School of Music

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The String Project?

  • The String Project is a national educational initiative founded by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) to help communities start string programs in areas where none or little exist.
  • String Projects are usually administered through some type of larger organization and funding comes from a variety of donations and grant. Student fees also cover a portion of the expenses, but these fees are kept low.

What ages may sign up for the classes?

  • The String Project is open to students in grades 3-12, from new beginner to advanced musician.
  • Students in grades 3-6 take small group classes in their specific instrument groups and also take a large group class with all 3-6 students.
  • Students in grades 7-8 have the option of taking an advanced small group class which meets from 5:30-6:15pm; and also enrolling in the large advanced ensemble from 6:30-7:30pm.
  • Students in grades 9-12 may only enroll in the large advanced ensemble.

When and where do the classes meet?

  • The classes meet on select Mondays each school year semester at the Bryan Fine Arts Building, at 1150 Dixie Avenue, on the campus of Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.
  • The classes meet from 3:45-6:30pm.
  •  Students have the opportunity to learn in both a small group lesson each week and a large group.
  • The small groups meet either from 3:45-4:30pm OR 5:30-6:15pm.
  • The large group (all students) meet from 4:30-5:30
  • The large advanced ensemble meets from 6:30-7:30pm.

How many students are in each small group?

  • Every attempt will be made to keep the small groups to no more than five students per class. This is the class where students will learn the majority of the technique needed to play his/her individual instrument. Small group classes will mimic private lesson instruction, but in a small group format to keep costs low.

Who are the teachers and what are their qualifications?

  • The master teacher of the project is Sarah McKelvie. She holds a masters of music in string performance and has over 20 years of private and group experience. Ms. McKelvie will be overseeing the project, helping with the small groups, and teaching the large ensemble. The small group classes will be led by TTU music department string majors under the supervision of Ms. McKelvie.

What is the cost of the program?

  • Small and Large Group: $150 per year
  • Large Group Only: $120 per year

Are scholarships available?

  • As fees for the program are already greatly subsidized by the School of Music, scholarships are on a case by case basis and are only issued to students and families who can demonstrate extreme need.
  • Questions about String Project scholarships should be directed to: Professor Daniel Allcott, dallcott@tntech.edu or Dr. Wendy Mullen, wmullen@tntech.edu, Director of the School of Music.

How do I get an instrument?

  • Instruments are available for rental (starting at just $14 per month) from Williams Violins in Nashville: williamsfineviolins.com or call 1-888-791-4208.
  • The String Project may have an instrument a student can borrow, if there is extreme need, but our inventory is very limited. 
  • We recommend not buying a used instrument off of Craig’s list or Ebay. Often these instruments are poor quality and the improper size.

How do I sign my child up for the project?

  • Online Registration for 2018-2019 begins August 1.
  • Information will be sent to the email address provided on the registration form. Any other questions can be directed to Sarah McKelvie, smckelvie@tntech.edu.