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Kentucky Center for Traditional Music

Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, where Bluegrass, old-time and country music history has its roots, The Kentucky Center for Traditional Music (KCTM) preserves, teaches, helps develop and celebrates our rich mountain heritage. KCTM offers an opportunity to study with musicians who have performed with legends like Johnny Cash and at the Grand Ole Opry and to learn from professionals about performance, history, recording, the music industry and more.

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Kentucky Center for Traditional Music

The Kentucky Center for Traditional Music (KCTM) preserves, teaches, helps develop and celebrates our rich mountain heritage.

KCTM provides a nationally accredited, quality education in traditional music styles, including Bluegrass, Old Time, Country, Ballad Singing, Blues, Celtic, Western Swing and more. KCTM is most involved in and influenced by music identified with the southern Appalachian mountain region.

KCTM offers the only Bachelor of Arts in Traditional Music in Kentucky, along with a minor.

The KCTM is unique because of its program and mentoring. Morehead State was the first university where a student could earn a bachelor's degree in traditional music.

Heritage and Tradition

The center is also home to the traditional music archives and the Sounds of Our Heritage outreach program.

In addition to studying performance skills, band leadership skills, music business, traditional music history, theory and recording arts in a classroom setting, students have real-world stage experience.

Those enrolled in traditional music band classes and the faculty have represented our cultural heritage at concerts, workshops, lectures/demonstrations, and presentations at theaters, festivals, conventions, school auditoriums and other venues, regionally, nationally and internationally. Students enrolled at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music have progressed from New York City to as far away as Jamaica, Ireland and China.

This outreach informs students and the general public about Bluegrass, Old Time, Country, Folk and the music of Appalachia, ensures its preservation and continued development, assures appreciation as a proper American art form, and gives students “hands-on” experience working in the professional arena.

The Kentucky Center for Traditional Music maintains the Traditional Music Archives, home to unique, extensive and easily searchable collections of audio recordings, videos, historical documents and photographs of traditional musicians. 

 This repository contains many unique recordings and findings that aren't available even at the US National Archives in Washington or the Academy of Country Music Foundation in Nashville. Materials include unreleased recordings from artists such as Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley (Lonesome Mountain Boys) and Mark O'Connor's extensive pre-Nashville collection of recordings, including his first performances with David Grisman and first rehearsals with Stephane Grappelli, collections from traditional music scholars like John Harrod and Bruce Greene (Kentucky Fiddlers Collection), old-time banjo historian George R. Gibson (Knott County Banjo Collection), and photographs from Molly O'Day and George Lee Hawkins' families.

The digital collection is accessible in the Archival Listening Room and opens to students and the general public for research and listening during regular operating hours or by appointment.  

Upcoming Humanities Events


Academic Programs

B.A. in Traditional Music
Minor in Traditional Music

Contact Information

Kentucky Center for Traditional Music

186 East First Street
Morehead, KY 40351

PHONE: 606-783-9001
FAX: 606-783-9108