Author Archives: Brad

’22-’23 Registration Now Open!

Hello WCS Students & Families!

Ms. Kirby and I have been thoroughly enjoying seeing so many of you for lessons throughout the summer to this point.  It’s been wonderful to continue the journeys of so many of our long-time students into new techniques and new repertoire, as well as to begin those journeys with so many students and families who are new to West County Strings this summer! 

As we enter July, not only do we look forward to continuing to see so many of you throughout the rest of summer, but it’s also time for us to start preparing for our ’22-’23 school year, which will run from Monday, August 22, 2022 – Saturday, May 27, 2023.  

Registration for the ’22-’23 school year at West County Strings will be open from July 1 – July 31, 2022.   Here’s a copy of our ’22-’23 registration form, which you can return electronically, bring with you to lessons, or send in the mail. 

As always, let us know if you have any questions at all about the registration process or anything else, and we look forward to seeing you the rest of this summer, this upcoming school year, and beyond!

Spring ’22 Potluck

Hello Everyone!

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to celebrate the end of our group classes for the Spring ’22 Semester at our potluck on Tuesday, May 17. And thank you, thank you for all the wonderful, delicious food you all brought! We’re so grateful to have a community of families that values music so much, who works hard throughout the year, and who enjoys each others company when it’s time to relax. Above and beyond the joys of getting to teach music, the community that makes up West County Strings has always been, and continues to be, so special, and we’re thankful for you!

Spring Festival ’22 Recap

Hello Everyone!

Many thanks to all the students who participated in this year’s Spring Festival group performance this past Sunday, May 15. You all played so beautifully, and displayed such growth and maturity in both ability and confidence. which was a testament to the value of group class alongside private lessons in developing well-rounded musicianship. A heartfelt hank you to all the families who made the trips to group class on Tuesday evenings throughout the school year, making this learning experience for students – and this wonderful concert – possible! To those who weren’t able to join us for group classes this school year, we certainly hope you’ll join us in ’22-’23!

Spring ’22 Solo Recitals Recap!

Hello Everyone!

Many thanks to all the students and families who came together to make this year’s Spring Solo Recitals such a wonderful success. Each recital was a lovely blend of ages, levels, and repertoire, and each and every student really brought their best version of their ability to their performance.

We look forward to seeing those of you who’ve been regularly participating in group classes for another afternoon of beautiful music at our Spring Festival Group Performance on Sunday, May 15!

Spring ’22 Solo Recitals Info

Hello Everyone! 

Ms. Kirby and I are looking forward to a wonderful afternoon of music with you all on Sunday, May 1.  Here’s everything you need to know for our Spring ’22 Solo Recitals:

  • Recitals will be held at St. Louis Chinese Gospel Church, 515 Meramec Station Rd.  
  • Please check your email for your recital time assignments.  Students and their families should plan to arrive 15 minutes before their recital’s start time to unpack, tune, and settle in.  Please note that these lists do not reflect program order, and families should plan to be in attendance for their child’s full recital. 
  • Dress code for students is “dress casual.”  Slacks, khakis, dress shirts, polos, dress shoes, and loafers are acceptable for boys.  Dresses, dress pants or skirts, blouses, and dress shoes or loafers are acceptable for girls.  No jeans, t-shirts, or tennis shoes, please! 
  • Please refer to the Parent Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet in your email for your particular recital to sign up to help set up or clean up, or bring snacks or drinks for your recital’s reception.  We’re looking forward to returning to our regular post-recital reception format and as always appreciate your help in making it happen! 
  • Masks are recommended for all in attendance.  Students may take off their masks while performing

We’re looking forward to this afternoon with you all.  Students, keep up the good work of practicing and preparing!  And we’ll see you all in lessons this week 🎻

Congratulations MFMC Competition Winners!

Hello WCS Students & Families!

Ms. Kirby and I want to take a moment to congratulate the West County Strings students who earned scholarships through this year’s Missouri Federation of Music Clubs Scholarship Competition, which took place recently on March 26. This year’s winners were:

Tarini Karnati, viola

Tarini earned her place as one of this year’s MFMC Scholarship Competition winners playing the 1st mov. of the J.C. Bach-Casadeus Concerto in C Minor. A sophomore at Parkway Central, Tarini also enjoys playing tennis and studying Carnatic vocal music.

