Sign Up for our Newsletter
Se Us on YouTube
Find Us on Facebook
String Teacher Workshops

Spring Concert POSTPONED

In lieu of Governor Evers and the CDC pronouncement of curtailing gatherings of people, I am postponing String Academy”s March 14th Spring Concert until further notice. This is disappointing as all have worked so hard these past few months, but we need to heed what medical experts are recommending.

Also- following UWM, we will extend SAW’s Spring Break another week. March 15-29.Individual lessons will commence March 30. However, Saturday GROUP classes are put on hiatus until April 10th when the situation will be reassessed.  

SAW Flower Sale packets were to be distributed this Saturday.  We will send you an electronic flower packet this week and work to get the hard copy as soon as we can. We will keep you informed as much as we can. Please contact us at SAW office or email if you have questions.

Darcy Drexler

POSTPONED: Pi Day Concert (3.14.2020)


The Season of Giving


SAW 2019 Appeal Photomontage_PRINT

December 2019

“I am happy to support SAW! As I get older, I realize more and more the enormous positive
impact that String Academy and music has had on my life.”

~ SAW Alumni Quote

Dear Friend,

The String Academy of Wisconsin is celebrating its 30th year! We are so incredibly proud of three decades of helping young people develop into wonderful musicians and successful citizens. Music can be such a transforming presence in one’s life. Research has emphasized how profound and important comprehensive music study is in developing a child’s cognitive abilities. It produces increased learning capacity, focus, empathy, and the ability to comfortably interact with others. Sadly today fewer schools, especially in low-income areas, can offer this opportunity to students.

Eighty children ages 4-18, from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, study violin and viola at the String Academy of Wisconsin. SAW’s professional and dedicated artist faculty carefully guide students in a challenging course of study that includes weekly private and group instruction, classes in music theory/ear training, and numerous solo and group performances. Our comprehensive curriculum encourages and develops teamwork, problem solving, and self-confidence that benefits students in their music studies and beyond. By educating the WHOLE child, SAW offers preparation for success in school and life!

The Academy strives to make an excellent music education possible for low-income families through our acclaimed Urban Students in Arts Outreach program which includes two primary strategies for providing high quality music education and instruments to USAO students.

  1. Scholarships and instruments to 20-25 students annually whose families could not otherwise afford music lessons. 
  2. Partnerships with Milwaukee Public Schools where a majority of students are from low-income homes. Our faculty is providing instruction to students with demonstrated potential and a strong desire to learn at Escuela Vieau, an MPS K-8 school. These students (along with other USAO recipients) also come to the Academy for weekly group instruction and performances. We have encreased our Vieau enrollment, but children still remain on the waiting list of this popular program. Providing instruction, instruments, music is costly — a minimum of $2,500 per student.

These programs can only continue with contributions from foundations and generous individuals like you, who understand the profound importance of the arts in a child’s development. Thank you!

Will you make a gift today to help ensure that talented students in Milwaukee continue to grow and develop through music education – no matter their financial circumstances?

Your gift of any amount matters and is greatly appreciated. It is instrumental to our success in educating the whole child.


Darcy Drexler, SAW Director

Julilly W. Kohler, SAW Board Chair

Preview Image

The String Academy of Wisconsin

Like us on Facebook!  facebook

You’re Invited: Halloween Concert @ MAM, Nov. 2, 11AM

Happy Halloween!  Don’t let the cold weather stop you from coming to hear our students perform our Halloween Concert THIS Saturday, Nov. 2nd, 11AM at the Milwaukee Art Museum. See the costumes, hear the music, take in the spectacular views of the lake! Admission is FREE (though not to the museum galleries) Hope to see you Saturday!!!


Now Enrolling for Fall ’19!

The String Academy of Wisconsin is now enrolling new violin and viola students for the 2019 Fall Semester. Register here!



2019 Scholarship Benefit Concert


Scholarship Benefit Concert

featuring String Academy Students

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.  

Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall
Reception to follow
$35 per person • Please call for advance tickets
Phone (414) 963 4729

Continue reading 2019 Scholarship Benefit Concert

Summer is for Beginners!

violin_cello_beginner_program_website_2019.2SUMMER BEGINNER PROGRAM

June 10-July 18, 2019

for ages 4 to 8

Summer is an ideal time to get your budding violinist or cellist off to a great start with special instruction developed for children who have never played a string instrument.

