at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee









Student Handbook


Revised July 2009
















© 2013, String Academy of Wisconsin

String Academy Student Handbook


Mission Statement

The mission of the String Academy of Wisconsin is to provide an opportunity for excellence in the pursuit of comprehensive musical study for young violinists, violists and cellists.


Section I.  General Information

The office is located in room 139 of the Music Building in the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Telephone:  (Voice)  414-963-4729

                          (Fax)   414-963-4760


Mailing Address:  The String Academy of Wisconsin

                                 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

                                 P.O. Box 11941

                                 Milwaukee, WI 53211


E-Mail Address:




Office Hours:               Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.


Summer Hours:              Monday - Friday  8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


General information regarding courses offered and scheduling, concert information, messages, and scheduling may be obtained by calling Heidi Knudsen at 414-963-4729.  If no one is in the office, please leave a message on the answering machine and your call will be returned as soon as possible.


Non-Discrimination Policy

The String Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, nationality, sex, ethnic origin or religious belief in its admission, student aid or other educational practices.



Parking is available for a small fee in the UWM Student Union underground parking lot accessible from Kenwood Ave., 1/2 a block west of Downer Ave.  There is also a lot near the Main Library which can be entered on Maryland Ave. north of Kenwood Ave.  You may also park on the street.  A map of university parking is available through the String Academy office.

Section II.  Registration


NEW students should complete a registration form (available online or from the SAW office) and send it with a $40 deposit to: SAW, P.O. Box 11941, Milwaukee WI   53211.  New beginners will be admitted on a “first come, first served” basis.  Transfer students will need to schedule an interview/audition by calling 414-963-4729.  Tuition is due in full prior to the 1st day of each semester.  The option of paying half the full amount due plus a delayed payment fee up front with the other half due 8 weeks later is available.  Lessons added after the beginning of the semester for new students will be pro-rated.


CONTINUING students should send $40 (or 10% of balance due) and any corrections from their previous invoice to the SAW address.  SAW must have your deposit 30 days prior to the first day of the semester in order to reserve your place.  The balance of your tuition payment is due prior to the first day of the semester.  Please see the previous paragraph for the stated option.

ADVANCED students who are enrolled in the Paganini or Goltermann-Duport groups and above are required to take at least 45 minute lessons.  This lesson length is the minimum time required to cover all of the advanced scales, etudes, and repertoire of the advanced student.


LATE registrants will be accepted if space is available, and will be assessed a $5 per week late fee.  Exceptions to the above must be requested in writing prior to the deadline and require approval by the Executive Director.




Deposit Deadline:              30 days prior to the first day of each semester


Balance Due:                                Prior to the first day of each semester


Questions:                                Call Heidi Knudsen, Office Administrator,

at  414-963-4729.


Failure to meet registration deadlines.  If a re-registering students fails to meet the payment deadline, he/she will forfeit status as a continuing student and therefore will lose the right to a prearranged lesson time and will be required to pay a late fee of $5 per week.  It is the parent’s responsibility to be aware of and to comply with all school-related deadlines.


Students are responsible for providing the Office with any change of email or street address or telephone number.


All registration changes require written notice to the SAW office.  Students who discontinue lessons/classes and who do not properly provide written notification of withdrawal will continue to be considered officially enrolled, and will be held responsible for any tuition charges associated with an official enrollment.


Withdrawal - During the first six weeks of the semester, two additional weeks of tuition will be charged following written withdrawal. After the sixth week no tuition refund will be made.

III.  Financial Assistance


To apply for aid based on financial need, you must fill out the appropriate forms available from the String Academy office.  The forms need to be completed and returned to the String Academy office by May 15.  The financial application forms must be accompanied by a signed copy of the student’s family’s most recent Federal Income Tax form.


All award decisions are made by the Financial Aid committee based upon the recommendations of the faculty and the end-of-the-year jury examinations in addition to a demonstrated financial need.                                

