If your child loves music, is always singing around the house and begs you to buy an instrument, then maybe it's time to find out more.
Parents and K-3 students interested in learning to play violin, viola or cello are invited to a pre-orchestra information night hosted by Fort Hays State University's Western Kansas String Academy at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, in Malloy Hall, room 115, on the FHSU campus.
WKSA staff will explain the pre-orchestra philosophy and program, provide information on securing instruments and answer parents' questions. Students will be able to try out different instruments and be measured for proper size. In addition, current WKSA students and parents will talk about their experiences starting young children on musical instruments.
This year's pre-orchestra class will be led by Cody Custer, Hays sophomore. Custer, who assisted with the pre-orchestra class last year, is a music education major and violist. He participated in 10 days of training at the Ottawa Suzuki Institute this summer in preparation for his role in the pre-orchestra class. Custer will be assisted by Cathy Drabkin, WKSA's executive director and an amateur cellist.
The Suzuki method is a string teaching method that focuses on teaching very young children to play instruments using a variety of approaches, including parent involvement, daily listening to music, learning by ear and group participation. Skills develop by small incremental steps.
"I'm very excited to be stepping through this door with children," said Custer. "I'm looking forward to not only helping kids become musicians but, more importantly, to become well-rounded, self-confident individuals."
The String Academy is a Saturday morning community music institute sponsored by the FHSU Music Department that works with young string players, from beginner to advanced, to teach, challenge, improve, motivate and inspire them on their chosen instruments. In addition to pre-orchestra classes, the academy sponsors two different string orchestras, one full orchestra, two levels of group guitar class, private lessons, music appreciation classes, a pre-school music class, community performances, solo opportunities, tours and socials. WKSA instructors are a combination of FHSU music faculty, FHSU music majors and community musicians under the guidance of FHSU music faculty.
The registration deadline for the 12-week fall session is Tuesday, Sept. 4. The first meeting for fall will be Saturday, Sept. 15. Students or parents who want more information can contact Drabkin at (785) 623-4187 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an information and an enrollment packet. Limited financial assistance for qualified families is available.