The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) is an organization whose mission is to provide professional development, career building and support, and a community of peers for all teachers of stringed instruments. The organization promotes advocacy for string programs and string teachers through many brochures and publications available on their website at www.astaweb.com.
As members of ASTA’s corporate The String Industry Council, Forum Festivals proudly supports and serves the needs of string educators and students. As music programs are launched throughout the country, we thought it would be helpful to share a reprint of one of their most popular brochures promoting recruitment and advocacy.
Participation in a school and/or studio string instrument program enhances a child’s quality of life. It provides creative, emotional, and social opportunities and unifies communities.
- Research on brain development has shown string players brains are larger, have more neural pathways, and process information faster.
- All children are capable of learning to play a stringed instrument, regardless of “talent,” “giftedness,” or musical background. String classes have been successfully taught to diverse populations and in diverse settings.
- Unlike most other musical instruments, stringed instruments come in a variety of sizes so that children as young as three years old can begin instruction.
- Orchestral music, which is considered one of Western culture’s greatest treasures, cannot be performed without stringed instruments.
- Contemporary music increasingly relies on strings. Some of the popular musical genres that feature stringed instruments include jazz, country, pop, and various folk styles. Other world cultures also use stringed instruments in their music making.
- Lifelong opportunities to perform on a stringed instrument abound. According to the American Symphony Orchestra League, opportunities exist for adult musicians in more than 1,600 orchestras in the United States. Professionals in all fields have played stringed instruments for lifelong fulfillment, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein.
- Playing a stringed instrument enhances the enjoyment of music, and leads to a lifelong appreciation of music. An estimated 25 million people currently attend concerts each year in the United States.
- Colleges and universities may need string players for their orchestras and may offer scholarships to qualified students regardless of their intended academic major.
- Opportunities also abound for undergraduate string education and performance majors. Today, more than 8,000 string teaching positions exist in public schools alone, and performers have opportunities to teach in studios, community music schools, and in orchestra community outreach programs.
Communities benefit from area schools that offer a full complement of fine arts courses, including stringed instrument study. Businesses often appraise the cultural climate of a region when making decisions about where to locate.
In every school, there are students who are inherently attracted to the sound of stringed instruments. Without a string and orchestra program to provide access to string education, students are denied the possibility of realizing their potential.
For information about the American String Teachers Association, please visit our website: www.astastrings.org