The Fort Hays State University's Western Kansas String Academy will offer free group classes, one each on violin, cello and guitar for children 5 years old and older at its annual String Fair and Open House on Nov. 11 in Malloy Hall.
Child-size instruments will be provided for each lesson. The lessons will run from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Each class will be limited to 10 students and each student will be matched with a "string buddy" who is a current WKSA student providing one-on-one help to each child during the class.
"We saw the need to help parents and students explore the idea of learning to play an instrument before committing time and money," said Cathy Drabkin, WKSA director. "Starting to play is a big decision."
The classes will teach the basics of each instrument and will give children and their parents a taste of what it's like to learn to learn to play before paying for instruments or lessons, said Drabkin.
There is no fee for the class, but students must register by Nov. 8 to ensure instruments of the proper sizes are on hand. KC Strings, Midwest Music and Roosevelt Elementary School are providing the instruments.
In addition to the classes, a variety of musical activities and performances will take place during the String Fair. Children of all ages are invited to participate in an Instrument Petting Zoo, which will include a violin, viola, cello, bass and guitar; a pre-school song circle; a "guess that instrument" listening game; and a musical tour of orchestra and guitar rehearsals. Computer composing and Suzuki violin techniques will also be demonstrated.
WKSA orchestra and guitar students will provide musical illustrations to "Abiyoyo," read by Dr. Doug Drabkin, associate professor of philosophy, at 11 a.m. "Abiyoyo," by folk musician Pete Seeger, tells how music saved a village.
"We want to share how much fun music can be," said Cathy Drabkin. "Families are welcome to come and go during the morning."
Registration begins at 10:15 a.m. in Malloy Hall, room 115. The String Fair runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For more information or to register for a class, contact Cathy Drabkin at (785) 623-4187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.