The Texas Tech String Project hosted an informational session on Tuesday in the Band Hall located in the School of Music that allowed fourth grade students from surrounding elementary schools to come and test out five orchestral instruments and register for lessons. The instruments available included the violin, viola, cello, double bass and harp.
The Texas Tech String Project was founded in January 2001 and is part of the National String Project Consortium (NSPC), which is a coalition of the University String Projects across the United States.
The String Project’s purpose at Tech is to provide elementary students with the opportunity to try out and learn how to play a string instrument of their choice at a reduced price.
This program also provides both undergraduate and graduate music students the opportunity to teach beginners in order to gain experience in music education. Master’s teachers also supervise the entire curriculum.
The children who participate in the String Project attend two group instructional classes a week, along with one to three private lessons per semester, depending on the plan they choose.
Blair Williams, director of the String Project and an assistant professor of string music education at Tech, said right now they are recruiting beginner youth.
“Our public schools start their orchestra programs in sixth grade, so we want to give them a little bit of a head start,” she said. “We’re really close to about 2000 students that we’ve gotten to interact with and show them the string instruments. They get to touch the instruments, which is new, and hear them individually.”
Williams also said that music students from all different backgrounds can apply to be a teacher in the String Project.
“They can be education, they can be performance they can be composition, they can be theory,” she said. “If they have an interest in teaching strings, they can apply.”
Caroline Glasscock, a junior music education major, is one of the teachers in the program. She said her life goal is to be a music teacher, so being a part of this program is the first step.
“This is really close to what I actually want to do with my life,” she said.
Parents come to this event every year with their children to help them find the instrument that fits them best. Angela Yannis is a parent whose kids are participating in the String Project, she said.
“You’re usually told having an instrument helps with academics, so it's something I’ve been wanting to do but there was just never anything available,” she said.
At the end of the lessons, the children perform at a recital in front of their friends and family to conclude the program and show what they have learned.
Adult classes are also available to anyone who wants to learn how to play a string instrument, including Tech students. Registration for the adult program opens in the Spring and the lessons start the following January.
Registration is still available to anyone who did not attend the informational session on the project's website. The deadline for registration is Sept. 14.