Several Outstanding Music Opportunities Available Summer 2023!

Empire Wild String Improvisation Workshop

June 26-30th, 2023, 6-7:30pm // Schultz Strings, Marion, IA


Empire Wild is a genre-bending, crossover trio featuring classically-trained musicians as a vehicle for their shared love of musical exploration - fusing the sounds of pop, folk, Broadway, and more into their songwriting and composition. Individually, all three musicians are committed to community engagement and teaching. Together as an ensemble, Empire Wild feels that it is important to prioritize community-oriented work and bring creative musical outlets and opportunities to students of all backgrounds and skill levels. They have shared their unusual versatility with students through workshops at University of Iowa, the Peabody Institute, and the Preucil School, among others. Equally at home in classrooms, intimate salons and large concert halls, Empire Wild brings a sense of community to every performance.

Open to violin, viola, cello, and bass players, this 5-day workshop will provide an introduction several genre-crossing skills such as improvisation, learning tunes by ear, alternative playing techniques including shuffle bowings, the 'chop,' percussive effects, strumming, and other pizzicato effects. Students will also get to enter the world of songwriting and arranging with a hands-on session exploring the process of turning their musical ideas into new songs or arrangements!

This opportunity is open to students grade 6 through adult with at least 1 year of experience, or at least in Suzuki book 3. The cost to register is $75. Class size is limited to 25, so register soon to secure your spot for this incredibly fun and educational opportunity!

Registration closes June 23rd.

Click here to register for the Empire Wild String Workshop

Meet Your Instructors:

Ken Kubota

Cellist Ken James Kubota has shattered perceptions of the typical classical music career. While he is celebrated by The New York Times for "dynamic” and “polished” musicianship, most know Kubota as a YouTuber, social media personality, and for pioneering his unique style of playing the cello like a guitar. As an artist, many know him as one-third of the band Empire Wild, a group now represented by Concert Artists Guild after receiving their 2020 Ambassador Prize.

Kubota continues to grow a following as the founder and producer of JHMJams, a weekly video series of pop covers by classical and jazz musicians. Described in National Sawdust Log as an “online powerhouse” of classical music’s online ecosystem, Kubota has earned additional recognition from Glamour, Lionsgate, The Violin Channel, The Strad, and Classic FM. His social media presence has also garnered notable collaborations including Meta, Ray-Ban, TikTok, Halstead, Pirastro, and The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Kubota seeks opportunities to share his experiences with other entrepreneurially minded musicians. His formal speaking engagements include The Juilliard School, The Manhattan School of Music, and CelloBello involving topics around career in music, social media, cello techniques, and more. Also fond of the relaxed conversations found on podcasts, he can be heard as a guest on Faking Notes, Skip The Repeat, Take Me to Coffee, Good Times with Isabel Hagen, The Conditioned Musician, B4 The Stage, The Artist’s Voice by Petra Sittig, and Forte by Aaron Lipsky.

Kubota holds degrees from The Juilliard School (B.M., M.M.), and has served on faculty at the Peabody Preparatory under Johns Hopkins University. He is currently on faculty at the Lucy Moses School at the Kaufman Music Center.

For more information, visit

Mitchell Lyon

Cellist Mitchell Lyon is a founding member of Empire Wild, a genre-bending crossover trio and Ambassador Prize Winner of the 2020 Concert Artist Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Passionate about community engagement and education, Mitch has been on the Teaching Artist Faculty of the New York Philharmonic since 2014 and frequently leads workshops for students of all ages and abilities, most recently at The Juilliard School Extension Division, Preucil School Chamberfest (IA), Omaha Conservatory (NE), and the Charles Ives Music Festival (CT). An alumnus of Juilliard (B.M., M.M.), Mitch was the recipient of several fellowships and led a multidisciplinary team of performing artists—actors, dancers, and musicians—to New Orleans in 2012 and 2013 to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. In the 2022-23 season he has appeared across the U.S. with his trio Empire Wild and will be resuming the “Landscapes: Music for a Changing Climate” program with his duo partner, Mika Sasaki.

Boot Camp 2023 with Dr. Tyler Hendrickson

Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 6-July 27th, 2023, 10-11am // Schultz Strings, Marion, IA


This boot camp will prepare advanced violin and viola students for the upcoming 2023 Iowa All-State Auditions.

Skills covered:

Left hand skills: fingerboard geography, shifting, and 3-octave major scales. 
Bow skills: fluency manipulating weight, speed, and contact point, detaché, collé, sautillé, spiccato, & legato.

Required Materials:

  • Music Stand)
  • 3 Octave Major Scale fingerings (all 12 keys)
  • Pencil & Notebook
  • Sevcik: Op. 3 (40 Variations) for Violin (used by both violinist and violists)


 Tuesday  Thursday
  June 6   June 8
  June 13   June 15
  June 20   June 22
  June 27   June 29
  July 4   July 7
  July 11   July 13
  July 18   July 20
  July 25   July 27

Full and half sessions are available!

Full - 15 sessions - $250
Half - 8 sessions - $175

Registration closes June 1st.

