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?
Do you want to have a gift ready for your string teacher at your first lesson after or before Christmas? Maybe you know a string player who gigs and teaches, and you want to get them something practical that they will truly enjoy, but aren't sure exactly what? These suggestions are my top picks for string players and teachers who need some finer things in their life. Tell your teacher or colleague that you appreciate their hard work and talent!
Some people are difficult to shop for, and some are near impossible. If you're lucky, the person has an interest or a hobby that you'd love to support by gifting them something related. The only problem is that you might not be sure what that something is, whether or not they need one, or if you're totally off! When it comes to advancing string players like highschool or college students, there are some gifts that might sound like a great idea, but could essentially be useless to the person if they are already particular about brands, sizes, styles, or difficulty levels. If you are having a hard time thinking of what to get for an advancing string student who has been playing for several years, then this guide should help you to know what is a safe bet, and what you might want to leave alone! Keep in mind that I don't know the person you're shopping for, and these are just general guidelines. Average price range accompanies the recommendations for reference. As long as you're giving from the heart, I'm sure they will enjoy whatever it is you find for them!
Shopping for Beginning violin, viola, cello, or bass players doesn't have be as daunting as it may seem. If you are a parent, aunt or uncle, or just a friend of a beginner or someone who wants to start playing a stringed instrument, you may have noticed that there's a lot of stuff you need to get started, and infinite variations of each! Yes, SHAR carries over 13,000 different items for string players, but this guide should help you narrow down the whole catalog to a few really great gift options, and at varying price ranges. Whether you want to buy a big gift or a stocking stuffer, there's something here that will help you check a name off your list!
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.
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.
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!