Birch Bay String Teachers' Workshop
  • Birch Bay String Teachers’ Workshop

    The W-ASTA Birch Bay String Teachers’ Workshop is presented annually in Ferndale, Washington: a pleasant small town located fifteen minutes north of Bellingham, fifteen minutes from the beach at Birch Bay, and fifteen minutes from the Canadian border.

    Now in its 65th year, the workshop is designed specifically for school string orchestra teachers of all levels, grades 4-12. Participants range from first-year teachers to seasoned veteran teachers to retired teachers, many returning year-after-year. It is a supportive and inclusive community honoring the best practices in school string teaching. The goal of the workshop is to offer continuous, up-to-date, relevant in-service for teachers who are committed to self-improvement. The relaxed yet rigorous week allows teachers to interact with others who understand the challenges and rewards of the school orchestra setting.

    Location: Ferndale, Washington

    This year's workshop will be held from July 29 to August 2, 2024.

    For further information you may contact workshop director Phil Baldwin at:

    We hope to see you here! Click here to join the Facebook group page

  • 2024 Guest Clinician:
    Debbie Lyle

    Director, Bornoff Foundation for the Advancement of String Education
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Debbie Lyle has directed school orchestras in grades five through twelve and regional youth orchestras for over 30 years. She was a violin and pedagogy student of Dr. George Bornoff, the founder of the Foundation for the Advancement of String Education (FASE, Inc.), and has carried on his mission and vision as FASE's Executive Director for more than ten years. Debbie has created new, accessible, and impactful resources for string teachers and their students, and she expanded the FASE grant program to support affordable professional development opportunities, commission culturally and musically varied teaching materials, and nurture diversity and inclusion through programs like the Diverse String Teachers Fellowship. She is the author of The Bornoff Approach – A Primer and has received recognition for her work in classical and jazz string education. Debbie has been a clinician and presented student ensembles in performance at more than 75 colleges and string education conferences, most notably: the National American String Teachers Association (ASTA), NAfME national and state conferences, the Institute for Innovation in String Education, the International String Workshops, the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, and the Texas Music Educators & Texas Orchestra Directors Association Conferences.

  • 2023 Resident Faculty & Staff

    PHILIP BALDWIN, Workshop Director, Conducting Masterclass, Violin Class
    Professor Whitworth University, Spokane Youth Symphony

    LISA DYVIG, Registrar, Administrative Assistant
    Olympia Symphony principal, Symphony Tacoma, Private Studio in Olympia, WA

    STUART HAKE, Reading Orchestras, Cello Class
    Tacoma School District, Tacoma Opera principal

    JERILYNN HARRIS, Improvisation and Jam Sessions
    Spokane Public Schools, Spokane Youth Symphony

    Bethel School District

    KATHERINE SARTORI, Workshop Assistant
    Olympia School District, Olympia Symphony

    JULIE WOODS, Bass Class
    Walla Walla School District

    KRISSY SNYDER, Equipment and Facilities Manager
    Ferndale School District

    RANDY GROSTICK, Technical Assistant and Webmaster
    Olympia School District, Olympia Symphony principal

  • Conducting Masterclass

    The conducting masterclass provides an opportunity for participants to receive gentle, supportive coaching by our conducting clinician, Dr. Philip Baldwin. Those wishing to take advantage of this opportunity will be assigned one movement of a standard string orchestra piece, and will be given 30 minutes of podium time with a small orchestra of their peers. To be considered for a conducting slot, please contact Chip Schooler and mark the registration form accordingly. Up to four slots are available on a "first come - first served" basis.

