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Research Interests

  • Pre-Service and Professional Teacher Education

  • DEIJ and Cultural Competence in String Pedagogy

  • Curriculum design

  • Paul Rolland String Pedagogy

  • Remedial Teaching

Illinois String Academy Curriculum

  • Influences: Paul Rolland, Mimi Zweig, Shinichi Suzuki, Tanya Carey

  • Contents

    • Introduction to Illinois String Academy Curriculum

    • Guidelines and advice for beginning students

    • Group Classes

    • Beginning your beginners and the first lessons

    • Introducing the bow

    • The Instrument and Bow Together

    • The left hand

    • How to teach Suzuki book 1

    • Extending the bow stroke

    • Shifting

    • Extensive review of bow strokes

    • Vibrato

  • Download HERE

Additional Curricula 

  • Beginning heterogeneous classes

    • In contrast to most methods, this curriculum starts with the bow, then the left hand

    • Incorporates Paul Rolland String Pedagogy

    • Incorporates Artistry in Strings by Fischbach/Frost and original arrangements by Aaron Jacobs

  • Remedial teaching

  • Advanced repertoire progressions for violin and viola

Dissertation: The Individual and Collective Programmatic Characteristics of Five Selected String Academies in the United States

  • Download dissertation HERE

  • Download extended table of contents HERE


This intrinsic case study examines the individual and collective programmatic characteristics of five selected string academies that implement a curriculum developed by Mimi Zweig of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. The curriculum, available at, is heavily influenced by the work of Paul Rolland and Shinichi Suzuki. The research focused on six characteristics of the academies: instructional program, geographic and physical setting, organizational structure and administration, finances, student recruitment, and personnel. The analysis process generated an additional key characteristic: faculty and student activities in the community. Data were gathered from online sources, archival documents, and extensive interviews and email correspondence with the five site directors, as well as other string academy faculty and staff.

The study interprets string academies in the broader context of stringed instrument instruction in the United States and elucidates the evolution of string academy organization and instructional practices. As models of community-based stringed instrument instruction, string academies exhibit characteristics of independent music schools, divisional music schools of collegiate music units, and string programs built on Rolland and Suzuki’s pedagogies. They operate with varying degrees of autonomy from larger institutions and have demonstrated their ability to adapt to different settings and institutional expectations. They frequently participate in apprenticeship-model studio teacher preparation in classroom and laboratory settings, in conjunction with local universities. The string academy model evolved from instructional offerings dedicated to the violin, and all published curricular materials focus primarily on this instrument. Diversification of the pedagogical approach of string academies has resulted in its adaptation for use in American public school settings and for teaching the viola, cello, and, to a lesser degree the double bass. 

Teachers at the five string academies employ a common pedagogical approach, and all site directors commented on the importance of teachers being philosophically and pedagogically aligned, a characteristic that string academies share with Suzuki programs in the United States. String academies’ legacy connection to Mimi Zweig and her work has not inhibited adjustments of the curriculum or programmatic structure in response to local circumstances and settings. As a result, string academies display a combination of flexibility and faithfulness to Zweig’s core pedagogical principles. 

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