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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: books, Method Books, Teaching, Parents, Practice

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: books, Advice, Method Books, Practice, Teaching

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: books, motivation, Teaching, Teaching Aids, Practice

3 MINUTES A DAY TO RADICALLY CHANGE YOUR PRACTICE SESSIONS

Posted by Christine Goodner on Aug 7, 2017 3:50:11 PM

Author, mom, and Suzuki teacher Christine Goodner previously writes on her Suzuki Triangle blog, about how parents (not the physical space) are their children’s practice environment. Here she shares with us the the 3 minute process that can radically change how productive and positive your practice sessions with your child are. She writes... 

I consider these few valuable minutes to be the most important thing you can do that will set up your practice environment for success. This is a practice I developed with my own children and I go through it mentally before each student that I teach as well.

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Topics: Suzuki, Practice, Education, Teaching, Parents

High Definition for the Practicing Parent

Posted by Rachel Samson on Apr 25, 2017 10:16:45 AM

Are you the parent of a young string player? This blog will really help YOU with your child's practice. Rachel Samson is a Suzuki viola/violin teacher in Frisco Texas. She and her husband Neil Fong Gilfillan (cello) run Chili Dog Strings, the only string studio in Frisco named after a dog. SHAR is happy to have their permission to share two blogs originally posted on their strings studio blog pageThink Like A Gamer: Power Up Your String Player Stats, by Neil Fong Gilfillan, and High Definition for the Practicing Parent, by Rachel Samson. Both of these blogs highlight the importance of parents and teachers reaching out at the level of the student to set goals that are both manageable and motivational.

Ever feel like you're only getting a fraction of the work done at home that your teacher outlines in the lesson? Sometimes the “How” of home practice is somewhat of a mystery, or at the very least, unclear. Let’s explore how to give your practice more clarity and definition to keep you on track with your teacher’s assignments and your child’s accomplishments. 

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Topics: Practice, Parents, Viola, Violin, Cello, Suzuki

Refining truth: a guide to surviving the artistic life

Posted by Rebecca Fischer on Mar 21, 2017 10:43:46 AM

“Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining of the sense of truthfulness.” - Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark 

Artists know all about refinement.  This is a large part of what we do every day, constantly retooling our craft, whether it is bouncing a bow on the string just the right way or getting the lighting to work beautifully on a portrait.  The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of refinement for this purpose is: “the improvement or clarification of something by the making of small changes.”  As important as minute, delicate changes are to perfecting a skill for artists, the kind of refinement Willa Cather suggests is far larger and more complex.  I read her statement as addressing a more holistic honing, the refinement process of which helps us to become more authentically ourselves in the world.

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Topics: Practice, Self-Improvement

5 New Years Resolutions for the string player

Posted by James Engman on Jan 5, 2016 2:08:17 PM

The start of a New Year is commonly a time in which people feel encouraged to better themselves, take on new adventures, or kick a bad habit. We all hear about the flood of new gym memberships, but what about new years resolutions in the practice room? Well, in case you haven't made up your mind on what your resolution might be, here are some ideas. Plus, feel free to share your resolution in the comments!

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Topics: Practice, For Fun

Take Practice to the Next Level with the Cadenza App

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Nov 21, 2014 12:07:00 PM

Often, it's not enough to know a piece cold. You need to feel it, you need to interpret it. This is especially hard to do with an orchestral piece; how can you develop your own voice when you can't hear the rest of the orchestra? This is where Cadenza, a new app for the iPad, steps in. 

At SHAR, we're very excited about a new app called Cadenza. It allows you to practice with a full orchestra. And it's not just a play-along track. It's responsive. If you want to linger on a phrase, hold a fermata, or go for an exhilirating finish, it's there with you. Basically, it lets you figure out how you want to play a piece. You can explore different interpretations, all with the help of this simple app. 

Not convinced? We know, it almost sounds too good to be true. But Cadenza has a really solid video explanation of the app. The cellist Michael Dahlberg shows you what's possible with the app by doing a quick demo.

Cadenza is actually free (it comes with several pieces of music, but you'll have to purchase the pieces you want to practice). You can download it here. If you play violin, cello, viola, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, French horn, or trumpet, you can use this app

What's more, if you like Cadenza's Facebook page you'll be entered to win a $250 shopping spree at SHAR Music. Downolad the Cadenza, and get thee to a practice room!

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Topics: Practice, cadenza

Why Own an Instrument Stand for Your Violin, Viola, or Cello?

Posted by Alberta Barnes on Sep 25, 2012 3:14:00 PM

Pretty much every musician has a music stand, but not every musician has an instrument stand. Have you thought about the benefits to owing a violin stand or a cello stand? Here are four things to think about!

1. Motivation to Practice. Having the instrument out on an instrument stand can be a great way to motivate yourself (or kids, especially!) to practice. It can be irritating to have to open the case and get everything set up correctly, but when the instrument is immediately accessible it is also that much more motivating to play it.

2. Time Saver. If you have to squeeze in practice time between the million other things inyour day then taking your instrument out and packing it up again can waste valuable practice time! With the instrument safely out of its case, you can move away from and return to your instrument to practice without fumbling with shoulder rests or endpins for those valuable minutes.

3. Useful at Gigs. 
Bringing a violin stand or a cello stand to your gig with you can prove veryuseful. A violin stand is a must-have if you switch between instruments at gigs. Or, if you are playing only the one instrument, it can be a much more secure way to hold the instrument during breaks than simply perching your violin on your chair.

4. A Way to Display Your Instrument. When used at home, the cello stand can be a beautiful way to safely display your treasure. It thereby enhances the ambience of the room much more than leaving it in the case would!

If you’re looking for a violin stand, we have several options: 

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Topics: Violin, Viola, Cello, Practice, Product Reviews, Instrument Stand

Three Ways to Improve Musicianship Outside the Classroom

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 19, 2012 2:03:00 PM

Christian Howes shares a terrific new blog entry with his top three ways to keep practicing when you're not in the practice room. Leave a comment below with your own "downtime" practice tips!  

Good musicians practice.

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Topics: Violin, Practice, Teaching, Christian Howes, Electric Violin

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