After enjoyably perusing the many impressive coloring, photo, and design submissions by our talented customers, we have made the difficult deliberation of which entries are the winners of SHAR's April 2017 Show and Tell Contests! Contestants ranged in age from 23 months old to 84 years! Many submissions came accompanied with happy stories of families participating together (like a 4 year old and his 2 year old brother tag-teaming the coloring template) and students cherishing years of growth thanks to their teachers! We feel that these are the greatest rewards of the contest, but nevertheless, it is time to award our gift certificates to the artists who we judged to demonstrate the greatest creativity, dedication, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness in their work. We hope you enjoy looking through these as much as we did!
The ability to explain complex and difficult concepts in a way that can be clearly understood and successfully acted on is the hallmark of great teaching. Combined with motivation, student success is assured!
Every teaching method has its merits, whether it’s Suzuki, O’Connor, Sassmannshaus, Essential Elements, Maia Bang, ABC’s, All for Strings, Whistler, or others. As a teacher, you know that regardless of what teaching method you employ, without a teacher guiding the student, the student is not likely to succeed. And because each student is unique, only the teacher is able to determine if supplemental materials may be required, to focus on specific areas of need.
The advent, or rather the evolution of the steel violin e-string over a century ago brought violinists to new heights in their playing. The stablity and thinness of a steel wire allowed for greater brilliance, intonation, and speed. However, with the loss of gut's sweetness and warmth, further refining and improving the capabilities and characteristics of steel E strings is still an endless pursuit of string makers today. More than just a simple steel wire, the full composition and manufacturing method of steel strings involves trade secrets, precious metals, and very high tolerances! The nuances of response, feel, tension, and volume make choosing the right E-string an adventageous feat for musicians today. We sat down with SHAR CEO, Charles Avsharian, to discuss E-Strings for violinists.
There are days when I look over my monthly budget and just shake my head at just how much I spend on various kinds of insurance: Instrument insurance, car insurance, health insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance. It’s a never ending list! As much as I groan and complain about having to pay those monthly premiums, I know that they exist for a good reason. Insurance coverage is important, especially insurance that covers you where you need it most. If you think this blog is starting to sound like an insurance commercial, you’re right. I watched an ad on TV just the other day, and their slogan was “Know the gaps.” Meaning if there are gaps in your coverage, you should investigate that and fix it. Being a musician, I obviously thought about my instrument: do I know the gaps?
Beginnings are critical, right? If you’ve ever grown a vegetable garden before, you know what I mean by this: starting right mean your garden will yield better results later on. You have to sow your seeds at the perfect time, with the right amount of sunlight and heat. You’ll want to prepare your soil ahead of time, enriching it with whichever nutrients it needs. You’ll care for the plants as they grow, making sure to train them up a trellis if necessary, or taking care to pull any pesky weeds. With enough care and patience, you’re sure to have a good harvest.
This is to all those who gig, teach, travel, and play - who have changed a tire in a dress or tux, who know no distance too far, no venue too unusual, and no coffee unwelcome. If you've ever glanced in the backseat to make sure you instrument and music were still there, then this list is for you.
We live in a fast-paced society these days. Gone are the days where children would play outside until being called in for dinnertime. Few people make elaborate dinners each day from scratch, complete with a homemade dessert. We’re all a little overscheduled and harried, it seems.
The reality of our modern society is that smartphones and tablets are the go-to solutions for our overscheduled lives. Anything that makes your life just a little bit easier is sure to be a big hit these days. Remember when the pre-washed, bagged salad first hit the market? Nobody was sure if it would take off or not, because it’s pretty simple to buy lettuce and wash it, but it turns out that a lot of people liked the convenience. Or when the Keurig coffee makers hit the market? Who would forgo a traditional coffee maker for one of these expensive gadgets, we wondered? Turns out a lot of people found it too be too cumbersome to fix coffee in a traditional coffee pot, and appreciated the no cleanup, quick convenience of the K-cups. Now you can buy them everywhere. I think it’s because we’re all just trying to claim a little bit more sanity every day in our fast-paced world. Anything to not have to take an extra step, clean up an extra mess, or remember one extra thing.
Sometimes buying strings for your violin, viola, cello, or bass, is just a matter of reordering the same strings that you've loved for ages. The reliable set that has always sounded great on your instrument might be all you need for the rest of your life. However, sometimes a new instrument, or just curiosity will lead you on a search for the new perfect set of strings. Or, perhaps a change in playing ability or budget will lead you to look for a new sound. There are a lot of different brands and types of strings to choose from, so find a good source to start from can be time-saving first step. With so many new brands on the market, it's hard to just stumble upon the right one by chance or by word of mouth.
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.
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.