Laurel Elementary

School of Arts & Technology

Laurel Strings Program

The Laurel Strings Program website is live at

Laurel is one of the few public schools in the nation to offer tuition-free violin and mandolin lessons during school hours.  Lessons are during recess once a week for all grades except kindergarten.  Laurel students enroll in the program via annual lottery, because space is limited to 25 students per grade level.  Students are expected to attend all lessons, and to practice at home according to their assignments.  We teach students using both the Suzuki Method and the Lineage Music Method (fiddle). Both methods emphasize learning to play by ear before learning to read music.  This approach applies the basic principles of language acquisition by learning music.  We also have a Chamber Program provided by “PYCH” or Project Youth and Chamber Music.  More information about PYCH is found on the website  For students who are excelling and crave more in depth instruction, PYCH develops the classical technique and teaches note-reading.  Families involved with PYCH can expect a greater time commitment to practice.  We strongly encourage parent participation, loving encouragement, and constant repetition of the songs we teach.  Students receive one weekly small group lesson with their peers at school.  Lessons happen during students recess, with the exception of Kindergarten.  The lessons are designed to be fun and supportive so students motivate and learn from each other.  More advanced students are eligible for additional enrichment opportunities and performances.  We have an annual Spring Concert in which all students are expected to participate to help build self-confidence in their performance skills.  Students in the program are loaned an instrument free of charge so that they can practice at home.  Lydia Demi-Smith is the instructor and coordinator for the Laurel Strings Program.