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String Educator’s Workshop

String Educator’s Workshop

June 21-23, 2018
Michael Hopkins, University of Michigan
Special guest: Bob Phillips, Director of String Publications, Alfred Music

The University of Michigan String Educator’s Workshop, led by Dr. Michael Hopkins, is designed to meet the needs of the variety of educators who are responsible for teaching strings.

The workshop contains two tracks. Participants are welcome to take classes in one track, or switch between tracks throughout the day.


The No Previous Experience (NPE) Track is for those with a band or choral background and others with little background in strings that find themselves assigned to teach orchestra. Instruments are provided, and we will start from the very beginning in an open, friendly, non-intimidating environment. The classes in the NPE track are all designed so participants learn to effectively teach beginning and intermediate string classes.

NPE Topics:

  • Learn to hold the bow and produce a beautiful tone
  • Learn to execute and teach different articulations and bow strokes
  • Learn to teach all left-hand positions, create good finger placement
  • Learn about special considerations for double bass – the differences and similarities with the other strings.
  • The ASTA National String Curriculum – learn how to use this resource to structure your school orchestra curriculum and inform your teaching practice.
  • Get recommendations from our experienced faculty about tried and true materials to use with your string program, including method books, supplementary classroom materials, chamber music and orchestral repertoire.
  • Learn how to create fingerings, understand fingerboard positions and teach students to play with vibrato
  • Experienced Track is for string principals and experienced orchestra teachers who want to continue to develop their secondary instrument, rehearsal and conducting skills, and expand their knowledge of string repertoire and pedagogy. Please bring your principal instrument. Secondary instruments are provided.

Experienced Track Topics:

  • Intermediate and advanced secondary instrument study on violin, viola, cello and double bass
  • Rehearsal Lab – Learn strategies for rehearsing orchestras to improve tone quality, intonation, rhythm, and expression. Learn how to take your orchestra from good to great and deliver high-quality artistic performances!
  • Reading sessions and conducting lab – A diverse body of repertoire will be explored to provide you with plenty of ideas for programming success. We will read new and recently released pieces for orchestra, as well as tried and true pieces of great repertoire from the past. Bring your own piece to share with participants and conduct. Participants who conduct will receive feedback and a video for self-assessment.
  • Special Topics Sessions (available to participants in both tracks)

Program Development – Learn about recruitment, retention, motivating students, and working with community partners.
Eclectic styles – develop your improvisation skills, learn folk, jazz and rock styles of string playing, and learn how to start an eclectic styles ensemble in your school program. Learn how to infuse your orchestra curriculum with composition activities.

Presentation by SHAR products on selecting instruments, bows, strings, accessories, rental programs, step-up instruments, and electric instruments.


Michael Hopkins is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Music Education at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He teaches undergraduate courses in string techniques, orchestra methods, and music technology, and graduate courses in psychology of music and research methods. He was conductor of the UVM Orchestra from 1999-2010, is the founding director of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and has been a guest conductor at orchestra festivals throughout the United States. He is very active as a composer and arranger, with more than 50 published works for orchestra. He is the author of the online String Pedagogy Notebook, has published articles in the Journal of Research in Music Education, String Research Journal, Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Journal of Music, Technology and Education, American String Teacher, Music Educators’ Journal and The Instrumentalist. He has given many presentations at national and state conferences on various topics in string education and music technology.

Bob Phillips, pedagogue, composer, and teacher trainer, Bob Phillips is an innovator in string education. During his 27 years of teaching strings in Saline, Michigan, Bob built a thriving string program of over 700 students and was honored as teacher of the year 9 times by regional, state and national organizations. A recognized expert in the use of large group pedagogy and alternative styles, he has presented clinics throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. Phillips has authored over 19 book series that include 130 books for use in the classroom including Alfred’s revolutionary new method, Sound Innovations for String Orchestra and Sound Innovations for Concert Band as well as the ground breaking Philharmonic series. He has had over 140 works published for orchestras and bands and is an award winning ASCAP composer. His conducting resume includes professional, All-state, and youth orchestras. Currently Bob is the Director of String Publications for Alfred Music. He has served as president of the American String Teachers Association and, in 2013 Bob was inducted into the University of Michigan School of Music Hall of Fame.

Finnish-born cellist Katri Ervamaa, DMA, is a multifaceted performer, who loves chamber music, new music and creative improvisation, and especially creative collaborations across genres and art forms. She has performed and given master classes throughout North America, Europe and Taiwan. Dr.Ervamaa is a founding member and past president of Brave New Works new music ensemble (bravenewworks.org), the Muse String Trio, the newly founded Järnefelt Piano Trio and E3Q, an improvisation-based genre-defying trio of cello, trumpet and percussion. She appears on Envoy Recordings, Block M Records, and AMP Records labels. Most recently, she appeared in the documentary ”Mestiza Music”, produced by WFYI-Indinapolis, on 60 PBS stations nationwide and in Suomi Finland 100 concerts with the Järnefelt Trio. In addition to her lively performance career, Dr.Ervamaa is on faculty at the University of Michigan’s Residential College, where she is the Head of the Music Program and teaches chamber music and musicianship. She plays on a 1868 HC Silvestre cello, and you can find them online at www.katrimusic.com.

Molly Baugh is a doctoral student in music education at the University of Michigan. Prior to beginning her studies at UM, she taught orchestras at the elementary, middle, and high school levels for 13 years in Oklahoma and Texas. During her tenure in Oklahoma, she also taught AP Music Theory, mentored student teachers, and conducted the Oklahoma Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Baugh holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from University of Oklahoma and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She has served as the Oklahoma All-State Orchestra Chair and the Oklahoma Music Education Association Orchestra Vice-President. She is an active clinician and has presented at the annual conferences of the National Association for Music Education, the Michigan American String Teachers Association, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, and the Texas Music Educators Association.

Rebecca Hunter is an active educator and performer in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She served as Assistant Professor of Applied Violin and Violin Pedagogy at the University of South Carolina, and was the founding director of the Suzuki Strings at USC program. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Music in Violin Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, a Master of Music in Suzuki Pedagogy at Ithaca College with Sandy Reuning, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Oregon with a secondary area of Musicology. Rebecca is also a licensed Andover Educator, a somatic education which aims to train musicians to move according to their structure promoting facility and preventing injury and limitations. Rebecca presently has a private studio (A2 Hunter Studios) in Ann Arbor, plays regularly with the Flint Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute.


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Application deadline: June 1, 2018
All applicants must submit an online application and the non-refundable application fee.

Non-refundable Application Fee $45
Workshop fee:
$400 (Early Bird/register by May 1, 2018)
$450 (May 1 – June 1, 2018)
No refunds for cancellations after June 1, 2018