Silvija Silvija Kristapsons

Silvija is a violist and works in the marketing department at Johnson String Instrument.

All articles by Silvija

 

Lesser-Known Soviet Era Composers

This April, we celebrate the birthdays of two influential Soviet Era composers: Sergei Rachmaninoff (April 1st) and Sergei Prokofiev (April 23rd). Rachmaninoff is known for his soaring, romantic melodies, while Prokofiev’s music is more dissonant and fantastical. Along with Shostakovitch and Stravinsky, they brought international attention to Russian music, often in exile from or direct...
Continue reading...  

Women Composers You Should Know About: Part Three

This Women’s History Month, we honor women of the past and present and acknowledge not only their accomplishments but also their struggles and hard work to attain sometimes the barest recognition from society. The vast sheet music collection of Johnson String Instrument includes music by countless other past and present women composers, all available for...
Continue reading...  

Women Composers You Should Know About: Part Two

This Women’s History Month, we honor women of the past and present and acknowledge not only their accomplishments but also their struggles and hard work to attain sometimes the barest recognition from society. The vast sheet music collection of Johnson String Instrument includes music by countless other past and present women composers, all available for...
Continue reading...  

Women Composers You Should Know About: Part One

This Women’s History Month, we honor women of the past and present by acknowledging their accomplishments, struggles and hard work to attain sometimes the barest recognition from society. Women composers are particularly absent from the spotlight; however, they have gained increased visibility in recent years. New Hampshire-born Amy Beach is perhaps the most prominent female...
Continue reading...  

Cordoba Guitars: A Brief History, Instruments, and Popular Models

You likely have heard the name Cordoba Guitars being synonymous with high-quality nylon strung acoustic guitars. We’d love to share a bit more detail about the company and which models and instruments to consider when you are ready to purchase your next guitar or ukulele. A Brief History of Cordoba Guitars Based in Santa Monica,...
Continue reading...  

Adult Beginners: How to Set Yourself Up For Success

People say it all the time, but you really are never too old to start learning an instrument! Like any skill, learning to play an instrument as an adult is a process and not an immediate pay-off. However, if we do say so ourselves, it’s one well worth the time and the process. Whether you...
Continue reading...  

Overuse Injuries: Everything You Never Knew

Overuse injuries are very common in musicians, especially string players. The term gets thrown around a lot, but it may not be something you know much about. They can happen to anyone, and the good news is that a little prevention along with good habits can go a long way. Before we dive in, please...
Continue reading...  

The Second New England School: Composers of Victorian Boston

In addition to Johnson String Instrument, Boston is home to a vibrant array of ensembles and musicians as well as numerous institutions of higher education in music. Classical music in Boston—and the U.S.— owes much to a small group of 19th-century Boston composers known as “The Second New England School”. These composers were John Knowles...
Continue reading...  

Finding A Private Teacher For Your Child

Finding a private teacher for your child can seem daunting, especially if you are not a musician yourself. Maybe you want to get your child an early start on an instrument, or their school director recommended they get a private teacher. Whatever the reason, many parents ask the same question: How do I find the...
Continue reading...  

Finding the Perfect Violin or Viola Setup

Finding the right violin or viola setup is important for your physical health as a musician. Many of us begin with the same setup: whatever chinrest comes with the instrument and a foam sponge. However, what works for you as a beginner and what works for more advanced players are not always the same thing....
Continue reading...  

Music In Our Schools Month

Celebrated for over 30 years by the National Association of Music Educators (NAfME), Music in Our Schools Month is an annual event that raises awareness about the need for quality music programs for all students. Now more than ever, this event highlights the importance of music education in our schools and communities. Johnson String Instrument...
Continue reading...  

Electric Violins: Preamps

This post is part of a series. Read our previous posts for more information about electric violins, amps and pickups. Do I need a preamplifier for my electric violin? Short answer: Yes. A preamplifier, or preamp, is key to getting a great tone out of an electric violin, viola or cello. Long answer: We need...
Continue reading...  

