NKU String Project provides a musical future for youth

NKU String Project provides a place for teaching, sharing, learning, and discovering through musical experience and education.

Members of the community are brought in and student teachers from the NKU Music Department practice and teach them. These students can be as young as eight years old. Being given the opportunity to use such nice equipment in such an accessible setting will help them excel and become very talented and connected if they want to become professional musicians.

“We want to perpetuate a legacy of string music,” the Program Director Amy Gillingham said. “We do this by acting as a platform to provide an easily accessible area for members to grow musically.”

Another way to they do this is by training their student teaching assistants to be ready for what they face after they graduate. It helps the students learn to become better teachers when they are done with the program and are facing the real world.

“They have four full years of hands on teaching experience through The String Project,“ explained Gillingham. “Instead of the one semester they would get if they went for a teaching degree. We have what are known as master teachers who mentor the college students. The college students are acting as teachers for the young musicians.”

Although it is not a club consisting of only college students, the NKU String Project is bringing national recognition to the university’s music program. Multiple student-teachers and faculty involved in the NKU String Project recently accepted the award for Outstanding String Project of 2015.

“It is definitely my proudest accomplishment in the program,” said Katelyn Tesla, a teaching assistant who is a senior at NKU. “There were six of us from NKU who got selected to go and receive the award in Salt Lake City.”

Although she is a vocal performance major, Tesla teaches both vocal and violin lessons through the program and plans to attend graduate school after graduating this May.

The NKU String Project has plans to keep growing and recently expanded beyond only the stringed instruments and added vocal choirs so students like Tesla can achieve their maximum potential. Classes offered for teenagers and adults will be offered as well, so that anybody seeking opportunities to grow musically can find what they are looking for.

This unique music program has changed Amy Gillingham’s life for the better, and although her credentials and awards may show you how talented she is, they cannot show you the remarkable opportunities she has been given through the String Project.

“It is an honor to be apart of something that makes such a huge difference for so many people. It is a very satisfying experience to see music changing somebody’s life over course of merely 45 min,” Gillam said. “It is a very charging experience being around the enthusiastic youth, it drives me to implement that enthusiasm into my own life.”

Later this year on October 17 the String Program will participate in some of their less formal performances during what is known as the Outreach Blitz. All of the students and teachers split into groups and go out into the community to perform at various intimate settings such as public parks, supermarkets, or malls.

“I think it is important to show people that we make music for the sake of making music,” Gillingham said. “We want to show the people of the community music when they are least expecting it.”