Youth and Peer Relationships in Vernacular Music and Dance Communities


  • Erica Braverman


A popular joke among Appalachian folk musicians is to welcome newcomers to the tradition by assuring them that their new musical interest will make them “tens of dollars!” This witticism appears to draw its humor from a purely financial perspective, but at a deeper level the joke dismisses an overweening focus on a small financial outcome at the expense of a much larger social reward. Indeed, many participants in various forms of vernacular music and dance stay involved with their chosen art form not for financial purposes, but because they enjoy the community of artists and have developed friendships among peers within this setting. But do young musicians and dancers easily find this sense of community in the world of vernacular performing arts?

Author Biography

Erica Braverman

Erica Braverman grew up just outside of Detroit, MI and moved to Austin, TX four years ago. She received her BA in Spanish from the University of Michigan and her MAT in Spanish and English as a Second Language education from Wayne State University. She also studied traditional music and dance in Ireland through the Department of Vernacular Music and Dance at Texas Tech University. Erica is currently a pre-kindergarten teacher at the International School of Texas in Lakeway, TX. She also teaches Appalachian clogging and flatfooting, sean nós dancing and beginning anglo concertina at Fiddler’s Green Music Shop in Austin.