Sassmannshaus Tradition

The Sassmannshaus Tradition, founded by Kurt Sassmannshaus, is an innovative string program made available to a large number of young children in the Greater Cincinnati area.

The Sassmannshaus Tradition provides an individual program of instruction for students, ages four and above, to learn instrumental skills.

Each child receives a weekly private violin/cello lesson and attends theory and chamber music group classes. Instrumental technique is taught with lessons while rhythm and note reading are presented in the classes. The teachers for this program are specially selected from an experienced class of graduate students at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). The program uses the best selling and most successful European violin method - The Sassmannshaus Tradition. The techniques of this method can be seen at


Students meet with a private instructor for 30, 45 or 60 minutes weekly. Our private instructors are students and faculty from CCM with great teaching experiences and hand selected by Kurt Sassmannshaus - the author and founder of The Sassmannshaus Tradition. Through private instructions, students will demonstrate:

  • The ability to stand, sit and hold instrument with a great posture.
  • Right hand: bow grip, bow speed, bow pressure, sounding point, straight bow, detaché, legato, bow changes, string crossings, collé, martelé, staccato, spiccato, sautillé, ricochet, chords, double stops, pizzicato.
  • Left hand: finger dropping and lifting, shifting, vibrato, pizzicato left hand, harmonics.
  • Note reading.
  • Produce a good sound at various dynamic levels.
  • Good intonation.
  • Memorization.


Since chamber ensembles involve fewer players than the orchestra, it's less intimidating and easier for young ears. We believe it is the first step and a great introduction to begin training ensemble playing.

  • Weekly 30-minutes class.
  • 2 to 5 children per chamber group.
  • Music selections are from traditional chamber repertoires, folk songs, arrangements from The Sassmannshaus Tradition books, and transposed standard string quartets.
  • Chamber music enables children to socialize in a nonverbal context, learn to listen to more than themselves, and develop the ability to roll with spontaneous interchange.


In addition to private lessons and chamber music, students in "The Sassmannshaus Tradition" are introduced to the basic principles of music theory. For weekly 30-minutes theory lessons, students are placed in small group classes based on level, experience, and age. In their lessons, they work both individually and collectively on assignments. These groups can range from the absolute beginner to the more advanced young student. Beginning students learn about note and rest values, basic time signatures and rhythms, and notation symbols. Intermediate students continue the study of rhythm, notation, and time signatures and begin to learn about scales and patterns of notes. Intermediate/Advanced students are introduced to key signatures, all major and minor scales, solfedge, and begin to practice ear training and interval recognition. The most advanced students begin working with triads, phrasing, transposition, and writing short melodies. The study of music theory can be both fun and rewarding. We at "The Sassmannshaus Tradition" believe it to be an essential part of a young student's musical education.


The Sassmannshaus Tradition Orchestral Ensemble is a string ensemble that is comprised of eight to ten string players who are between the ages of seven and twelve years old. These talented children participate in a weekly rehearsal, learning orchestra skills and musicianship. Although sight-reading skills are not a focus of the ensemble, participants are introduced to new music every few weeks and are given the opportunity to sight-read the music before they are able to take it home and practice. The music selection for this ensemble is varied and ranges from classical, Latin, and even popular cartoon or movie music. The goal of the ensemble is not only to teach the children how to play with others while following a conductor, but also to make playing with others fun. We work hard and strive for continued musical excellence while maintaining an atmosphere of community.

Students are accepted to the orchestral ensemble by auditions.


There is one recital organized by the program at the end of each semester. Previous recitals have been held at CCM's Watson's Recital Hall. Each student will get a chance to perform their solo piece(s) with a pianist. Student will also perform with their chamber music ensemble and orchestral ensemble. Solo pieces are expected to be played by memory. Students are also encouraged to participate in other local and CCM Prep. Department activities, competitions, and recitals.

We are currently accepting applications. Please contact the Starling Project Foundation office for more information on The Sassmannshaus Tradition enrollment.