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Virginia Tech String Project

String Project staff and students pose together with instruments at event.

Our Mission:

To provide high quality and inclusive string music education for our communitity and to prepare Virginia Tech's undergraduate and graduate music students for success in their futures as music educators.

The award-winning Virginia Tech String Project, founded in 2007, is the signature community enrichment program for the music program at Virginia Tech. Our program is a member of the National String Project Consortium, founded in 1998, to address a national string teacher shortage through a plan that establishes teacher-training programs at universities throughout the country. Master string teachers work with Virginia Tech’s undergraduate music students to teach all classes. We fill a significant gap in the public-school system curriculum by providing beginning lessons in strings to students in the 3rd and 4th grades as well as providing a space for older students’ musical growth through multiple string orchestras for those with prior experience.

Announcing group guitar classes

We are excited to announce that that we will be offering group guitar classes beginning in the fall of 2024! We are excited to name Joey Ballard as our new master teacher for the guitar program! We are so happy to expand string project's impact by serving our community in this way and preparing our undergraduate and graduate music education majors to teach in an ever-changing music education landscape. Please help us welcome Mr. Ballard!

Joey Ballard is the current music teacher at Margaret Beeks Elementary School. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2016, Joey found a home in Blacksburg, teaching and playing with several local bands, including The Jared Stout Band. This led to some incredible experiences, including recording two full-length albums, being named an Artist on the Rise at Floydfest, sharing the stage with names like the Infamous Stringdusters, The Little River Band, .38 Special, and many more.

From an early age, Joey has been drawn to the beauty of learning many instruments and has been considered the Swiss Army knife musician. Even though he focused on percussion through most of college, he has said playing guitar and bass are his favorites. Getting to share his passion for stringed instruments while working at his alma mater is a dream come true.

Academic Year

Instructor teaching a class to grade school students

Meet our Faculty

The Virginia Tech String Project staff pictured together on stage.
(L to R) Yi-Wen Evans, Molly Wilkens-Reed, Tommy Cummins, Mazi Zachary, Noah Blanco-Alcala, James Kim, Martha Chen, Josie Chase, and Sarah Fox.

Molly Wilkens-Reed

Artistic Director
Alan Weinstein

Master Teacher
Yi-wen Evans

Student Teachers
Elise Echeverry 
Lindsey Finks
Sarah Fox
James Kim
Genevieve Kopp
Darnell Leon 
Charles Fitzgerald McKeller Jr.
Megan McMonagle
Harry Rosson
Justin Vu
Mazi Zachary

Thomas "Tommy" Cummins recognized with receipt of prestigious award

Tommy Cummins, wearing a light blue shirt, standing outside, holding a viola and bow.
Thomas "Tommy" Cummins

Thomas "Tommy" Cummins received the prestigious Future Music Educator of the Year award from the Virginia String Teachers Association (VASTA) in 2022. Cummins will complete his master's degree in the spring of 2023. Read more about Cummins' award and his time at Virginia Tech here.

Summer Camp

Three campers pose with their string instruments.
  • $15 covers the cost of instrument rental for a brand new string player to use at exploration camp
  • $60 provides a full scholarship for a brand new string player to experience learning the string instrument of their choice 
  • $155 provides a full tuition scholarship for an advancing string player to participate in our summer intensive