A Brief History of Classical Guitar: Antonio de Torres

This four part series will discuss the history of classical guitar through the instruments of some of the tradition’s most important and innovative luthiers. This post discusses the father of the modern classical guitar, Antonio de Torres. Antonio de Torres Antonio de Torres was a Spanish guitar maker who lived from 1817-1892. It is believed...
Continue reading...  

The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Our annual Holiday Sale is back, and so is our Holiday Gift Guide! This year, we have a mix of exciting new products as well as old favorites for musicians of all levels and ages. Electric Violins JSI Companion Our brand for electrics, this instrument is a great option for those getting started with electric...
Continue reading...  

How To Pack A Cello

Renters, this post is for you! Packing a cello can look complicated. How you do it is important to prevent damage to the instrument. If you rent from us and need to ship your cello back, we developed a packing method many years ago that protects the cello from damage. Before We Start: Take note...
Continue reading...  

Fake Strings and How to Spot Them

Fake strings in the music world are an ongoing concern. String makers and shops take pride in the products they produce and sell; while imitations may be cheaper, they do not have the same quality as the original.  Here is what you need to know about fake strings: How To Tell If A String Is...
Continue reading...  

Which Edition of Sheet Music Do I Buy?

Your teacher tells you you’re starting a new piece. You go to buy the sheet music, only to discover there are multiple editions to choose from. Which edition do you choose? The easy answer? The one your teacher tells you to buy. They like that edition and want you to get it for a reason. If...
Continue reading...  

Departments of JSI: School Programs and Delivery

It’s time for another installment of Departments of JSI! This series highlights the different people in our company. We’re able to run such a large business through the expertise of and collaboration between our different departments. Everyone has a skill they use to accomplish everything from coordinating rental trips to selling instruments to repairing instruments to shipping things on time and...
Continue reading...  

Departments of JSI: Front Staff

It’s time for another installment of Departments of JSI! This is a series that highlights the different people that work within our company. We’re able to run such a large business through the expertise of and collaboration between our different departments. Everyone has a skill that they utilize to accomplish everything from coordinating rental trips to selling instruments to...
Continue reading...  

Mandolin Line Based On Popular Classic Models

The mandolin has a rich historical history. While we associate mandolin primarily with folk music these days, the instrument is more versatile that you may expect. The Mandolin Family Is Based On Classic Instruments The mandolin family is based on classic instruments from the baroque period. The mandolin started its life in classical music. In...
Continue reading...  

Back to School: First-Time Players

It’s that time of year again! Is your child starting an instrument this school year? Not sure what they need? Whether they are taking lessons through their school or elsewhere, their teacher will have a list of what they require for their students. However, we can also give you a basic list of what your child...
Continue reading...  

Electric Instruments: Pickups

This post is part of our ongoing Electric Instruments series. Check out our previous posts on finding an electric violin, getting started with your new electric instrument, and choosing an amp.  You want to start experimenting with electric violin, but you either don’t want a second instrument or need something budget-friendly. What’s your best option? Electrify your acoustic...
Continue reading...  

The Bow Series: Selecting A Bow

Are you or one of your students shopping for a new bow? Finding the right bow can be harder than choosing your instrument, but don’t worry! While we can’t match a bow to you like Mr. Ollivander would a wand, our knowledgeable sales staff are the next best thing and our latest video is here to help. In “Selecting a Bow”, we...
Continue reading...  

What is Instrument Insurance?

Instrument insurance is an important part of caring for your instrument. Professionals use it regardless of their genre and music shops have it to protect their inventory. Whether you recently bought an instrument or own one that isn’t already insured, we highly recommend purchasing a policy to help protect your investment. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an insurance policy with specific...
Continue reading...  

Ukulele Line Modeled On Prized Classic Instruments

While their name may suggest a focus on other fretted instruments, Cordoba Guitars makes exceptional ukuleles in a wide range of sizes and prices. The ukulele first appeared in the Americas (most notably in Hawaii) by way of Portuguese immigrants during the 19th century. Having evolved from the Portuguese braguinha, a small strummed instrument commonly used...
Continue reading...  

