Supporting Young Teachers: Starting an ASTA Student Chapter at Your College or University

August 16, 2022, 4:35 PM · We’ve all heard there’s a teacher shortage, and certainly that seems to be the case in the world of string education. We have heard so many jobs are begging for qualified string educators to fill those vacant positions. Obviously, we need to train and motivate music educators.

What if we have a solution for that, within our colleges and universities?

At the University of Redlands, where I’ve been Artist Teacher of Cello since 1995, we started a String Project in 2011. The National String Project Consortium helped us develop a program that gave practical experience to our undergraduates, who provided lessons for elementary school students in the area.

That helped our Music Education students gain practical working knowledge of how to teach. But how to motivate them? How to connect them with a larger community that could offer expertise, mentoring and inspiration?

I found a wonderful solution in the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), an organization where I'm a longtime member. This group, established in 1946, connects teachers with each other, with their communities and with the broader community of string teachers nation-wide, whether they wish to eventually teach in schools, universities or privately.

Very importantly, though, ASTA also has something called Student Chapters. In fact, there are approximately 54 Student Chapters currently, at colleges and universities all across the United States.

I first began to notice these Student Chapters at ASTA National Conferences, which I've been attending regularly since 2005. The conferences take place annually, at a different location each year. I noticed many young educators-in-training were also attending the sessions, and I could see that this was a great way for young people to get introduced to fabulous educators across the nation, and develop their knowledge and tools for use when they got out into the real world of teaching. I noticed that many of these student participants were attending as members of their ASTA Student Chapters, along with their faculty sponsors.

Clearly, we needed our own ASTA Student Chapter!

So we started our ASTA Student Chapter at the University of Redlands in 2018-19, with the idea of getting our String Music Education students active and involved in ASTA. We also wanted to attend the ASTA National Conference, which was to be held in Albuquerque, N.M. that year -- in March of 2019. The Dean of the School of Music worked to secure university funding to help our students afford the trip costs so they could attend.

ASTA Student Chapter at Redlands
ASTA Student Chapter at Redlands, L-R: Ian Kaminski, Anthony Schnell, Kyle Champion, Wren Brady, Megan Susuico-Scott, Gillian Espinoza, Becky Long (Master Teacher), Francisco Rangel, Jake Quijada.

We ended up with eight students, myself, and our String Project Master Teacher heading to Albuquerque for the conference, where everyone attended as many workshops and sessions as they could over the span of three and a half days. We came back exhausted but exhilarated! And our students were able to connect with other ASTA Student Chapter members from around the country - an added bonus!

Having seen this transformation, I think there could be many more Music Education string students who might find membership in a Student Chapter of ASTA to be an added element to their musical education. It’s easy to get started. You can find specific information about starting a Student Chapter on the ASTA website by clicking here).

Here are the basic steps:

The next ASTA National Conference will take place March 15-18, 2023 in Orlando, Florida - what great motivation to get your chapter going! Click here to learn more about ASTA's conferencees and summits. I'd love to see you there!

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August 18, 2022 at 06:22 AM · Re: American String Teachers Association (aka) ASTA National and State Student Chapters! {#1}

It is refreshing to see Kyle Champion's Article, writing of his ASTA allegiance & experiences published in, and as the Violinist Daughter of possibly, the most visionary National ASTA President in its 77 yr History, Ralph Matesky, acclaimed NYC born Juilliard Top of Class, Calvin Coolidge Award graduate in Violin, pupil of Eugen Ysaye Apostle, Eduoard Dethier, and Mishel Piastro, my father joined ASTA early on in Southern California, and when he was building the entire public school system of Compton, CA, as Supervisor of String Music Education and in so doing, built up literally thousands of young and inspired children and all the way from elementary up to graduating High School musicians by teaching them 'How to Play a String Instrument', giving so much of his love & expert time plus Care for all children in the Compton City Schools, with immense support from the Supervisor of all of The Compton City Schools, Mrs. Ardella B. Tibby, with whom he had a splendid working & personal relationship which grew as his 16 fruitful years continued ...

To build a string programme throughout the Compton City Schools & so successful Dad's Children's Symphony Orchestra appeared on a most prominent Los Angeles Television Programme televised across all Southern California, titled "Music At Night", then known as KTLA TV, also being interviewed by a well known LA broadcast television Host - Journalist, who seemed fascinated with my father's magical touch amid abilities to raise all children, no matter their backgrounds, i.e., poorest of the poor, to poor+ sort of okay from working families to even well to do children from some local wealthy families, which made utterly No difference to my father, who would 'smell' talent from far off & then proceed to entice a child to learn a bit on a preferred instrument of his/her choice, and bring him/her/them into his Children's School Orchestra, while also composing truly delightful pieces for the children to learn to play and play well as they grew under the music written and direction of Ralph Matesky, the 'Pied Piper' of music making in an LA suburb community and also at USC w/many fine Faculty hearing much of Ralph Matesky's String Programme for Children in the Elementary Schools growing throughout Compton, CA! Dad never stopped thinking of better little pieces to compose & it was in his (and I'll say, knowingly) 'genius' for composition to enchant the children with music and Joy in playing in then sought after Ralph Matesky Children's Orchestra, once inviting friend, famed Actor/Children's TV Friend & Activist, Art Linkletter, as a guest Narrator, he begin to become known throughout the State of California, invited by the State of California Chief Administrator of Education for California Public Schools to become a Consultant to herself, Helen Hefernan, and to draw up a State String Education Plan plus Dad, ever doing more, drafting a CA State Code of Ethics for Teaching Music and String Teachers in all California Public Schools about How to Attract children to a string instrument and as it grew, to any instrument, plus How to Teach All strings and again, later, How to Teach Strings altho' schooled in other kind's of instruments including Winds, Brass and Percussion!

