Rudolf Haken

Professor of Music, University of Illinois



Need-based and Merit-based financial aid available (up to 100% tuition waiver)


Always feel free to email for further information, for help with the application process, or to arrange a sample lesson or tour. Creative, innovative students are particularly welcome.

1. How do I apply for the Bachelor of Arts in Electric Strings? Apply at When you apply (or if you're considering applying), please be sure to email to discuss your goals.

2. Can non-music majors enroll in private instruction and ensembles? Yes. Please visit

3. When I initially play for you during the application process, does it need to be on an electric instrument? No. Please present anything that shows your skill on a stringed instrument, whether acoustic or electric.

4. Can graduate students study electric strings? The University of Illinois doesn't yet have a graduate degree program in electric strings. However, we do offer lessons, chamber ensembles and courses in electric strings at the graduate level.

5. Which genres of music will I be studying? Each Electric Strings student learns to play in a great variety of styles, then specializes in those that most interest the student. Students are given sheet music for rock, blues, jazz, pop, hip hop, klezmer, crossover classical, folk music, avant-garde, etc. to gain a working knowledge of each style. Many songs are performed with backing tracks. Students are also encouraged to compose and to collaborate on creating new music. We offer numerous excellent courses in music production, technology and composition to assist in your creative endeavors.

6. Which courses / ensemble experiences in Electric Strings are offered at the University of Illinois? We offer private instruction in electric violin / electric viola, as well as small and large ensembles involving electric instruments. Course numbers for private instruction can be found at List of ensembles can be found at Ensemble participation for electric cello is also available. Please email for details. Additionally, the School of Music offers courses in jazz improvisation, hip hop, rock, ethnic music, music production, recording and related fields. We have a large and thriving community of students across campus involved in music production, with numerous groups such as Production Club and Electronic Music Club open for collaboration with electric string players.

7. Can I register for acoustic and electric strings in the same semester, even though they’re different sections of the same course? Yes, you can simultaneously register for two sections of the same course.

8. Does the University of Illinois have electric string instruments for student use? Yes, we have an “electric string quartet” set consisting of three five-string violin/violas and one five-string cello. These instruments are in demand and shared by students, and may not be taken out of the building except for performances. Therefore, students in the Bachelor of Arts in Electric Strings program must purchase their own electric instruments.

9. Which brand of instrument should I buy? I personally own a six-string fretted Wood Viper and highly recommend it. I strongly suggest getting an instrument with five or more strings. Instruments can easily be retuned. For example, a six-string can be fitted with guitar tuning to create an "electric arpeggione". Visit for the greatest selection and expertise. Very inexpensive instruments are available on ebay but quality is far from guaranteed. Another option is to build your own electric instrument if you have the time and inclination. This can be done by 3D printing.

10. Where can I connect with electric string players online? The “Electric String Players (Violin, Viola and Cello)” Facebook group is a good place to start.

11. What is the grading policy for lessons? At the start of each semester I meet individually with each student to assess their goals, playing level and schedule. Together we craft a workable plan and grading system for the semester.