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UWEC String Academy

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire String Academy serves as a pre-college program that offers high quality music instruction to K-12 string students of all levels. Through individual lessons, group classes, chamber music, master classes and recitals its mission is to inspire a rich musical experience and cultivate a community of committed musical study for string players.
The UWEC String Academy is accepting applications until filled.

Cello - Dr. Nathaniel Pierce, Director
Violin/Viola - Hannah Kennedy 

Dr. Tulio Rondon, UWEC Professor of Cello
Dr. Christine Harada Li, UWEC Assistant Professor of Violin and Viola
Additional Faculty and Instructors
-UWEC String Faculty
-Guest artists
-UWEC Music Majors

Group classes will take place weekly on Saturdays. Individual lessons will take place weekly and will be scheduled between the instructor and students/parents. The String Academy calendar will conform to the University Calendar. If students seek lessons outside of the University Calendar they are encouraged to reach out to their instructor.


All Classes take place in the Haas Fine Arts Center at UW-Eau Claire

A weekly newsletter will be sent out to students to remind them of important events and group class activities.

Registration and Fees
Non-refundable registration fee: $45

Semester Tuition
30-minutes with helper lessons, $900
30-minutes without helper lessons, $750

45-minutes with helper lessons, $1000
45-minutes without helper lessons, $850

60-minutes with helper lessons, $1150
60-minutes without helper lessons, $1000

Payment Options
Payments will be made to the UWEC Department of Music & Theatre Arts. Payments are due at the beginning of the semester. (Tuition plans are available if parents are unable to pay the entire semester tuition at the beginning of the term). Payments are refundable up to the beginning of the term.


Nathaniel Pierce:

Lesson Expectations

Parents are encouraged to sit in lessons and take notes, especially for young students taking 30 and 45 minute lessons. They are responsible for creating a positive practicing environment at home, and helping their children commit to an organized daily practice schedule determined by the teacher. Parental involvement may evolve as the student matures. Students must arrive on time and bring their music organized, pencils, metronome and tuner, cleaning cloth and rosin. Students are expected to practice every day with intention and focus and communicate questions to their teachers. They should come prepared and bring a positive, open mindset for learning. The Academy may decide to remove a student from the program if they show misbehavior or consistent lack of preparation.

Lesson Cancellation Policy
Student attendance is required at the lessons, and must give 24 hour notice for cancellation. Teachers are not required to make up lessons that students miss. Teachers are responsible for scheduling a make-up lesson for a lesson they themselves miss. If a student is 15 minutes late the teacher has the right to leave and won’t be required to make up the missed time or lesson.

Group classes
Weekly group classes serve as an opportunity for practice performances, technique class, music theory, ear and rhythm training, music history and general musicianship. Group classes may be combined with all teachers and instruments or may break into separate instruments and teachers. Learning from peers and gaining outside perspectives from other string academy faculty is a crucial part of every students’ growth.

Faculty Preference
Students may list faculty preference and will be notified of their acceptance. If a teacher’s studio is full they may be accepted into a different studio.

Helper lessons with student faculty
Students are encouraged to sign up for helper lessons with Eau Claire college students. The student lessons will be 30 minutes in addition to their weekly lesson.

Performances, Masterclasses, Recitals

Outreach performances
Students are encouraged to practice performing their pieces in the community at churches, hospitals, retirement homes, etc. to experience the impact their music can make in the community. Faculty may also assist in organizing such outreach events.

Masterclasses will be offered by guest artists in person or via Zoom. Students who are prepared will have an opportunity to perform and observe feedback for other students working with a guest teacher.

Recitals will be at the end of each term and will feature all of the students' hard work throughout the semester. The goal is to have each student memorize and perform their recital piece after having already practiced performing it extensively throughout the term and showing their highest current level. Mini recitals may also be organized.

Faculty Recitals
At least once a year, there will be a faculty concert mandatory for students to attend as part of their curriculum.

A pianist will be provided for each recital. If students wish to work with pianists during the semester, they are responsible for finding and making arrangements with their pianist if needed. A list of pianists will be sent to students.

Chamber Music
The program provides an opportunity for students to connect and form chamber groups. Students are encouraged to form groups and, if interest is indicated in the application, may be placed into a group. They may rehearse on their own time and arrange performances in group class.

Possible ensemble projects
String Academy students may join in an ensemble piece at the end of the term recital.


  • Nathaniel Pierce
    Nathaniel Pierce

    UWEC String Academy Director, Cello Faculty

    Nathaniel Pierce, cellist and tenor, thrives in exploring new ways to engage in the art of performance. Pierce is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival in Alaska. Pierce previously served on the cello faculty at the University of Michigan Youth Performing Arts Pre-college Program. He has taught classes at University of Michigan, Indiana University, among others.

  • Hannah Kennedy
    Hannah Kennedy (she/her)

    Violinist Hannah Kennedy is a committed collaborator and recitalist known for creative and thoughtful performances. Currently, she performs with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, the South Dakota Symphony, and Pro Musica Colorado and served as a member of the Altius Quartet for the 2020-2021 season. She is also an assistant faculty at Stringwood Chamber Music Festival. Hannah has degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of Colorado Boulder.

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