Expanding Access to Musical Excellence

What Sprouts Is All About

String Sprouts is a revolutionary program providing five years of affordable lessons for violin, viola, cello, and bass to children ages 3–6 in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area.

In 2022, our program moved to a sliding scale tuition model to better serve our musical community. The amount a family pays is based on their total household income and household size. Included in the cost is tuition, an instrument, and all the learning materials your Sprout will need! As always, qualifying families can participate in String Sprouts at absolutely no cost, instrument included.

We believe in providing access to musical excellence for anyone. That’s why we’re proud to open String Sprouts to all who want to participate!

Locally Grown

This revolutionary music education program was created by Ruth Meints, executive director of the Omaha Conservatory of Music. It began as Violin Sprouts in 2013 and grew into Cello Sprouts, Viola Sprouts, and Bass Sprouts. In 2019, the program coalesced into String Sprouts and continued to provide lessons, instruments, curriculum, and materials to Sprouts classes in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Scottsbluff, and Kansas City, Missouri. Today, the program’s reach extends across the country!

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Planting the Seeds of Success

String Sprouts sets children up for academic success.*

String Sprouts helps kids build academic skills (letters, numbers, comparisons) and executive function skills (attention, emotion regulation, planning, working memory). UNMC’s Munroe-Meyer Institute evaluations show a strong correlation between music skills and:

  • Phonological awareness
  • Working memory
  • Vocabulary
  • Math


Above average academic skills


Above average executive function skills

String Sprouts positively affects families.*

String Sprouts positively affects parent-child relationships by decreasing conflict ratings and significantly increasing parent-child closeness. Through your five years with String Sprouts, you and your kiddo will bond, learn, and grow alongside each other.

Early childhood music education has been shown to:

  • Improve classroom behavior
  • Extend attention span
  • Strengthen motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Give kids a jump-start on academic subjects, including math, language, and science

String Sprouts improves vocabulary.*

In addition to showing significant measured increases in the technical skills required to play a string instrument, student vocabularies significantly improved with participation in String Sprouts.


Above average vocabulary

*Source: 2015-16 program evaluation by UNMC’s Munroe-Meyer Institute


Here are some answers to common questions about String Sprouts. If you don’t see your question below, please send a message to stringsprouts@omahacm.org.

  • I heard the String Sprouts program is based on a sliding scale model. What does that mean?

    The sliding scale model means that the price of String Sprouts is based on a family’s ability to pay. The amount that a family pays is based on their total household income and household size. As always, qualifying families participate at absolutely no cost, thanks to the generosity of our donors. All Sprouts families, regardless of qualification status, receive the same access to instruments, materials, and instruction.

  • My child is 5 years old and has never played an instrument. Can we still enroll in String Sprouts?

    Yes! Your Sprout can even be up to age 6 as long as they have not entered first grade.

  • My child is almost 3 years old. Can we still enroll in String Sprouts?

    As long as your child will be 3 years old by April 1, you’re good to go for fall classes.

  • How do I apply for String Sprouts?

    Visit our Apply Now page! We start reviewing applications in late spring and send acceptance notifications during the summer. Class sizes are limited, so get your application in. You'll be able to see your family's annual cost before deciding whether to participate.

    In 2022, String Sprouts moved to a sliding scale model. The cost of participation is calculated using your family’s household income and household size. As always, qualifying families can participate in String Sprouts at zero cost, instrument included.

    Apply Now

  • Do I get to choose the class I want?

    Classes do fill up. Please choose multiple options on your application so we can fit you in. If you have a strong preference for a particular class, please include that information on your application and please apply early! We do our best to accommodate families’ schedules.

  • Where are String Sprouts classes held?

    We're expanding! Click the button to see our current locations.

    View Locations

Donor Support

The String Sprouts program is supported by generous donors.

  • Anonymous
  • Annette and Paul Smith
  • Bill and Ruth Scott
  • Creche Early Childhood Education Fund
  • Dr. David Jasper
  • Fremont Area Community Foundation, Inc.
  • Gilbert C. Swanson Foundation
  • Heider Family Foundation
  • Jean and Dr. John Marshall
  • John A. and Dianne M. Scott Fund
  • John and Elizabeth Lauritzen Foundation
  • Kum & Go Charitable Fund
  • Luli Josephson
  • MaryAnn Fustos
  • Midlands Community Foundation
  • Moglia Family Foundation
  • Mutual of Omaha Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Nebraska Arts Council
  • Oregon Trail Community Foundation
  • Pacific Life Foundation
  • Patricia Carter
  • Peter Kiewit Foundation
  • Polina and Bob Schlott
  • Polly and Dr. Ted Hoff Jr.
  • Pottawattamie County Foundation
  • Quivey – Bay State Foundation
  • Robert B. Daugherty Foundation
  • Sherwood Foundation
  • Slosburg Family Charitable Trust
  • Snow-Redfern Memorial Foundation
  • Southwest Iowa Foundation
  • Susan Scherl
  • Tom and Mary Jetton Charitable Fund
  • The Valmont Foundation Fund
  • Weitz Family Foundation