IUP music teaches students to conduct performers of various ages

Reneé Williamson, Staff Writer, R.A.Williamson@iup.edu

IUP students will conduct children ages 5 to 18 during a free recital at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Gorell Recital Hall.

The IUP String Project provides students with hands-on music education experience. This semester, a group of IUP music students conducted one-on-one string lessons for 27 students in the community.

“It is also a teacher training program,” Linda Jennings, IUP String Project program director, said. “All of the lessons and ensembles are taught by IUP music majors. So they get training in what they’re eventually going to do.”

The performances will be mainly solos with two ensembles.

IUP’s branch of the National String Project Consortium began in 2004. Jennings studied at The University of Texas, where the original string project began.

“That’s been going since the 1950s,” Jennings said. “My teacher there was the lady who really built it up into a real national, international program.”

Jennings’ duties as program director include overseeing the students in the program, giving students feedback on their teaching, coordinating program logistics and teaching the accompanying course that student teachers are required to take.

“It’s one of my favorite parts of my job,” Jennings said. “It’s really wonderful, the energy of the young students. It’s great to see them growing and great to see our IUP students growing in their teaching.”

Morgan Herrington (junior, cellular/molecular biology and music) has been a cello teacher in the program since her freshman year and is a previous student in the program.

“I got into it because I was in the project,” Herrington said. “I know how it helped me really love music and get really far in playing my instrument.”

She teaches five students this semester, ranging from an elementary student to a professor at a university.

“I do private lessons with each of them,” Herrington said. “They’re either half an hour, 45 minutes or an hour. In our solo lessons, we usually work on solos to play in the recital.”

The IUP String Project has helped Herrington gain experience with teaching.

“It’s a nice way to see what teaching is like before I actually have to teach at a school,” she said. “It’s been a really good experience.”

Josh Hudson (sophomore, music education) has been a cello and bass teacher in the program for three semesters. He is teaching four students and will be directing one of the ensembles during the recital.

Hudson chose IUP because of the project.

“It was actually one of the driving forces of me choosing to come here because I’m out of state,” Hudson said. “I’m from northern Virginia. I picked to come up here primarily for the string project and the strength of the education program.”

Hudson has gained experience shaping a lesson to a specific student during his time in the program.

“It started out a little rough with my first student, who I’ve now taught for three semesters,” Hudson said. “He was just really stubborn, and it was hard to get him to focus. I figured out I had to talk to him about video games to be able to reel him in to want to work on cello.

“My last lesson with him for the semester was yesterday afternoon, and in his card thanking me for the semester, he left me a GameStop gift card because of how much we’ve talked about video games. That was a cool culminating thing for me because we forged a connection. It’s very rewarding.”