The Status of Strings and Orchestra Programs in U.S. Schools

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Department or Administrative Unit


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The purpose of this study was to monitor the status of school string and orchestra programs in the United States and to gather descriptive information in the areas of program characteristics, curriculum, support, and student/teacher demographics. A second purpose was to document trends observed when compared with results of previous studies. Based on the review of literature, specific variables were identified as potential for trends: string student enrollment, symphonic orchestra offerings, enhancement offerings, private lesson enrollment, string teacher shortages, and student/teacher demographic information. All members of the American String Teachers Association indicating K-12 string teaching as part of their duties were contacted to complete a web-based survey (N = 2,232). After follow-up contact, 369 respondents participated (16.5%). Although teachers indicated growth in both number and size of programs, increased utilization of approved curricula, and representative racial demographics among students, analysis revealed the following concerns: a decline in the offering of symphonic orchestra and other enhancements, a decline in student participation in private instruction, unrepresentative gender and racial demographics of string teachers, and factors that indicate a continuing string teacher shortage.


This article was originally published in String Research Journal. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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String Research Journal


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