Laurel Elementary Strings Program

Laurel Strings Program


This site is designed to help Laurel Strings Program students and their families to learn, stay connected, and practice effectively.

Here you will find informational posts, past newsletters, videos, links, and other helpful information.

General Program Information:

Laurel is one of the few public schools in the nation to offer tuition-free violin and mandolin lessons during school hours.  Lessons are during recess once a week for all grades except kindergarten.  Laurel students enroll in the program via annual lottery, because space is limited to 20 students per grade level.  Students are expected to attend all lessons, and to practice at home according to their assignments.  We teach students using both the Suzuki Method and the Lineage Music Method (fiddle). Both methods emphasize learning to play by ear before learning to read music.  This approach applies the basic principles of language acquisition by learning music.  We also have a Chamber Program provided by “PYCH” or Project Youth and Chamber Music.  More information about PYCH is found on the website  For students who are excelling and crave more in depth instruction, PYCH develops the classical technique and teaches note-reading.  Families involved with PYCH can expect a greater time commitment to practice.  We strongly encourage parent participation, loving encouragement, and constant repetition of the songs we teach.  Students receive one weekly small group lesson with their peers at school.  Lessons happen during students recess, with the exception of Kindergarten.  The lessons are designed to be fun and supportive so students motivate and learn from each other.  More advanced students are eligible for additional enrichment opportunities and performances.  We have an annual Spring Concert in which all students are expected to participate to help build self-confidence in their performance skills.

How to help your student succeed:

At home practice is a key component of success on any instrument.  Students in the Laurel Strings Program are expected to practice 5-6 days a week.  Recommended daily practice time is between 10-60 minutes depending on the student's age, goals, and ability level.  

Listening to the music we are learning is also an expectation.  Listening should be done as often as possible and can be a great daily routine.  The more familiar the songs are to the student, the faster they will learn the material.  Please visit the "Listening" page of this website to access your student's material.

Watching instructional videos is a great way to help your student practice and to review material we cover in lessons.  Chad Fisher, the former program instructor, created a great video series featuring each of the songs in the Suzuki and Lineage methods.  This year, Miss Demi-Smith will be uploading new mini-lesson videos every day!  You can find all these videos under the "Video" page of this website.