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High Country Strings

McCall Music Society

Limited affordable extracurricular music activities exist for youth in our rural area, High Country Music program not only expanded performing arts opportunities in our area, but also built our capacity to start a youth orchestra. By creating an affordable weekly extracurricular strings program for Valley County youth and offering master classes that focused on all orchestral instruments over 16 rural youth were engaged in group and individual music lessons through the school year and even more through Second Sunday Sounds @ Six adjunct education activities.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do musicians improve the quality of their performance?

Instructor feedback and group lessons helped students improve their musicality. The end of year recital gave students a tangible goal to work toward and a way to frame the lessons around the essential question.

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

Student proficiency was captured in the end of year recital. Participants were able to discuss with their instructor Jonelle Darrow how rhythm communicates meaning and how changes in those rhythms can change meanings.


High Country Music was enthusiastically received by parents and students alike who greatly appreciated the opportunity for students to take violin lessons in our rural area. In addition, the opportunity for students to interact with professional musicians as a part of Second Sunday Sounds @ Six series was tremendous in giving students exposure to professional musicians as well as a chance to further develop musical skills. 16 students gained proficiency in beginning violin. Several students and their parents commented on how important music had become in their lives.


Students gained an appreciation of classical music, proficiency in playing classical music and the pride that comes from performing and sharing music with others. By working on a performance, students were able to convey meaning in their own work and experienced the excitement of preparing for and taking part in a performance.

Next year, we will run the program again –one of the lessons learned was to have lessons on a different day than Monday due to school holidays during winter months.