Let's face it, piano accompanists and ensemble-ready string players don't grow on Christmas trees. Sometimes you need to put on a show for your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, but there is no one else to team up with for a duet or ensemble. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to have a full orchestra or band backing you with the press of a button. Audio accompaniments are not only fun for playing for your own enjoyment, but they can fill the empty space around your lonely instrument and help you bring down the house. Just imagine all of the Talent TV Show contestants singing their auditions without someone "rolling the tape" backstage. It's your turn to bring down the house at your holiday gathering or Christmas concert with a track from one of these fantastic collections of Holiday music for violin, viola, or cello, or bass with audio accompaniment.
Is your string quartet booked for any holiday gigs? Do you have a group of advanced players in your orchestra that might want to showcase a quartet at the Christmas Concert? The string quartet is one of the most enduring and popular ensembles because of its limitless possibilities in expression, tone, and dynamics. However, there is so much sheet music for string quartet floating around out there, that it can be tough to find actual good arrangements - many are poorly notated or thoughtlessly adapted from other instrumentation. When arrangements are bad, there's is often nothing that can be done to make them pleasing. To make your search much easier, I'll suggest these five books containing arrangements of Holiday tunes that go far beyond your standard sing-along carol book, and are perfectly arranged for string quartet! These are all in the intermediate to advanced difficulty range, which allows for much more interesting music than basic arrangements.I hope one of these quartet books becomes your annual musical tradition!
Do you have sheetmusic ready for this year’s holiday celebrations? The Holiday season is a hectic time, and if you’re in charge of getting music students ready for concerts, I certainly don’t have to tell you that. I also don’t have to tell you that if you are trying to get string players together for an ensemble - whether it’s for church, school, a charity collection at the local mall, or just for grandma’s enjoyment – you can’t be too picky about the instrumentation! The chances are slim of ending up with a standard string quartet of exactly two violins, one viola, and one cello. Publishers and arrangers know this, which is why so many have put together collections of music that can work with many assortments of violin, viola, cello, and bass. So, why not be prepared with one of these flexible ensembles that will make your Christmas, Chanukah, or other winter holiday gathering jolly? Having an assortment of this type of music can be very helpful for getting holiday season gigs on a moment’s notice, or just always being prepared for spontaneous string caroling!
The days are getting shorter, your heat may have already kicked in a few times, and you’re starting to look for sweaters and coats you haven’t seen in months. Winter is coming, and that means dry air that can wreak havoc on your string instrument! As vapor is lost from the air, it sucks out moisture from the wood in your instrument, causing loose pegs, lowered string height, a change in tone, and even open seams or catastrophic cracks! Luckily, it is easy to prevent major damage, and even little inconveniences like tuning problems. Here are three easy steps that will keep your instrument in great shape through the cold, dry winter.
Since 1962, SHAR has been making new products available to string players every year. The fall season is usually when we debut most of our new products in preparation for new school years, concert seasons, and holidays! This year is no exception with dozens of new items in all categories! Whether you are an advancing student, an orchestra or private studio teacher, a full-time musician, or just getting started, SHAR is the place to find things you know you need, or things that you didn’t even know existed but that could definitely make your life easier! Innovation and improvements are being made every day by musicians and thinkers all over the world! Below are some of the new products for cello and bass players that are included in the SHAR Fall 2016 Catalog. Check them out – there may be something for you!
Since 1962, SHAR has been making new products available to string players every year. The fall season is usually when we debut most of our new products in preparation for new school years, concert seasons, and holidays! This year is no exception with dozens of new items in all categories! Whether you are an advancing student, an orchestra or private studio teacher, a full-time musician, or just getting started, SHAR is the place to find things you know you need, or things that you didn’t even know existed, but could definitely make your life easier! Innovation and improvements are being made every day by musicians and thinkers all over the world! Below are some new products for violin and viola players that are included in the SHAR Fall 2016 Catalog. Check them out – there may be something for you!
Toward the end of May this year, SHAR sent out information introducing our first ever SHAR Coloring Contest. We really had no idea what the response would be, but after discussing the recent coloring book craze that has become popular among kids and adults alike, we decided that it might be a fun opportunity to engage with the string community in a less typical way. As the first several submissions came in only a few days after opening the contest to the public, we were already elated by the positive response. As days went by, we were graciously overwhelmed as several entries became dozens, became hundreds, and finally we counted our total entries in the thousands! Over 900 people of all ages and from all over the world sent in their colorful pages – people from every state in the USA, some from Japan, New Zealand, Israel, and more! We began by hanging every one on our office walls, until there became so many we simply had to let our bewildered coworkers page through the stacks, marvelling at the diversity and quality of the entries.
What do string players in Florida buy that those in Wisconsin don't? When putting together our catalog of products, SHAR always keeps in mind that every product we carry is the right product for someone out there. There are ubiquitous best-selling products that are popular no matter where you live, but it becomes interesting when we see the geographical diversity of our customers play out in the popularity of certain items! We decided to find out which item is the most uniquely popular to each state, and make an interactive map that links to each item. Basically, each selection represents the one item that was more popular in your state than any other in 2015. You may or may not be surprised, and maybe you've already bought one!
Topics: For Fun
UPDATE: The SHAR 2016 Coloring Contest has come to an end, and the winners were selected! View the winning entries and read more about this very popular contest here.
What do performing music and coloring have in common? Well, I think a lot, actually. Approaching a composed piece of music with your instrument, like a Mozart concerto for example, is like opening your crayons or color pencils before a blank black-and-white coloring page. In front of you is already a work of art, but it isn't yet "alive". It is merely the outline, and you must add the colors! Still, unlike improvisation or free drawing, there are instructions and expectations. You must color within the lines - use your own creative expression to add to the style and form of what you are coloring, just as you must respect Mozart's chosen notes and markings but still influence the music with your artistry. In the end, the final presentation is your own!
Topics: For Fun
Last fall I wrote a blog on the importance of students (and experienced musicians for that matter) learning to write music, and not just learning to read notes. The act of putting pencil to paper in the musical arena is one of great importance - and in a quite simple and straightforward sense. Yes, one of the most powerful gestures a person can make is to create, and creating music is by and large one of the pinacles of human artistic acheivement. However, there is more to creating music than composing. If simply leaving your mark in this world through a written masterpiece of divine inspiration was the only need to ever pick up a pencil as a musician, most of us probably would never have done so. Yet, we are all familiar with the role of the pencil in string player's arsenal, because the traditional tools for composing masterpieces have also always had a much more practical role in making music - notes and markings.