    Dr. Philip Baldwin

    Professor of Violin and Orchestras
    Whitworth University
    Spokane, Washington

    Philip Baldwin is Professor of Violin and Orchestras at Whitworth University, the conductor and Artistic Director of Spokane Youth Symphony, and the Concertmaster and Associate Conductor of the Coeur d’Alene Symphony. He is also a former member of the Spokane Symphony. He earned a DMA in violin performance and the Distinguished Dissertation Award at The Ohio State University under Michael Davis. He serves as the current president of the Washington ASTA and has lectured at eight National ASTA Conferences. An interest in the intersection between music and literature have led to presentations at the International Short Story Conferences in Ireland and Portugal. His wife, Natalie, is a middle school orchestra director and performs with the Coeur d'Alene Symphony

  • 2023 Workshop Schedule

    (This is a sample of last year's workshop. A new schedule will be updated a few weeks before the 2024 workshop.)
    7:45 Registration
    8:30 Reading Orchestra
    Reading Orchestra
    Reading Orchestra
    Orch. #7
    Elem. Pieces
    Reading Orchestra
    10:00 Conducting Class Conducting Class Conducting Class Conducting Class Chris Selby
    Music Theory, History, Creativity, and Sub Plan
    11:00 Chris Selby
    What's the Plan?
    Chris Selby
    Fine Tuning
    Chris Selby
    The Secret of the Right Hand
    Chris Selby
    Teaching Concert Music
    W-ASTA Information & Workshop Wrap Up
    12:00 LUNCH LUNCH LUNCH LUNCH Have a safe trip home!
    1:15 Embracing Change & Having Fun:
    Learning & Teaching
    to Improvise & Jam
    2:15 Special Topics ASTA VSTA Keynote Address Special Topics Rolland, Suzuki, Bornoff, Rabin Who are these guys? Special Topics Advocacy Reading Orchestra #8
    ALternative Styles
    3:10 Reading Orchestra
    Reading Orchestra
    Orch. #6
    Standard Literature
    Special Topics
    Instrument Care and Repair
    5:00 Get acquainted party & no-host dinner at Chihuahua Restaurant Free Evening No-host dinner at Restaurant in Birch Bay TBD BBQ at Birch Bay State Park (& maybe bonfire)
  • Accommodations

    Participants are responsible for their own lodging. A variety of accommodations are available in the Ferndale/Birch Bay/Bellingham area.

    The following three motels offer a special rate to guests reserving prior to July 18 when identifying themselves as Birch Bay String Teachers’ Workshop participants
    (please click on links or call for this rate):

    Holiday Inn & Suites (best rate): 360-746-6844
    (click here for special Birch Bay String Teachers Room Rate)
    Hampton Inn (recently opened): 360-812-7200
    (click here for special Birch Bay String Teachers Room Rate)
    Best Western Plus: 360-676-7700
    (click here for special Birch Bay String Teachers Room Rate)

    Condominium rentals near Birch Bay include:
    - Jacob’s Landing (condos): 360-371-5941 (website link)
    - Sandcastle at Birch Bay: 360-371-4900 (website link)

    - Campsites in nearby Birch Bay State Park, some with trailer hookups, may be reserved at the Washington State Parks website. (website link)
    - RV sites located near Ferndale may be reserved by calling the Cedars RV Park at 360-384-2622. (website link)

    Early reservations for campsites and RV sites are advised.

  • Registration, Fees, Credits, Location

    We recommend workshop pre-registration which may be done in two ways:
    1. Complete this PRINTABLE REGISTRATION FORM (in pdf format) and mail with your check or credit card information as directed.
    2. Complete this ON-LINE REGISTRATION FORM which has a link for payment after the form is completed.
    You may also register onsite for an additional fee, provided space is available.

    Prior to July 8: $335 for non-ASTA members, $300 for ASTA members.
    After July 10: $370 for non-ASTA members, $335 for ASTA members.

    ASTA MEMBERS: Members of ASTA may attend two consecutive days for a reduced fee of $225.

    CLOCK HOURS: Thirty clock hours are available at no charge for WMEA members only. Clock hour arrangements may be made onsite.

    LOCATION: Ferndale High School: 5830 Golden Eagle Drive - Ferndale, WA 98248
    click here for link to Google Maps

    CANCELLATION POLICY: $200 of the workshop fee will be refunded if cancellation request is received prior to July 19, 2024. No refunds will be allowed after July 19.

    QUESTIONS: For further information you may contact workshop director Phil Baldwin at:

  • Sponsors

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JULY 29 to AUGUST 2, 2024 - Ferndale, Washington