South Georgia String Project Begins Monday, Sept. 10

September 6, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

South Georgia String Project Begins Monday, Sept. 10


VALDOSTA -- A joint venture of the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra and the Valdosta State University Department of Music, the South Georgia String Project is gearing up for another award-winning season.

At 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, in the university’s Fine Arts Building Choir Room, the South Georgia String Project will conduct an informational session for parents of new students. This will be followed at 5:30 p.m. by a parent meting for all returning students.

Required placement auditions for seating in Intermediate Strings classes and the Valdosta Symphony Youth Orchestra (VSYO) will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Band Room. Returning students may register for allegro strings without an audition, but an audition is required for placement in concert strings and the VSYO.

Regular classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Led by Lauren Burns, director and master teacher, the South Georgia String Project provides “an after-school music program where students can easily access low-cost stringed instrument instruction” and “a valuable, mentored teaching experience for music students at Valdosta State University.” Class fees are $60 per semester. There is a $120 maximum in fees per family. Limited financial aid is available.

The South Georgia String Project offers technique classes, private lessons, and group classes. Performances are held several times a year both on campus and out in the community.

Explorer Strings students, those with no previous string-playing experience who are ages 8 to 11, meet from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Adult beginners, ages 12 and up, meet on the same days, at the same time.

Intermediate Strings is for returning and/or experienced students, and an audition is required for placement and seating. Group orchestra classes meet from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. Ear-training and sectional technique classes meet from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The Valdosta Youth Symphony Orchestra is a full orchestra for advanced students, and placement and seating is by audition only. This group, which meets from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, includes VSU and area high school string, wind, brass, and percussion students, as well as adult amateurs. Participating students must also play in their public school ensembles.

Private instruction is available and recommended for all students. Weekly one-on-one lessons are arranged with a VSU string student assistant. The 30-minute lessons cost $15 each. Again, financial aid is available.

According to its website at, “The South Georgia String Project encourages the enjoyment of music and self-expression through the study of a musical instrument and actively seeks to provide opportunities for student leadership, parental participation, and involvement in the greater community.” It was started in 1993 and originally offered on location at area public schools and taught by VSU professors.

“It has changed so that all classes are offered at VSU and music majors -- graduate and undergraduate -- offer instruction as part of their teacher training at VSU,” said Burns. “Now, 12 to 14 VSU students work in the program every year, and I am the faculty supervisor. Our program has grown to offer group class for beginners, two string orchestras, and a full symphony. There are sectional technique classes, ear-training, and private lessons.”

The South Georgia String Project was named the 2011 National String Project of the Year by the American String Teacher Association.

“The South Georgia String Project is part of the American String Teacher Association’s National String Project Consortium, which consists of 42 projects at more than 24 universities and colleges,” noted Burns. “The program is designed to help alleviate the long-term shortage of stringed instrument teachers in the United States by encouraging undergraduate music majors to become public school music teachers upon graduation. Through hands-on teaching experiences with children in the community who enroll in the program, undergraduate student teachers become better skilled in managing a classroom and teaching children. At the same time, parents within the community benefit from an affordable opportunity to provide high-caliber music lessons to their children.”

Many South Georgia String Project students continue their stringed instrument studies in college. Some have performed with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra.

Contact Lauren Burns at or visit to learn more about the South Georgia String Project.

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