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Gail V. Barnes Receives 2024 ASTA Distinguished Service Award

Music educator Gail V. Barnes has been selected to receive the 2024 ASTA Distinguished Service Award for her work developing strong orchestra teachers through the University of South Carolina String Project and creating an online home for orchestra educators through the School Orchestra and String Teachers Facebook group.

By building a connected string teacher space, she has helped countless teachers feel supported and provided access to extensive resources for teachers in the profession.

The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) gives the award annually to individuals who have contributed significantly to the profession.

Dr. Barnes is a professor of Music Education and Director of the USC String Project. She received her BM and MM from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. Before being appointed to the University of South Carolina School of Music faculty, she was an orchestra teacher in the Norfolk Public Schools (Virginia).

My students motivate me by their desire to be helpful and learn all they can to serve their future music students. I motivate my students by treating them as music educators from the first day we work together.

– Gail V. Barnes

The USC String Project provides instruction in violin, viola, cello and bass through group classes and orchestras. The program offers group beginning classes (beginners start in fall only), group second year classes, three orchestras and private lessons.

“The USC String Project is a win-win model of teacher education and community service. There are many moving parts, and it has kept me engaged for 27 years! I look forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary on April 19, 2024, at the Koger Center,” says Barnes.

In addition to building the community of string teachers, Barnes has been a leading author, researcher and contributor to the pedagogical underpinnings of the orchestra teaching profession. She willingly shares her expertise through clinics, workshops, and conference sessions and helps serve the profession’s future leaders through her teaching, research and mentorship.

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