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 2024

Violin Beginner Program (June 17–July 27)

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 17-214:30–5:30 p.m.Daily group lessons with Jamie Hofman and Heidi Barker
June 24–July 2730 minute sessionsWeekly private lessons scheduled independently with Heidi Barker
June 27–July 254:30–5:30 p.m.Thursday group lessons with Heidi Barker

Private Lessons (June 17–July 27)

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

Three LessonsSix Lessons
30 minutes: $12530 minutes: $250
45 minutes: $17045 minutes: $340
60 minutes: $21560 minutes: $430
UW-Milwaukee | Academic Year 2024-25

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

  • Instruction: August 26–January 18
  • No instruction: November 25–30 and December 16–January 4

Spring Semester Dates

  • Instruction: January 20–May 24
  • No instruction: March 17–22
ProgramCost (per semester)*
Beginner Program$830
30 minutes (Lessons + Group)$930
45 minutes (Lessons + Group)$1,250
60 minutes (Lessons + Group)$1,510
*Financial aid is available for a reduced registration fee (including discounts for multiple students and/or UWM employees).
Urban Students in Arts Outreach | Academic Year 2024-25

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 students each year at Escuela Vieau K-8 elementary school in Walker’s Point and Milwaukee High School of the Arts. 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 instruction to your school, please contact us! 


  • Current & Previous String Academy Families: Register using the link below.
  • New & Interested Summer Violin Beginner Families: Register using the link below.
  • New & Interested Academic Year Families: Request info using the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss availability and placement.
Payment Schedule Summer 2024Fall 2024Spring 2025
Full PaymentJune 22August 31January 25
InstallmentsN/AAugust 31, September 28, October 26January 25, February 22, April 5
An additional $10 charge is added for late payments, including late installment payments.


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