String academy adds piano program to list of offerings for fall 2009

Piano instruction will be included for the first time in the Western Kansas String Academy's offerings at Fort Hays State University in the fall 2009 schedule.

The pilot Youth Piano Program, for children ages 6 to 9, is a combination of weekly half-hour lessons and a group class that follows the Russian School of piano instruction, a comprehensive approach based on mastering the instrument in an artistically qualified way and developing the personality of each student through creative listening. Students will develop various technical and artistic skills and build their repertoire based on technical studies and the original music of great composers.

Dr. Irena Ravitskaya, assistant professor of piano at FHSU, will teach both group classes and private lessons for the Youth Piano Program. Ravitskya, who began playing the piano at age 6 through the Russian method, enjoys a dynamic performing and teaching career that has taken her across Europe and the United States. 

In addition to the piano program, WKSA is sponsoring lessons and classes for students in violin, viola, cello and guitar. Pre-school music exploration classes for children of ages 3 to 5 will also be offered this fall. The first day of classes is Saturday, Sept. 19.

An information and instrument match-making session for students and parents will be from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, in FHSU’s Malloy Hall. Attendees will learn about WKSA’s programs, meet WKSA teachers, try out instruments, get measured for proper instrument size, ask questions and register. All interested families are encouraged to attend.

For additional information or to get an enrollment packet from WKSA, contact Director Cathy Drabkin at (785) 628-5363 or 623-4187 or Limited financial assistance for qualified families is available. Costs range between $50 and $330 per semester, depending on program and level of involvement.

Fall programs:

Pre-School Music Exploration 

For 3, 4 and 5 year olds. Two different Saturday morning classes full of music, movement and games for developing musical interest, introducing basic concepts and having fun! Certified teacher Karen Rigler leads the eight-week classes.  

Beginning Strings Program -- violin, viola, cello

For children kindergarten or older. Weekly private lessons, bi-weekly group classes and music appreciation electives are combined to introduce young string players to instrumental music in a structured and supportive atmosphere. Instructors include a mix of Suzuki-trained, certified teachers, FHSU music students and community musicians. 

String Orchestra Program

For students who have mastered the basics of their instrument and want fun and challenging ensemble experience. Three levels of string ensembles meet weekly, plus private lessons and special electives (fiddling group, Renaissance troupe, drumming, chamber music and more). Ensembles led by a mix of certified teachers, FHSU music students, FHSU faculty and community musicians. 

Youth Piano Program

New pilot program this year! Open to 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-year-old students who are beginners to the instrument. Weekly private lessons and a group class available, taught by Dr. Irena Ravitskaya. 

Beginning Guitar Program

For second-grade and older students. A combination of weekly private lessons and group guitar classes/ensembles (three levels) plus weekly elective classes. Lessons and classes taught by FHSU music students.

Private Lessons Program

Private lessons only are available for guitar students (second grade through adult) and violin, viola, cello students (ninth grade through adult).

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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   |