Aaron Wolz, viola

No stranger to success in the MFMC Scholarship Competition, Aaron previously earned a scholarship in 2020. He competed this year playing the 1st mov. of the Concerto in D Major by C. Stamitz. A junior in high school, Aaron attends Flo Valley Community College through Pattonville’s Early College Program, where he participates in the college’s orchestra. He is also a member of the St. Charles County Youth Orchestras Symphony Orchestra, which he credits with much of his growth as an orchestral musician, and a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he also serves as the orchestra’s first student librarian.

Nathan Zhou, violin

Nathan is also a two-time scholarship winner, having previously competed playing the Accolay Concerto No. 1 in A Minor in 2020. He was also runner-up in the MFMC District Competition in 2021, playing the 1st mov. of the Mozart Concerto No. 3 in G Major. This year, he performed the 1st mov. of the Bruch Concerto in G Minor in order to secure his second scholarship win. Outside of violin, Nathan also enjoys studying the piano and French horn, as well as playing goalie for his school’s water polo team.

We’re so proud of the effort that these three students put into preparing for this event, and even more so want to recognize the consistent dedication that they have displayed over the years, which has allowed them to reach this level of mastery in their playing. And we’re thrilled that their efforts have earned them these scholarships to put towards their ongoing music education.

The Missouri Federation of Music Clubs has competitions available for students grades 7 and up, so who knows: next year, or a few years down the road this could be you! Students grade 7-12 are eligible to participate annually, with winners being required to take one year off between appearances.

Summer ’22 Registration Now Open!

Hello Everyone!

Even as we work towards the events that highlight the spring, it’s also time for us to start looking ahead to the summer!

Registration for the Summer ’22 Semester at West County Strings will run April 1-30, and as always we are so excited to continue working with all of our current students, and to welcome new students and their families into our community.

Summer is such an incredible time of opportunity for students to learn and grow. When students get even just one restful week of break from school during the school year, the positive effects are immediately and unmistakably noticeable in their playing. Apply that to the 12 weeks of the summer, and students can make incredible development in their musical ability, and have a lot of fun doing it!

As always, registration over the summer at West County Strings is more flexible than during the school year. Families are free to sign up for only the weeks they know they’ll be in town and will want lessons, and we can accommodate requests for different days and times on different weeks, if needed.

You can download your Summer ’22 Registration Form here, and return it by email to Mr. Brad (bradleytkay@gmail.com), or bring it to your lessons in April. We look forward to seeing you all this summer!

’21-’22: Welcome Back from Spring Break!

Hello WCS Students & Families!

Welcome back from Spring Break! We hope that you enjoyed a restful and rejuvenating break, and are feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to dive into all the wonderful things there are to learn and do in this last quarter of the school year.

This stretch of the school year is especially fun and rewarding, as we get to intensely focus in both group classes and private lessons on preparing, polishing, and refining for our end of the school year performances, which bring together and highlight everything we’ve worked on throughout the year.

With that in mind, here’s a few important dates to keep in mind:

  • Monday, March 28 – Private lessons resume
  • Thursday, April 14 – Federation of Music Clubs video submissions due
  • Saturday, April 30 – Summer ’22 Registration Due
  • Tuesday, March 29 – Group classes resume
  • Friday, April 1 – Summer ’22 Registration Opens
  • Sunday, May 1 – Spring Solo Recitals
  • Sunday, May 15 – Spring Festival Group Performance

For those who elected to participate in this year’s Federation of Music Clubs events, details on making and submitting your recordings should have hit your inboxes a few days ago. Let us know if you have any questions. Otherwise, we’ll see you in lessons and group classes this week!

Spring Break ’22 Update

Hello WCS Students & Families!

The days and weeks at the start of 2022 have been absolutely flying by, and somehow, some way, it’s already time for Spring Break. West County Strings will be on break from Sunday, March 20 – Sunday, March 27, which means a well-deserved week off of lessons and group classes for all of our students and their families that week. Whether traveling or staying in the St. Louis area, we hope you all enjoy a restful and rejuvenating break!

Federation of Music Clubs Competitions

Students participating in this year’s Missouri Federation of Music Clubs competitions should remember that they have piano rehearsals with Mrs. Parkin on Tuesday, March 22 leading up to their competitions on Saturday, March 26. Rehearsals on Tuesday will be held in our studio, and the competition on Saturday will be held at Steinway Piano Gallery on Dorsett. You should have received your competition time in your email. If you have any questions about your time or anything else, just ask Mr. Kay. Best wishes to all those participating this year!

