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Applications to perform or to propose a clinic at the 68th Annual Midwest Clinic are now available!

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Start Early: Building a Successful Elementary String Program Beginning in Kindergarten

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  • This session will explore how the components of an elementary string program with “early-start” kindergarten Suzuki violin lessons working in collaboration with “traditional” note reading lessons (beginning in third grade) intertwine to create a vibrant elementary orchestra with outstanding intonation, musicality, and tone quality; leading to high levels of enthusiasm, confidence, recruitment, and retention.
  • Ralph Jackson (
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  • Ralph T. Jackson is a music educator in the North Penn School District where he is responsible for teaching the 120 members of the Bridle Path/Montgomery Orchestra, the Select String Ensemble (an auditioned group of 35 string musicians), Suzuki violin classes to children and parents beginning in Kindergarten, and “traditional” string lessons to children in grades three through six. The Bridle Path/Montgomery Select String Ensemble has performed at several music educator’s conferences, including The Midwest Clinic, 2 performances at MENC National Conferences, 2 performances at MENC Eastern Division Conferences, 3 performances at Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association Conferences (PMEA), and a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Orchestra and Select String Ensemble have consistently earned “Superior” ratings at music adjudications.