Birch Bay String Teachers' Workshop
  • July 31 - August 4, 2017

    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. The workshop is of interest to private studio and public school string teachers at all levels, and to college/university students preparing for a music education career. Each year, participants from all over the country and from foreign nations attend.

    For further information you may call workshop director Chip Schooler at 360-280-2556
    or email him at:
    We hope to see you here!

    Click here to join the Facebook group page

  • Guest Clinician
    Dr. Stephen Benham

    Associate Professor of Music Education & Associate Dean
    Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA)

    As an internationally-acclaimed clinician, speaker, consultant, and conductor, Dr. Benham’s areas of expertise include pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, and new program development. His research interests focus on sociological and cultural issues in music education, increasing access to strings for underserved populations, the role of music education in minority communities, and culturally relevant pedagogy. The lead author of the ASTA String Curriculum, he has written several articles and chapters for books and journals including American String Teacher and the Journal of Music Teacher Education. He is a leader in international music education and consultant to new music education programs in Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. Dr. Benham is the current past-president of the American String Teachers Association.

  • Resident Faculty

    CHRIS BURNS, Bass Technique and Pedagogy
    Tacoma Symphony principal, University Place School District
    RUTH BODEN, Cello Technique and Pedagogy
    Associate Professor Washington State University
    JOE DYVIG, Bass Technique and Pedagogy
    Olympia School District, Tacoma Symphony
    LISA DYVIG, Viola Technique and Pedagogy
    Olympia Symphony principal, Tacoma Symphony, Private studio in Olympia, WA
    HUW EDWARDS, Conducting Master Class
    Olympia Symphony Orchestra Music Director & Conductor
    IAN EDLUND, Reading Orchestras
    ASTA Elizabeth Green national teaching award, Director Emeritus Birch Bay Workshop
    STUART HAKE, Cello Technique and Pedagogy
    Tacoma Opera principal, Annie Wright School
    LESLIE JOHNSON, Viola Technique and Pedagogy
    Former principal PNW Ballet Orchestra, Private studio in Issaquah, WA
    LAURA LYNN, Violin Technique and Pedagogy
    Former Tacoma Symphony, Tacoma and North Thurston School Districts
    SVEND RONNING, Violin Technique and Pedagogy
    Professor Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma Symphony concertmaster
    CHIP SCHOOLER, Director and Reading Orchestras
    South Puget Sound Community College

    reading orchestra librarian & equipment
    registrar & site manager
  • Conducting Masterclass

    The conducting masterclass provides an opportunity for participants to receive gentle, supportive coaching by our guest clinician, Huw Edwards. 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 eight slots are available on a "first come - first served" basis.

    Huw Edwards

    Olympia Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor
    formerly with Portland Youth Philharmonic
    & Seattle Youth Symphony

    Mr. Edwards has served as Music Director & Conductor of the Olympia Symphony Orchestra since 2003. He has also been the Music Director of the Portland Columbia Symphony in Oregon (2000-2012), the Portland Youth Philharmonic (1995-2002), as well as the Seattle Youth Symphony and Marrowstone Music Festival (2002-2005). Huw is active as a guest conductor, is in demand as a clinician and adjudicator, and has directed several all-state orchestras. His conducting studies were at Southern Methodist University and Northwestern University.

  • 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 10 when identifying themselves as Birch Bay String Teachers’ Workshop participants (please call for this rate):

    - Super 8 Motel, Ferndale: 360-384-8881 (website link)
    - Hampton Inn, North Bellingham: 360-676-7700 (website link)
    - La Quinta Inn, North Bellingham: 360-738-7088 (website link)

    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

    Pre-register for the workshop by completing this: online registration form (in pdf format). Send it with your check or credit card information as directed. You may also register on site for an additional fee, provided space is available. Registration includes all materials, refreshments, and salmon dinner Thursday night on the beach.

    Prior to July 10: $255 for non-ASTA members, $225 for ASTA members.
    After July 10: $285 for non-ASTA members, $255 for ASTA members.

    COLLEGE CREDIT & CLOCK HOURS: Central Washington University offers 3 quarter credits for a very nominal fee which may be paid onsite. 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

    ASTA MEMBERS: Members of Washington ASTA may attend any two consecutive days of the workshop for a special fee of $150.

    CANCELLATION POLICY: $125 of the workshop fee will be refunded if cancellation request is received prior to July 10, 2017. No refunds will be allowed after July 10.

    QUESTIONS: For further information you may call workshop director Chip Schooler at 360-280-2556 or e-mail

    Payment for registration and/or credits may be made by cash, check, or credit card. NO PURCHASE ORDERS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

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JULY 31 - AUGUST 4, 2017 - Ferndale, Washington