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Sculpture outside of Battelle Fine Arts Center

String Players at Otterbein University

String players at Otterbein are able to work with some of the finest artist teachers in the region, and they have a variety of performance opportunities available to them. The program welcomes students from across the campus to participate in its ensembles, but provides the serious string player intensive experiences in orchestra (both string and symphonic) and chamber music, as well as jazz and popular style ensembles. 

Internship Opportunity: Suzuki Pedagogy

The Suzuki Pedagogy Internship is available to students who have an interest in the Suzuki approach to string education and are interested in pursuing opportunities as a Suzuki teacher.

A structured internship program with master Suzuki teachers Douglas and Susan Locke, directors of Suzuki Music Columbus is created for students progressing from guided observation to hands-on teaching individual lessons and finally group classes.

Students are compensated for their time teaching, accrue hundreds of practical hours of teaching, and have the opportunity to take teacher training courses. At the end of the internship, students have considerable expertise with teaching in the Suzuki style.

Faculty & Staff

Jim Bates

James Bates

Associate Professor
Director of Orchestral Activities

Battelle Fine Arts Center 107
p/ 614.823.1553
e/ jbates@otterbein.edu

Dr. Jim Bates is Director of Orchestral Activities at Otterbein University and serves as an assistant conductor for the Westerville Symphony (OH) and Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestras. Teaching duties at Otterbein include String Methods and Pedagogy, Bass, and Introduction to Music. Dr. Bates coordinates the music history area of the department and teaches Music History and Literature –Romantic and Modern Eras.

String Ensembles

String Orchestra

String OrchestraThe String Orchestra is the principal performing ensemble for string players at Otterbein University. In addition to the string majors, the ensemble includes many students from across campus. This ensemble provides students the opportunity to explore the standard string orchestra repertoire, but programming includes many styles. Recent performances have included jazz and fiddle styles, Baroque performance practice and outstanding works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The string orchestra performs at least once each term and is directed by Dr. Jim Bates. Interested students should contact Dr. Bates.

Westerville Symphony

The Westerville Symphony at Otterbein University offers students a symphonic orchestral performing experience. In this unique ensemble students perform alongside professional and semi-professional players from the region. The Westerville Symphony presents a Masterworks series, featuring the core classical and romantic orchestral repertoire, as well as Young Peoples Concerts and Pops programs. All string majors participate in this ensemble, and wind, brass and percussion students also have the opportunity to participate. The Westerville Symphony is directed by Peter Stafford Wilson. Interested students should contact Dr. Jim Bates.

Chamber Music

Chamber Music

Chamber music is a vital part of the musical development of string players and all string majors and many non-majors participate in Chamber Music each quarter. Students typically perform the masterworks of the string quartet literature, but also perform string quintet and piano/string chamber literature. Student chamber ensembles meet twice each week.

Early Music Ensemble

Early Music EnsembleThis ensemble provides students the opportunity to perform music composed during the Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque periods. Students interested in this performing experience perform using period instruments, such as the viola da gamba, recorder, krumhorn and lute, and utilize techniques based on Historically Informed Performance (HIP). String players utilize baroque bows to create performances inspired by authentic practices. The Early Music Ensemble performs each quarter and frequently collaborates with other student ensembles and faculty performers. The Early Music Ensemble is directed by Dr. Jim Bates. Contact Dr. Bates for more information.

Musical Theatre and Opera Pit Orchestras

Musical Theatre is an exciting part of the Otterbein culture. Each year Opera Theatre and Musical Theatre present productions utilizing student musicians in the theater pit. The range of styles runs from Mozart to rock and jazz depending on the production. This performance opportunity prepares players to meet the demands encountered by contemporary music professionals. The pit orchestras are directed by Lori Kay Harvey and Jim Bates. Contact Dr. Bates for more information.

Jazz and Alternative Styles

String players have several opportunities to step out of their classical pursuits and explore alternative styles of playing is the jazz/pop/rock genres. Electrified string instruments provide the student with additional possibilities for “amping” up their skills through a new playing experience. See the Jazz Ensembles page for detailed information on the various ensembles. 

Chamber Music at Otterbein

The Department of music offers many diverse opportunities for students to participate in small ensemble music making.  Traditional ensembles such as string quartets, brass quintet and strings with piano chamber music are a regular part of students’ musical training and experience. Flute ensemble and saxophone quartets, electrified strings, jazz combos and guitar ensembles for both jazz and classical styles enrich and diversify students’ course of study and musical development. Students interested in modern music seek performing opportunities with Red Noise, the department’s new music ensemble. While students interested in music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods can explore early music instruments and techniques in one of our Early Music Ensemble groups.

These for credit ensembles are coached by music faculty who are enthusiastic specialists in these areas. Students perform at least once a term and enjoy performance opportunities in a variety of venues, both on and off campus. Regular self-coached rehearsals help students further develop their musical skills and a growing sense of independence critical to finding a musical life after college.