Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


Lisa Maynard

Amy B. Lewis

Amy Birdsong


The main purpose of this master’s Capstone Project was to create a prototype beginning String Orchestra Method Book, “Stringdom”, and a related Website with resources to accompany the book. The link to the website is: I had three main objectives or purposes for developing this book: (1) to increase engagement in my orchestra class, and potentially orchestra classes around the country, using music that students already know and love; (2) to increase the representation of artists and composers of color in the string community; and (3) to create a method book that is more accessible and reflects my method of teaching and what I consider to be best practices for beginning string players.

The result of the project is a single violin method book prototype, with the hope that further work would result in the development of a Viola, ‘Cello, and Double Bass book, as well as a Teacher’s Manual, and even a series of books to follow. I plan to seek publication of the book and have already reached out to one editor, Brian Balmages, the String Editor for FJH publications, and had discussions about how to proceed. I am also interested in finding a partner to collaborate with on future versions of the book. My intention, if the book is ever published, would be to donate a portion of the proceeds to an organization such as the Sphinx Organization or the Save the Music Foundation.

Part of the process of working on this project involved working with a producer (whom I had worked with previously professionally), who incorporating my specifications created all of the backtracks for use with the book. I also hired a graphic designer, who completed all of the diagrams and layout for the book. I was able to utilize funds from a JMU School of Music Graduate Student grant of $1000, as well as my own funds in order to do this. To obtain consent from the performing groups featured in the book, I reached out to more than fifteen current artists, or their managers, through the contact pages on their websites. I exchanged countless emails and phone calls with the artists who agreed to be highlighted in the book. Hopefully, with future help from a publishing company, I would be able to include more artists.

The project also included the development of the website associated with the book. Over many hours, I compiled the nearly 100 backtracks into playlists organized by key and created a landing page for the artists who are featured in the book with links to their personal websites and Youtube pages.



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