• Vienna Summer Strings

    Making Music and Memories Since 1987

    Sponsored by the GC Marshall High School Band Parent Organization

    MISSION Vienna Summer Strings provides a fun yet challenging musical experience for the emerging musician. Participants will develop instrumental and ensemble skills which support the school orchestra program during the school year.


    PROGRAM GOALS Vienna Summer Strings prides itself on meeting the needs of every string (violin, viola, cello, bass) musician who participates. Musicians are placed in an ensemble of similar age and skill. Staff works diligently to group musicians in an ensemble that matches their skill level while providing a challenging environment for personal growth.


    HISTORY Originally called "The Greater Tysons Area Orchestra Camp", Vienna Summer Strings began in 1987 led by Connie Cross Fields, Marilyn Daggett and Beverly Winder, three (now-retired) FCPS Orchestra Directors. Their keen vision of the summer program was to help public school orchestra programs increase enrollment and retain students year to year. Since 1987, VSS has grown from 60 students to over 300 students each summer.

  • Summer 2021



    3/8/21: Due to continued COVID-19 restrictions, VSS is unable to plan and provide the robust programming the community has come to expect. Therefore, the Summer 2021 session will not take place.


    We look forward to the 2022 Season! Please check back for registration details in March 2022.


  • Program Details

    What do they do all day?


    Beginning Level: Posture, instrument set up, note-reading, rhythm, eurhythmics, develop internal pulse, ear training.


    Intermediate Levels: Expand range, improve tone and pitch center, more complex rhythms and bowings, sophisticated harmonies/melodies, develop leadership and independence in the ensemble, greater understanding of music theory as it applies to the repertoire.


    Advanced Levels: Expand range, develop professional tone, understand conducting gestures, advanced music theory, music composition, exposure to chamber music, foster leadership and independence in the ensemble.






    There will be no formal audition for class placement. Placement will be determined by the following criteria:

    • Age/Grade level
    • Experience on instrument
    • Experience in an orchestra (group) setting

    Students are placed at a level where they will be challenged, but not overwhelmed.


    Students are closely observed during their first 2 days of participation. Ensemble re-evaluations are considered after careful observation and conference among the class instructors and Program Director.


    Sample of Daily Schedule:


    8:30 AM - Full Ensemble Rehearsal
    9:40 AM - Sectional (ensemble music is
    rehearsed in a small group)
    10:50 AM - Full Ensemble Rehearsal

    11:55 AM - LUNCH
    12:30 PM - Technique Class (performance
    techniques specific to individual
    instrument are introduced)

    1:30 PM - Dismissal


    1:30-3:30PM-Optional Extended Day Program


    • All refund requests must be made in writing and emailed to viennasummerstrings@gmail.com
    •  Approved refund requests made on or before May 22, 2020 will receive a full refund*.
    •  Approved refund requests made May 22, 2020 - June 15, 2020 will receive a 50% refund*.
    •  Refunds* will not be made after June 15, 2020 unless written medical documentation is provided and approved by the VSS Director.
    • Upon approval, please allow 3-5 business days for the refund to be processed.


    *All refunds are subject to a 6% processing fee.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    These are the most commonly asked questions. If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact us (link in menu).

    How are the musicians grouped?

    Musicians are grouped by grade/age and ability. Occasionally, exceptions are made, however, placing elementary aged children in the middle/high school groups is not recommended, regardless of their advanced technique.

    Is there an audition for group placement?

    There is no formal audition for group placement. Placement is largely determined by grade/age. Instructors assess the musicians during the first few days and may recommend class movement to the Program Director after careful observation. Please direct any concerns about class placement to the Program Director.

    Can I mail in my registration and payment?

    All aspects of registration take place online. Please submit the registration application online. Payment will be in the form of secure online credit card payment processed by the Booster Program of a Vienna High School (through Paypal). If you have concerns, please feel free to contact the Program Director.

    Sample Bag Lunch Menu

    Is lunch time part of the daily schedule?

    The daily schedule includes a 30 minute lunch time. Students may bring a sack lunch or make a bag lunch purchase during registration (proudly prepared by http://www.ffsfood.com). Click the icon above to view a sample bag lunch menu.

