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Program Description|UW String Project

Mission of the UW String Project

• To attract high caliber string players into the teaching profession, helping to address a national shortage of public school string teachers
• To provide training and experience for future string teachers, raising the level of beginning teachers and improving their success in the profession
• To provide high quality instruction to young students from beginning levels
• To provide young students with an experience in the arts which will enhance their education and personal development
• To develop and explore new, effective teaching methods, materials and models for string teachers using String Project classes as a laboratory
• To support and enhance public school string programs already in existence

Our Methods and Approach

Our program structure emulates a typical public school music program. Children begin in groups and later participate in ensembles while taking weekly private lessons. Our teaching methods are meticulously developed and based on the best methods and research available, synthesized with the insights and creativity of our own teachers. Every piece of music, exercise and activity that we use is chosen for its pedagogical content. The pedagogues whose methods we employ include Shinichi Suzuki, Paul Rolland, Zoltan Kodàly, Ivan Galamian, Mimi Zweig as well as a rich history of string teaching.

Beginning Classeslessons

These classes are for beginning violin, viola and cellos students. Children in these classes are in either 3rd or 4th grade and attend two 50-minute classes each week. Classes meet after school on Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesday classes are smaller and cellists have their own class. Friday classes are larger, heterogeneous classes.

Material used in beginning classes include folk songs, fiddle tunes, exercises and music games. An emphasis is place on developing important musical skills in pitch and rhythm, foundational technical skills on the instruments and basic music reading skills.

Second Year Classes

These classes are for violin, viola and cello students who have completed one year of study in the UW String Project. Students continue in two fifty-minute classes each week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Material used in second year classes include folk music and fiddle tunes as well as classical music appropriate for the age and level of the students. We reinforce musical, technical and reading skills developed in the beginning year and teach students many new skills as well. These skills include more sophisticated bowing skills and left hands techniques, two-part music, shifting and vibrato. Reading skills are particularly emphasized. In addition to the String Project Book used in the first year, children work out of a standard string method book.

Private Lessons:
The 3rd Year and Beyond

In their third year of study UW String Project Students begin weekly, 30-minute private lessons. These are combined with participation in one of our ensembles, described below. Students are assigned to a private lesson teacher. Lessons are scheduled on Tuesdays and Fridays according to the student's availability.

Material used is chosen in a more flexible manner, to address the needs and learning rate of each student. Repertoire is chosen from a wide range of sources and styles. Material will also include scales and technical studies.

Beginning in their third year, a UW String Project student may choose to begin learning to play the double bass.

UW String Project Ensemble

In addition to private lessons, all UW String Project students participate in an appropriate ensemble. Students begin playing in the UW String Project Ensemble in their third year of study. The UW String Project Ensemble meets for on hour on Monday evenings. This group plays beginning string orchestra music in addition to scales and appropriate exercises. An emphasis is placed on ensemble and reading skills.

High Plains Sinfonia

This ensemble is a string orchestra for students in 6th through 9th grades. Membership is open to any string player regardless of previous UW String Project enrollment. The High Plains Sinfonia rehearses on Monday evenings. All members must pass an audition for acceptance into the High Plains Sinfonia. See the link at the top of this page for audition requirements.

This orchestra plays intermediate-level string orchestra repertoire plus appropriate technical material and exercises. UW String Project students continue private lessons while participating the High Plains Sinfonia.

Advanced Chamber Music Ensembles

Beginning in 10th grade, UW String Project students have the opportunity to play chamber music along with their private lessons. Students are matched with other players to make a small ensemble, and then assigned a UW String Project teacher as a coach. Chamber music ensembles rehearse on Monday evenings.

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