Fall, Spring & Summer Sessions4–18Music Buildinguwm-stringacademy@uwm.edu

Students at the UWM String Academy learn to use their minds, ears, and bodies to express themselves through music. Through this journey, each child learns valuable lessons in problem solving, concentration, consistency and discipline, developing self-confidence, perseverance through challenges, an appreciation for beauty and artistry, and the joy of making music as part of a larger community.


The UWM String Academy offers students between the ages of 4 and 18 a comprehensive musical education with a focus on the violin and viola. Highly qualified artist faculty provide musical instruction based on the methods and philosophies of Mimi Zweig, Shinichi Suzuki, and Paul Rolland.  The special training, experience, and expertise of the String Academy faculty in the musical training of young people results in students playing with technical ease and musical sensitivity.

Under the careful guidance from faculty and parents, students engage in a challenging course of study that includes private and group instruction, daily home practice, frequent solo and ensemble performances, master classes, and music theory and ear training study. String Academy alumni who have taken the path of becoming musicians are now performing and teaching throughout the world. While some may choose music as a career, all String Academy students can develop a lifelong appreciation for the joy and beauty of music.

UW-Milwaukee | Summer 2023

Violin Beginner Program (June 19–July 28)

Get your budding violinist off to a great start with instruction designed for youngsters who have never played a string instrument. Price for this six-week program is $310 per student.

June 19-234:30–5:30 p.m.Daily group lessons with Jamie Hofman and Heather Barker
June 26–July 2830 minute sessionsWeekly private lessons scheduled independently with Heather Barker
June 29–July 274:30–5:30 p.m.Thursday group lessons with Heather Barker

Private Lessons (June 19–August 12)

In-person instruction (unless otherwise requested) taught by Jamie Hofman, Heather Barker, or Heidi Barker.

Three LessonsSix Lessons
30 minutes: $12530 minutes: $250
45 minutes: $17045 minutes: $340
60 minutes: $21560 minutes: $430
UW-Milwaukee | Academic Year 2023-24

The academic year program includes individual lessons which vary in length, and weekly group lessons ranging from 1 to 3 hours (scheduled between 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday). For advanced students, a music theory class is offered. Group concerts, solo recitals, and other performance opportunities take place throughout the year.

Fall Semester Dates

  • 17 weeks of instruction: August 28 – January 20
  • No instruction: November 20–25 and December 18–January 6

Spring Semester Dates

  • 17 weeks of instruction: January 22 – May 25
  • No instruction: March 18–23
ProgramCost (per semester)*
Beginner Program$820
30 minutes (Lessons + Group)$920
45 minutes (Lessons + Group)$1,235
60 minutes (Lessons + Group)$1,495
90 minutes (Lessons + Group)$1,725
*Financial aid is available for a reduced registration fee (including discounts for multiple students and/or UWM employees). Please complete the financial aid form promptly when received.
Urban Students in Arts Outreach | Academic Year 2023-24

The Urban Students in Arts Outreach Program (USAO), which provides violin instruction, was developed to help meet the needs of musically talented low-income and minority students who are deserving of professional instruction. The program creates a positive educational experience for disadvantaged students, and helps develop discipline, self-confidence, self-esteem, aesthetic awareness and cultural appreciation in students whose lives can be altered with serious music study.

The USAO trains 10-20 students per year via outreach at Escuela Vieau K-8 elementary school in Walker’s Point, and are working to expand into Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language and the Milwaukee High School of the Arts this year. Students are taught by UWM String Academy staff as well as by Master of Music in String Pedagogy students from UW-Milwaukee. USAO families pay a nominal fee for weekly private lessons and participate in all group and performance activities of the String Academy.

If you are interested in bringing UWMSA instruction to your school, please contact us! 


Heidi Barker headshot
  • Lecturer, Violin and Viola, UWM String Academy
Jamie Hofman Headshot
  • Teaching Faculty III, Violin and Viola
  • Director, UWM String Academy
Sherry Sinift HEADSHOT
  • Adjunct Professor, UWM String Academy
Bernard Zinck HEADSHOT
  • Associate Professor, Violin
  • Area Head, Strings and String Pedagogy
  • Chamber Music Coach


Staff will contact all current String Academy families with registration details for the 2023-2024 year. Staff will also contact prospective families, have a conversation to verify fit with programming, and share registration details. The financial aid form will also be distributed upon request.

Payment ScheduleFall Due DateSpring Due Date
Full PaymentSeptember 2January 27
InstallmentsSeptember 2, October 14, November 18January 27, February 24, April 6
An additional $10 charge is added for late payments, including late installment payments.