The WVSO and Kanawha County Schools have been partners in the String Education Program since 1986. Instructors in the program are musicians in the community and teach in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Kanawha County.

Deal with a reputable music store. An entry level student instrument should be solidly built. All instruments should be sized to fit the student—a fourth grader can play a fourth grader-sized bass, which can be traded up for a larger bass as the student grows.

Ask questions about the rental program.

  • Am I paying interest?
  • What is your repair policy?
  • Do you have a qualified repair person?
  • Can I trade up in quality later? If so, do I keep all equity in current instrument?
  • Can I trade in size if I start on a smaller instrument?
  • Does this instrument meet MENC standards for string instruments?

Check with your student’s string teacher before making a purchase. Buying a string instrument can a big investment, so choose carefully. If you are purchasing, you should try several instruments in the price range before you buy.

Ballpark figures for purchasing student instruments $600 for violin, $900 for viola, $1600 for cello, $2000 for bass.

Where to look? (alphabetical listing)

Gorby’s Music, Inc. in South Charleston, WV
Phone (304) 744-9452
Violin, viola, cello

The Loft Violin Shop in Columbus, OH
Phone (800) 728-9440
Full service string instrument only shop
Violin, viola, cello, bass
Video: An explanation of the rental plan
Video: Violin/viola care and feeding
Video: Cello/bass care and feeding

Article: Don’t Buy That Cheap Violin

Music and Arts in Charleston, WV
Phone (304) 345-3011
Violin, viola, cello, bass
Rapid Rental: text 3020rent to (844) 872-0023

Old Town Violins in Lexington, KY
Phone (859) 226-5015
Violin, viola, cello, bass

Instrument and bow.

Music. Students in the Kanawha County Schools program use Essential Elements for Strings 2000 series. Make sure if you are playing violin, you have the violin edition, etc. You should bring your book to class every meeting.

Pencil. Keep a pencil handy in your instrument case. Sometimes you will be asked to mark special notes or words to go with the music like the reminder of a note name, or style of playing. Sometimes you may need to note when the next performance or rehearsal will happen.

Shoulder Rest. (Violin/Viola only) This helps to promote better posture and is beneficial for learning more advanced techniques.

Rock Stop/Endpin Protector. (Cello/Bass only) This keeps the endpin of your instrument from slipping away on hard floors.

Other items. Some teachers will ask you to bring an empty paper towel roll to use as you learn how to use the bow. Check with your teacher.

About 15-20 minutes daily will help develop muscle between your ears as well as the muscles in your body that you use to hold the instrument and produce pleasing sounds.

Elementary Schools
Alum Creek Elementary, Bridgeview Elementary, Chamberlain Elementary, Elk Center, Grandview Elementary, Holz Elementary, Kanawha City Elementary, Kenna Elementary, Montrose Elementary, Overbrook Elementary, Piedmont Elementary, Pinch Elementary, Ruffner Elementary, Ruthlawn Elementary, Shoals Elementary, Weberwood Elementary

Middle Schools
Dunbar Middle School, Elkview Middle School, Horace Mann Middle School, John Adams Middle School, South Charleston Middle School, West Side Middle School

High Schools
Capital High School, George Washington High School, Herbert Hoover High School, South Charleston High School

Parochial Schools
Sacred Heart Grade School, Charleston Catholic High School