String study at NIU has a long tradition of excellence. With the presence of a world-class faculty who work with students on a highly individualized basis, you can expect to be inspired and challenged. You will immerse yourself in all kinds of music-making, from solo work to chamber music and orchestral performance, with repertoire spanning four centuries of cultural evolution leading up to the present day.

The personal nature of the string program at NIU is unique, with dedicated attention from the faculty within the overall friendly environment of School of Music. Our studios include cello, classical bass, classical guitar, harp, viola and violin. The string faculty strives to nurture string students into well-rounded musicians and educators, through focused studio lessons, various collaborations in chamber music and ensembles and ample performance opportunities. The individual lessons develop the students’ command of the instrument and interpretational skills, and studio classes give them the opportunity to perform for one another and improve listening.

Chamber Music Program

NIU’s string program is well-known for its chamber music program, with the tradition of having professional string quartets such as the Vermeer and the Avalon String Quartets in residence. Students also have opportunities to observe high-caliber performances on campus, either by attending faculty recitals, the Avalon String Quartet’s annual series, or performances by guest artists. With the emphasis in chamber music and ensemble, we mentor students to become versatile musicians who can thrive in a variety of professional settings.

Studio Classes and Ensembles

In addition to the music core curriculum, as a string student at NIU you will receive one-hour weekly lessons with faculty on your instrument. You will participate in multiple studio classes each semester that focus on solo repertoire, sometimes offered by guest artists. You will also perform three concerts a semester with the NIU Philharmonic, and have the choice to join other ensembles, such as world music, contemporary music and more.


Professors often choose to schedule extra studio recitals on top of the required junior and senior recitals. You will also receive weekly chamber music coachings and take part in many chamber classes in which students perform for one another. You will perform in a chamber music recital each semester and have the opportunity to perform in many other outreach concerts.

Additional Performance Opportunities

During their studies at NIU, students have multiple opportunities to experience the life of professional musician. Regional orchestras have welcomed our students to join their orchestral series, in which they prepare and perform programs alongside professional musicians from the Chicago region. Our students have been given the opportunity to teach youngsters at the Community School of the Arts at NIU and at regional music studios.

Music Education

Our music education graduates go on to lead string programs in public schools around the state. Performance degree graduates often hold private teaching studios, become members of professional orchestras and/or perform in chamber music groups.

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