student playing violin

Sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra

Mission Statement

The mission of the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program is to increase access to string instruction for underserved students. Key objectives of the project are: to provide string instrument instruction free of charge, to nurture and develop students’ creative talents, and to prepare students for challenging opportunities in music and life. The secondary goal, which has the potential to positively impact music education in Greensboro and the state of North Carolina, is to provide music education majors with the opportunity to explore and develop as teachers in a diverse setting.


The Greensboro Symphony began the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program in 2000, with support from Lillian Rauch. The program was based after school and was taught by members of the Greensboro Symphony. In 2008, a partnership was formed between the Greensboro Symphony and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro String Education Program. With the support of Principal Francine Mallory, the program was moved to the Clara J. Peck Elementary School and instruction was offered during the school day. The program grew from 14 to approximately 60 students. A third partner, the Music Academy of North Carolina, joined the Program in 2012. With the combined efforts of UNCG, the GSO, and the MANC, the program grew both in quantity and quality and now serves over 120 students grades 2-5.


The Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program is currently possible through the joint efforts of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, the Clara J. Peck Elementary School, and the David D. Jones Elementary School. Program directors, Dr. Rebecca MacLeod – Associate Professor of Music Education at UNCG and Mr. Peter Zlotnick – Education Manager for the GSO, work together to create a sustainable string outreach program that provides elementary students with the opportunity to study a string instrument. Program Coordinator, Dr. Christen Blanton Mack implements the program and oversees instruction. Most importantly, Principals Kim Leake and Ron Luciano support the program as an integral part of the school day and have dedicated classrooms specifically for use by teachers and students involved with the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program.

News and Events

Adopt a String Student Day

Tuesday, November 21,  11:30 AM

Performance and Interaction at UNCG School of Music Recital Hall

Greensboro Symphony Pops Concert

Peck Alumni Leaders with the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program

Saturday, April 28, 8:00 PM

Westover Church


Program Director; Associate Professor of String Education

Dr. Rebecca MacLeod
 is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she directs the string education program and conducts the UNCG Sinfonia. Prior to joining the UNCG faculty, she was the assistant artistic director and conductor of the Tallahassee Symphony Youth Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra in Tallahassee, Florida. A native of Pennsylvania, she taught elementary, middle, and high school orchestra in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania and was orchestra director and chair of music activities in Beaver, Pennsylvania.

Dr. MacLeod is a frequent guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States. An advocate of increased access to string instruction for all students, she has served on the American String Teachers Association National Board and is currently the North Carolina ASTA state president. Her research on working with underserved populations, vibrato technique, music teacher education, and music perception has been presented national and internationally. Dr. MacLeod received her undergraduate degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her MME and PhD from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

Education Manager of the Greensboro Symphony

peter-zlotnickPeter Zlotnick is a North Carolina-based musician and teacher. Peter is the principal timpanist of the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Salisbury Symphony Orchestras. In addition to being a founding member of Amphion Percussion, Peter has performed as a member of the Philidor Percussion Group and on varied new music programs in North Carolina. Peter serves as Percussion Instructor at the Music Center of Greensboro and Catawba College. He is also Education Manager for the Greensboro Symphony, and a member of the music faculty at North Carolina Governor’s School West.

Program Coordinator and Lead Teacher

christen-blantonDr. Christen Blanton Mack is a research associate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has been a violin and cello teacher in the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program since 2012, and is currently the Program Coordinator at both Clara J. Peck Elementary and David D. Jones Elementary. Dr. Blanton Mack holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (PhD, music education 2016 and MM, viola performance 2008) and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam (BM music education 2006). She has experience teaching strings in both public school and private studio lessons, K-8 general music, and choir, and maintains an active playing career in both classical and folk genres. A prize-winning fiddler and ballad singer, Christen is passionate about teaching old-time and folk fiddling styles. Her band, The Zinc Kings, have been featured performers with the Winston-Salem Fiddle and Bow Society, Triad Arts Up Close, and the Folk Alliance International Conference.

Cello Teacher

nate-cj-martinNate CJ Martin is currently a masters student in music education and holds his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. During his undergraduate work, he interned with the Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program at Clara J. Peck Elementary School and is now continuing his work with the program as a violin and cello instructor. Nate has experience teaching elementary, middle, and high school orchestra, as well as middle school general music in North Carolina. He maintains a private studio of students, teaches various student groups, and continues to perform throughout the region as a cellist and violinist. He has coached the cello section of the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra, has worked on a number of contemporary music projects, and is building the string studios at Wesleyan Christian Academy and Green Street Baptist Church in High Point, North Carolina.

Amber Mattfield is currently a masters student in music education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds her bachelor’s degrees in music education and violin performance from the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University. During her undergraduate work, she maintained a private violin studio and served as a violin instructor for El Sistema Oklahoma. Amber’s teaching experience ranges from teaching elementary, middle, and high school orchestra, as well as adult beginners. She has coached sectionals for various string ensembles, and has a performance history with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Smith Symphony. Amber also maintains an active musical career as a collaborative studio musician, violinist, pianist, and singer/songwriter in classical, indie folk, and Christian music genres.

Michael Petit portrait Michael Petit is a charismatic teacher based in Greensboro pursuing his Masters of Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He holds his bachelors of Violin Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College where he studied with master teachers Julie Carr, James Mick, Calvin Weirsma, Nicholas DiEugenio, and Susan Waterbury. Between his degrees Michael worked at string programs across Connecticut including the Ridgefield Suzuki School, Bravo Waterbury El-Sistema, CREC Discovery Charter School, and the West Hartford Public Schools. Michael has played Violin and Viola with the Bel Canto Singers, the Scotia Festival Orchestra, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, the Apple Hill Chamber Music Center, the Decoda Skidmore Institute of Chamber Music, and the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster. Michael looks forward to refining his teaching under the tutelage of Dr. Rebecca MacLeod & Dr. Christen Blanton, as well as his Viola studies under the tutelage of Dr. Scott Rawls, at UNCG.

See what we do



The Lillian Rauch Beginning Strings Program is run through private donors. We are constantly seeking additional funding. If you are interested in contributing to the program, please contact Dr. Rebecca MacLeod, A little money can go a long way.


Will purchase books, rosin, and new strings.
Can supply a student with a new bow.
Funds an activity bus for one of our annual field trips
Purchases a violin for a student to use.
Purchases a cello for a student to use.
Will allow us to repair damaged or worn instruments in our inventory.

No contribution is too small. We also accept donations of instruments and other supplies.