The Weber State University String Project & Ogden Youth Symphony is an organization that focuses on providing inexpensive music lessons to children in grades 3–12 who currently play, or would like to learn how to play, a string instrument.

The 2017–2018 season offers string ensembles, private lessons and a three-week summer strings with optional fiddling, guitar and theory classes.

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Lessons will be taught on campus by WSU students who are pursuing music majors and wish to enhance their educational experience by instructing youth.

“The student-teachers gain valuable teaching experience and high quality, affordable music education is made available to the community,” Gabrielle Cox, master teacher for the String Project, said.

As a bonus, parents will receive free music lessons if they bring their own instrument.

“It is a way that parents can connect with their child and it provides a practice ethic in an environment that is conducive of learning,” WSU String Project manager Stephanie Strait said.

Additionally, The Ogden Youth Symphony is open to advance string, wind and percussion players with performance opportunities at Abravanel Hall. All high school students who play are invited to audition for OYS on Sept. 16.

The String Project hopes to inspire youth through music and enrich the education of our community’s young students.

“This program has become one of the focal points of my life because it really does make a difference,” Strait said.

This will be the fourth year that Rebecca Rew and her daughters have participated in the String Project. They look forward to this each season because it promotes a community program that gives kids a chance to get involved and to experience music on a level that they might not otherwise obtain.

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Rew especially likes that the program “introduces students to music and paves a way for progression at an extremely affordable cost.”

A concert is held in both the Spring and the Fall where families and friends can hear the learned techniques and sounds that come from the violin, viola, cello and bass that make up the string family.

The string family is what many consider the heart of orchestra, partly due to the variation composed from violins that require a bow and other instruments that are plucked such as the bass.

The variance offers a wide range of expression and distinction coupled with passion.

Lizzie Rew, 10, is excited to once again participate in the String Project and year-end concert.

“It’s fun because you learn so much, especially in the beginning when they teach details about how to hold the bows and where to place your fingers,” she said.

Her older sister, Sophia Rew, 11, appreciates that “the teachers are really dedicated to helping us learn about music and how to play the violin.”

The String Project takes the place of music lessons not taught in school.

“Our hope is that students will take what they learn, bring leadership to the schools and share that music with their friends,” Strait said.

According to Strait, there are minimal funds set aside, particularly in Weber County, for the arts within the school district. Orchestra is not generally offered until the latter part of junior high and usually not until grade 10, at which point valuable time is lost.

The Strings Project has a satellite program that goes as far as North Ogden, where music instructors are sent to the elementary schools to teach the lessons because parents are unable to travel to WSU.

Strait explains that if there is a need or a desire and that teachers are willing to step up, “they will make it happen.”

What started out as a small goal to help train future WSU music educators to be more prepared for their own classrooms has become a multi-faceted program that reaches far beyond what they had envisioned.

Many student-teachers dedicate three years to the program so they become incredibly primed rather than average.

The String Project has recently partnered with Youth Impact and, though it is in its infancy, up to 11 community youth have already signed up. The collaboration will represent underserved and at-risk students who will greatly benefit from the program.

Stephanie Strait is grateful for the partnerships that make the project possible. The Strings Project is funded by Weber County RAMP and Ogden City Arts. It is supported by WSU Department of Performing Arts.

Register today at WEBER.EDU/WSUSTRINGPROJECT. Scholarships are available. For more information, contact Stephanie Strait at 801-564-9860/orchestra@weber.edu. Reach Alyssa Thornley at 801-941-1873/alyssathornley@weber.edu

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