    Can tuition be prorated since my child will miss a portion of the camp?

    Vienna Summer Strings is designed as a four-week program and staff plans the curriculum accordingly. The best value and experience is available to those who register and attend ALL FOUR WEEKS.


    VSS understands the need to be flexible for families who have busy summers. Weeks 1 and 2 are pro-rated to offer such flexibility. Weeks 3&4 are grouped so that the Showcase Concert maintains performance integrity. VSS is not structured to allow children to participate in only Week 3 or only Week 4.

    My child is a beginner...what do I need to do?

    Register for ALL FOUR WEEKS. Not only is it the best value, but attending all four weeks will provide the best experience for your child. VSS is not staffed to accommodate beginners after Week 1, therefore VSS will not accept beginning students after Week 1.
    Obtain an instrument.The VSS mission is one of instruction and is not in the position of providing or renting instruments to participants. Please visit a local shop who can provide these services so your child is prepared with an instrument on the first day of VSS.
    There are a number of reputable business in our immediate area that will size your child for a proper fit and be sure they have everything they need to be successful. Internet, Ebay/Craigslist/Yard Sale and "box store" instrument purchases are strongly discouraged, as string instruments require an expert to qualify their play-ability. Inspection of proper bridge and sound post set-ups, string quality, and bow/hair quality are best left to the string shop experts who deal with these important aspects of stringed instruments on a daily basis. Instruments purchased from places other than an expert music shop are often in great need of repair. The instrument will require attention and you will need to visit a shop anyway and will spend even more money to get it into working condition for your child. Please contact us if you would like us to suggest a reputable store in the NoVA area. The shop will work with you as your child grows into the next sized instrument for the many years ahead of beautiful music!

    Can I obtain a receipt for my FSA?

    Please use your payment receipt (from Paypal) and confirmation email (from VSS) for tax filing purposes. If you have a specific from that must be completed, it must be brought in person to the program directors DURING the program dates. Further requests for tax id, etc. should be emailed to VSS directly.

    Is transportation provided?  

    VSS does not provide transportation. However, we do provide the option to sign up for the carpool list. The final list will be distributed via email to those who elected to be included on the list prior to the start of the program. It is your responsibility to make contact and set up your carpool.

    Is there a multi-child discount?  Financial Aid?  Scholarships?

    VSS does not offer a discount for families enrolling more than one child. Full payment is required for each child in order to register. Students seeking financial aid or scholarship opportunities should consult their school strings teacher or PTA representative to inquire about possible school sponsorship.


    VSS is proud to provide a high quality program. The hourly rate for the program is $5/hour or less. Highly qualified, licensed educators, (many with multiple degrees) teach every class. Babysitters aren't this cheap!

    What does the Extended Day Program Include?

    Participants will rotate among music-themed activities such as: arts and crafts; low-impact games & recreation; guided instrumental practice; snack time. Limited availability. Minimum enrollment of 30 per week, or the program risks being cancelled.

  • Parent Love

    Testimonials from Summer 2019

    "Great program. Dedicated and respectful staff. My child liked it and liked seeing how music and strings can be relevant to them. He will come back for more weeks."


    This was 3rd summer attending VSS, and our son can’t wait until next year! Keep up the GREAT work.

    "What a great team of professionals. My child thoroughly enjoyed the music and the teachers. And the after-care staff were fun and engaging. Thanks for a great program!"

    "My daughter thoroughly enjoyed this camp. Who knew playing an instrument for 5 hours could be so enjoyable. The staff seemed to be enjoying themselves, too. Keep making music fun!"

    "My son went enthusiastic every day, loved all the teachers and had so much fun. The teachers were caring and lovely. Big THANK YOU"

    "My son attended VSS for the first time this summer. He was very nervous before getting there, but when I picked him up his attitude was completely different. He loves the breakout sessions. He loved that he learn new techniques. He was very proud of himself for being able to read the notes better. He wants to do 3 weeks next year. Thank you for a great two weeks!"

  • VSS Calendar

  • Stay Informed

    Follow us on Facebook and receive the latest VSS updates and relevant strings information.

    Like us on Facebook. Get frequent updates and stay informed.