Our Division of Strings is centered on the broad experiences of our faculty who provide students with rigorous instruction tailored to their needs and goals as a musician. Our strings division seeks to develop students’ talents to the highest musical and professional levels. Students in this division can pursue instruction and performance in cello, double bass, guitar, harp, viola, strings, and violin.

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Faculty

Our faculty is comprised of outstanding teacher-performers who are devoted primarily to undergraduate education. They maintain rigorous performance schedules yet provide individual instruction tailored to the needs of each student, and spend generous amounts of time with their students via lessons, coaching, mentoring, and more.

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Programs Offered

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Overview

The string curriculum aims to develop students’ talents to the highest musical and professional levels. String students have been enormously successful in the musical world. Some hold positions in major orchestras and chamber ensembles, while others teach in music schools, universities, and conservatories around the world. String music education graduates are employed in school music programs around the country.

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Curriculum Overview

The curriculum is centered on the broad experience of the faculty. All are current or former members of professional chamber ensembles with extensive performing and recording credits, both as ensemble members and soloists. Through private lessons, faculty members offer rigorous instruction tailored to the needs of each student.

Students are required to take six semesters of chamber music with a faculty coach, and many take additional semesters. The Advanced Quartet Seminar, which focuses on a different composer each semester, offers more concentrated work. Additional chamber opportunities are available during winter term through the Intensive Quartet Seminar. Designed to accelerate students’ grasp of standard quartet repertoire and rehearsal techniques, this seminar includes four hours of rehearsal each day. The winter-term seminar involves both Oberlin faculty members and distinguished guests.

Orchestral skills are developed through excerpt classes taught by faculty who are experienced orchestral musicians and through participation in one or both of the student orchestras. Each orchestra rehearses six hours per week and perform concerts every three to four weeks. This schedule exposes students to a broad orchestral repertoire and provides excellent preprofessional training. Because Oberlin has no junior orchestra, first-year students perform alongside experienced players. The relatively small requirement of six semesters of orchestra participation for violinists, violists, and cellists gives these students the scheduling flexibility they need to devote attention to perfecting instrumental technique or audition repertoire.

Students who wish to teach can gain experience through Oberlin’s supervised student teaching program. Conservatory students teach both college and conservatory students. A pedagogy course is available to help students prepare for teaching. After taking the pedagogy course, students may teach in the String Preparatory Program, which includes private lessons and group classes for area elementary school children.

The classical guitar major, incorporated into the Strings Program in 1992, emphasizes the full range of chamber literature. In addition to primary study on classical guitar, instruction is available on lute, early guitar, and jazz guitar. The program offers numerous performance opportunities and seminars that address resume preparation and other job-related issues. The major is supported by an extensive collection of guitar scores and recordings in the conservatory library.

Upcoming Strings Events

Strings News

Student playing with iPad sheet music

The Great Screen Test

January 26, 2018
Oberlin Conservatory musicians trade paper scores for iPad Pros.

Hollywood & Fine

November 10, 2017
Violist Meredith Crawford ’09 forged a robust career in Los Angeles while completing two Oberlin degrees.