Skip to Content

School of Music

String Project

String Project FAQ

What is the String Project’s mission? The USC String Project has a dual mission of serving our community while providing paid, pre-service teacher education. William Moody, then director of the School of Music, initiated the program which was first under the directorship of William Bauer, violin professor. Robert Jesselson was subsequently the director for 15 years. Our music education graduates are successful in music programs through the United States and the world! (Belgium, Hong Kong). 

What age do students start in String Project? 
Our beginners start when in 3rd, 4th or 5th grades. Slightly older students may be accepted if the families understand that they will be in a class with younger students. Students may progress and participate in the program until they graduate from high school. We also have classes for adult students. 

When is Beginning Class Orientation? 
Check our calendar on the main page. Orientation is held at 851 Park Street, downtown Columbia, in the first floor of the Discovery Parking Garage, located in the block between the Koger Center and the Colonial Life Arena.

What instruments do you offer at String Project? 
We offer the orchestra stringed instruments: violin, viola, cello and double bass.    

Do you assign an instrument to your beginning students? 
We allow our students to pick whichever instrument they prefer.
What is the progression of classes at String Project? When are classes offered? What are the prices? 
The progression is as follows:

  • Silver Strings 1 (beginners): large group class that meets twice a week: Tuesday/Friday 4:30–5:25 p.m. OR Tuesday/Friday 5:35-6:30 p.m OR Wednesday/Friday 5:35–6:30 p.m. $90/semester
  • Silver Strings 2 (second year): heterogeneous small group class that meets once a week (Tuesday 4:30-5:30 p.m., Tuesday 5:30-6:30 p.m., or Wednesday 5:30-6:30 p.m.) AND orchestra that meets on Thursday at 5:30-6:30 p.m.; $90/semester
  • Concertino (3rd year): orchestra that meets on Thursday at 5:45-6:45 p.m. AND a half hour private lesson once a week to fit your schedule; $110/semester
  • Capriccio (4th and 5th year): orchestra that meets on Thursday at 6:15-7:15 p.m. AND a half hour private lesson once a week to fit your schedule; $110/semester
  • Intermezzo (by audition only): orchestra that meets on Thursday from 4:30-6:00 AND a half hour private lesson once a week to fit your schedule; $180/semester.
  • Orchestra only: students participate in one of our four orchestras (Silver Strings 2, Concertino, Capriccio, or Intermezzo); $90.

When are the start and end dates for each semester? 
We follow the University of South Carolina schedule. Calendar

When do private lessons begin? 
Private lessons begin either after a student has completed the beginning and second year programs in String Project or has been playing in their school orchestra for at least two years. 

My child didn’t start learning their instrument at String Project. Can they still participate in String Project? 
Yes! We accept students of any ability level and place them in the appropriate level based on their experience. 

Where are you located? 
We are located at 851 Park Street in Downtown Columbia behind the USC School of Music. We are located in the first floor of the Discovery Parking Garage, located in the block between the Koger Center and the Colonial Life Arena. See direction details here.

Do you provide the instruments? 
String Project does not provide students with instruments. We expect all of our students to rent or purchase their own instruments.

Where can we rent or purchase instruments?
 We will have brochures from several local vendors. The String Project teachers staff measures each student to recommend the appropriate instrument size upon entry to the program. Renting or purchasing instruments from the internet is strongly not recommended.

Should we rent or purchase an instrument? 
We recommend that in the first two years of your child’s music experience that you rent until your child’s growth stabilizes.  

Do you offer scholarships? 
We offer a few half and full scholarships; however, our scholarship fund is extremely limited. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need after the selection process.

Are there any requirements in order to participate in String Project?Our only requirement is that students participate in their orchestra at school (if orchestra is offered and they are the appropriate age). We are a community program and support our local public school orchestra programs. We also ask that families understand students may be videotaped or photographed for publicity or research (no names used) and comply with our attendance policy (students who miss more than three classes, lessons or rehearsals may not be permitted to participate in end of semester performances). Makeup lessons will only be provided if the teacher is given 24-hour notice of cancellation.

Who are the teachers in your program? 
A majority of our teachers are undergraduate music education majors at the University of South Carolina, and the remaining teachers are masters or doctoral students. The purpose of our program is to not only teach the community how to play string instruments, but to offer a unique educational experience for future string teachers. Our program is a national and international model.

Do you offer any classes for adults?  
Yes! We offer a beginning class for adults that meets on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Adults then progress into the Continuing Adult Class, which meets on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. In their third year, adults then have the option to participate in the orchestras and take private lessons. 

How do we register? 
Registration and payment for our program is online.  The link is located on our homepage.  If you are unsure of which program to sign up for, contact String Project at 803-777-9568 or 

Do students need to be able to read music? 
Students in the beginning class do not need to be able to read music; we will teach them throughout the year. Students entering the second year program or any of the orchestras do need to be able to read music. 

What is expected of my child between each class or lesson? 
Students are expected to practice their instrument and String Project music at home. Each teacher will make assignments and practice recommendations.
What are String Project hours? 
String Project is open on Tuesday (4:00-6:30), Wednesday (5:00-6:30), Thursday (4:00-7:00) and Friday from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m.  

Where do we park?
 Parking is available in the Discovery Parking Garage.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.