Why Strings

This article is reproduced directly from the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) with the National School Orchestra Association (NSOA).

A string and orchestral music education adds a unique dimension to a child's life that cannot be fulfilled by any other type of music instruction.  Playing a stringed instrument enhances a child's quality of life.  It provides creative, emotional, and social opportunities and can also lead to improvements in academic performance in other areas beyond music.

  • All children are capable of learning to play a stringed instrument, regardless of "talent," "giftedness," or musical background.  String classes have been successfully taught to diverse populations and in diverse settings. 
  • Unlike most other musical instruments, stringed instruments come in a variety of sizes so that children as young as three years old can begin instruction.
  • Orchestral music, which is considered one of Western culture's greatest treasures, cannot be performed without stringed instruments.
  • Contemporary music increasingly relies on strings.  Some of the popular musical genres that feature stringed instruments include jazz, country, pop, mariachi and Tejano.  Other world cultures also use stringed instruments in their music making.
  • Lifelong opportunities to perform on a stringed instrument abound.  According to the American Symphony Orchestra League, opportunities exist for adult musicians in more than 1,500 orchestras in the United States.  Greats in all fields have played stringed instruments for lifelong fulfillment counting among their number Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.
  • Playing a stringed instrument enhances the enjoyment of music and leads to a lifelong appreciation of music.  An estimated 32 million people currently attend concerts each year in the United States.
  • Colleges and universities often need string players for their orchestras and may offer scholarships to qualified students regardless of their intended academic major.
  • Opportunities also abound for undergraduate string education and performance majors.  Today, more than 8,000 string teaching positions exist in the public schools alone.
A community benefits from area schools that offer a full complement of fine arts courses, including stringed instrument study, to all of its students.  Businesses often appraise the cultural climate of a region when making decisions about where to locate.  Parents often base family relocation decisions on the strength of the arts programs offered by local school districts.

A good string and orchestra education, as part of a comprehensive fine arts program, is a hallmark of a quality school district.  Without a string program, a school district's curriculum is incomplete and its students are underserved.  

In every school, there are students who are inherently attracted to the sound of stringed instruments.  Without a string and orchestra program to provide access to string education, students are denied the possibility of realizing their potential.

The American String Teachers Association, with National School Orchestra Association, is a professional association that serves nearly 12,000 string and orchestra teachers and performers.  ASTA can help your local school, school district and community develop or build a string and orchestra program by providing access to essential resources and materials.  Please click on the web site at http://www.astaweb.com for a list of publications and related links.  You may also phone the national office at 703-279-2113.

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