Welcome to The Academy of Strings!


The Academy of Strings believes that “with the right environment and the right works, every child can!” All our students develop skills and discipline not only in music but in all areas of learning. Our philosophy and family friendly approach to music education is centered on the Suzuki Method of Talent Education. Under the artistic leadership of violinists and master teachers Tim & Kim Barrett, this unique violin program has enjoyed a very successful, consecutive 25 year history working with students ages 4 to 18 and their families. The academy blends excellent teachers with engaging instruction, ranging from the earliest beginnings through advanced classical repertoire, as well as hoedowns to film scores!


Our Academy has an 18 week fall and spring semester that follows the Johnson City Schools. We are hosted by First Christian Church of Johnson City, TN located at 200 E. Mountcastle Drive.

Our Mission

The Academy of Strings is a music Academy devoted to the personal development of children and youth through quality music education and performance. The primary goal of the Academy of Strings is to foster well-balanced students through “human being” education.


At the Academy of Strings, music is used as a tool to teach students sensitivity, patience, confidence, respect, and self-discipline.


The Academy of Strings does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, ethnic origin, religion, or handicap. We are very dedicated to providing a non-hostile and safe environment for our students and their families.

Our History

The Academy of Strings was established in 1991 by a generous gift of $50,000 from the late Mrs. Ruth Harris of Johnson City, in honor of her son “Chip” Harris. Mrs. Harris desired to establish an Academy that would use music as a tool to foster well-balanced children through arts education.


With this financial backing, the Board of Trustees launched a comprehensive international search for faculty. They received word from Dr. Suzuki, in Japan, who personally recommended Tim and Kim Barrett to develop and direct a violin program for the organization. The Barretts, who had just completed three years of intensive training with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in Japan, founded the Academy in the fall of 1991.


Today, the Academy of Strings provides music education to more than 80 students. The Barretts continue to work with parents, schools, churches, and community organizations to entertain, support, and educate about the benefits of arts education.

The Academy of Strings Faculty


Executive & Artistic Director

Tim Barrett started his violin studies at age 12 as a Suzuki student with Mr. Lacy McLarry, Concertmaster and Artist in Residence of the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Barrett then graduated from the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University with a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in violin performance. After completion of his graduate work, Tim Barrett studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki on a daily basis for 3 years and graduated from the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. Additionally, Mr. Barrett was invited to be a participant at the 2005 and 2007 Starling-DeLay Symposiums on violin studies at the Juilliard School in New York City and serves as Concertmaster of the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra. He has been a violin teacher for the Academy of Strings since 1991 and currently serves as the Executive and Artistic Director.


Violin Program Director

Kim Barrett began studying the violin at age 12 with Mrs. Linda Fiore in Pennsylvania. After graduating from West Chester University with Bachelor Degrees in Music Performance and Music Education, she went to Matsumoto, Japan to study personally with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and other master teachers. During her 3 ½ years in Japan, Mrs. Barrett assisted in translating for Dr. Suzuki and his writings, and performed as an example of his teaching and method. After graduating from the Talent Education Institute, she returned to the United States in 1991 with her husband, Tim. Mrs. Barrett also holds a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Tennessee. Currently, she teaches and directs the violin program for the Academy of Strings.


Both Mr. and Mrs. Barrett have received Outstanding Teacher Awards from the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, as well as the Forty Under Forty Award by the Business Journal of the Tri-Cities.