String Academy expands music program

Fort Hays State University's Western Kansas String Academy is offering several new programs and classes for string and guitar players for the fall season. WKSA begins its auditions and first rehearsals on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The academy will hold "Exploratory Hour" from 9 to10 a.m. each Saturday. "Exploratory Hour" is a series of half-hour classes and ensembles where students try their hands at a variety of musical expressions.

"We felt the need to expand our traditional program of classical-based music ensembles and music theory classes," said Cathy Drabkin, director of the academy. "This setup allows students to participate in a wider variety of musical activities. It is a much more holistic approach to learning about music."

"Exploratory Hour" classes are Jazz I and II, Basic Music Skills, Computer Composing, Movies and Music Dramatic Sound Stories, Chamber Ensembles and Famous Composers.

The fiddling classes cover the world of fiddling from beginners to advance. Jazz I and II focuses on solos, harmonies and jazz rhythms from beginners to advanced.
The Basic Music Skills class is designed for beginners in reading music with the primary focus on reading notes and rhythms. Computer Composing allows students to arrange and write their own music with the goal of performing their works. Movies and Music will explore the use of music in cinemas.

Dramatic Sound Stories will look at creating images and moods through music. Chamber Ensembles mixes intermediate and advanced orchestras into duets, trios and quartets to play chamber music. Famous Composers explores the lives, historical periods, important works, musical periods and characteristic styles of famous composers.

In addition to "Exploratory Hour," the academy's Saturday morning program offers four levels of string orchestra, two levels of group guitar, chamber ensembles, private lessons and various community performances.

Since its inception two years ago, more than 100 string and guitar students from 21 different communities have participated in WKSA's programs.

For more information, contact Drabkin at (785)623-4187 or

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Office of University Relations   |  600 Park Street   |  Hays, KS  67601-4099
(785) 628-4206   |   Fax (785) 628-4152
Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |