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Date of Graduation
Master of Music (MM)
School of Music
Amy B. Lewis
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: https://emilymthomas10.wixsite.com/stringdom. 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.
Waters, Emily T., "Development of a string orchestra method book and online resources with a hip-hop focus" (2021). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 120.