Every string student must participate in a string ensemble from the very beginning, in order to improve skills of playing in a group, rhythmic unity, intonation and following the leader (conductor). It is not possible for a single music school to provide everything required in the form of string ensemble education, because there simply are never enough students at the same level to form a large group. Therefore, the string student MUST seek out and participate in other school and regional string ensembles.
KMI Strings: As students of similar ability are available, the KMI faculty will organize specific string ensembles to perform at KMI Recitals. This may be duets, trios, quartets or even larger groups. For many string students this may be the first opportunity to perform in an ensemble and an important step toward auditioning for a string orchestra.
School Ensemble: Many schools will have a string program and ALL KMI string students MUST participate if one is available. Usually, the orchestra will perform twice a year (Fall and Spring), and the experience is invaluable to all beginning string players. The school string orchestra will probably be the string student's only available performance ensemble until completing the KMI Core Curriculum.
Centers for the Musically Talented: The Pittsburgh Public School system offers a special Saturday program for students on all instruments from grades 4 - 12 at the CAPA High School building downtown. This program includes lessons, classes, and ensembles. KMI string students in the public school system are strongly encouraged to participate in Centers. KMI's own director, Mr. Kikuchi, studied cello within the PPS Centers Program.
All-City Orchestra: The Pittsburgh Public School system offers special ensemble opportunities for students on instruments grades 4 - 12. There are three levels: Elementary, Junior and Senior which are based on student grade level and ability (more qualified younger students may enter an upper level orchestras). KMI string students in the public school system are strongly encouraged to participate in the All-City Orchestra. Students who do not qualify for the Three Rivers Young People's orchestras, will often qualify for All-City, and should take advantage of the experience which might prepare them for the more prestigious orchetras. KMI's own director, Mr. Kikuchi, played cello in the All-City Orchestra from Grades 6 to 12.
Three Rivers Young People's Orchestra: This organization sponsors two wonderful regional orchestras: The Symphonette and the Young People's Orchestra, and a special preparatory program called "Intrada Strings". To enter the Symphonette, minimal proficiency required on the instrument is about one year past the Core Curriculum at KMI, and any string student completing the Core Curriculum MUST audition annually until admission is gained or the student passes the age limit requirement. Students rehearse weekly, under the direction of professional string players of the Pittsburgh Symphony, participate in many special classes and events, and perform twice a year (Fall and Spring). Auditions are in June for the following year. Visit the web site for audition requirements, schedule, locations and fees.
Intrada Strings: Violin, Viola and Cello only - Ages 8 - 11
(must know some third position, and C, G, D scales)
Symphonette: Strings only - Ages 8 to 14 (maximum)
Young People's Orchestra: All instruments - Ages 13 to 18
Pittsburgh Youth Symphony: This ensemble is the highest level performing group available to students in the Pittsburgh region. It is a part of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), is conducted by one of the PSO conductors, and holds its concerts in Heinz Hall. This orchestra is a mixture of very advanced High School students and students studying music at the college level (at one of the local universities). ALL CONCERTS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC, SO ALL KMI STUDENTS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND!!!
(See TUTORIAL: TIMELINES for more information on student performance and progress at the Kikuchi Music Institute.)
(See ADULT PERFORMANCE for a list of area adult performance ensembles.)