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String Project transitions successfully to online

student in cello mask“Through it all, you have not stopped teaching”

Teaching children in a virtual format presents its own set of challenges for the University of South Carolina String Project student teachers. Social distancing makes any instruction challenging but moving from teaching in three dimensions to two dimensions is particularly difficult.

String Project teachers responded to the challenge. In less than a week, they were teaching lessons via internet platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype and having weekly meetings in addition to teaching lessons. Twenty-four teachers created more than 80 videos for their group students – approximately 270 students participated. The end of the semester was marked with virtual concerts. 

Gail Barnes, professor of music education and director of UofSC’s String Project said, “String Project graduate assistants Andrea Vogt and Emma Brown were amazing leaders during this unprecedented time.” Barnes is overwhelmed by everyone’s efforts. “They rose to a challenge and surpassed all expectations,” she said. 

Internet lessons required a lot of parent involvement at the beginning but students became quickly independent in most cases. The Shavo family appreciates the teachers of the String Project so much they they made masks from fabric with cellos on them for any String Project teacher who wanted them.

“It’s really hard to overstate the benefit you’ve given to our family,” said Kara Shavo. “Now, during the quarantine, our house is filled with music. Ada and Lynda are playing violin and viola. Maggie has been focusing on guitar, but she got her start in String Project, so I credit you for her enthusiasm for music, even though she’s no longer in the program.”

Carolyn Hunter Rogers, String Project parent writes, “Strings Project you ROCK!!!!! Through it all, you have not stopped teaching. Best teachers ever!!!!”

"We purchased a new TV for this effort so the kids could watch their class more easily and clearly. I think we really just got the hang of it yesterday. I think we will be tuning in and practicing more often than before. There is something quite novel about going to the TV to do class. It's like we have you in our living rooms now. Definitely not the same as class but the best under the circumstances. I think the kids appreciate you all the more," said Tracy O’Halloran.

Teacher Emma Brown wrote, “So many of my students in Capriccio and the Adult Continuing class were very receptive to the materials I posted in Google Classroom and gave great feedback about what they were working on! I also had a lovely Zoom meeting with several members of my adult class on what would have been our last class where we just had a chance to catch up and talk about how everyone was doing. Several of them had tried rehearsing over Zoom already (which didn’t work) but they’ve made plans to meet up and practice together when they’re safely able to! We also had a final meeting to congratulate our four grads: Drew Preston and Rose DaGraca (BM), Matt Wyatt MME and Emma Brown (Masters in Pedagogy).”

See some virtual lessons.


Students from Intermezzo playing “Amazing Grace”

Students from Intermezzo playing “Ode to Joy”

(Arranged by Willy Adams; Videographer Rose DaGraca) 


String Project Summer Camp is on!

July 27–July 31, 2020
String Project will be offering virtual instruction this summer.
Register here.


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