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After School Strings

McCall Music Society

Jonelle Darrow taught weekly 1- 1 1/2 hour after-school group strings instruction (viola, violin and cello) for 27 youth ages 8-14 for 45 weeks in Cascade and McCall. We also had a 15 member youth orchestra under the direction of conductor, Richard Bauer. This project brought much needed affordable, after-school music enrichment to our rural community.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work

Students will gain an appreciation of classical music, proficiency in playing classical music and the pride that comes from performing and sharing music with others.

Participants will understand how rhythm communicates meaning and how changes in those rhythms can change meanings. By working on a performance, students will apply that knowledge to convey meaning in their own work.

HMS addresses this standard by having students perform music with expression, technical accuracy and appropriate interpretation at a community recital, as part of class and in youth orchestra performances. Videos of performances helped guide instructor evaluation and student feedback.

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

Participants reflected upon their performing experiences and the practice leading up to that performance.

Student reflection:

The Holiday Concert was amazing.  I got to meet people like myself who also enjoyed playing a string instrument.  It was really fun coming every Tuesday to our practices.  I?m 100% positive that every practice I learned a new thing about playing or about my instrument.  I enjoyed learning all the songs and playing as a full orchestra.  When the concert date came I was nervous but it was totally worth it.

– Adeline


Each year, having students come up through group lessons and enter the youth orchestra demonstrates the importance of offering extracurricular music performance activities for rural youth. Listening to them and hearing the music development over the course of a year is extraordinarily gratifying. Our orchestra members are proud of their achievements and love making music.


We pivoted due to COVID offering in-person and skype lessons. The orchestra performed virtually via a facebook concert in December. We were gratified that our student participation rates remained constant. Our recommendation is to have the flexibility to pivot and meet the needs of students and staff.