Fiddles and Violins: What’s the Difference?

We’ve all heard the terms “fiddler” and “violinist” used interchangeably. Maybe you associate one term with specific genres or prefer to be called one over the other. You may also be confused as to why we’re quibbling over labels. A Fiddle is Just a Violin–isn’t it? Yes. A fiddle is a violin and vice versa....
Continue reading...  

Summer Program Necessities

Summer has finally arrived! Excited yet? In addition to the school year being done and the promise of warm, hopefully beach-filled days, many of you are getting ready for summer programs. Not sure what to bring? We have a few suggestions: THE BASICS Extra Strings. This may be the single most important item to bring...
Continue reading...  

Non-Classical Careers: Booking Gigs

Are you interested in breaking into a new genre of local music but don’t know where to start? Do you want to play indie rock, country, punk, metal, blues, ska, rockabilly, folk, zydeco, Celtic, funk, bluegrass or create something new? Have you been mainly a classical player or perhaps even jazz player and want to...
Continue reading...  

Teaching Alternative Styles: An Interview With MYRO Director Kevin Oates

In this blog, we would like to introduce you to Kevin Oates. Kevin is the founder/director of the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra (MYRO) based in Portland, Maine. While some people might think that this is an oxymoron, MYRO (a 501(c)3 non-profit organization) is an ensemble that focuses on the same classical string techniques as a...
Continue reading...  

Violin Cases: How To Choose The Best One For You

Choosing a violin case is an important decision. While everyone is looking for something different when it comes to cases, there is one commonality everyone is looking for: a product that will protect their investment. How this can best be accomplished is an individual decision, but here are some factors to consider: What To Look...
Continue reading...  

Departments of JSI: Sales Department

It’s time for another installment of Departments of JSI ! This is a series that highlights the different people that work within our company. We’re able to run such a large business through the expertise of and collaboration between our different departments. Everyone has a skill that they utilize to accomplish everything from coordinating rental trips to selling instruments...
Continue reading...  

The Best Grad Gifts: 2016 Edition

They did it! All of the hard work, late nights, practicing, homework and dedication have paid off. If you’re looking for ideas for what to get the grad in your life, we have a few suggestions for you: Sheet Music This is a great gift in so many different forms. Maybe it’s the Urtext edition...
Continue reading...  

Electric Instruments: Amps

Finding the right amplifier can be just as difficult as finding the right electric violin. Unfortunately for us electric violinists, most amplifiers on the market are designed for guitar, specifically electric guitar. Now, any amplifier will amplify your electric violin, but you may have difficulty getting the exact tone you are looking for. Why? A...
Continue reading...  

The Wedding Season Starter Kit

Summer is almost here, and with it comes the start of wedding season. The parade of weddings and parties, both outdoor and indoor, has the potential to keep freelancers employed for the entire season. If you’re new to the life of wedding gigs, here is a starter kit of things you’ll need: Folding Stand: Never show up...
Continue reading...  

Departments of JSI: Customer Service Representatives

It’s back: it’s another installment of Departments of JSI ! This is a series that highlights the different people that work within our company. We’re able to run such a large business through the expertise of and collaboration between our different departments. Everyone has a skill that they utilize to accomplish everything from coordinating rental trips to selling...
Continue reading...  

How to Choose Your College

YOU DID IT! You navigated the applications, survived the auditions, and received your acceptance letters. Take a moment to bask in the glow of your accomplishments. (Go ahead, do it–you deserve it!) Now for the reality check: How do you decide where to go? You can make a pro/con list, solicit advice from friends and...
Continue reading...  

Rent or Buy?

We all come to this question at some point in our playing careers. Our parents (or we as parents) have needed to make the all-important decision: Do we rent or buy the instrument? Why Rent? In most cases, beginners of all ages begin by renting. Why? There are a few important benefits to renting as...
Continue reading...  

