For the first time since its inception four years ago, Fort Hays State University's Western Kansas String Academy is offering beginning level group instrument classes on weekday afternoons. The organization, an outreach program of the FHSU Music Department, teaches violin, viola, cello, bass and acoustic guitar to students in early elementary school and up.
"We saw the need to move beyond a Saturday-morning-only program for several reasons," said WKSA Executive Director Cathy Drabkin. "We were running out of room in Malloy Hall, with over 20 different ensembles and classes trying to meet between 9 a.m. and noon."
Classes start the week of Monday, Sept. 22, and run through the end of the academic year. An information and registration morning is scheduled from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, September 6 in Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus for any students or parents who want to find more about the WKSA program. Attendees will get to meet WKSA teachers, learn about the program, get measured for proper instrument size, listen to a student ensemble, ask questions and register.
The hope is that by offering classes on weekdays, various conflicts with Saturday morning sports and family activities will be reduced.
"We also wanted to try out a new format, so that a beginning Level I student would receive two hours of instruction each week on their instrument," said Drabkin. Concepts and techniques will be introduced on Mondays then practiced and expanded on Thursdays. Students will receive a skills checklist they will use to chart progress, guide at-home practice and determine when they are ready to move to the next level.
The hour-long group classes will consist of approximately 45 minutes of instrumental instruction and 15 minutes of music theory. They are taught by FHSU music students under the guidance of Ben Morris-Cline, chair of the Department of Music at FHSU. Classes will be taught on Mondays and Thursdays (4:35-5:30 p.m. for guitar; 4:45-5:45 p.m. for violin, viola or cello).
Level I students also have the option of participating in a music appreciation elective on Saturday mornings.
In addition to the entry-level group classes, WKSA will continue to run a comprehensive Saturday morning music education program including string and guitar ensembles, private lessons, music appreciation classes, community performances, tours and socials.
For more information or to receive an enrollment packet, contact Drabkin at (785) 628-5363 or 623-4187 or e-mail her at email@example.com. Limited financial assistance for qualified families is available.