My father's programmes, unintentionally, became a 'Revolution of String Teaching' with his 'Method's', and many to become NY Major Publishing House's published, although simple yet wrought from years of discipline over his own instrument, the violin, which were a huge part of the overall Message to all String Teachers to Encourage no matter how seemingly tough it seemed in the very beginning, but to teach the How of very basic 'How To's', i.e., the holding of a violin, viola, cello and double bass, plus taking basics of 'How To's' all the way to a point a child could play little pieces on the violin & other string cousins quite well, to then audition to become a member of Children's Orchestra, to Be On Television! The 'Music At Night' television debut telecast attracted such rare attention and praise, the Producer's of "Music at Night" went back to Compton, producing another "Music at Night II" a bit later which then consisted of his Children's Orchestra's (2 side by side) plus Dad's admiring English Speech Teacher Colleague, Myra Jane Taylor's exceptional Choir of Speech Spoken as if a singing Choir, but spoken in sync with all text coordinated to compositions Dad composed, plus a Choir of Voices and the effect of all of this was truly astonishing and yes, astounding!!! How do I know this? I was there, as Dad's auditioned for it Concertmaster, and cherished the experience, whilst studying violin at home with Dad, who was coaching me into violin concert repertoire also allowing me to sit in during his private lessons to gifted violin pupil's whilst actually teaching me to Teach as a youngster. My first 'job' teaching was aged 9, with 5 neighborhood pupils my own age and even 7 yrs old for a sum of $5.00 for the Five each week! It was, in and of itself, a marvelous opportunity to learn How to help my own age group and as it progressed, other's older to 14, which inspired my goals for a profession as a performer/teacher musician at an early age!

More to be continued later today, as it is now in a wee hour of Thursday, August 18, 2022, but my father's influence of at least 3 generations of string players & other instrumentalists throughout Southern California from the 1950s to 1960s is globally known of through his many students w/'names' of a number of eminent famous musicians who still write to me on Facebook to offer their love plus ongoing gratitude to "Professor Matesky" for all he taught for their musical education as a Conductor of the great Orchestral Masterworks; Chamber Music, plus attentive individual instrumental solo repertoire, and as a prime example of How a Great String Minstrel should and can and Was for untold young people in the entire LA basin which spread to many parts across the United States, and kept spreading with his alliance to *The Idyllwild Arts Foundation in the San Jacinto Mountains outside the Village of Idyllwild, CA, with *Dr. Max T. Krone and wife, Bea Krone, founding *The Idyllwild Arts Foundation in the mid 1940s, and drawing in top string, piano plus Brass, Wind/Choral Mentor's and in many other *Art Forms to offer young people Summers of disciplined Camp Life as budding musicians, et al, tutored by truly committed musician-teachers plus - and in the very best sense of the word ...

ASTA dropped in to Dad's life around mid-later 1950s/early '60s, and I will write about this formidable part of my father's offerings to American Music Education via his many posts in the ASTA State Chapter, Student Chapter idea, his State Presidency, & finally to national election as ASTA's National President, and Dad's major lifting up of its North American Continent Profile & through his then visionary inclusion of new Guitar, Double Bass and Harp in Membership which enlarged ASTA's International Stature w/all of this during his would be very shortened lifetime ...

Poppa's vision for ASTA was to build its American membership to include both public school Music Director's of Orchestras, plus all string teacher's in the public schools of the United States and Canada, boosting membership to new levels never before seen or experienced, whilst forging transoceanic relationships with fellow ASTA organisations in Japan, helping then President of JASTA, in Tokyo, to expand the International Profile of JASTA, who honored my father, Ralph Matesky, when he guest lectured in Tokyo's Toho School of Music plus other major cities in Japan, on his rare string teaching techniques; his composition of little orchestral pieces for beloved elementary school orchestra children and all mentioned above featured in his Los Angeles Children's Orchestra on NBC's second presentation of the Ralph Matesky Compton City Public Schools elementary to high school-college string orchestra music programmes on the "Music at Night II" Television Programme here profiled earlier in my Look Back to ASTA and the 'Revolution of String Orchestras in the Public Schools of California' and parts further ...

