The Junior Strings of Melbourne (JMSE) began in 2011 under the musical direction of Julie Hewison and is currently under the musical direction of Erica Russell.
It is aimed at string players between Years 4 and 8 at school (approximately 9-13 years of age) with a minimum standard of Grade 3+ AMEB. Young players who are advanced for their age benefit greatly from the ensemble experience provided by such a group.
The group rehearses from 1-2pm on Saturdays at Burke Hall, Xavier College Middle School in Kew. They join the MSE for several concerts throughout the year.
JMSE is directed by Erica Russell, who began playing violin and piano in primary school. She continued her violin studies at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and received a Premier’s Award in Music Styles and Composition for her VCE. Erica went on to complete a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Secondary Education at Monash University, where she studied violin under the tutelage of Elizabeth Sellars. During her degree, Erica performed with the Monash Academy Orchestra and Monash String Sinfonia. In 2011 and 2014, she was invited to complete intensive performance units at the Verdi Music School in Prato, Italy and at New York University, New York.
Erica currently holds string teaching positions at Sacré Cœur and Balwyn Primary School. She has completed further training in Kodály method and is currently undertaking Suzuki training. Erica is a member of AUSTA and performs regularly at concerts and weddings with her string quartet.