Aspen Music Festival And School

Beginning Strings

After-school violin, viola, and cello instruction for beginning and intermediate string students

Schools  |  Cost and Scholarship  |  Register


IN-PERSON CLASSES are back in Beginning Strings!!

Registration for the 2021-2022 school year opens on August 27.


Program Information

The Beginning Strings program is open to elementary aged students who wish to study a string instrument (violin, viola, or cello) through a curriculum that includes group classes (either virtual or in-person) and performance opportunities, plus a series of private or small-group lessons for each student.  When students take advantage of the private lesson and small-group lesson opportunities, paired with the group-learning experience, we frequently see students make great gains.

Our highly experienced teachers work to help students develop a joy and love of music through string education and performance. This program is a wonderful opportunity for children interested in music to begin playing violin, viola, or cello in a supportive, engaging musical environment.  Parents are strongly urged to support and encourage the students in daily practice.

Open to students in grades 2-5, and through middle school for students with past Beginning Strings experience. 

Based on the financial commitment and the need for program consistency, it is important that students commit to an entire school year of classes.


Schools:  2021-2022 School Year

The Beginning Strings program will run as an after-school program at seven schools during the 2021-2022 school year.  

All Roaring Fork Valley students (regardless of what school they attend during the school year) are welcome to participate in Beginning Strings at any participating school.

Meet the AfterWorks Teachers

Aspen Community School

  • TBD


Aspen Elementary School

  • TBD


Basalt Elementary School

  • Wednesdays, 2:10-3:40 PM
  • Class starts October 6


Crystal River Elementary School 

  • Thursdays, 3:30-5:00 PM
  • Class starts October 7


Glenwood Springs Elementary School

  • TBD


Riverview School

  • Wednesdays, 2:10-3:40 PM
  • Class starts October 6


Sopris Elementary School

  • Tuesdays, 3:40-5:10 PM
  • Class starts October 5


After-School Program Cost: $275

Cost includes 20+ weeks of 90-minute classes, a starter supply pack (rosin, shoulder rest or rock stop, finger tapes, Essential Elements method book, music stand), a minimum of six private lessons or small group lessons (lessons alone are valued at $240!), at least one performance on the Harris Hall stage (if allowed by public health orders), snacks during classes, and dinner before the final Showcase concert. Students are responsible for the cost of an instrument (either a rented or purchased violin/viola/cello); some AMFS-owned scholarship instruments are available.

This program is heavily subsidized by the AMFS and generous donors, and the actual program cost is more than $700 per student!

Please note that this is a 20+-week program and that students should commit to the entire series of classes. In order for students to learn to play a string instrument, they need to be in class on a consistent basis.  Conflicts and emergencies should be communicated to the Beginning Strings teachers or AMFS Education team as soon as they are known.


A limited number of tuition scholarships are available to students who demonstrate significant financial need.  Additionally, a limited number of instrument scholarships are available to students who are unable to afford the cost of purchasing or renting a violin/viola/cello to use an AMFS-owned instrument while enrolled in Beginning Strings.

Payment Plan

Payment plans for Beginning Strings tuition are available, if necessary, and can be requested during the acceptance process.

Late Registration Fee: $25

Students who complete this Beginning Strings registration form after 8 AM on Thursday, September 30 may be assessed a Late Registration Fee of $25 to cover late application processing and ordering of additional student supplies. 

AfterWorks Refund Policy

Once a student has registered for an AfterWorks program (Beginning Strings, Chamber Collab, Lead Guitar, or Maroon Bel Canto Choirs), the following policy will apply to tuition refunds if that student chooses to leave the AfterWorks program:

  • Before first class/rehearsal: full tuition refund
  • Between first and third class/rehearsal: half tuition refund
  • After third class/rehearsal: no refund



Students can select to play violin, viola, or cello through the Beginning Strings program.  Follow these links to see each instrument demonstrated by our friends at the Harmony Program:  violin, viola, & cello.

Not sure what to play?  Pick violin... It's the most affordable and common instrument option.   

All students should have an instrument ready for the first day of Beginning Strings class. Students will receive detailed information about securing an instrument through Shar Music when they have been accepted to the Beginning Strings program and will receive access to the AMFS's discounted pricing on instruments.

Learn what size instrument your student needs with this helpful link.

Students have three options to secure an instrument: 

  • Purchase an instrument through a music shop (we use Shar Music in Ann Arbor, Michigan; around $180 for violins, $230 for violas, and $670 for cellos)
  • Rent an instrument from a music shop (again, we use Shar Music; rental rates per month are around $18 for violin, $24 for viola, and $52 for cello)
  • Apply for an instrument scholarship to use an AMFS-owned instrument


Advanced Opportunities

Blue Square & Black Diamond Level Students

Were you involved in Beginning Strings in the past? If you have achieved placement in the Blue Square (intermediate) or Black Diamond (advanced) level of the Beginning Strings program, you will be placed in your own class for experienced string players during the already scheduled class times. All students will be assessed during the first week of class and placed into the appropriate class division.

Double Black Diamond Level Students - NEW AMFS Chamber Collab

Double Black Diamond students are invited to be involved in brand new chamber music program this school year!  Love to make music with a small group of friends?  Want a learning and performance opportunity specifically designed for advanced string players?  Moved past the Beginning Strings class level but still want to be involved?  AMFS Chamber Collab is for you!

In this chamber music program designed specifically for you, you will work in small ensemble groups to develop ensemble skills, learn extended techniques, and expand your independent musicianship with a dedicated ensemble coach.

Interested students will be formed into small ensembles according to age/grade level and experience/ability level. Small ensemble groups will meet weekly at locations and times based on student and coach availability. 

Chamber Collab students who would like to also participate in weekly Beginning Strings classes (Blue or Black Diamond level) are expected to be strong leaders and role models in the class and must receive instructor approval for class attendance. 

More Chamber Collab information coming soon!


Beginning Strings Performances

  • Date TBD - AfterWorks Solo Recital | Select students invited to participate based on work in private lessons | Harris Concert Hall | 
  • Spring Date TBD - Beginning Strings Showcase | Harris Concert Hall | 

* Performances will only take place if large-group gatherings are allowed by local health officials.
* Beginning Strings classes end after the spring Beginning Strings Showcase.


How to Register

Registration for Beginning Strings opens on Friday, August 27, 2021 and closes on Wednesday, September 29.  Late registrations will be accepted starting Thursday, September 30 and may be subject to a $25 Late Registration Fee.


About AfterWorks

The Aspen Music Festival and School’s AfterWorks program offers after-school, in-school and summer programming, in collaboration with Valley schools, to support music education. These programs are designed to complement the quality music instruction students receive from schools and private instructors.

To learn more, please contact:

Heather Kendrick
Manager of Education and Community Programming
970 205 5057

Significant underwriting of the AfterWorks Beginning Strings program is provided through a generous contribution from Take Note Colorado.

Significant underwriting of all AfterWorks programs is provided through generous contributions from Alpine Bank of Aspen, Leelee and Bill Harriman, the Meinig Family Foundation, and Anne and Chris Reyes. Additional support of AfterWorks and the ArtistYear program is provided through generous contributions from Edith Kallas and Joe Whatley, and Tita and Dan McCarty.


Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO