The String Project reserves the right to modify these policies at any time.

Admission to String Project
Teacher Referral List
Lessons: Full Time and Saturday Only status
School Music Program Participation
Orchestra Seating
Leaves of Absence
Leaving the Program and Refunds


Admission to the String Project

To be considered for admission to the UT String Project, fill out one lottery form per child. Lottery results are announced in May.

    Acceptance of candidates via the lottery  is determined by the following factors:
  1. The program’s vacancies. In order to maintain a quality musical and educational experience for our students and teachers, our program needs a balance of instruments and experience levels.
  2. Teacher Availability.
  3. Group Class Availability.

Please be aware that lottery submissions include students with no prior musical study, extensive experience, and everything in between.

To increase your child’s chances of prompt admission to the program, consider beginning private lessons as soon as your child is ready for them; we will be happy to consider you for Saturday-only admission later. Also, consider being open to any of the string instruments. The vast majority of our applicants are waiting to enter the String Project as beginning violin or cello students, and so waits for beginning-level classes on these instruments tend to be the longest.

Teacher Referral List

We understand that some students may wish to begin private lessons on their own rather than waiting for a position in our beginner classes. To help parents begin the process of finding a teacher, the String Project maintains a list of teachers in the Austin area. The list includes some current and former String Project teachers as well as other teachers not affiliated with the String Project. The list is not in any sense exhaustive; there are many, many teachers in the Austin area. Rather, the Referral List is intended as a tool to help you begin looking for a teacher.

Inclusion on the Teacher Referral List does not constitute the String Project’s endorsement. We specifically do not endorse any teacher on the list over any other teacher included or not included on the list. It is intended merely as a tool to help parents and students to find a teacher.  If you are a teacher of an instrument the String Project teaches who would like to be added to (or removed from) the Referral List, please contact the office at string_project@mail.music.utexas.edu.


Tuition rates will be published on each year’s registration form. A deposit, also listed on the registration form, is required to hold your place for the coming school year and will be credited to your tuition bill. Tuition rates may vary from one year to the next. Tuition is due on the first Saturday of the school year.

We hope that financial concerns will not force students to withdraw from or forgo enrollment in the String Project. We work to keep our tuition as low as we can, and feel that our rates are very reasonable for central Texas. Nonetheless, if you are a current student or parent, or if you have been offered a position in the program, and are worried that you may not be able to participate due to financial difficulties, please speak to us about payment options before making a decision.

Lessons: Full Time and Saturday Only status

All String Project students must take private lessons. Students enrolled Full Time take lessons with a String Project faculty member at the Butler School of Music. Students taking lessons from a teacher outside the String Project may enroll as Saturday Only students for reduced tuition. Taking regular lessons from two teachers tends to confuse a student’s learning process, and full time students should not be also taking lessons from an outside teacher.

The String Project seeks to support music education and music educators in central Texas. For that reason, students applying to the String Project with experience on a string instrument will generally only be considered for Saturday Only status. If you are new to the Austin area, do not have a private teacher, your teacher has moved, or for some other reason you wish to join as a Full Time student, please contact us directly. We generally request a referral from your current teacher if that teacher is in central Texas before accepting new Full Time students .

Because of liability concerns, we require that all lessons for Full Time students take place in the music building at UT. We ask that students, their families, and our faculty refrain from putting each other in difficult situations by moving individual lessons to other locations.

Additionally, full-time students are not to schedule private lessons on Saturday. Firstly, two distinct instructional experiences separated by several days’ practice do far more than an extra hour on Saturday. Secondly, most students are less than optimally alert prior to classes on Saturday morning, and are tired afterwards. Thirdly, our teachers have busy weekends, frequently including other professional commitments and opportunities. Once a few students have begun scheduling weekend lessons, others feel that they should be entitled to as well, and once a few teachers have established the precedent, others feel pressure to cancel other Saturday engagements to teach. We understand that our students are busy, but if your family cannot make a single weekday appointment, you may need to consider if you really have time for the commitment required in String Project.

School Music Program Participation

The UT String Project seeks to work with and support the school music programs in our Central Texas schools. To this end, we require that our students participate in their school music programs if their school offers orchestra. Students found to be in violation will immediately be placed on probation.


Students must be present at all Saturday morning classes as well as scheduled lessons. If it is necessary for a student to miss a class or lesson, the parent should submit an Absence form before the scheduled time. Teachers are not expected to make up lessons missed by students. If it is necessary for a teacher to cancel a lesson, s/he is required to notify the parent in advance and to make up the lesson, preferably in advance.

An absence will be considered excused for the following reasons:
1. Illness
2. Death in the immediate family
3. School orchestra performance
4. Religious holidays
5. Natural disaster
Students may also take one (1) excused absence per semester for a non-orchestra school event.

Tardiness: To be on time means to be ready to start productive work at the scheduled time. For rehearsals and lessons, this means being in your seat with your instrument, music, and pencil out with your bow rosined at the start of class. Teachers are allowed to consider excessively late students absent, which will generally be considered unexcused. To be on time is to be early.

Absence Limit: If a student acquires more than two unexcused absences in a single semester, that student will be placed on probation.

Juries: Full Time students are required to take a jury at the end of both the fall and spring semesters. Saturday Only students are required to take a jury at the end of the spring semester only. Additionally, students must pass a promotional jury to move to the next most advanced ensemble. An absence for a required jury will result in the student’s being placed on probation until that jury is made up. An absence for a non-required promotional jury will result in the student’s remaining in their current ensemble. For more information on promotional juries, read Promoting & Juries.

