Since 2010, the Texas State String Project program has offered low-cost string instruction to San Marcos-area students in grades K-5 who wish to learn to play one of the orchestral string instruments: violin, viola, cello or bass. Classes meet weekly during the school year - Wednesdays from 5:30-6:45 p.m. at the School of Music building on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. The program consists of 12 weekly group classes and 10 weekly private lessons per semester.
Beginning students join our program in the fall semester only, and we ask that families commit for the entire school year if at all possible, so that students can begin to see real progress on their instrument. We welcome students from across Central Texas from any educational environment – public, private and homeschool students are all part of our program.
Our program includes two different learning environments, geared toward different ages. Our Suzuki program offers beginning instruction for students in grades K-2, in homogeneous (single instrument) classes modeled after the highly regarded Suzuki method of string learning. Our orchestra program provides opportunities for beginning students to learn together in a heterogenous (mixed instruments) class using a traditional school orchestra approach.
Beginning students in grades K-2 may choose violin, viola or cello, and learn in small, instrument-specific classes. These classes focus on learning to play the instrument through listening and repetition, developing the student's ear and coordination. Several of our teachers have participated in registered teacher training programs offered by the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
On successful completion of Beginning Suzuki class, students then advance to our Suzuki Ensembles and continue to develop their performance skills and begin learning to read music.
Students in grades 3-5 may choose any of the instruments (violin, viola, cello or bass) and participate in our Beginner Orchestra - a larger class with all instrument types represented, as in most school orchestra programs. As students progress and demonstrate the necessary skills, they then move up through our Maroon Orchestra and Gold Orchestra programs.
In Wednesday group classes, all students learn the basic performance techniques for their instrument as well as general music skills like rhythm training, listening/pitch-matching skills and learning to read music. Students also learn repertoire to be performed with their classes at our winter and spring concerts, where every student performs in a larger group setting.
Private lessons are a 30-minute, one-on-one instruction time in which students work directly with an assigned String Project teacher to refine their technique, practice skills and learn new repertoire.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE regarding school orchestra program participation – as a member of the National String Project Consortium, we pledge to support local string programs. If your district offers a string program at your child's school and grade level, you must participate in that program in order to be part of the Texas State String Project. This includes San Marcos CISD fifth-grade beginning string students. However, students are of course welcome and strongly encouraged to participate in String Project in addition to their school orchestra program.
Texas State String Project classes are taught by Texas State string education students, under the direct supervision of Texas State string faculty members. For this reason, we are able to offer excellent string instruction at a very low cost to the community. We hope you will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to come learn with us!