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7 Names you won't give your New Violin or Viola Cushy!

Posted by James Engman on Aug 26, 2015 3:00:00 PM

It's a CUSHY, and it just wants to give you and your instrument a hug.

     The new and improved CUSHY© Deluxe Carry-All™ Backpacks are now available for both violin and viola, shaped and oblong cases! Our top product designers teamed up with leading backpack manufacturers to bring you a quality product that optimizes comfort, protection, and durability. It shouldn’t be a mystery why "CUSHY" is an appropriate name for these bodacious guardians of your precious cargo. They, like a forcefield of cushy goodness, repel the forces of nature that seek to destroy your instrument despite it's sturdy case. All the while, it offers you a warm and soft embrace, making your commute comfortable and hands-free. However, here’s a few names we did NOT give to The CUSHY© and why:

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Accessories, Cases, Bags, Straps, Travel, Traveller

Remembering Evelyn Avsharian

Posted by Staff Writer on Aug 5, 2015 9:55:00 AM

We’ve always loved the Children’s Music Series here at SHAR, but we recently realized that very few people outside of SHAR know much about the author of this excellent series. We came across this thread on Violinist.com about the author, Evelyn Bedient Avsharian. In the thread, the person posted the question: “Does anyone know exactly who Evelyn Avsharian is? I have used many of her books but I can't find any information about her!” We thought it was time that the violin community knew more about this remarkable person who was a violinist, teacher, wife and mother. We sat down with Evelyn Bedient Avsharian’s widower, Michael Avsharian, Jr. to ask him more about his late wife. The following blog in her memory is based on an interview we had with him.

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Topics: SHAR, Evelyn Avsharian, Children's Music Series

There’s a Teaching Aid for That

Posted by Staff Writer on Jul 31, 2015 2:12:00 PM

Most of us remember how tricky it was to learn to ride a bicycle. Falling down, scraping our knees, running into trees, or even the neighbor’s carefully trimmed hedges. Or maybe that memory is too far in the past for you, but you do remember teaching your son or daughter how to ride a bicycle. After privately chuckling to yourself the first few times they wobble and stutter, you probably encouraged them to try again. And if they were still having a really hard time, you probably suggested, “Let’s install some training wheels for you.” Sometimes a little extra help from training wheels makes things a lot easier. Similarly, it makes sense to use “training wheels” to help us learn to play an instrument, something that’s arguably far more difficult than learning to ride a bike.

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Topics: Teaching, BowStopper, Wrist Rascal, Teaching Aids

Finding Your Voice: The Franz Hoffmann Koe Violin

Posted by Staff Writer on Jul 29, 2015 10:37:00 AM

Sometimes, a name is just a name. But with our new Franz Hoffman Koe violin, we wanted a name that would capture the feeling of first learning to play—really play—the violin. “Koe” means “voice” in Japanese. Its Japanese character can also be interpreted as a cry, or a note. Along with its craftsmanship, this violin’s name was carefully and thoughtfully considered—we at SHAR definitely took a long time to decide on it! We decided on Koe with this question in mind: What does it mean to have a voice in music?

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Topics: Violin, Beginner Violin, Franz Hoffmann, Koe

How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Child's Strings

Posted by Staff Writer on Jul 9, 2015 9:47:00 AM

Have you ever caught your child sneaking some salty food straight out of the bag or jar, snacking in an attempt to procrastinate before practicing? Maybe not, but I once had a student who loved pickles and would eat them right out of the jar before picking up his violin. It took his mom a few months to figure out why his violin strings kept wearing out so quickly, forcing her to purchase strings more frequently than other students of mine. His fingers would still be sticky with pickle juice, which corroded the violin strings. Does this sound anything like your son or daughter? Let’s face it, kids can be messy. They might not realize that strings and instrument varnish are sensitive, and that replacing or fixing them is pricey.

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Topics: Parents, Strings

What Do Violin Bows and Kayak Paddles Have in Common?, Part I

Posted by Staff Writer on Jun 30, 2015 2:07:00 PM

How far could you kayak down the river if you didn’t have a paddle? When you’re out on the water, you might notice the cicadas and the tug of the current, but you’re probably not paying really close attention to what’s in your hands. It’s likely that you take your paddle for granted, how useful and powerful of a tool it is. It’s also likely that you probably spent a lot of time choosing and purchasing your kayak, but not quite as much choosing your paddle. If you want to go far—or anywhere at all—you definitely need a good paddle for your kayak. And not all paddle blades are created equal: some of them are made from wood; others are made from aluminum; there are even fiberglass and carbon fiber paddles. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but one thing is for certain: you need a good one if you’re going to be able to kayak anywhere at all.

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Topics: Bows, PRESTO

What Does Your Case Say About You?, Part II

Posted by Staff Writer on Jun 29, 2015 12:24:00 PM

When I travel, I enjoy people-watching.

I’ve clocked many hours in airports over the years: flying back and forth between college and my folks’ home during school breaks; long distance relationships; heading to other cities for performances or competitions. Through all my time in airports, I’ve had ample opportunities to people watch, and I’ve noticed something.

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Topics: Cases, Heritage Go!, Super-Lite, Traveller, American Case Company, Professional H-Series

What Does Your Case Say About You?, Part I

Posted by Staff Writer on Jun 26, 2015 11:08:00 AM

When I travel, I enjoy people-watching.

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Topics: Cases, Heritage, Green Line, Embassy, Toshira

5 Reasons Why Your Child Should Be Playing a Carlo Lamberti

Posted by Staff Writer on Jun 25, 2015 9:31:26 AM

You’ve seen your child through the many stages of learning the violin. The cardboard box violin. The struggle to use the correct bowings and fingerings. Conquering scales and new songs. You’ve watched them grow into a little musician. Maybe they’re beginning to vibrate or learning to shift. Perhaps they have joined their first orchestra or begun playing duets with friends.  As they face more difficult repertoire and begin transitioning into ensembles, you couldn’t be more proud. Isn’t it time you considered rewarding your child’s commitment with a better instrument?

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Topics: Violin, Carlo Lamberti

How to Win Friends and Influence People: The Metronome Edition

Posted by Staff Writer on Jun 23, 2015 10:27:46 AM

Have you ever lost track of time while on a hike? You’re marveling at the beauty of trees, streams, and mountains, feeling downright absorbed by nature for what feels like at least 2 hours—only to discover that 4 hours have passed? Or have you ever noticed that time truly does fly when you’re binge-watching all five seasons of Game of Thrones? Or playing Xbox for what seems like 30 minutes, only to discover that you’ve been at it for 5 hours, when you should have been practicing?

If you can relate to any of these scenarios, it’s because you—just like me and every other musician out there—have a perception of time that is less than 100% accurate. This results in having less than completely perfect rhythm. It’s a challenge for beginner violinists and professional string players alike, one that only becomes more painfully obvious the longer we work at honing our craft. What can we do about this? We can—you guessed it—use a metronome to improve our rhythm, or perception of time.

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Topics: Metronomes, Tuners, Accessories

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