Find the best violin strings for your playing

We’ve highlighted the general search for strings, and talked about the particular challenges facing cellists. Now, we’re entering the world of violin strings. Violin is used in an astonishing range of genres, each style making different demands on the player. Ultimately, as we’ve mentioned before,  you will need to experiment and find what works best for...
Continue reading...  

Upright bass: integral to jazz and classical music

The bass is arguably the most integral component of any group. Can you imagine a jazz standard without the bass line, or an orchestral masterwork without a bass section? As the instrument with the lowest range, the bass provides the foundation for almost all music we are familiar with. For all of its importance, it...
Continue reading...  

Electric Violins are a new take on a classic instrument

The world of electric violins is a small yet wonderful world. If you are ready to take the plunge, then read on! The first step in choosing an electric violin is determining what its primary use will be. Are you looking for an instrument for performance or for silent practice? What style of music will...
Continue reading...  

Cello Month 2016 at Carriage House Violins

IT’S FINALLY HERE! (Can you tell we’re excited?) March is Cello Month at Carriage House Violins, when we celebrate the cello and those who love it. Like last year, we will have a variety of concerts and lectures all taking place at Carriage House Violins. We invite you to join us for as many as you...
Continue reading...  

Cello strings that fit your instrument and style

We’ve already talked about choosing strings in the general sense. However, what about the specific needs of the cello? There are many additional factors to consider: Price: Cello strings are more expensive than those for other instruments. The G and C strings in particular are costly–a C string alone can run the same price as...
Continue reading...  

Why We Love the Ukulele

The ukulele seems to be everywhere these days. From popular hits like Vance Joy’s “Riptide,” to classics like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow,” to the full-blown ukulele rock stars like Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele is well and truly back to the height of its popularity. Why? Here are some frequent comments that we hear...
Continue reading...  

Departments of JSI: CHV Office

Departments of JSI has returned! This is a series that highlights the different people that work within our company. We’re able to run such a large business through the expertise of and collaboration between our different departments. Everyone has a skill that they utilize to accomplish everything from coordinating rental trips to selling instruments to repairing instruments to...
Continue reading...  

Practice Tips

Practicing: the necessary evil of all musicians. We log countless hours plugging away at passages we just can’t seem to get right and etudes that drive us up a wall. How do you stay motivated and not waste time? Our staff has advice on everything from motivation to tackling that beastly passage:   Obviously, warming up is...
Continue reading...  

Welcome, In Kyu Hwang!

In Kyu Hwang is the newest luthier in our workshop at Carriage House Violins of Johnson String Instrument. Hailing from Korea, In Kyu studied in Mittenwald, Germany and holds the Geigenbau Meister (Master Craftsman) certification. He joined us here at Carriage House in October of 2015. We asked him to talk to us about what...
Continue reading...  

Summer Programs

While it may be cold and snowy outside, we have entered the season of summer program applications! We get a lot of questions from parents about summer programs, including what we know or recommend or how to even begin the process of looking for programs. While everyone has different goals when conducting their search, we...
Continue reading...  

The JSI Winter Survival Guide

The season we’ve been dreading is finally here. While we hope this year is not nearly as buried in snow (despite current forecasts to the contrary here in Boston), winter provides a variety of stresses for musicians. Here are some posts to help you deal with the two main offenders: INSTRUMENT CARE Tips for Instrument...
Continue reading...  

A Happy New Year!

The new year is almost upon us! Thank you for letting us and this blog be part of your lives in 2015. Now we want to know what YOU want to see on our blog in this coming year. Do you want to learn more about the company? Get more helpful tips? Find out more about...
Continue reading...  

How to Rock Your College Audition

Congratulations, you have successfully applied to music school! Now, you just need to get through the auditions. Easy, right? We’ve already talked about how to prepare for an audition, but college auditions are a completely different beast. They come with added pressure, and you can expect to have a lot of them within a short span...
Continue reading...