NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Music Preparatory Division in the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will be among the beneficiaries of a grant from The NAMM Foundation to the National String Project Consortium, of which SFA Music Prep is a partner.

Piloted last spring and continuing this fall, Music Prep’s String Project is an initiative that includes the nine public school districts within Nacogdoches County and some surrounding districts. String Project students have the opportunity to learn to play a stringed instrument at a low tuition cost as part of an after-school activity facilitated by SFA music majors earning degrees in music education, according to Alba Madrid, Music Prep director.

The National String Project Consortium was selected as one of 25 music-making organizations to receive a grant to fund vital programs that provide access to music-making opportunities across a variety of different communities and demographics.

“We are extremely excited to make string education widely available in our community,” said Alba Madrid, Music Prep director, “and we are looking forward to partnering with the school districts in our area to make this possible.”

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,000-plus members. Programs supported by The NAMM Foundation, including the National String Project Consortium, advance music learning for people of all ages and abilities, according to Mary Luehrsen, executive director of The NAMM Foundation. “Together, we advance a more musical world based on a shared belief that music is a force for good and (forms) connections in our world,” she said.

The National String Project Consortium will utilize the grant to support the organization’s mission to train college students to be prepared teachers of tomorrow and provide accessible and affordable instruction to community youth.

The National String Project Consortium is a coalition of String Projects sites based at colleges and universities across the U.S. The NSPC is dedicated to increasing the number of children playing stringed instruments and addressing the critical shortage of string teachers across the nation. In addition to SFA, other beneficiaries of the grant are University of California at San Bernardino, University of Northern Colorado, San Jose State University and Tennessee Tech University.

“For many years, the Music Preparatory division of the SFA School of Music has been the primary source for teaching young people to play orchestral string instruments,” according to Dr. Gary Wurtz, interim dean of the Micky Elliott College of Fine Arts at SFA. “The teachers in the program do a marvelous job, and the director, Alba Madrid, has a great vision and a unending energy to strengthen and promote the program. Her success in being awarded this grant is further proof of the fantastic job she is doing.”

Since its inception in 2015, the annual grant program of The NAMM Foundation has donated more than $18 million to domestic and international music education programs, scientific research, advocacy and public service programs related to music-making.

For more information about the String Project or other Music Prep programs, contact Madrid at or, or call (936) 468-1291. Parents can also find program information on Facebook and Instagram. The Music Prep House is located at 3028 Raguet St. Office hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.