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2021's Hottest Master Classes for String Music Students

During the pandemic, we lost much in the way of physical contact and in-person learning. At the same time, so much unexpected good has come about. Who would have thought we would have burgeoning access online to concerts, speeches, performances, and in particular, master classes for strings students? 

As things begin to open up again, many of the country's most prestigious music programs are offering master classes in various forms. Whether you would like to attend a session in person or prefer to use your at-home online portal, the following are seven master class offerings that any intermediate-to-advanced strings student can attend. 

Here's a general overview of them below, but you'll need to scour the websites yourself for further information on how to enroll, apply, and whether there are any audition requirements.

1. Juilliard's Starling-DeLay Virtual Symposium for Violin (6/22-25)

Our first mention goes to a world leader in performing arts education: Juilliard. The Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies is presented this year as a 4-day online seminar in collaboration with the Juilliard Evening Division as part of their 2021 Summer Series. You'll find the online application here

The next Symposium will take place virtually from Tuesday, June 22 – Friday, June 25, 2021, and their 2021 Artist-Faculty line-up includes:

2. Berklee's Global String Program (6/21-25)

We always include Berklee's renowned Global String Program in our posts about the best summer strings camps in the nation. Berklee has worked hard to create a safe, in-person, and on-campus program. If you can attend, we highly recommend it because you'll have the opportunity to explore a prospective music school in addition to providing exceptional masterclasses.

This program is open to all strings players rather than focusing on a specific instrument. There, you'll learn from some of the world's leading string virtuosos and educators. Under the direction of David Wallace, chair of Berklee's String Department, you'll explore a wide variety of string styles, including folk, jazz, bluegrass, classical, old-time, and Celtic. Master your technique on violin, viola, cello, mandolin, harp, banjo, and more. Discover new musical styles and techniques under close guidance. Fill out the form at the bottom of the Global String Program site to learn more.

3. Viola Master Class Sessions with Ronald Houston (6/21-25)

Ronald Houston is an associate professor of violin and viola at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of Performing Arts. You can read more about him here. This summer, Houston is directing an audition-dependent Viola Zoom Master Class Clinic from June 21 to June 25. 

The sessions are led in the morning and focus on technique, repertoire, and Houston's masterclasses. Call 972-489-3193 or email info@jdrviolins.com for more information.

4. Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Preparatory Pedagogy Master Classes (6/15, 6/22, and 6/29)

Peabody Prep is hosting three "String Pedagogy Hot Topic" master classes this summer. The "Hot Topics" are as follows:

  1. Scales for Technique and Musicianship (violin and viola) with Rebecca Henry. A fun fact about Rebecca Henry is that she was our own Mimi Zweig's first graduate assistant.
  2. Teaching and Encouraging Musical Interpretation (all strings) with Daniel Levitov
  3. Using Technique with Increasing Musical Purpose (violin and viola) with Christian Tremblay.

Major Bonus: With registration for each Hot Topics class, participants may also register for a one-hour private online follow-up session with the instructor. These sessions will be scheduled directly with the instructor at a mutually agreeable time. The teacher chooses how to spend the time with the student (lesson, pedagogy discussion, observation of a student video, etc.).

5. New Jersey Suzuki Workshop (7/10-11)

Have a younger child who is looking for a strings camp or master class this summer? Check out the New Jersey Suzuki Workshop. Your child will get a kick out of the fact that they can attend a camp in New Jersey - online!

The group provides string instruction for violin, viola, cello, piano, and guitar. They are committed to providing resources to parents and students. As a non-profit, they have raised scholarship funds to support students and families who may not be able to attend their workshops otherwise. Click here for information about their scholarship offerings.

7. Duke University Summer Camp (7/19-24)

Another in-person opportunity to meet with string musicians from all over the nation. The Duke University Summer Camp, which includes masterclasses, is for students from 7 to 18. They offer six full days of large ensembles, chamber music groups, music theory, outdoor activities, elective classes, and a final concert.  

Advanced high school students called "Teen Volunteers" assist Duke University String School faculty, and the camp takes place on the beautiful campus of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham. Click here for more information about the camp.

7. Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCAP) Summer (dates vary)

Roosevelt University's CCPA Summer Program offers various virtual master classes and music programs depending on the student's focus. 

  • Composition (June 14-25). Dr. Kyong Mee Choi and Dr. Stuart Folse lead this two-week exploration of acoustic music composition. Open to high school and college-aged composers, this institute is an opportunity to develop work already in progress or start from scratch. Summer Composition Institute (SCI) will conclude with a viewing party of the final recital in which composers' works will be presented and performed by CCPA Faculty Dr. Winston Choi (piano) and Dr. MingHuan Xu (violin).
  • American Music (July 12-16). CCPA's American Music Institute team, comprised of faculty with backgrounds in performance, pedagogy, core music studies, and music history — presents an intensive, real-time program that will consider the many intersections of American musical life. 
  • International Music Institute (August 4-14). This program is available for violin, viola, cello, bass, and piano players. CCPA's Chicago International Music Institute faculty invites string players and pianists (HS through college-age) to apply to this exciting online event. Students will take individual private lessons and attend lectures and master classes presented by CCPA's world-class piano and strings artist faculty through remote technology.

Visit Roosevelt University's CCPA website and expand the appropriate category boxes to learn more about the programs and how to apply. Each one is a little different.

These seven hot master classes and string camps are only the beginning. Use your search browser to become familiar with other virtual and in-person opportunities. As any advanced or professional string musician knows, master classes are where deeper learning and practice can elevate you to the next level of your potential. We hope you take advantage of that!