Strong Start Mentor Program

CSO Smart Start Free Lessons Program

The CSO Education Department is offering Free Lessons during the 2021-22 season to select beginning 5th grade string students at Spring Creek Elementary as part of a pilot program to broaden our reach to underserved young musicians. This program will begin with string players and if successful, be expanded to wind players in the future. The Free Lessons will be offered via Zoom. This program is the initiative of CSOYO Alumnus Sasha Hitachi.

CSOYO Symphony string Members are needed to act as teacher/mentors for the Smart Start Program. Members may apply online if interested. YO Teachers will be selected by Mr. Sandoval.


  1. YO Members sign up in August.
  2. One 90-minute training session in August will be offered via Zoom for all YO Teachers in order to introduce the curriculum, individual lesson plans, pointers for teaching, and other program procedures.
  3. Elementary String Students will be selected by the Strings Teacher at Spring Creek Elementary and paired with an approved YO teacher. The student and one parent will coordinate with their YO Teacher to schedule lessons. Six 30-minute lessons will be given during a semester. YO Teachers will be limited to no more than two lessons/students per week.
  4. One student parent must be present, along with the student, for every lesson.
  5. During the first lesson, a professional CSO Musician/teacher will sit in to evaluate the YO Teacher and provide feedback.
  6. A beginning student book will be used and each of the 6 lessons will be planned by the String Teacher. YO Teachers are only required to follow the curriculum they are given.
  7. The first semester will begin in Mid-September and conclude the first week in December.
  8. A recital will be planned for all participants at the end of the semester.
  9. The program will begin again in January and run through April, with lessons that further the curriculum. A goal of the program is to prepare young string players for a YO audition in the spring.

YO Members interested in being teachers should be strong individual players who have at least 3 years of experience on their instrument. They should have at least one year of membership in the CSOYO when they apply.For more information about the Smart Start program, please contact CSO Education and Community Engagement Manager Amy Morgan at


Your Email: *
Your AGE:*
Parent Name*
Parent Email: *
Your Instrument: *
How long have you been playing your instrument? *
Do you have any prior teaching experience? Please describe: *
Why would you like to participate in this program as a teacher? *
If you are under the age of 18, do you have parental consent to participate in this program? *
How many seasons have you played with the CSOYO?*

TEACHERS: Please submit your lesson report after each lesson here:


YO Teacher Name:*
YO Teacher's email: *
Date of your lesson:*
Student Name:*
Student's Instrument*
Please upload a screenshot of your Zoom lesson HERE: (accepted formats: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, doc, docx, xls, xlsx. Max file size: 2 MB)*
Were you able to complete Ms. Fisher's Exit Ticket Assignment?*
Briefly describe what you worked on today with your student (ex: bow hold, learning note names, specific music, etc): *
Anything else we should know about your lesson or student? (optional)