In our small, rural Montessori school, we have developed an outstanding strings program under the leadership of master instructor Kristina Beachell.
We believe that the enjoyment, respect and knowledge of music and the development of the skills necessary to create and perform music enhance learning, enrich quality of life and nourish the human spirit. Therefore, our mission is to provide a foundation, at an early age, for lifelong engagement with music.
Our music program is different than most. It is not an introduction to music — it is an in-depth, multi-year study of musical strings performance, beginning with Suzuki instruction for our youngest musicians. We believe that by giving children the experience of working over time to develop a challenging skill, they learn lessons about the value of perseverance and hard work that will serve them well throughout their lives.
The value of a music-centered education is well established and hardly needs defending, but you can learn more about it here: Facts about Music Education
Why did we choose to focus on strings for music education? Here are a few reasons:
- Strings are the only family of instruments that come in sizes. Playing any instrument requires physicality, and stringed instruments can be adapted without placing any physical burden on a growing child.
- There is a wealth of available strings performance repertoire that includes a variety of skill levels and a broad variety of ensemble combinations. Almost every conceivable opportunity for string players to assemble and play is available.
- Opportunities to produce a variety of expressive sounds and emotions on stringed instruments exceed that of other instrumental families.
- The music skills acquired through string playing contribute greatly toward students’ overall development. No family of instruments is more demanding for mastering pitch discrimination and auditory perception at the same time students are coordinating large and fine motor skills with the independent movement of limbs.
- Teamwork is of utmost importance. Few disciplines require so much dependency on the accuracy of individual participants to produce a joyful, satisfying result.
Every student in grades 1 to 3 participates in the program. In grades 4 to 8, participation is by choice. A majority of our students in these upper grades stay in the program and join one of our two orchestras. All of our strings students are given one of the school’s own instruments to use for the year — to take home and practice with, to take care of, and to play during concert performances. These young musicians have small-group lessons twice per week during the school day, with orchestra practices before and after school.
When they move on to high school our musicians can continue to grow in the Sedona Red Rock High School Orchestra. Ms. Beachell works closely with the high school instructor, Courtney Yeates, to ensure that our students are well-prepared to thrive at the high school level and beyond.
“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” – Shinichi Suzuki
Watch this video to hear our students and alumni talk about our strings program.
An enthralling collaborative performance of “Danse Bacchanale” by strings students in grades 4 through 12 from Sedona Charter School, Sedona Red Rock High School, and NAU Music Academy in 2016, conducted by Kristina Beachell.
In the first concert of the year in 2016, our youngest students demonstrate teamwork and precision to create something beautiful.
Our advanced orchestra wowed the audience with a performance of the score from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in spring 2015.