Strolling Strings, Part 1

Have you ever thought about starting a strolling strings ensemble? This kind of ensemble can enrich your traditional string/orchestra program in many ways. It benefits the student, string teacher, and music program.

Musical Benefits

  • Students develop better intonation and sound-production awareness.
  • Students develop their pitch memory while memorizing music.
  • Students acquire better rhythmic understanding and ensemble skills because they perform without a conductor.
  • Students learn a variety of styles and genres.

Personal Benefits

  • Because students perform “close-up” for an appreciative audience, strolling fosters self-esteem, poise, and self-confidence.
  • Strolling capitalizes on students’ desire to perform; a variety of settings is possible, including formal dinners, receptions, political events, and civic gatherings.

Program Benefits

  • The strolling group can be an excellent PR vehicle and a service to the community.
  • The strolling group can be used as a tool to recruit and retain students.
  • The strolling group can be used as a method to fundraise for your string program.

“The kids learned so much from being part of the strolling strings,” says MENC member Beth Gilbert. “So many musical things, but also nonmusical things like confidence, stage presence and how to talk to people.” Gilbert’s strollers performed throughout greater Phoenix at resorts, retirement communities, and special events.

Next Week: Strolling Strings, Part 2. Information on how to create an ensemble, select music, and conduct rehearsal.


Getting Started with Strolling Strings, by Robert Gillespie, Beth Gilbert, and Mary Lou Jones. © 1995 MENC.

“The Harmony Specialist,” Teaching Music. October 2008, Volume 16, Number 2.

— Nicole Springer, February 24, 2009. © National Association for Music Education.