Summer ’22 Registration

Registration for the Summer ’22 Semester at West County Strings will open on April 1 and run through April 30. The Summer ’22 Semester itself will begin on May 30 and run through August 19. Just like every year, families will be free to sign up for every week of the summer, if they’d like, or only the weeks of the summer that they know they’ll be in town. We can also do lessons on Zoom while you’re out of town, or more than one lesson per week on weeks that you will be in town, if you’d like. In short, summer is a more flexible time, and a time that we always look forward to making the most of with each of our students!

Spring ’22 Performances

After we return from Spring Break, our attentions will focus on preparing for our two main performances of the Spring ’22 Semester. First, our Spring ’22 Solo Recitals will be on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1. Then, two weeks later, our ’22 Spring Festival group performance will be on the afternoon of Sunday, May 15. Both of these events will be held at the St. Louis Chinese Gospel Church, 515 Meramec Station Rd. More details, including rehearsal dates and times, will be forthcoming as the performances draw nearer.


In this week leading up to break, it’s been incredibly encouraging to see and hear all the progress you’ve all made in this first half of the Spring ’22 Semester. Hopefully, your Spring Break will find a nice balance of resting and practicing, and we look forward to meeting you all again with renewed energies after break!

New Year ’22 Update

Lessons & Group Classes

Private will resume on Thursday, January 6 and run through Saturday, May 29. We’re excited to see each of you again, set new goals for the remainder of this school year, prepare for everything that’s coming up this spring, and see how much each of you grow over the course of this Spring ’22 Semester!

Our 12 weeks of group classes for the Spring ’22 Semester will run on Tuesday evenings from March 1 – May 24. Group classes will continue to meet at the Saxony Clubhouse, 1208 Brittany Pkwy. Fall’s group classes were such a support to students’ development, and we’re excited for this spring’s classes! If you are unsure of your group class assignment or it’s meeting time, just ask your teacher.

One quick note: our Spring Break will be the week of Monday, March 21 – Saturday, March 26. We hope this aligns with most of your school Spring Breaks, but if it does not and you would like to try to switch lessons with another family to accommodate your Spring Break, please do so at your earliest convenience!

COVID-19 Policies

Heading into this new year, we are going to continue to require masking for students, parents, and anyone else who comes into the studio or attends group classes. We’re also going to maintain a 10-day quarantine period for the foreseeable future for anyone who tests positive or experiences a known exposure. We hope that by following these two simple steps we can play our part in keeping the members of our community healthy, safe, and leading uninterrupted lives, and can keep our programs running smoothly throughout the second half of the school year. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

Missouri Federation of Music Clubs

Every spring, we look forward to helping students prepare for opportunities offered by the Missouri Federation of Music Clubs local chapter, the “Virtuoso Club.” For every student, there’s the opportunity to perform select pieces for a judge at the Festival, get helpful feedback, and earn points, ribbons, and trophies. Students in 7th grade and above also have the opportunity to participate in the Camp Music Scholarship Competition to earn up to $500 to put towards music education opportunities over the summer. Students in 10th grade and above can also participate in the District Competition, with the opportunity to continue onto the State Competition.

This year’s Festival entries will be judged by video submission on the weekend of April 23-24. Camp Scholarship and District Competitions will be held in person at the Steinway Gallery on Dorsett on Saturday, March 26. Registration for all events is due by February 15, so Kirby and I will be talking with each of you soon about what events you might like to participate in, and selecting repertoire to prepare accordingly.

Solo Recitals & Spring Festival

Towards the end of each school year, we look forward to our Spring Solo Recitals and our Spring Festival Group Performance. We are still working on setting concrete dates and times for both events, as we want to find days that conflict with as few other events in students lives as possible and performance venues that enhance the experiences as much as possible for students and their families. For now know we’re aiming for a Sunday afternoon in late April / early May for Solo recitals and a Sunday afternoon in mid-late May for the Spring Festival, and we’ll keep you posted throughout the semester as we’ve solidified more details!

That takes care of everything for now, so we’ll see you starting Thursday, January 8, and we have every expectation that with lots of work, lots of laughs, lots of practice, lots of thought, and lots of learning, this will be an exceptional spring! See you all soon!