Purpose: Several of AAA's students have become promising violin or 'cello players. Yet within the AAA curiculum these students have little outlet or guidance for developing and expressing their musical abilities.
I propose that we establish a string ensemble based at AAA, providing an opportunity for these students and others to nurture and hone their musical skills.
Such an ensemble could be operated as a for-credit class, rehearsing one or more times each week and performing as the opportunity arises. Each student's grade would be influenced by his or her apparent attitude, commitment and improvement in ability.
Students from nearby schools (elementary through high school) could be invited to participate as their schools and schedules permit. College students and adult community members could be recruited to strengthen the ensemble and to teach by example.
This ensemble could eventually participate in various music festivals, and could cooperate with one or more community orchestras to give the students experience in a large symphony environment.
Cost: Per student tuition prices have not been determined. The primary expenditure will probably be the purchase of music to study and perform. Other costs may include spare strings and emergency repair supplies.
Time and Location: Because the school-day schedule has already been determined, and each student's schedule is already full, I suggest that we plan only one rehearsal each week, with additional rehearsals (as needed to prepare for a specific performance) to take place outside of the school day. It has been suggested that, for the remainder of this school year, an appropriate class time may be Tuesdays during fifth period. During this period the music rehearsal hall should be available, providing a convenient and appropriate place to meet.
My qualifications: I began my training in music before age five. From the third grade through college I played in various musical ensembles, primarily under the direction of Orlo Gilbert of Southern Adventist University. In these ensembles I often filled a position of leadership. With the symphony at Southern I served as principal second violin and assistant concertmaster, finishing with one year as concertmaster.
I also performed as a section violinist with the Chattanooga Symphony for ten years, beginning with my senior year in academy.
In academy I had the unique opportunity of attending the first Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, and was able to serve there as principal concertmaster, as well as conducting the string ensemble, leading the clarinet choir and conducting the concert band.
My family also formed a string quintet, and we performed on numerous occasions. I often served as first violin, and learned a great deal there about performing and leading chamber music.
My experience in these groups has taught me much about mentoring and teaching. In my job as a computer programmer with IBM I have had numerous opportunities to serve as a mentor to other programmers. And my experience with Zephyr Brass has further developed my understanding of musical leadership and training.