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.

    Information on the conducting masterclass.

    We hope to see you here!

  • 2017 Guest Clinicians & Faculty

    Stephen Benham (Benham Bio)
    Associate Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean
    Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA)

    Huw Edwards (Edwards Bio)
    Olympia Symphony Orchestra
    clinician for the conducting masterclass

    RESIDENT FACULTY (Resident Faculty Bios)
    RUTH BODEN: cello technique & pedagogy
    JOE DYVIG: double bass techinque & pedagogy
    IAN EDLUND: reading orchestra
    LESLIE JOHNSON: viola technique & pedagogy
    SVEND RONNING: violin technique & pedagogy
    CHIP SCHOOLER: workshop director

    BETTE ANN SCHWEDE: reading orchestra librarian & equipment
    KRISSY SNYDER: registrar & site manager

  • Sample Workshop Schedule (2016)

    2017 Schedule will be posted in July
  • Accommodations

    These three motels offer a special rate to guests who reserve early (before July 11) and who identify themselves as Birch Bay String Workshop participants:
    - Super 8 Motel (Ferndale): 360-384-8881
    - Hampton Inn (Bellingham airport): 360-676-7700
    - Silver Reef Hotel/Casino (Ferndale): 866-383-0777

    Other Lodgings at Birch Bay include:
    - Jacob’s Landing (condos): 360-371-7675
    - Inn at Semiahmoo: 360-371-2800<
    - Haishan Inn (cabins): 360-306-5322

    - Campsites in nearby Birch Bay State Park, some of which have hookups, may be reserved by calling 888-226-7688. Early reservations are advised.
    - RV sites may be reserved at Cedars RV Park in Ferndale: 360-384-2622. These are conveniently located near town.

    For More Information on Birch Bay area rentals, please visit these websites:

  • Registration, Fees, Credits, Location

    REGISTRATION:Full Workshop Fee: $245 Early Registration ($275 after July 11)
    ASTA Member Full Workshop Fee: $215 ($245 after July 11)
    ASTA Member Special 2-day Fee: $150

    CREDITS & 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.

    ASTA MEMBERS: Members of Washington ASTA may attend any two consecutive days of the workshop for a special fee of $150. Contact Chip Schooler at 360-280-2556 for info.

    CANCELLATION POLICY: $100 of the workshop fee will be refunded if cancellation request is received prior to July 11, 2016. No refunds will be allowed after July 11.

    TO REGISTER: Regisration form will come soon


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

  • Stephen Benham

    is Associate Professor of Music Education and Associate Dean at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. 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.

  • Huw 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.

  • Resident Faculty

    RUTH BODEN, Cello Technique and Pedagogy
    is assistant professor of cello & bass at Washington State University where she also teaches music theory and coordinates the chamber music program.
    JOE DYVIG, Bass Technique and Pedagogy
    is Director of Orchestras at Olympia High School & member of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra with degrees from the Univesity of North Texas & University of Washington.
    IAN EDLUND, Reading Orchestras
    is an ASTA national teaching award winner and widely published composer / arranger. He has directed the workshop for many years.
    LESLIE JOHNSON, Viola Technique & Pedagogy
    is Principal Violist of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra & studied at the Juilliard School and the University of Washington. She has a thriving teaching studio in Issaquah.
    SVEND RONNING, Violin Technique and Pedagogy
    is Professor of Music at Pacific Lutheran University, Concertmaster of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Second City Chamber Series.
    CHIP SCHOOLER, Workshop Director
    is Orchestra Director at South Puget Sound Community College. His honors include WMEA Teacher of the Year and W-ASTA Outstanding Public School Teacher.

  • 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.

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