FIU’s School of Music has just been awarded a $20,000 grant in order to provide crucial start-up funds to develop teacher-training and much needed instruction for Miami-Dade’s under-served youth through the String Project.
Founded in 1998 at a handful of universities, the National String Project Consortium (NSPC) was created to address the nationwide shortage of string teachers in public schools and to increase the number of children who play a stringed instrument such as the violin, viola, cello and bass. Currently, over 25 universities and colleges nationwide participate, with FIU becoming the first string project site based in the state of Florida. The FIU String Project is supported through a grant from the American String Teachers Association, or ASTA, and the National String Project Consortium. ASTA is a not-for-profit membership organization founded over 60 years ago whose mission is dedicated to advancing and refining the careers for string and orchestra teachers.
The String Project will provide beginning string students with weekly, low-cost instruction for children in 3rd through 6th grades. Each student will be involved in a small, ability-grouped ensemble which will focus on working together as a group, and then given additional performance opportunities throughout the year. The purpose of the program is to support existing public school string programs and to provide string education to those enrolled in schools where no program is available. The String Project would also serve as a feeder program to funnel students into existing programs, such as the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Orchestra, in order to sustain their own orchestras. This project speaks directly to one of the School of Music’s most important goals, that of engaging and serving the local community.
According to the School of Music Director Dr. Orlando Jacinto Garcia, “Establishing a String Project will also provide the impetus to develop a more comprehensive music education program and string department for prospective string students. It will also give FIU string music education majors professional job experience.” Under the guidance of Master Teacher Tinder Burris, currently the Orchestra Director at Southwood Middle School, undergraduate students act in a supervisory teaching role with allows FIU to offer music lessons at substantially reduced fees. Director of the String Project, violinist Marcia Littley, will oversee the program and work in tandem with other string and music education faculty in order to further develop students’ pedagogical skills that would be put to use in the String Project. The practical teaching experience gained in this program will have a powerful effect on their preparation to become music teachers.
An information session about the FIU String Project will take place on October 26th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m, with classes beginning on November 2, 2013. The cost of the program includes a $35 fee per 14 week term, in addition to the instrument rental. Each class will have a maximum of 15 students who will meet weekly on Thursdays and Saturdays.
To learn more about the programs at FIU School of Music, click here.