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Missouri String Project

Leslie Perna
, Professor of Viola
Director, Missouri String Project
259 Fine Arts Building
Columbia, Missouri 65211-6120
phone: 573-882-2748
fax: 573-884-7444

click here to enroll via
online application

Download an application (pdf)

For further information about all
of the School of Music’s community programs, please contact Robin Anderson, Director of Entrepreneurship and Community Programs
140 Fine Arts Building
Columbia, MO 65211-6120
phone: 573-882-2605
fax: 573-884-7444

The Missouri String Project has been a part of the Columbia community since 1973. The Project has a two-fold mission – to prepare University music students for their future as public school and private teachers, and to introduce 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students to music by giving them the opportunity to study the violin, viola or cello. MU music education and performance majors serve as teachers, and receive instruction and guidance from MU viola professor Leslie Perna, the Director of the MSP. Young students are provided instruction through group lessons and string chamber orchestra rehearsals, and perform their own concerts each semester. These students benefit from inexpensive yet extensive instruction from excited and energetic teachers, while teachers who participate get invaluable hands-on teaching experience in a supervised atmosphere of learning before they graduate to jobs in the public schools or begin their own private teaching studios. Dozens of teachers from the project have found the experience invaluable as they pursue a career in teaching, as well as in their day to day professional lives. Hundreds of young students have begun their musical lives with the MSP, and many still play today.


Fall 2015 Open Houses:

Saturday, 9/12, 10:00am-12:00pm - Fine Arts Building
Tuesday, 9/15, 6:30pm-8:00pm - Fine Arts Building

Open House Flyer (pdf)

Fall 2015 Session Schedule:

Monday Classes • First Year Students 4:10-5:00 | Second Year Students 5:10-6:00
September 21-December 7 and February 1-May 2

Wednesday Classes • 4:10-5:00 | Second and Third Year Students 5:10-6:00
September 23-December 9 and February 3-May 4

Friday String Orchestra • 5:10-6:00
September 25-December 11 and February 5-May 6

3rd year MSP students (5th graders) should enroll with the MYO Junior Strings. 3rd year students will participate in Wednesday MSP group classes from 5:10-6:00, and their large orchestra rehearsal will take place with the MYO Junior Strings on Sundays from 2:00-3:00pm. You will only need to pay once ($180 covers both enrollments).

All Group lessons take place in the Fine Arts Building.
Violins, 145 & 146; Violas 148; Cellos 134

String Orchestra takes place in Loeb Hall
All Orchestra classes take place in Loeb Hall, room 201

Fall 2015 MSP Concert: Sunday, December 13 at 3:00 PM, Whitmore Recital Hall

Spring 2016 MSP Concert: Sunday, May 8 at 3:00 PM, Whitmore Recital Hall (subject to change)

Parking: Lot WC-6 behind Fine Arts Annex is available for free parking after 3PM Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Paid parking (enforced 24/7) is available on Levels 4, 5, and 6 of Hitt Street Garage. Both are walking distance to Fine Arts Building. Lot RC-9, beside Loeb Hall, has unmetered spots available after 5PM Mondays-Fridays, and metered spots enforced until 5PM Mondays-Fridays. Metered street parking is also available on Hitt Street, University Avenue, and Elm Street, and those spots are enforced Monday through Saturday until 7PM.

Missouri String Project Inclement Weather Policy: In the event of inclement weather, the Missouri String Project follows the Columbia Public Schools. For example, on dates where Columbia Public Schools are closed the Missouri String Project will not hold rehearsals. All parents will be notified by email of any scheduling changes due to inclement weather.

Contact the Community Music Program at 573-882-2605 or directlyand ask for your preferred teacher.


Supplies Needed

  1. Your own rented/purchased instrument.  Renting an instrument for use in the MSP is the responsibility of each individual student and parent.  You may rent/buy your instrument and music from whomever you choose.  However, a representative from Instrumental Influence, a local music store, will be at the Open House for your convenience, and will be happy to service your rental/purchase needs at a competitive rate.
  2. Lesson book "Essential Elements Book 1,” available at Open House
  3. Music Stand, available at Open House
  4. Shoulder rest for violinists and violists, which can be purchased from the music store or through MSP.
  5. Lesson notebook and pencil, for teacher assignments and note-taking


The tuition fee is $180 per semester*, due the first Friday class.

Please make checks payable to MU School of Music and send to:

Attn: Missouri String Project
MU School of Music
140 Fine Arts Building
Columbia, MO 65211

Credit Cards: The MSP is now accepting credit card payments in person at the Community Programs office (140 Fine Arts Building) or over the phone at 573-882-2605

*We keep our costs very low, and are able to offer an outstanding fee.  Students receive 1 group class and 1 orchestra class per week, plus the final concert and possible private lessons for this one low fee.  The Missouri String Project is self-supporting, and this fee pays our hard-working teachers. 

We'd like to hear from you! If you have any questions, please contact us by calling 884-4939 or emailing

Missouri String Project orchestra