News from ASTA

Mike Lawson • Strings • August 20, 2023

Welcome to the start of the 2023-2024 school year! As you prepare your orchestra classroom for new students, new repertoire, and new musical experiences, I hope you will turn to the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) for resources, inspiration, and community. Here are some highlights we have in store for the string teaching profession this school year:

Midwest Clinic Preconference Opportunity for Secondary String Teachers. Are you teaching strings, but strings aren’t your primary instrument? Join ASTA for an intensive pre-conference on Tuesday, December 19th prior to the start of the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL, called String Teaching Simplified. This hands-on workshop will help you increase your string teaching skills so you can be confident in your role as an orchestra director. 

ASTA 2024 National Conference – March 20-23, 2024 – Louisville, Kentucky. This year, we are collocating our national conference with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. You pay one registration fee and get access to all the content from both organizations, including the ASTA National Orchestra Festival; evening performances by Mike Block and the Sphinx Virtuosi; and three amazing keynotes from violinist and inspirational speaker, Vijay Gupta, members of the Sphinx Virtuosi, and Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser. Our conference theme is about Expanding and Connecting Communities and how we can build stronger string programs in our schools, studios, and communities.

The New Canon Project. This year, ASTA and Rising Tide Music Press will commission 5 new works for the secondary string classroom by new Black and Latinx composers through the New Canon Project, supporting by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sphinx Venture Fund. In August 2021, ASTA members asked for more works by composers of color that are readily accessible for secondary string classrooms and teaching spaces. This project is all about meeting that need and supporting new Black and Latinx composers! The works will be premiered at the 2024 ASTA National Conference and will be available for distribution through, part of Hal Leonard Publications.

The National Orchestra Festival application for 2025 opens November 15th. Would you like to bring your ensemble to engage with renowned clinicians and conductors, receive feedback on their performance, and interact with other like-minded directors and student groups?  Need to share some phenomenal string performances to inspire your students in their music making? Want your students to visit an exhibit hall devoted to string instruments, music, and music schools? The National Orchestra Festival is all of this – and partnered with ASTA’s national conference. The dates for 2025 at March 19-22, 2025, and the location is Atlanta, GA. 

Celebrating Strings! Program inserts available. This advocacy piece celebrates all the great reasons for participating in and supporting string programs in schools. There are print-ready versions in English and Spanish for you to use in your concert programs, and slide decks you can share prior to the start of a concert program on a screen.

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!