IV.  Attendance, Late Arrivals and Absences


Students are expected to arrive on time for all lessons and classes.  Teachers will wait 15 minutes before assuming that a student will not be attending a private lesson.  More than three absences or late arrivals per semester is deemed unacceptable.  Faculty are not required to make up the lost time.  Teachers have been asked to leave messages on their studio door as to their whereabouts when they leave the room.  Classroom teachers may ask a late student to observe the class if participation would sufficiently hamper overall class progress.  If a teacher is late, any missed lesson time will be made up.


If a student has a health condition which might jeopardize the health of other members of the String Academy community (including other students, parents, faculty and pianists), the student and his family are asked to take all reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of disease.  Such precautions might include, but are not limited to, notification of a member of the String

Academy faculty and, in some cases, canceling a lesson and keeping the child at home.  Although such absences cannot be made up, in the case of an extended illness, a portion of the tuition may be refunded.


24-hour notice is requested for cancellation of lessons.  Teachers can be notified through the String Academy office or at their homes.  This does not exempt the student from payment as contracted.  Faculty are not required to make up student absences.             


The SAW faculty is comprised of active professional musicians who may periodically need to reschedule private lessons.  If a teacher is absent, a make-up lesson will be arranged at a mutually convenient time.  If a student misses a make-up lesson, a second lesson will not be arranged and payment will be required as in a regular student absence.  Furthermore, in cases of teacher absence, the faculty member and, on occasion, the SAW office will make every attempt to call the student prior to the class meeting.  However, faculty do not assume this responsibility when correct phone numbers have not been kept current with the private teacher and the SAW office.


Emergency teacher absences will be posted on the Office door (Room 139 ).  In the event that a teacher is late, the lesson time missed will be made up.


In the event of inclement weather, radio station WTMJ will officially announce closure.  Private lessons missed due to closure will be made up, but Group classes will not be made up.


V.  Jury Examinations


All students will be required to perform a jury examination for the String Academy faculty at an appointed time during Semester II of the academic year.  The faculty will provide written evaluations of each student.  Private lessons will not be given during this week.  Jury week is considered as one teaching week of the semester.



VII.  Performance Opportunities


Group classes  provide the opportunity for students to perform for their peers on a regular basis and to perform together as a group.  Attendance is mandatory at Group Concerts.


Solo Recitals are held on arranged Saturdays at 12 Noon in Room 280 and on arranged Sundays.  At the end of each semester, there will be a series of Solo Recitals.  All students are expected to perform at least once a semester.


Honors Recitals are held every semester.  Each Honors Recital performer will have performed at least one solo recital during the semester, and will have been nominated on the basis of that performance (by a majority of the faculty present) to perform an Honors Recital.  Criteria for Honors Recital nomination include correct notes, correct rhythms, accurate intonation, beautiful tone, musicality, and secure memorization.  At the discretion of a teacher, a student may perform a work on the Honors Recital other than that for which he or she received the nomination.


Accomplished students are encouraged to perform complete or half recitals.  These are arranged according to need with the permission of the private teacher.


Group Concerts are held every semester, and feature performances of each group class in session during that semester.  Participation in group concerts is required for all students.



VIII.  Behavior and Concert Etiquette


The lobbies and hallways serve as both a waiting area for students prior to classes and a meeting place for parents/students and faculty.  Students

should speak quietly in these areas to prevent interference with instructors in nearby studios and/or offices.  Parents are responsible for curtailing running, loud play, and any dangerous or annoying behavior on the part of their youngsters.  Young children must be supervised by their parents or an adult AT ALL TIMES.


Concert etiquette.  Students must arrive on time and stay for the entire

concert as a courtesy to the other performers in addition to the educational benefits.  Students must dress appropriately for concerts.  It is requested that cameras without flash be used, or if flash must be used, please wait until the end of the performance.   No food or drinks may be brought inside the concert venues.


Concert dress.  Boys: Dress pants and nice shirt - no tennis shoes.

            Girls: Dress clothes, preferably skirts and dresses  -

        no tennis shoes.


