A 2018 national survey regarding the status of orchestra programs in the United States projected that there will be approximately 757 new jobs this year for string teachers (Smith, Mick, and Alexander, 2018). The population of string teachers is aging, and the number of new string education graduates does not meet current demands. This national problem has greatly limited the number of children who are able to learn to play stringed instruments. A national survey from the Give a Note Foundation (2017) on the status of music education in the public schools revealed that there is only 25% of orchestra classes offered to students in elementary school. While the availability for students in middle school orchestra classes increases, 41%, the number decreases within the high school orchestra classes, 36%. 

The NSPC is attempting to address this shortage of qualified string teachers with a plan that establishes teacher-training programs at universities throughout the country. Since it is the responsibility of one generation to pass on our culture and musical heritage to the next, the NSPC is working to ensure the future of a diverse number of string players by increasing the number of young people who will be playing stringed instruments and experiencing the joys of music-making in all types of communities across the United States. The NSPC is also working to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of teachers, in every state, who will be able to teach these children the art and technique of playing stringed instruments.

Our Mission

  • Providing an opportunity for children who live in school districts where string programs do not exist to learn to play a stringed instrument.

  • Preparing children in the lower grades for placement in existing public school string and orchestra programs.

  • Creating programs that give undergraduate and graduate music students hands-on, supervised experience in teaching, administration, and leadership as they pursue their degrees.

  • Providing experienced entry-level teachers for string programs.

  • Facilitating the growth and development of string and orchestra programs in the public schools.

  • Providing a safe environment for children and teachers involved in string education.

  • Supporting music-making opportunities in an effort to combat school string program attrition and foster program growth.

  • Providing by example a model for string program development on local, state and national levels.

Definition of an SP for existing sites to join NSPC

  • The SP serves as a teacher training program to attract students to careers as educators

  • The SP should include class instruction, ensembles, and the availability of private lessons, as well as the possibility of chamber music and music theory 

  • String Project teachers are mentored by a Master Teacher with public school or equivalent teaching experience 

  • The program is not part of the regular college curriculum, but rather serves to supplement the university coursework 

  • Children who are students in the String Project participate in their own school programs if available. The String Project must be viewed as a supplement to the public school program, not as competition.

  • Children who are students in the String Project enter the program through a beginning class based on a public school  group instruction model. 

  • The program takes place at the college or university, after school hours

  • The program charges low fees to students to encourage participation and to ensure diversity

The NSPC supports the creation and growth of String Projects at universities across the country. These String Projects provide practical hands-on training for undergraduate string education majors during their college years and give children the opportunity to study a stringed instrument. 

The Consortium was originally formed in 1998 under the auspices of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). It is now an independent non-profit organization working together with ASTA and other music organizations to serve string education and string development across the United States.

Our Goals

  • Involving more children of public school age in learning to play stringed instruments

  • Addressing the string teacher shortage

  • Increasing the number of String Projects around the country

  • Supporting these String Projects with national fundraising and grant writing

  • Increasing national awareness for String Projects

  • Improving communication among String Project sites and Directors.

 NSPC: What we do.