I created Buckhead Strings after my daughter’s elementary school, as well as the other five in our cluster, eliminated strings from their curriculum and budget. For my daughter at least, she was one of the lucky ones to have had one year to play violin with her classmates.
But what about all the other kids who were interested in playing?
Without strings in our public elementary schools, students have very limited opportunity (if any) to learn or play with other string students, short of private lessons. Don’t get me wrong, I believe studying an instrument with one experienced teacher every week is necessary and important…but I liken the problem to what might happen if, say, aspiring young soccer players only practiced one-on-one with with their coach and never played a single game. They would never actually understand what it means to be in a team sport that way. Playing in an orchestra is exactly the same!
From 35+ years of both playing and teaching, I know that playing an instrument in a group teaches the very same skills as sports — teamwork, leadership, camaraderie, and of course, discipline.
My primary mission in founding Buckhead Strings is to provide an opportunity for elementary-age students to learn those critical team skills through learning how to play one of the four primary orchestral string instruments (violin, viola, cello, and bass) in a fun and relaxed group setting. As well, we take the classroom experience one step further by inviting a variety of guest performers, teachers, and other special surprises into the class. Learning an instrument can truly be fun!
With an accomplished arts career spanning more 20 years, she has performed in such ensembles as Abilene Philharmonic, Evansville Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, and at the Aspen Music Festival. She was a member of the Kaplan Quartet in Los Angeles, California, and currently performs regularly in ensembles throughout the Atlanta area.
Jennifer’s viola instructors include Victoria Chiang, Heidi Castleman, Ellen Rose, Alan de Veritch, and Joni Baczewski. She has taught private viola from beginning to high school level in Texas, California, and Georgia. After two years as a Music Education major, she received her Bachelors in Music degree in Viola Performance from Texas Christian University, and her Masters in Music degree in Viola Performance at Indiana University. She went on to obtain her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
She is also a member of the American String Teachers Association, Georgia Music Educators Association, and the Atlanta Federation of Musicians, Local 148-162.