by Mandy Wilkinson, Mountain West String Academy/Cache County Elementary StringsCache County School District

Multiple studies show that young musicians perform better academically and socially. Learning an instrument is directly linked to improved cognitive abilities, according to a 2008 study conducted by Beth Israel of Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In the Cache County School District, fourth-and fifth-grade students are offered an affordable opportunity to learn a string instrument and participate in orchestra through the Mountain West String Academy. Instrumental instruction for the violin, viola, cello and bass takes place before or after school at your child’s elementary school. Students can perform in at least two concerts per year, one in winter and another in spring.

Since Mountain West String Academy was founded in 1999, Cache County School District orchestra students have found success as they have moved into high school and professional music settings.

Mountain Crest and Sky View orchestras both won first place in their own division and in combined orchestra (Cache Honor Orchestra) at the Heritage Festival in Anaheim, California this spring. Most of these accomplished performers began their musical careers as elementary students in the Mountain West String Academy.

Mountain West String AcademyWe look forward to another successful year of making music, and we hope your children will join us. Run by a parent-operated board, the program is always in need of volunteers.

This year’s registration (2015-16) for first-year string musicians will take place Sept. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at River Heights Elementary and Sept. 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. Information about class times and instrument rentals will be available at these meetings.

For more information about the program or to volunteer, parents may visit our website or email