Harmonious unison is what Fort Hays State University's Music Department will teach younger students in a program that will begin in the fall 2004 academic semester.
The Western Kansas String Academy is being organized and directed by Matthew Means, assistant professor of music at FHSU. The academy will offer strings students informative music classes and private lessons and the opportunity to play in an orchestra and string quartet. It is designed for students from 5-18 years old and from every skill level.
Instruments taught will include violin, viola, cello and bass.
"We saw a need to reach out to communities where there?s no string instruction in the schools or where the program is too small for students to have an opportunity to play in an orchestra," said Dr. Tim Crowley, chair of FHSU?s Music Department.
The academy will meet on Saturday mornings in Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus. Instruction will be provided by Means, FHSU music majors and qualified community members.
"One of the most important musical experiences I had as a child was participating in the Greeley String Project in Colorado," Means said. "The challenge of the music, the enthusiasm of our instructors, joining students with like interests, all made playing an instrument a rewarding activity. We learned a lot and had fun."
Means eventually became an instructor and assistant director of the Greeley String Project before moving on to the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio for his graduate work.
The String Academy will offer three different youth orchestration levels -- beginner, intermediate and advanced -- with students being auditioned for placement. Each week will include an orchestra rehearsal followed by music classes and/or chamber ensembles, depending on the students' ability and knowledge.
Students will be educated in music theory, appreciation and history classes.
Individual private lessons will be required for all String Academy students and can be arranged through academy instructors or independently with local private teachers. In addition, students will be required to participate in their local schools' orchestra program, if available.
A tuition fee of $100-$150 will be charged each semester for enrollment. According to Means, it will enroll the student in all of the classes and will provide a private instructor. For those already with a private instructor, Means said that the cost would be an estimated $40-$70, depending upon the courses the student wishes to take.
"We see this as an excellent opportunity for parents who want to start their children early playing a stringed instrument. The whole curriculum with individual instruction, small group and large group performances, plus music education makes for a complete program that helps ensure a student's success," Means said. "We hope to have at least 40 students express interest in the academy to give it a great start."
Parents who are interested in receiving additional information should contact Means at (785) 628-5327 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an academy flyer and interest survey before April 25.