The Music Education Program is developed and led by Artistic Director Mary Beth Woodruff
The goal of Santa Barbara Strings is to provide sophisticated and expert musical training and careful nurturing of young musicians as they develop as musicians and as well-rounded young people.
Our medium is music and our aim is to provide positive, healthy, “unplugged” from screens, joy-filled education. Mary Beth Woodruff and her team of educators immerse students in the study of classical music. The programs strive to raise the standards for musical achievement and excellence in our community believing kids are capable of achieving remarkable things if given access to great, nurturing teachers and challenged to work hard and strive for excellence.
Progressive String Orchestras
The foundational education program consists of progressive levels of string orchestras rehearsing weekly - TOCCATA, SINFONIETTA, and VIVACE. These rehearsals focus on developing musicality, growing technical prowess & mastery in performance of works by master composers, creating cohesive ensembles, instilling an appreciation for classical music, building young people’s confidence, and providing a joyful immersion in a creative pursuit. Music educators sit in at every rehearsal providing hands-on mentoring as the students progress in their musical training. Our teacher-student ratio is 1 to 5.
Students are grounded in the works of Baroque composers Bach, Corelli, Handel and Vivaldi and continue on to study composers and works from throughout the past 400 years.
Our program is open to any and all string players of all levels. The general Orchestra Levels are as follows:
Toccata, is a first group/ensemble experience for the young player and teaches solfege, traditional fiddle music, ear training, note-reading, and many other fun group musical activities from which a young player will highly benefit. Suzuki repertoire is taught in addition to non-Suzuki repertoire.
Sinfonietta, is composed of players largely at the level of Suzuki Books 1-4.
Vivace, is composed of players of Suzuki Books 5-10 and advanced Baroque Concerto Grosso, Classical, Romantic, and Modern period repertoire is studied.
Chamber Music Program
The Chamber Music Program trains young musicians in the intricacies of chamber music in trios & quartets through weekly coaching by professionals. In addition to strings we have groups led by our Director of Piano Chamber Music, Dr. Robert Cassidy. This intensive program challenges and elevates the musicianship of its participants. Approximately one third of the Santa Barbara Strings musicians currently take part in the Chamber Program.