IX.  Conflicts and Dismissals


Conflicts.   Parents/students should make every effort to resolve instructional or personal issues with the private teacher.  Teachers will do their best to respond to individual needs.  The Executive  Director of the String Academy is available for consultation in case of serious need.


Concurrent study.  Students enrolling for individual lessons cannot be concurrently studying that same instrument or discipline with another private teacher without the approval of the Executive Director. 


Teacher changes within the Academy will be handled through the Executive Director.


Dismissal.  The String Academy reserves the right to dismiss any student due to lack of interest or progress, frequent absence (more than 4 lessons/semester), frequent tardiness, behavioral problems, delinquency in payment of fees, or failure to abide by policy. The following procedure will be followed in such a case

1.  Parent will be phoned

2.  Letter will be sent

3.  Dismissal

X.  Accompanist Policy


SAW will pay for all pianists required for SAW group concerts, special concerts out in the community, Saturday noon solo recital performances, group lessons, and master classes.  It will be the student's responsibility to hire and pay pianists for rehearsals, private lessons and individual recitals.  Please be dependable with your pianist.  If you fail to show up for a scheduled rehearsal, you are required to pay for this time.  Be sure that both you and your pianist are clear about rehearsal times and the rate per hour to be charged.  Be prompt in your payment to your pianist                                                 


XI.  University Facilities Available to SAW Families


The Student Union is open to the public.  There are informal dining areas and a good bookstore.


The Golda Meir Library is next to the Music Building.



XII.  Local Music Stores (Instruments, Music, Accessories)


Carl Becker and Son              1416 Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL


Beihoff Music Store              11737 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa WI


262-255-2283                 Bein and Fushi                                410 S. Michigan Ave.,  Chicago, IL


Brass Bell                                210 W. Silver Spring Dr., Milwaukee WI


Cascio Interstate                                13819 W. National Ave., New Berlin, WI


Classical Strings                                1418 W. St. Paul Ave., Milwaukee, WI



Family Music                                5020 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, WI



Korinthian Violins              2900 S. Delaware Ave., Milwaukee, WI



William Harris Lee              410 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL



Shar Music Products              1-800-248-7427


White House of Music              2101 Springdale Rd., Waukesha, WI



XIV.  Role of the Parent


As a parent, you play a vital role in your child’s musical experience.  Your daily involvement and interest in their work is the best help you can give them.  This way you are also a participant in your child’s “process” of learning.  You do not have to be a musician yourself to accomplish this.  One way you can contribute to your child’s success is by taking notes at lessons and asking questions.  It is also important to establish and assist in a daily practice routine at home by listening, supervising the content of assignments, and offering words of encouragement.


Daily practice is a must.  The brain comprehends ideas quickly, but muscles require constant repetition for mastery.  In addition to the physical training, mental discipline must be cultivated every day.  Lasting progress comes form regular, consistent practice, not from last-minute “cram” sessions.  Beginners work better in two brief practice sessions than with one long session which can be tiring for a young child.  Ten minutes per session is a sensible guide at first.  As the child is able to stay with it for a longer period of time, the practice sessions will expand from there.  When a child develops a passion for playing an instrument, that love will carry them through their daily practice sessions and will last a lifetime.


Every student experiences peaks and valleys during the course of studying an instrument.  This is normal and to be expected.  Parents need to have courage to keep their child studying during periods of difficulty.  If you keep your child practicing daily, a growth spurt will eventually occur.  Practice assignments are based on a number of repetitions rather than a certain number of minutes.  The child needs to be kept engaged and when this happens, the child will want to practice again the following day.  Participating in and encouraging your child’s musical growth in these ways can be a wonderful shared experience for you and your child.

XV.  Purpose of Handbook and Plan for Future Editions


The policies and procedure of The String Academy of Wisconsin have been established in order to assist students to achieve continuity of study.  All students are required to abide by them.


The String Academy reserves the right to change any program, policy, requirement or regulation published in this Handbook.  Any such changes will be published in subsequent editions of the String Academy of Wisconsin Student Handbook, which may be obtained by contacting the String Academy office.