As Kyle Champion explains in his ASTA Article Outline, let us say that it 'takes a village', aka, an entire community to raise its children to become appreciative young musicians, whether or not they later seek professional musician-hood, and with the latter being an unexpected side effect of the Ralph Matesky 'Movement' in the 1950s/'60s, and into the 1970s, heralded by Dad's First *Idyllwild Arts Advanced Concert Orchestra *International Concert Tour to England and Wales, circa 1964, which empowered many members of his ISOMATA CA Orchestra to go out to raise funds through local charitable organisations seeking sponsorship for a First Idyllwild, California in the US *'International Youth Orchestra Concert Tour' with all the 'bells and whistles', while featuring outstanding soloists from within the ranks of the Orchestra which included Principle Oboist, young *Michael Tilson Thomas; principle 'Cellist, Harry Schlutz; yours truly as Concertmaster/Soloist, and in a wondrous Side by Side with the *Monmouthshire Youth Orchestra of South Wales, and a prodigious young Welsh Pianist, Rosemary Thomas, in their US/UK Farewell Concert, broadcast by BBC Cardiff, LIVE, in Pontypool, So. Wales, and featuring internationally known, Mezzo Soprano at the time, *Gwyneth Jones, later knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, *'Dame' (of the British Empire) Gwyneth Jones, who would become truly acclaimed as a Wagnerian Soprano, following intense coaching in Geneva, Switzerland, with Madame Carpi, famed vocal coach of Tito Gobbi, and other renowned Singer's, eventually being a Star Soprano of Wagnerian Opera, with the greatest singers at that time, and duly featured prior to the rare Sir Georg Solti production of 'The Ring', filmed/produced by BBC London Television's own John Culshaw, with his co-host, Sir Humphrey Burton, renowned BBC Radio /Television Producer of Award winning documentary films on Grand Leonard Bernstein, and if memory serves me right, the Great Herbert von Karajan, famed Music Director for Life of the Berlin Philharmonic! All of these gloried Events plus return Headline Review of the Idyllwild CA Int'l England & Wales Tour Orchestra: 'Young Ambassador Musicians of The United States of America', lay witness to a reality due to my father's complete belief in young talent and to his true genius abilities to build talent into concert artist performing orchestras, chamber orchestras, {aka, *The Idyllwild Ch Orch recording of *British Composer, Gordon Jacobs' Recorder Concerto for Recorder with Chamber Orchestra & renowned Recorder Artist, Carl Dolmetsch, as soloist} plus RM mentoring of many star solo performer's & famed Conductors, *MTT and prior, the now late African American, Henry Lewis, Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony/husband of Mezzo Soprano, Marilyn Horne, to name but just a few ~

There is much more one could penn here, but it would exceed all limits of space allotted for One Reply, & with that stated, I know my father would applaud the efforts of Kyle Champion and now, in this (IMO) upside down time for Music Education Pure vs 'Strained Education' as it is being twisted with some educator's of Ideology fabricating ideas about our Greatest Composer's, i.e,. Ludwig van Beethoven, whom as of late assigned horrid names or identified by ignorant individuals with ulterior agenda's to tear down a towering Composer, and one who went completely deaf, yet composed his greatest orchestral choral works in the darkness of his aural night =The Ninth Symphony and his Missa Solemnis, to name only Two of the Ten Wonders of Beethoven's World of Composition . . .

In conclusion, though far from full review of 'All Things Ralph Matesky', let me suggest that we, 'Apostle's' of my father's pure teaching of Music and Instruments of the Orchestra, must now carry on the Legacy which has brought our Baby Boomer Generation grand acclaim throughout the International Music World, and it is We, who shall be Author's of our "Faith", aka, Musical Oath's taken in our inner hearts, when we signed on to studying with major great teacher's and those who built ASTA for the purpose of musically educating generations of young American musicians to beautify and enhance the Culture of our Great Country ~ The United States of America & whom must never abandon our Musical Journey, collectively, and Now, at a perilous time in our Nation's History, being duly challenged by some who would tear down all Good to promote dangerous agenda's for self aggrandizement which could lead to the Fall of Great Musical Culture and in turn, millions of appreciative citizens of all that is Good, Right, Just and Fair, Musically, please go and Start a State ASTA Student Chapter in your High School or College, Forthwith!

Saluting all Kyle Champion is doing at the University of Redlands near Riverside, CA, a personal invitation is now publicly offered to form a Commission to further ASTA's original Mission minus any recent inferences of ideologies having nothing to do with the pure and dedicated teaching of playing String Instruments by Loyalists of the Violin and all String Family Cousins from this day Forward ~

I submit this with gratitude to Editor, Laurie Niles, for offering this string website, her founded platform,, to Prof Kyle Champion's Campaign to reinvigorate ASTA and its new Student Chapter's formed adding to present State Chapters in borders of The United States of America and its Territories inspiring other Nations to also ASTA Student Chapter's Create . . .

..... Musically and Respectfully from Chicago .....

Elisabeth Matesky

Honoured Carrier of Father-Teacher, Ralph Matesky's Strings

fused w/my Heifetz-Milstein Violin Mentor's 20th Century Art


Fwd dg

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