The Strings program at John G Althouse enjoys a stellar reputation as one of the TDSB’s most robust and successful instrumental music programs. Students attend Strings class every other day and have the opportunity to audition (after one year of study) for extra-curricular groups as well. The school boasts a 100 member symphony orchestra and an elite strings group (approximately 30 members), the Chamber Strings, which forms the vanguard of public school strings performance. Every student performs as a member of his/her grade’s string orchestra, twice in the Grade 6 year, and three times each in Grades 7 and 8.

The school’s Strings program is well represented at the Kiwanis Festival of Greater Toronto each February, with a long history of first place finishes, including Best Elementary School Ensemble (2015) and a string of five consecutive first place finishes at the Ontario Music Festivals’ Association recorded provincial competition (2011 to 2015 at time of writing).

Strings instruction is offered on violin, viola, cello or bass and no previous experience is needed. A special half-day camp is held on the 3rd Saturday each September to give new students an intensive workshop on their chosen instrument. Students will learn how their instruments work and how to care for them, as well as beginner technique including posture and positioning. Repertoire spans several musical genres from classical to pop, including music from the movies and television, operatic transcriptions, jazz, blues and rock.

Graduates of the Strings program find themselves well-prepared for high school strings programs or community orchestras, equipped with the technical and musical abilities to enjoy a lifetime of music making.