Performances: All String Project performances are required and missing a performance is very serious. Except in the case of sudden illness, all absences for performances must be approved ahead of time by the Director and may result in the student being placed on probation. Any absence for a performance not so approved may result in immediate removal from the program.

Orchestra Seating

Seating decisions in the University of Texas String Project orchestras are made with two primary considerations in mind. Firstly, we seek to balance sections and create the best overall ensemble sound. Secondly, we try to provide our students with educational experiences that will prepare them well for their musical futures, both as leaders and supporting players and playing both melody and harmony.


Participation in any String Project orchestra or ensemble is determined by the promotional jury guidelines and posture position checklists.

Concert Program

Students will be listed in the program in alphabetical order.

Seating Decisions

Seating decisions will be based on musical and educational strategy. Concert seating, soloist, and stand partner decisions will be made by the String Project faculty members in consultation with the Director. A conductor may choose to designate “section leaders,” students who typically demonstrate consistency in intonation, tone, bowings, and level of preparation during sectional and orchestra rehearsals. All decisions regarding seating, including rotational seating, are final.

Multiple Parts

Violins (and very occasionally other instruments) are divided into two or more parts. The orchestra conductor, in consultation with the Director, may choose to keep students on the same part, rotate individuals between parts, or rotate entire sections between parts. These decisions, like all other seating decisions, will be made on the bases of the group’s overall sound and of students’ strengths and educational needs.

Seating decisions can be some of the most controversial choices a conductor makes during the year, partly because many students (and some parents and teachers) assume that their assigned proximity to the teacher represents that teacher’s assessment of playing ability or personal value. Many competitive orchestra programs do seat their students simply by order of performance quality on a particular audition day. String Project seating decisions are simply not made like that. If you have concerns regarding your child’s (or your) seat, please re-read this policy, then feel to discuss your situation with your conductor, the Director, or the Assistant Director.


The String Project recommends daily practice of at least the length of a student’s lesson. Daily practice is crucial to making progress in music, and Dr. Suzuki famously told students, “Only practice on the days you eat.” Teachers may at their discretion assign students to turn in practice charts or a practice journal to record their practice habits. The String Project has an extensive waiting list, and it is not fair to the hundreds of children waiting for places in the program if our current students are not diligently working to make progress. Continued poor practice habits may be referred to the Director or Assistant Director and may result in a student’s being placed on probation.

All students progress at their own levels, both in terms of quality of playing and of level of difficulty. Please note that it is work toward progress, not the speed of progress itself, that is important in regular practice habits. It is normal for students to go through periods of greater and lesser motivation, but consistent practice is a must at all times. Sometimes parents are concerned that regular practice may make playing an instrument, or music itself, less enjoyable for their child, particularly during periods of low motivation. Even in these times, though, regular practice is necessary, and if this is a problem in your family at the moment, talk to your teacher about strategies to make practice happen and to motivate your child.


Students are expected to:

Respect teachers and colleagues. Students will use respectful language with both their teachers and classmates, and will behave in such a manner that neither puts them or their property in danger nor disrupts from their learning and teaching.

Be prepared. Students will practice their music for lessons and classes so that they and their ensembles can make progress. Students will complete other assignments made by teachers, will bring proper equipment and materials, and will have such assignments, equipment, and materials ready for the beginning of the class or lesson. Students will not bring inappropriate materials, equipment, toys, etc. to class.

Respect the Butler School of Music and the University of Texas. These institutions are our sponsors and hosts. Students will talk and behave in a manner that does not damage or interfere with the people, property, or facilities of the Butler School of Music. This includes being quiet and orderly in the halls at all times, and particularly when waiting for private lessons on weekdays.

Students with continuing behavioral problems may be referred to the Director or the Assistant Director and may be placed on probation.


Students may be placed on probation for attendance violations, consistently poor practice habits, continued behavioral problems, missed juries, or other extreme circumstances. Students placed on probation will remain on probation until the problem is resolved (in the case of missed juries or school orchestra non-participation) or until the end of the semester, whichever comes first. At the end of a student’s probation period, his or her situation will be reviewed, and that student will either be reinstated as a student in good standing or dismissed from the String Project. In rare situations, the Director may extend a student’s probation on a semester-by-semester basis. All decisions of the Director regarding probation, reinstatement, and dismissal from the program are final.

Leaves of Absence

Occasionally circumstances arise in which a student or a family is unable to participate in the String Project for an extended period of time but does not wish to leave permanently. In such cases, parents may request a leave of absence for up to the end of the current school year (or the upcoming school year if the request is made during the summer). Requests must be submitted in writing or via email to the String Project office. If a Leave of Absence is granted, that student may return the following school year without reapplying or auditioning, although an informal jury may be necessary to place the student at an appropriate level upon their return. Leaves of Absence will only be extended beyond one year in extreme circumstances and with the approval of the Director.

Leaving the Program and Refunds

Students withdrawing from the String Project before the third (3) Saturday class of the school year may receive a full refund less the deposit listed on that year’s registration form. Students who withdraw on or after the third Saturday are not entitled to any refund. Students who withdraw on or after the third Saturday and who have not yet paid their tuition owe the String Project for the remaining balance, and may be referred to the University of Texas for unpaid debts. After you register, the String Project plans its admissions and budgets accordingly, and must collect balances owed.

Students who leave the String Project may return without reapplying or auditioning if they are on Leave of Absence (find a Leave of absence request form here). Students who have left the String Project and are not (or are no longer) on Leave of Absence must reapply and reaudition. Students who have been dismissed from the String Project will generally not be considered for readmission except in extreme situations.

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The University of Texas at Austin String Project will not take custodial responsibility of minors while participating in any classes associated with String Project. Custodial responsibility will remain with parents, legal guardians, and chaperones.