Orchestra Emphasis

Music Education BM

Program Overview

Music Education with an emphasis in strings certifies graduates to teach instrumental, choral, and general music in secondary schools. Graduates routinely compete throughout the state, region, and country for positions teaching orchestra at the high school and junior high/middle school levels.

As music education majors with an Orchestra Education emphasis, students are part of the String Program led by the members of the Fry Street Quartet and bassist Joshua Skinner. The curriculum for this degree fosters a comprehensive knowledge of string education alongside rigorous artistic development on one’s primary instrument.

The Fry Street Quartet occupies the Manon Caine Russell and Dan C. Russell Endowed String Quartet Residency at Utah State University. This residency affords all string majors the rare opportunity to study with a world-renowned string quartet as their primary professors.

The size of the String Program at Utah State allows for each student to receive a great deal of individual attention throughout his or her study. With chamber music as a natural focus of a program led by a string quartet, a close-knit atmosphere is at the heart of the student experience. The shared artistic and educational values of the FSQ are central to this experience and transfer to the classroom as well as the concert stage.

Recent music education graduates hold teaching positions in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Texas.

Bela Bartok, Divertimento for String Orchestra, Sz. 113. Performed by students of the USU String Program, the String Faculty, and guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer. Video created by Andy Lorimer.

Video Credits

Guest Artists and their affiliations in order of appearance:

  • Nicholas Kraemer - Internationally renowned conductor
  • Germán Augusto Gutierrez - conductor, Texas Christian University
  • Marilyn McDonald, violin – Oberlin Conservatory
  • James Dunham, viola – New England Conservatory
  • DaXun Zhang, bass - Tianjin Juilliard School
  • Heather Johnson, voice – Metropolitan Opera
  • Roger Chase, viola – Trinity Laban Conservatoire (London, UK)
  • Paul Katz, cello – New England Conservatory
  • Gabriela Lena Frank, composer – Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music
  • Peter Slowik, viola – Oberlin Conservatory
  • Amit Peled, cello – Peabody Conservatory
  • Nathan Cole, violin – Associate Concertmaster, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Corbin Johnston, bass - Associate Principal, Utah Symphony
  • USU String Faculty: Fry Street Quartet, String Quartet-in-Residence
    Robert Waters, violin Rebecca McFaul, violin Bradley Ottesen, viola Anne Francis-Bayless, cello Dr. Braun Khan, Professional Practice Assistant Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies

Program Specifics

For specific information regarding coursework required to earn an Orchestra emphasis, please refer to the BM Music Education - Orchestra emphasis degree map. Note that USU offers students in Music Education degrees the option of completing the Music K-12 Endorsement, which affords graduates a credential to teach Kindergarten through twelfth grades (K-12) rather than the Secondary Certificate (6-12) that comes with the standard USU Music Education degree. This program is recommended for all Music Education Majors for the following reasons: 1) the additional courses easily fit into the four-year curriculum and 2) having the Music K-12 Endorsement allows better reciprocity for students applying for employment in other states, which may require the K-12 certification. For more information, contact Cary J. Youmans, coordinator of Music K-12 Endorsement.

Private Instruction

Private individual instruction with the members of the FSQ involves rigorous, technical training on the instrument combined with a profound exploration of each student’s authentic inner musical voice. Students have many opportunities to perform as they study, including weekly studio classes, recitals, chamber ensemble concerts, and juries.

Chamber Music

Chamber music is at the center of the string program at USU - a natural outgrowth of the Fry Street Quartet residency, strengthened by our relationship to the Chamber Music Society of Logan. Each semester there are numerous master class opportunities with the guests of the Chamber Music Society of Logan throughout the year, as well as a culminating performance in the Caine Performance Hall.

Special Events & Innovative Projects

Special events include performances and master classes lead by first-class guest artists from around the world.  Recent guests have included the Emerson, Jerusalem, and Brentano quartets, cellists Paul Katz (NEC) and Peter Wispelwey (international soloist), violists James Dunham (Rice University) and Roger Chase (international soloist and pedagogue), as well as violinist Kathryn Eberle (Associate Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony.)

Innovative projects are a feature of the String Program at USU.  Currently underway is a residency partnership with composer Gabriela Lena Frank and composers from her Creative Academy of Music.  Chamber Music in the Spring 2021 semester featured 21st century works by diverse voices, and Zoom workshops will all the composers involved.

Opportunities for Non-Majors

Music Therapy majors, Music minors, and other interested students are welcome to register for private lessons by contacting Dr. Mark Emile, and to audition for the USU Symphony Orchestra.

Learn More About the String Program

If you are curious to know more and would like to speak with a member of our faculty, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Trial lessons are available to those who make arrangements in advance to visit the Logan campus.


In addition to applying for admission to the University, all applicants interested in pursuing a music degree must perform an audition on their major instrument to gain admission into the Department of Music. View specific application and audition information on our admissions and auditions page.



String Education Student Accomplishments at a Glance

Professional public school music educators: 

  • Hyrum Barker - Elementary Orchestra Teacher in Star Valley, WY
  • Melissa Condie – Orchestra Director at Spring Branch Middle School in Houston, TX 
  • Jill Durrant – Orchestra Director in Preston, ID 
  • Lauren Folkner – Bonneville High School and Rocky Mountain Middle School, Idaho Falls, ID 
  • Patty Ito Bartholomew – Director of the Mountain West String Academy, Cache Valley, UT
  • Katie Jensen – Orchestra Director in Phoenix, AZ 
  • Thomas Pratt – Orchestra Director at  Timpanogos Intermediate School and Wasatch High School.  
  • Bryn Reimschussel Stanfill - Orchestra Teacher and Private Cello Instructor for Provo School District
  • Mariska Romney – Orchestra Director in Layton, UT 

Other professional teaching appointments:

  • Dr. Jamilyn Beckstrom Morris – Adjunct Music Faculty at Salt Lake Community College, co-director and teacher at Sistema Utah, teaching artist at the American Preparatory Academy, West Valley City, UT
  • Sophie Spreier – Faculty Associate at Utah State University
  • Megan Titensor – Cello Faculty at Asociación Cultural Qantu, Cusco, Perú
  • Bethany Pereboom – Assistant Director, Credo Music Festival at Oberlin College, Teacher and Performer for Credo Music Community Outreach


Anne Francis Bayless

Anne Francis Bayless

Fry Street Quartet

Music (Cello)

Phone: (435) 881-2475
Office Location: FA 210
Sergio Bernal

Sergio Bernal


Music (Orchestra)

Phone: (435) 797-0487
Office Location: FA 218A
Braun Khan

Braun Khan

Professional Practice Assistant Professor

Music (String Bass)

Phone: (435) 797-5521
Office Location: FA 217A
Rebecca McFaul

Rebecca McFaul

Fry Street Quartet

Music (Violin)

Phone: (435) 232-2861
Office Location: FA 208
Bradley Ottesen

Bradley Ottesen

Fry Street Quartet

Music (Viola)

Office Location: FA 206
Thomas P. Rohrer

Thomas P. Rohrer

Professor & Director of Bands


Phone: (435) 797-3004
Office Location: FA 106
Robert Waters

Robert Waters

Fry Street Quartet

Music (Violin)

Phone: (773) 354-3273
Office Location: FA 204