The Fiddlesticks! Youth Strings Program is currently on hold until we are able to secure adequate staffing. We look forward to resuming soon.

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Fiddlesticks! offers the opportunity for Kent County children to learn to play a string instrument at no cost to their families. Lessons are free and instruments are provided; group and private lessons take place at locations throughout Kent County. Any child in grades 3 – 8 who lives or attends school in Kent County is eligible to participate, including homeschooled children.

Four phases make up the Fiddlesticks! program:

  • In Phase 1, staff travel to schools and make presentations to introduce students to string instruments and the excitement of learning to play.
  • In Phase 2, students learn to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on the violin in groups of up to eight students. Students are also introduced to the basic elements of music theory and musicianship. The ten 45-minute lessons in Phase 2 culminate in a performance of “Twinkle” for parents and friends.
  • The groups get smaller in Phase 3, as students who are committed to continuing their studies take lessons in groups of two to four. At this stage, students may switch to viola, cello or double bass if they choose, and the ten 45-minute lessons focus on learning one or more new songs and learning the basics of reading music.
  • The program culminates with Phase 4, in which students receive ten half-hour private lessons to continue to hone their skills on their chosen instrument.
  • Enrolled students in Phases 2-4, as well as Fiddlesticks! graduates, have the opportunity to participate in the Fiddlesticks! Orchestra, which performs annually at the Opening Night of the National Music Festival.

The Fiddlesticks! program is partially funded by grants from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and United Way of Kent County, as well as private donations. We are seeking donations of used instruments in playable condition (not just string instruments) and financial contributions to help this program grow.

Please note that, due to funding restrictions, the Fiddlesticks! program is currently open only to children who live or attend school in Kent County (children who live in upper Queen Anne’s County with a 21620 zip code are also eligible). If you live outside of Kent County and would like your child to participate, please contact us regarding fees. In the future we hope to secure funding to provide this program to children in Cecil and Queen Anne’s counties at no charge as we do in Kent.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support the continuation of the Fiddlesticks! Program. To donate, click here or mail a check, but please be sure to note “Fiddlesticks!” on your contribution. Thank you for helping us to provide free string instrument lessons to our youth!