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Program History
Bulletin Board announcement imageThe Kittitas Valley Youth Orchestra (KVYO) was founded in 1987 (under a different title) when the local school district canceled their strings program. When the program was adopted and expanded by CWU in 1991, the Preparatory Strings Program was born! Up until the fall of 2007, it was the only string ensemble instruction available in the area. Currently, Prep Strings has seven instructional levels that are designed to allow students to progress from Early Beginners I & 2 up to Beginning Strings through second-year (Silver), intermediate (Gold), upper intermediate (Debut), and finally to advanced (KVYO). The program often serves over 70 students ranging in age from 7-18.
Early Beginner Violin Classes

For beginners, ages 6-7. The Suzuki method is ideal for the early beginner. In addition to teaching the child how to play an instrument, the approach seeks to develop the whole child and help unfold a natural potential to learn and become a good and happy person. Through the Suzuki process, children thrive in a total environment of support. They develop confidence and self-esteem, determination to try difficult things, self-discipline and concentration, as well as a lasting enjoyment of music, and the sensitivity and skill for music making. 

Early Beginners, Tuesdays 4:00-5:00 pm

Beginning Strings

The Beginning String Orchestra provides an encouraging environment in which children (usually 8-11 years old) receive quality hands-on instruction on violin, viola, cello, or bass. This class is appropriate for both beginners and students who have completed the Early Beginners class. Topics of instruction include right hand and left hand techniques, notes on the instrument, reading music, ear training, and more. Students will develop a basic understanding of and appreciation for music, gain personal confidence, learn how to work as a team, and have fun! It is taught by CWU music students.

Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-4:45 pm

Kittitas Valley Young Artists

Students who have successfully completed Beginning Strings or have taken private lessons for at least one year are eligible to join Kittitas Valley Young Artists. Incoming students will be familiar with reading music and have a solid understanding of the basic techniques of their instruments. This class, with an emphasis on individual playing and how each person contributes to an ensemble, is taught by CWU music students.

Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-4:45 pm

String Cats

Led by Master Teacher Bret Smith, the String Cats students explore alternative styles of music including rock, fiddle, and Mariachi. Students must be in Kittitas Valley Young Artists group or higher to join String Cats. The ensemble is directed by Dr. Smith and coached by various CWU music students.

Meets Tuesdays 5:00-6:00 pm

Kittitas Valley String Ensemble

Students should be prepared for more rigorous rehearsals and practice expectations in this advanced ensemble. Members who audition into the String Ensemble are presented with challenging repertoire that encourages both technique and musical development, and it is common for students to play for several years at this level. The Kittitas Valley String Ensemble is directed by CWU music students.

Meets Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 pm

Kittitas Valley youth Orchestra (by audition)

KVYO is the premiere ensemble of the Prep Strings. Students of this ensemble are accomplished musicians who, by audition, have displayed sophisticated technical and artistic abilities. This ensemble most often performs as a symphonic orchestra (consisting of winds, brass, and percussion in addition to strings) under the direction of a CWU Graduate Teaching Assistant. As the most experienced students in the program, members of KVYO are expected to set a good example for, as well as inspire, our other orchestra students.

Meets Thursdays from 6:00-8:00 pm

Preparatory Strings Program
400 E. University Way, 
Ellensburg WA, 98926 
(509) 963-1498