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Cremona: The Birthplace of Today’s Violins

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Dec 4, 2017 12:14:38 PM

The origins of the violin were likely rooted in India or the Far East. In fact, musical instruments that are played with a bow appear in centuries-old paintings and pottery from many different civilizations. But there is no doubt that the violin we recognize today originated in mid-1500 Cremona, Italy, more specifically from the hand of Andrea Amati. Andrea’s grandson, Nicola Amati, enlarged the pattern and refined the violin, passing his knowledge to Stradivari and Guarneri. In short order, other famous makers emerged in Cremona, Carlo Bergonzi being the most prominent. Cremona had quickly become famous throughout Europe and elsewhere. Indeed, this Golden Age of violin making produced the greatest violins the world has ever known.

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Fine Instruments, Italian Violins

Red Shoe Company: An Arts Collective on a Mission of Happiness!

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 9, 2017 2:06:04 PM

Violinist Teagan Faran’s unique vision combines great music, virtuosic performance, artistic collaboration and community involvement. Red Shoe Company is the product of this vision. SHAR is proud to support this incredible ensemble of talented and dedicated musicians, in concert on Sunday, November 19. Don’t miss it! Read more about Teagan Faran’s Mission of Happiness, in her own words...

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Topics: Chamber music, String Community, Performance

Your Musical Mental Map

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 8, 2017 10:29:59 AM

Learning to play an instrument is about hand positioning, technique, practice, and hard work. This careful training leads to muscle memory and tonal recognition. Mastery in playing an instrument requires additional skills well beyond even these.  Dr. Melissa Gerber Knecht, our guest blogger, is Professor of Music at Hillsdale College. Dr. Gerber has studied the development of pattern recognition in the human brain and the critical role this plays in achieving mastery of the instrument. Her recent book, Developing Your Musical Mental Map, is based on this research, and provides a useful guide for teachers and students seeking to achieve breakthrough improvement.

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Topics: Teaching, Music Theory, books, Pedagogy

String Teachers: Business as Usual . . . or a Breakthrough Year?

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Oct 18, 2017 11:08:22 AM

It’s time for a new school year, an opportunity for a fresh start in your studio. A new crop of students is arriving, and many of your students are returning. And each student is different, with different strengths and weaknesses, different commitment levels, and different motivations. You’ve got lots of students to teach, and they need to cover a lot of ground quickly. Fortunately, you have your method books, your supplements, and especially your own experience and good sense, and that has always served you well. For most of your students.

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Teaching, String Community, Method Books, Bass, Teaching Aids, books, Pedagogy

String Teachers: Students Need a Breakthrough? Part 6: Good Habits Begin Early: Caring for the Instrument

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Oct 10, 2017 2:28:41 PM

In this final part of the breakthrough blog series, Val Jaskiewicz offers a reminder to teachers that a student is responsible for their instrument and that learning good habits early on will prevent them from hitting barriers later on. Caring for an instrument, after all, is an important aspect of being a string player, and one that at times requires encouragement from the teacher.

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Topics: Teaching, Instrument Care, Humidity

String Teachers: Students Need a Breakthrough? Part 5: Books That Help Focus Any Teaching Method, for Parents and You

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Oct 4, 2017 11:10:33 AM

In the previous parts of this blog series, we looked at some books and methods created by string teachers, who have years of experience in helping violin, viola, cello, and bass students in overcoming difficult obstacles that would otherwise prevent them from moving on in technique and musicality. When it comes to methods and etude books, there can sometimes be gaps in content or direction that make it difficult for students to really master a foundational technique, habit, or concept. Writer, violinist, and product expert, Val Jaskiewicz, recommends some books that can add focus to any method your student is using!

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Topics: Parents, Practice, Teaching, Method Books, books

String Teachers: Students Need a Breakthrough? Part 4: Breaking Through Physical and Mental Barriers

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Sep 28, 2017 11:43:56 AM

In the previous part of this blog series on teacher-made solutions to common string student obstacles, there were four books featured that are very useful for helping students feel motivated to practice well. In this part, two different kinds of books are presented which can help students who feel overwhelmed by a mental or physical barrier to their playing. 

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Topics: Practice, Teaching, Method Books, Advice, books

String Teachers: Students Need A Breakthrough? Part 3: Books for Practice and Motivation

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Sep 25, 2017 6:00:00 AM

As was mentioned in the first two parts of this series (featuring accessories for common left and right-hand problems), each student is different with different strengths and weaknesses, different commitment levels, and different motivations. For those students that need some special attention or have some challenges to overcome, where do you find the time to investigate the solution, find the right book or product, and apply it to their unique issue? At SHAR, we’ve discovered the answers from an obvious source: From other teachers! After all, teachers know best, and because they are teachers they love sharing what they know! Teachers know that most habits are learned during practice, not at the lesson, so motivating a student to practice the right way is as much a challenge as having them "get it" at the lesson. These books by other teachers can help your student make a breakthrough!

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Topics: Practice, Teaching, Teaching Aids, books, motivation

String Teachers: Students Need a Breakthrough? Part 2: Right Hand Accessories

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Sep 18, 2017 7:00:00 AM

As was mentioned in Part 1 (featuring accessories for common left-hand problems) of this series, each student is different with different strengths and weaknesses, different commitment levels, and different motivations. For those students that need some special attention or have some challenges to overcome, where do you find the time to investigate the solution, find the right book or product, and apply it to their unique issue? At SHAR, we’ve discovered the answers from an obvious source: From other teachers! After all, teachers know best, and because they are teachers they love sharing what they know! Here we explore some fantastic inventions for teaching proper right-hand bowing technique.

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String Teachers: Students Need A Breakthrough? Part 1: Left Hand Accessories

Posted by Val Jaskiewicz on Sep 11, 2017 3:59:08 PM

It’s time for a new school year, an opportunity for a fresh start in your studio. A new crop of students is arriving, and many of your students are returning. And each student is different, with different strengths and weaknesses, different commitment levels, and different motivations. You’ve got lots of students to teach, and they need to cover a lot of ground quickly. Fortunately, you have your method books, your supplements, and especially your own experience and good sense, and that has always served you well. For most of your students.

Read More

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