The Davis Waldorf School Strings Program
A SUPPORTIVE AND ENGAGING MUSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The Davis Waldorf School strings program begins with the 4th grade strings class where students learn to play the violin, viola, or cello. The teaching style combines two common methods of strings instruction, ear training and note reading. Ear training, the approach used in the Suzuki method, develops a good sense of intonation, while note reading ability allows the students to rehearse effectively together in an ensemble. These skills are developed further in the 5th grade strings class. Students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades rehearse as strings ensembles. Ensemble repertoire incorporates a variety of musical styles including renaissance, baroque, classical and romantic chamber music.
Strings students also enjoy playing movie tunes, popular songs, and holiday music. All strings classes meet twice per week. 6th, 7th and 8th grade strings classes include music theory instruction that focuses on utilizing key signatures in the keys of C, G, D, A, F, and B flat major as well as construction of major and minor scales. Students are asked to practice at home at least: 4th grade 20 minutes 4 times per week, 5th grade 20 minutes 5 times per week, and 6th-8th grade 30 minutes 5 times per week. Strings classes perform at the Winter Assembly and a Spring Concert. Additional performance opportunities include community service concerts at nursing and retirement homes and at school events such as Open House and Family Craft Day.
Parents often ask if it is a good idea to start private lessons before the 4th grade. Mrs. Kost has found that it is very beneficial for students to have some ear training (such as Suzuki lessons) during the 3rd grade or earlier. Private lessons are recommended but not required. In 6th grade the students choose whether they would like to deepen their knowledge and skills in the strings program or select a new music offering.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT – THE FIDDLERS
Fiddling is a popular after-school volunteer activity. Over the years, Mrs. Kost has coached the Davis Waldorf School Fiddlers, a group of around a dozen violin and cello players. Students can join the group if they have learned the class music, if they are willing to practice extra time to learn the fiddle group repertoire and if class behavior is acceptable. The Davis Waldorf Fiddlers have performed at the Davis Farmers Market, the California State Fair, the State Capitol Rotunda, in Golden Gate Park for a Waldorf 100-Year celebration, on Davis community television and KDRT radio, at various nursing and retirement homes in Davis, Woodland, and Fairfield, at the Davis International House, at various churches and at numerous other locations and events around the community. The fiddle group provides a valuable opportunity for students to share the joy of music with their community.
STRINGS INSTRUCTOR ANGELA KOST
Angela Kost started music ensembles at UCSD, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Washington during her twenty years working as a biology research assistant. These groups were comprised of scientists from academic departments and ranged from bluegrass bands to chamber music orchestras. She also played in university symphonies at Stanford, UCLA, and UCSD.
Angela enjoys fiddling and has won numerous fiddling awards, including first place in twin fiddling with her daughter at the 2016, 2019, and 2022 California State Fiddle Championships. Angela began teaching strings at the Davis Waldorf School in 1993 and currently teaches strings in grades 4-8 and after-school fiddling classes. Angela also enjoys performing with her family and friends at nursing homes, weddings, and special occasions. When she is not playing her violin, Angela farms an organic walnut and fruit orchard in Rumsey in the beautiful Capay Valley.
Education: B.A. in Biology from Stanford University, M.S. in Ecology from U.C. Davis, post-graduate studies in music at U.C. San Diego
PAST PERFORMANCES GALLERY