Strings Studies

The string program prepares students to be well-rounded musicians, creative teachers and accomplished performers. Music Majors, Music minors and non-major participants are all welcome in the studios. The studio atmosphere is warm and nurturing, yet each student is challenged by the repertoire and technique work that they are given in the lessons. Students are encouraged to listen to each other and offer constructive criticism in studio classes and master class settings.

String students at UM perform in the University of Montana Symphony Orchestra (UMSO), in standard Chamber ensembles, and in solo performance settings. We encourage students to form chamber ensembles with mixed instrumentation so that they experience a wide variety of repertoire and learn how to work with other kinds of instrumentalists. Our students are also very actively working with UM student composers, often premiering new works several times a year.

Some students audition for and perform with the Missoula Symphony, a community orchestra comprised of professional musicians, community members and students. Select students are awarded MSO scholarships. The MSO string scholarships are awarded to deserving students after their scholarship auditions as prospective freshman. Many of the other Montana community orchestras hire our students to be members of their orchestras.

Our students also have the opportunity to be counselors at our UM Summer Strings Camp and some qualify for Nash Pedagogy scholarships to teach students from the Missoula public schools.

Often, students from the studio are selected to perform for the Guest Artists that come to perform with the String Orchestra of the Rockies and the Missoula Symphony. Some of the more recent guests include: Andreas Cardenas; Rachel Barton Pine, Robert McDuffie, Adele Anthony, Maria Larionoff, Brett Deubner, and Phillip Ying.

Come to visit us at The University of Montana. Have a free lesson and see how The University of Montana can fit into your college plans.

String Faculty

Margaret Nichols Baldridge

Margaret Nichols Baldridge

Professor Violin and Viola

Adam Collins

Adam Collins

Lecturer of Music

Luis Millán

Luis Millán

Director of Orchestra, Guitar

Joel Schnackel

Joel Schnackel

Adjunct Professor of Double Bass

Thomas Sciple

Thomas Sciple

Associate Professor Double Bass

UM String Studio Accomplishments:

UM string students win graduate teaching assistantships and large scholarships to prestigious graduate schools. They’ve won competitions and they have been accepted into prominent summer programs.  Some current students and alumni hold leadership positions in orchestras around the region, and some graduates are successful public school teachers.

  • Graduate assistantships at Ohio State University (viola performance), Northwestern University (violin performance) 
  • Acceptance into San Francisco Conservatory (viola performance), Cincinnati Conservatory (violin performance), New England Conservatory (violin performance), Northwestern University (violin performance), Eastman School of Music (violin performance), Oberlin Conservatory (violin performance),  Colorado State University (music therapy Master’s degree) 
  • Third place in the National MTNA Chamber Music Competition
  • Finalist in the National MTNA Solo competition
  • Divisional finalist in the MTNA Chamber Music competition
  • Divisional Finalist in the MTNA Solo competition
  • Second Place in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Concerto competition
  • Summer program acceptance to Aspen, Brevard Music Festival, and Round Top Festival, Marrowstone Fellowship
  • Assistant Concertmaster of Spokane Symphony after graduation
  • While in college: assistant concertmaster of Helena Symphony, principle second violin of Missoula Symphony, associate principle second violin Missoula Symphony, concertmaster of Butte Symphony