“Play Skillfully On The Strings…”

The Westminster Academy strings program aims to cultivate a love a music, with a focus on string and orchestral music.  The program is run by Sarah Nowlin, under our music director Ginger Statom.
At the Grammar School music assembly, Mrs. Nowlin and Mr. Daniel Gilbert encouraged the students by sharing that playing their instruments is a way to worship God.

Mrs. Nowlin said that she is encouraged with Psalm 33: 2-3 Give thanks to the Lord with the Lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. Mr. Gilbert also said that he uses Colossians 3:23 as his verse whenever he needs encouragement with his instrument.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Colossians 3:23

They both emphasized that this is a great lesson that applies to all of life, but which can be especially cultivated when working towards mastering a stringed instrument.

Mrs. Nowlin also shared that she hopes “students would gain a practical understanding that playing music is often not easy, but one of the biggest joys comes when you put in the work and practice to master a difficult task. It takes daily dedication to master any musical instrument,” she continued.  “This is a life principle that can be applied to so much more than music!”

There are four excellent strings teachers who come to the school and work individually with students:  Beth Luscombe (violin/viola), Arron Powell (violin/viola), Daniel Gilbert (violin), and Sarah Nowlin (cello). String lessons are scheduled by Mrs. Statom, and may take place during music class time, recess, or after school, depending on the availability of both the teacher and the student.  Lessons are $25 per session and the teacher should be paid directly by the parent.  If a student signs up to take lessons, please know that it is a year-long commitment.  This not only helps keep the student’s/teacher’s schedules stable/predictable, but it teaches the students perseverance through the highs and lows they will inevitably encounter as they learn a new and challenging skill.   Lessons are open to ALL ages, JK through 12th grade.

Beyond the individual lessons, there are also three ensembles that students may participate in.  Mrs. Nowlin is the director of all three string ensembles, and she also who determines which ensemble each player is qualified for.  The Beginning Ensemble meets on Wednesdays, 3:05-3:30, and is free to students taking lessons at WA.  The Intermediate Ensemble meets Wednesday mornings, 7:10-7:55, and is $75 per semester.  The Advanced Ensemble meets Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 7:10-7:55, and is $150 per semester.  All of these ensembles play in our Fall, Christmas, Pops, and Spring concerts.  Advanced string players have the option of auditioning for the West TN Band and Orchestra Association All West Honor Orchestra.

If your child is interested in exploring strings or starting lessons, please contact Ginger Statom at gstatom@wamemphis.com