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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the String Project's mission? The UGA String Project has the dual mission of:

1. Providing affordable string education for young students in the greater Athens area by giving them an outlet for musical expression on an orchestral string instrument in a structured group environment, and preparing them to become leaders in their middle school and high school orchestra programs.

2. Providing UGA string majors with an opportunity to gain valuable pre-service teaching experience under faculty supervision in preparation for private and public school teaching.

I have a question the website doesn't answer, who do I contact? Any email to will be answered by the co-director within 24 hours. Include your phone number if you would like a phone call or just call 706-542-2894.

What age do students start in String Project? Our beginners start when they are in the 3rd, 4th (or 5th) grades. Slightly older students may be accepted if the families understand that they will be in a class with younger students. Students may progress and participate in the program through the 8th grade.

What instruments do you offer at String Project? We offer the orchestral stringed instruments: violin, viola, cello, and double bass. 

Do you assign an instrument to your beginning students? We allow students to pick whichever instrument they prefer, however the beginning class is limited to 20 violins, 5 violas, and 20 cellos (and basses). It is possible to switch instruments in December, if the student thinks they made the wrong choice.

Do you provide the instruments? String Project is only able to provide instruments to those who qualify for Clarke County School tuition waivers. All others must rent or purchase their own instruments. (Rental information link

Where do I find an instrument to rent or buy? See our instrument information.

Will I be required to purchase any supplies besides procuring an instrument? Information about any required purchase will be emailed to all parents, but here are the costs you can expect:

Violinists and violists are usually more comfortable playing with a shoulder rest. Our teachers or the instrumental rental company will help each student find a comfortable style that will then need to be purchased. (provided for all scholarship students)

Cellists and bassists will need to get either a strap or a 'rock stop' to keep the endpin from slipping on non-carpeted floors. (provided for all scholarship students)

All students, including scholarship students, will need to purchase their own music book at a cost of less than $10. Each book will last more than one year. Beginners will not need a book until the second semester. Copies of any sheet music we learn will be provided. Once students begin reading music (2nd semester Explorer I), they will need to have a music stand at home for practice. A folding music stand can be purchased for $10 - 15.

Why do beginners have to commit to a full year?

It takes a full year of instruction and practice to achieve the skills necessary to be able to play simple music on a string instrument with correct position and good tone. Think of it as the difference between making cookies and backing a cake. With cookies, all you have to do is mix the ingredients in a bowl in the order the recipe requires, place the dough on the pan and back for ten minutes. Baking a cake, on the other hand, takes more care. Exact measurements, sifting of the dry ingredients, not mixing too vigorously, and baking undisturbed for much longer than 10 minutes are necessary to produce a light, airy cake. Singing or playing the piano is similar to baking cookies. You get good results relatively fast. You think and hear the pitch in your head, open your mouth, and the note comes out, or you place your fingers on the correct piano key and the right note sounds. A string player needs to learn how to hold an instrument as well as a bow. Then there is the challenge of learning where to place the fingers in the correct spot to make the note you want to sound. Quitting mid-year is like taking a cake out of the oven before it is done, tasting it, and deciding cake isn't your thing!

When do classes begin and end? Fall semester classes begin August 31st, 2022 and end November 16th, 2022. 

Are there SP classes if our kids do not have school? We follow both the UGA and the Clarke County School District academic calendars. We do meet for classes on days other school districts may have holidays, such as during Oconee County spring break.

My child didn’t start learning their instrument at String Project. Can they still participate in String Project? Yes! We accept students of any ability level and place them in the appropriate level based on their experience.

Where do classes meet? All classes will meet on the UGA campus in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

Do students need to be able to read music? Students in the beginning Explorer I class do not need to be able to read music; we will teach them throughout the year. Students entering Explorer II or Ensemble do need to be able to read music.

What is expected of my child between each class? Students are expected to practice their instrument and String Project music at home. Each teacher will make assignments and practice recommendations. After the first year, a minimum of 30 minutes of daily practice on non-SP days is recommended for optimal progress.  

Do I need to take private lessons? Private instruction is always recommended as the best way to learn a musical instrument. Incorrect habits form easily without close attention from a teacher. In a group class, the teacher has many students, and must pace the class so all students feel challenged. This can leave those who take a little longer to process information feeling a little lost. Private instruction is geared to an individual’s optimal learning pace. 

How do we register? Registration and payment is done online. Follow this link to the UGA marketplace. It is required that all students complete and return the HHSOM Authorization Forms for Minors prior to the first rehearsal.  

Do you have a summer semester? We do not offer a summer semester because our teachers are not on campus, but we do encourage students to keep playing. There are several opportunities we let students know about each spring as our semester comes to a close. Private lessons and chamber music through the Community Music School are always options with registration starting in mid-April.  

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We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.