Click here to register for Boot Camp 2023

Meet Your Instructor:

Dr. Tyler Hendrickson

Dr. Tyler Hendrickson began as a Suzuki student at age six, and . He holds a B.A. in Music from Luther College, a M.M. from Wichita State University and a D.M.A. from the University of Iowa. He was a fellowship recipient at the internationally renowned Aspen Music Festival and School. He has held positions with the Wichita Symphony and LaCrosse Symphony Orchestras. He was the founding violist with both the Franziska Trio and the Spiritoso Quartet. Dr. Hendrickson is deeply versed in Suzuki Pedagogy, having registered 20 core training units with the Suzuki Association of the Americas including multiple units with William Preucil, Sr (Recording Artist of the Suzuki Viola School) . He has been praised not only for his playing, but also his ideas, energy and understanding of Suzuki pedagogy leading to presentations at the 16th and 17th Biennial Conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Dr. Hendrickson has taught across the country and worked with students aged 3 through 80. He has taught college students at Wichita State University and the University of Oregon. His students have gone on to honor orchestras, All-State orchestras, and performed at University of Oregon Basketball Games, the Iowa State Fair, and Carnegie Hall.

String Instrument Repair Workshop for Players and Teachers

June 26-30th, 2023, 9am-12pm, 3-5pm // Schultz Strings, Marion, IA


Join instructors John Schultz, Schultz Strings and Mark Messer, Messer Violin Shop for a multi-day class that will explore basic string instrument set up, repair, and maintenance. This class is designed for school music directors, private string instructors, performers, and others interested in taking their repair knowledge and techniques to the next level. No previous experience is needed. You are welcome to use your own program instruments, or some will be provided to work on during the class. 

Topics Covered:

During the course, we will learn and refine skills on techniques such as: setting the bridge and soundpost as well as general set up, gluing open seams, reattaching fingerboards and nuts, adjusting and installing new pegs, cutting bridges and new sound posts, basic varnish touch up, Installing and selecting strings, basic bow maintenance and basic repair, endpin adjustment and replacement. Other repairs will be discussed and covered broadly, such as bow rehairs, repairing cracks, and reattaching necks. Although, these more advanced techniques may not be covered by all participants depending on experience. 

What Tools and Experience Do I Need?

No experience is required, although a working knowledge of string instrumets will be very helpful. If you already have an instrument repair tool kit you may bring one. However, a repair kit is available for purchase prior to the camp so that you may use the skills you learn in your home program. The cost for the optional toolkit is $500 and must be ordered before June 1st. For some advanced repairs we will have additional tools available and be able to demonstrate these techniques. 

Where Will This Class Take Place?

This class will take place in the workshop of the Schultz Strings store, in Marion, Iowa.

This Sounds Good! How Do I Sign Up, And What Does It Cost?

Registration can be started by filling out the registration form through the link below. Once we receive your information, we will send you an invoice which you can pay following the instructions. You may pay by Cash, Check or Credit Card. If your school program will pay for this class, we can send an invoice to your program or accounting department. Just let us know!

This class is only $300. The class size is limited to 15, so register soon to secure your spot! Registration closes June 23rd.

Click here to register for the String Repair Workshop

Meet Your Instructors:

Mark Messer, Messer Violin Shop

Mark earned his Bachelor of Music (ED) from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972 and Master of Music in 1976 and has enjoyed a diverse and extensive career in music education, string restoration, and performance. In addition to a 32+ year career serving as a string specialist instructor at the Madison Metropolitian School district, he has concurrently operated Messer Violin Shop since 1972. 

As a performer and director, Mark has also performed as a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and has been a Clinician and Adjudicator for numerous Wisconsin School Music Association Contests. He has additionally presented many times at Wisconsin State Music Conventions and was an instructor of String Repair at the UW-Madison National String Workshop. 

John Schultz, Schultz Strings

Violinist, John Schultz received his BM and MM from Univeristy of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he studied on full scholarship with Dr. Myron Kartman. He has a diverse career as an entreprenuer, performer, educator, clinician, woodworker, and luthier.  John and his wife, Rebecca, founded Schultz Strings, a string instrument store based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Their team services several dozen school districts serving hundreds of teachers and thousands of performers across the Midwest and beyond. Aside from Schultz Strings, John performs regularly with Orchestra Iowa and other regional orchestras. He enjoys chamber music and has performed professionally with the Arreaux Strings Quartet and now gives numerous recitals, chamber concerts, and presentations each year. Comfortable as a soloist, Mr. Schultz has appeared with numerous orchestras and ensembles. John is a passionate Suzuki educator and his students have performed as soloists with many orchestras around the Midwest and won entry and scholarships at some of the most regarded conservatories and schools in the world. He has built many youth orchestras, chamber music festivals, and has served as a guest artist, clinician, and educator for countless festivals and programs. Aside from music, John enjoys woodworking, cycling, and dedicates himself to his volunteer efforts to Rotary Youth Exchange. 


Contact Us Today!

(844) 443-6159 · [email protected]

Are you looking to rent, buy, or get your instrument repaired? Or are you looking to schedule lessons or a delivery? Email or give us a call.