Olentangy Valley News

Strings workshop lets parents in on the action

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A strings workshop for Olentangy student musicians is open to parents this year, too.

Registration is now open for the eighth annual Super Saturday Strings workshop, which offers a day of musical learning and immersion for fourth- and fifth-grade strings musicians. It starts at 9 a.m. Nov. 10 at Olentangy High School, 675 Lewis Center Road.

Students will work with a high school peer on foundational skills, play musical games and finish the day with a joint performance for family members.

The workshop is open to students of all skills levels, but participants must have basic strings skills and must provide their own instrument.

This year, parents can opt to join in for the first time with a lineup of short workshops for adults with all levels of music experience, including those with none at all. They are free for parents with a participating student.

The adult workshops will teach parents the basics of how a strings instrument works and provide some baseline information about reading and playing music, said Vickie Gentry, a member of the OHS orchestra boosters and chairwoman of the event.

"The younger kids are so dependent upon their parents supporting their musical efforts," Gentry said. "If we can prepare these parents for what they need to know, we'll have a better chance of keeping the kids in strings."

"It doesn't matter if you've never touched a musical instrument, or if you played in college," she said.

Parents also will learn how to evaluate the quality and pricing of an instrument, and may view instruments provided by a vendor, Gentry said.

Fourth-grade participants stay only until noon. The longer fifth-grade program ends at 2 p.m. and includes lunch.

Students are separated based on which instrument they play, then divided into groups of three to four, led by a high school peer from the OHS orchestra.

Participants will warm up with musical games, then work one-on-one with their older peers in a series of intensive workshops.

They will work on proper bow handling, reading and understanding sheet music and other foundational skills.

Fifth-graders will break at noon for lunch with their high school buddies while fourth-graders head home.

After lunch, students will learn a full song, which they will play alongside the high school musicians as part of a short performance for family members to end the day.

Gentry said students who attend the workshop come away with a big edge over other young musicians.

"Their regular instructors will actually see a huge jump with the kids that attended because it's such an intensive workshop," she said.

She added participants are "more excited and ready to really work" when the day is done.

Registration is $30 for fourth-graders and $50 for fifth-graders.

Adults without a child enrolled still can participate in the parent workshops for a $10 fee.

To enroll, visit olentangysummerstrings.com. Space is limited.

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