with contemporary elements, that Berklee has created the American Roots Music Program.

Studying in the American Roots Music Program, you will examine the core of what it means to be a musician in these genres while immersing yourself in a curriculum that draws on the knowledge of a board of advisors featuring incomparable talents such as Bela Fleck, David Grisman, Keb Mo, Ricky Skaggs, Darol Anger, Liz Carroll, and Leo Kottke, among others.

Among its many projects, the American Roots Music Program produces concerts, hosts visiting artists, designs and implements curriculum, creates and hosts faculty development sessions, and designs and implements symposiums and seminars. The program explores roots music in a broad fashion, contemplating the influences on our western musical traditions, from Bach to traditional African music.

The artistic director for the American Roots Music Program is Matt Glaser, who served as chair of Berklee’s String Department for 28 years.

Board of Advisors

These top contemporary performers, writers, and producers are advising the American Roots Music Program, with more advisors to join the board in the future:

  • Darol Anger
  • Ray Benson
  • Fletcher Bright
  • Liz Carroll
  • Michael Doucet
  • Stuart Duncan
  • Bela Fleck
  • Ted Gioia
  • David Grisman
  • Charlie Haden
  • Leo Kottke
  • John Lawless
  • Lloyd Maines
  • Edgar Meyer
  • Keb Mo
  • Bruce Molsky
  • Geoff Muldaur
  • Don Rigsby
  • Ricky Skaggs
  • Andy Statman
  • Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
  • Doug Wamble
  • Sara and Sean Watkins