COVID 19 UPDATE
For the most up to date information go here.
Why join StringWizards?
First and foremost because it's fun. Ask around, or come by for yourself. One day it could be summer or a dorm job in college, after school should be your time.
What is the Commitment?
After school activities are a big part of the total high school experience. Most clubs that work from an established set of program goals ask for commitments. Especially those that are expensive to operate. Addressing your needs first, we ask for a 30% slice of your after-school options on the days or weeks that you choose. After a probation of about six sessions we both make a choice. If a slot is offered to you, all three parties, me, you and your parents will co-sign your "best intentions" commitment to attend 30% of the posted sessions for three semesters.
Pre-covid: We met twice per week for 90 minutes after school, with an extended Christmas break to mid January, and other pauses, like the week before exams.
Post covid: Currently there is no Fall 2020 schedule, and extracurricular programming in under review by the administration. See the Covid Updates page for the latest developments.
Can I get service hours credit for StringWizards?
Yes, with your StringWizards attendance commitments met, and the personal approval from both Mr. Miles, and from Mission and Formation, SW is a recognized service organization.
Is violin repair a recognized trade?
Most emphatically yes, both time honored and hundreds of years old. Minnesota State offers a two semester repair program for about $8000 with another $1200 in fees and equipment purchases.
Both the question and the above answer can be confusing to some, because in another context the answer would be "no". Trade school," in the normal high school lexicon, refers to the housing construction trades or auto repair. In that sense, the answer is "no." StringWizards is not designed to provide career violin repair training. We are a violin repair and non profit management survey course. Our intent is to show interested teens in how the arts world and the non profit sector address seriously the glaring inequality of access to music education, based on ethnicity or family income.
Could this be a part time job?
Your end competency is up to you. We strongly encourage students to stay for four years and nearly everyone does. Across that time, with program approval, you could act as business correspondent to any given shop owner seeking parts or advice for a current project.
What is Non Profit Management?
The StringWizards' structure closely resembles a night school MBA program for working adults. Any business entity has an imperative to operate with quality and within a budget. StringWizards uses the engaged leaning pedagogy as practiced at the Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago.
Along with your shop floor responsibilities, you will also:
manage your own training records,
maintain repair logs and prepare invoices
maintain shop inventories, and
manage a portion of normal business correspondence.
Additional music student opportunities
If you play a violin, viola, cello, or bass, this is an exceptional learning opportunity
Greatly improved ability to judge construction quality
Identify flaws at a glance, and anticipate repair cost
Move a sound post with confidence, understand its proper placement
Clean, restring and adjust a any bowed orchestra instrument on you own.
Learn more on career expenses of a musician. (Takes you off site).
The shop has the necessary tools and supplies to engage in rehair operations, but we are not presently doing re-hairs.
Are there student fees?
There is no tuition and there are no fees.
Shop safety (Non Covid)
Shop tasks include exposure to consumer grade cleaners and degreasers like Simple Green and solvents like denatured alcohol or xylene and various mastics and epoxies. We all will wear vinyl gloves and cloth aprons around chemicals and leather gloves and leather aprons when working with professional grade luthier hand tools that are honed in the shop to a razor sharp edge.
Why is music education important?
Educators have discovered that music lessons and discerned-listening have a profound impact on brain development, especially regards poverty population children. Sound discernment activity advances brain function. Dr. Nina Kraus, who heads the neuroscience research lab at Northwestern Med School explains her findings in this brief video lecture.
Why do orchestras cut corners on maintenance?
A basic student recorder costs $5. The cost for an entry-level violin with case and bow is minimum $300. Unlike a plastic recorder, it is fragile and needs periodic adjustment for learning goals to be met. After approximately two years, both the strings and the bow hair will need replacing for a minimum of $75.
If these costs are deferred there will be a gradual degradation to sound and playability which then impacts student achievement. With your help, a North Lawndale youth orchestra cannot sound and perform just like one from Hyde Park.