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. Our regular program consists of 12 weekly group classes and 10 half-hour private lessons per semester. Classes meet weekly during the university's long semesters, on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:45 p.m. at the School of Music building on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. Private lessons are scheduled at a mutually agreeable time for the student's family and assigned String Project teacher.
Beginning students join our program at the beginning of the fall semester only, and we ask that families commit to the program for the entire school year as it takes time to learn an instrument. We welcome students from across Central Texas from any educational environment – public, private and homeschool students are all part of our program, and we have students from Kyle, Lockhart and Wimberly and other surrounding communities outside of San Marcos.
Our program includes two different learning environments, which are geared toward different age groups. 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 in grades 3-5 to learn together in heterogenous (mixed instrument) classes 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 aural skills and coordination. Several of our K-2 teachers have completed 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 class with all instrument types represented, like most school orchestra programs. As students progress and demonstrate the necessary skills, they then move up through our Maroon and Gold Orchestra programs.
Our Maroon Orchestra and Gold Orchestra are also open to students who did not begin in our program, based on the following requirements:
MAROON ORCHESTRA - Students must have at least 1 year of playing experience, must be able to play in the key of D Major, and must be able to read all of the open string notes on their instrument.
GOLD ORCHESTRA - Students must have at least 2 years of playing experience, and must be able to play in the keys of D Major and C Major (violins and violas need to be able to play a low 2nd finger) and read notes in the key of D Major on all 4 strings.
Auditions for non-String Project students wishing to join these orchestras will be held at the beginning of the school year, or may be individually scheduled by contacting our office.
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.
PRIVATE LESSON PROGRAM
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.
In addition to our regular program private lessons, we also offer private lessons to area students in grades 5 and up who are not part of our regular String Project program. Please note that to participate in this program, students must already be enrolled in their school orchestra program (if one exists.)
ABOUT OUR TEACHERS
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!