String Program | Mission Dolores Academy

Teaching students how to play the violin since 2008

It has been know for a long time that there are long-term benefits of learning an instrument from an early age. An integral, but often neglected aspect of a child’s education is learning about music - singing, listening, playing an instrument and playing along with others. Learning an instrument is linked to higher scores in school and long term benefits extending well into old age. Learning an instrument teaches cooperation, sharing, caring, paying attention and discipline to stay the course and learn something new that no one can ever take away.

Our String Program accepts students from the 3rd to the 8th Grade who have the interest, aptitude and discipline to commit to instruction.

Students who participate in the violin program must pay a non-refundable participation fee of $20.00 before the first lesson and a final payment for the tuition of $50.00 due within one month. Instruments are provided, but parents are encouraged to rent a violin for a nominal monthly fee to free up instruments for those who cannot rent.

The program begins in late September and concludes in May. There are two 45 minute instructional periods weekly.

There are opportunities for multiple public performances during the year: Playing before the student body, at Mass and the highlight of playing at the Academy’s annual luncheon in a sophisticated venue; this year at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Since the program’s inception nearly 100 students have held a violin in their hands. In the 2015 - 2016 academic year 23 students and 4 alternates participated.


String Program Music Director - Mr. Calvin Musasaki, M.A.

Maestro Murasaki has taught violin and string classes for over 30 years on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. Graduating with a Masters Degree in String Pedagogy. Calvin studied with Paul Rolland - world known for his unique approach to string playing through freedom of motion.

Maestro Murasaki has been teaching students how to play the violin at Mission Dolores Academy for 8 years. He works with compassion and understanding to develop the singular talent of each student emphasizing free body movements required to avoid physical tension and pain. Maestro Murasaki brings joy and enthusiasm to his students.






The Benefits of Music

“When children learn to play a musical instrument, they strengthen a range of auditory skills. Recent studies suggest that these benefits extend all through life, at least for those who continue to be engaged with music.

“Researchers at Northwestern University recorded the auditory brainstem responses of college students — that is to say, their electrical brain waves — in response to complex sounds. The group of students who reported musical training in childhood had more robust responses — their brains were better able to pick out essential elements, like pitch, in the complex sounds when they were tested. And this was true even if the lessons had ended years ago.

Different instruments, different teaching methods, different regimens — families need to find what appeals to the individual child and what works for the family, since a big piece of this should be about pleasure and mastery. Children should enjoy themselves, and their lessons. Parents need to care about music, not slot it in as a therapeutic tool.”*

* Excerpt from the New York Times article:

Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits, By PERRI KLASS, M.D. & Joyce Hesselberth, September 11, 2012 page D6