Play it Forward

The Bluegrass Music Association of Iowa is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, educating, and preserving the appreciation and enhancement of traditional bluegrass music in the state of Iowa.  We are a community of friends, professional and amateur musicians, and bluegrass music fans who seek to keep bluegrass music alive in Iowa.  Your support helps us organize, fund, and promote Iowa bluegrass festivals and shows throughout the year and spread awareness of and engagement with traditional bluegrass.   But we can’t do this without your support!  Won’t you join us? 

To find out more information on the Play it Forward program contact Stephanie Briggs at 641-203-2714 or by email

BMAI is a licensed affiliate of the Play It Forward! Instrument Lending Program founded by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.   Your monetary or musical instrument donation will help provide a young person (age 8-21) with the opportunity to learn music literacy and performance skills from a bluegrass mentor.


  1. Young people will be required to complete an application that includes providing valid identification and a parental permission form.
  2. The estimated value of the instrument will be stated in an agreement that encourages responsibility for the instrument by the borrower.
  3. Students will be asked to send a thank-you note to the instrument’s donor (if applicable) and to BMAI.
  4. Borrower must secure a bluegrass mentor in their area who will assist them in learning their instrument and the ettiquette of playing with others in a disciplined musicial environment.

Other Information

  1. BMAI will keep a maintenance fee for the instruments and coordinate with the borrowers to make sure the instruments are properly maintained cared for over time.
  2. Each Loan period is for one year with annual renewals encouraged following an inspection of the instrument by the borrower’s sponsor (or mentor) and/or BMAI.
  3. Once the borrower is ready to purchase an instrument by themselves, they must return the instrument loaned to them so that the opportunity can be “played forward” to another youth.

I just wanted to say that Andy and I are so impressed with the Bluegrass community. About 4 months ago, my son told me that he wanted to play the banjo. We had very little bluegrass exposure and I had no idea on where to begin finding him a quality banjo and an instructor. After searching online a while, I found the BMAI website and through contacting them I met Lori King. She has been a blessing to us by helping Josiah get a banjo through the Play It Forward program and then has diligently worked at helping us find an instructor that can teach Bluegrass banjo and guitar for my other son. We were able to find one through several people being willing to forward and email along until it came to the right person. One person even cared enough to call us and make sure the message got through. And also when we were at the music festival in Moravia, IA everyone was above and beyond sweet to us there. They made Josiah feel special. The Harper Family took a significant amount of time to impart into each of the boys. That made a huge impact upon each of them. They are still talking about it. We are just pleased to have the opportunity to be able to raise our kids around such a wholesome community. And we are grateful to each person who took time out for Josiah and Noah to visit with them or impart to them and make them feel special. May God bless you.


Play it Forward! Participant