To get a jump-start with their new instruments, students will have one week of daily group lessons (see schedule below). For each of the other five weeks, students will receive a half-hour individual lesson and an hour group lesson.

June 10 – 14: Daily group lessons will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

June 17 – July 19: Half-hour individual lesson at a time to be arranged with the instructor and a group lesson once a week on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 18: Final Concert

Register online: www.stringacademyofwisconsin.org/beginner



Jeremy Kimm 2019 String Academy of WI Violin Competition Winner with SAW Ensemble

Violin Maintenance

Taking proper care of your violin is important in preserving the value and continuing your enjoyment of the sound and appearance.

Everyday Care
After playing your violin, take the time to clean off the rosin from the strings and the top of your instrument.  A clean, cotton cloth will do the job!  Also, the wood of the bow should also be wiped clean.  Rosin build up can make the strings respond improperly and too much rosin on the bow will produce a “grainy” sound.  Your fingers contain oils, and sweat from your hands can over time damage the varnish.  When handling your violin try to avoid touching the varnished areas.  The proper way is by the neck and chin rest area only.

New Strings
Replace your strings to make sure your violin always sounds its best!  Strings gradually lose their vitality and “center pitch”.  The term most often used is the string sounds “false”, you will hear several distorted pitches when plucking or bowing the open string.  You also end up having to put your fingers slightly higher to play the note in tune, which is developing a habit that you should avoid.  When changing the strings, remember to replace them one at a time. Begin by placing the violin on your lap, loosen and remove the string from the peg, remove the peg from the pegbox, wipe the peg clean with a soft cloth, apply sparingly a commercial “peg dope” to help the peg turn smoothly, place the peg in the hole of the pegbox, turn a few times, now you are ready to place the end of the string which has a “loop” or metal “ball” into the tailpiece slot, then place the other end of the string into the small hole of the peg, overlap the string once before you continue to wrap it around the peg.  Make sure to wind the string close to the wall of the pegbox.  This will help the pegs from slipping.  It is now time to check your bridge.  Your bridge position should be flush with the top of the instrument and form a right angle.  The bridge holds the strings at the correct height and distance from each other and sends the sound from the strings to the hallow wooden body of the instrument.

New Hair for the Bow
The “barbs” on each hair of the bow eventually wear out and then the string does not vibrate to its full potential, which lessens the sound.  The bow hair may feel slick and become more difficult to produce a clear articulation, more rosin won’t help.  Bows need rehairing with good quality, unbleached horse hair.  A bow maker uses between 150 and 200 hairs from the tail of a horse for a violin bow.  Make sure the new bow hair is not too long, when this happens, one cannot tighten the bow properly and there will be too much space between the frog and thumb wrap.  The end of your thumb wants to touch the edge of the frog, the wood and the leather wrap.  Touching the leather wrap prevents slipping and squeezing with your thumb!  Please remember to loosen your bow hair before returning it to your case.  This will help maintain its “camber” or bend.  Try not to touch the horsehair with your fingers.

Open Seams
Wood changes seasonally, in dry weather it shrinks and in humid warm weather it swells.  When a seam is open, you may hear a buzz sound when playing.  Tapping gently on the back or top of the violin with your finger knuckle will give you a different sound than a closed seam.  Sometimes you can even see the open seam.  A luthier will use a melted hide glue to close the open seam, clamp it overnight and it will be as good as new!  Hide glue is a strong, water soluble matter that also allows the luthier to take apart and put back together an instrument when necessary.  Having open seams glued on your violin is a standard part of violin maintenance.

The Fingerboard
Your fingerboard will eventually develop “grooves” or “ripples” from the thousands of times your fingers made the string rub against the fingerboard.  A “dressing” or planing of the fingerboard is needed, making the surface of the fingerboard smooth again.  A luthier is needed for this.

Easy Humidifier
Use a small zip-lock bag.  Cut a sponge into a 1 inch by 2 inch piece.  Wet it, then squeeze out any excess moisture.  Put the moistened sponge in the  zip-lock bag and seal almost shut (leave an inch open).  Place in your violin case and it will help against the dry heated air.

Yearly Care
Take your violin to a luthier at least once a year.  It’s probably time for that 15,000 note checkup!  The luthier will carefully examine and recommend what needs to be done to keep your violin in excellent condition.  Proper daily and yearly maintenance of your violin will give you many years of pleasure and ensure the life of your violin for hundreds of years to come!

Welcome to the String Academy of Wisconsin at UWM