The String Project Model: Teacher Education and Community Engagement

Workshop


We will commence with a presentation by Beth Reed, Executive Director of the National String Project Consortium (NSPC). She will delve into the String Project model, which is implemented in 37 sites across the United States. The NSPC program directors are dedicated to fostering new generations of highly qualified string instrument music educators and ensuring vibrant and culturally diverse string instrument education opportunities for students of all ages. Since its inception, the NSPC has provided string instruction for well over 8000 children and teaching experience for over 600 college music majors.

Following this, Gail V. Barnes, Director of the University of South Carolina String Project (USCSP), will elaborate on teacher education and how USCSP graduates have collaborated with thousands of children in various communities in South Carolina and across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Drs. Reed and Barnes posit that the String Project model could be further adapted for the benefit of teachers and children in European communities. In the second half of the workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to pose questions and engage in brainstorming sessions on how this model of teacher education and community service could be implemented in their communities in Europe.

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About the speakers

Elizabeth A. Reed, Cello

Elizabeth A. Reed accepted a position as Assistant Professor of String Music Education at Miami University of Ohio in Fall 2021. Since 2018, Dr. Reed has served as the Executive Director of the National String Project Consortium, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing access to string music education in the United States and supporting the preparation of highly qualified string teachers. Dr. Reed has extensive experience teaching orchestras at various levels (4th-12th grade) in Fairfax County Public Schools (2004-2015, 2020-2021) and Lexington-Richland School District Five (2019-2020). In Fall 2018, she held the position of Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida State University.

Dr. Reed earned her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of South Carolina in 2018. Her academic journey includes a Master of Music in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music (2004) and a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a Performance Certificate in cello from the University of South Carolina (2001).

As a conductor, Dr. Reed has guest conducted for various orchestras, including the South Carolina Junior All-State Orchestra, Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William County District Honor Orchestras in Virginia, MMEA Eastern District in Massachusetts, and the GMEA Middle School Honors Orchestra in Georgia.

In her role as a researcher and clinician, Dr. Reed’s focus encompasses music teacher identity, culturally responsive teaching, authentic context learning environments like the String Projects, and pitch perception. Her work has been published in esteemed journals such as the International Journal of Music Education, String Research Journal, and the American String Teacher. Additionally, she has contributed to publications like “Inspiring a Love of Music” and “Teaching Music Through Performance in Orchestra, Volume 4.” Dr. Reed has presented clinics and research poster sessions at national and international conferences, including ASTA, IAFOR, ISME, Lilly, NAFME, SMTE, TMEA, OMEA, and VMEA.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Dr. Reed finds joy in global travel, gardening, embracing her role as an aunt to her niece and nephew, and taking leisurely walks with her rescue sheltie, Sophie.

Gail V. Barnes, Viola

Dr. Barnes is a professor of Music Education and the Director of the USC String Project at the University of South Carolina. She earned her BM and MM from the University of Michigan and her PhD from the Ohio State University. Dr. Barnes teaches courses in stringed instrument methods, orchestra literature, research methods, and sociology of music education.

Continuing her dedication to working with student-aged musicians, Dr. Barnes serves as the Director of the USC String Project. Furthermore, she has conducted All-State Orchestras in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina, and Alabama. Her expertise extends globally, having presented teaching clinics throughout the United States and at conferences in Australia, Italy, Greece, Scotland, and China. Recognizing her contributions, Dr. Barnes received a career researcher award from the American String Teachers Association in 2019, and in 2024, she is set to be honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the American String Teachers Association.

Dr. Barnes’ professional interests focus on community and school orchestra programs, as well as promoting access to music education for under-served youth, particularly emphasizing equitable opportunities for underprivileged youth. Her research emphasizes the positive impact of parental involvement and a supportive home environment on students’ musical development. Additionally, she co-authored “Measures of Success for String Orchestra,” a method book for young string players, published by The FJH Music Company. Dr. Barnes is also the founder of a Facebook forum for string and orchestra teachers, which boasts over 11,000 members.

Before joining the University of South Carolina, Dr. Barnes served as a school orchestra teacher in Norfolk, Virginia. She also showcased her musical talents as a violist in the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Opera, and she continues to contribute to the musical landscape as a violist with the South Carolina Philharmonic.