If you’re a fan of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” you may have caught the debut comedy set of Isabel Hagen. Hagen is quickly making a name for herself as a stand-up comedian, but she has actually participated in several TV appearances and critically acclaimed Broadway shows as a different type of performer: a violist.
It’s happened to the best of us: you take your instrument out of its case, touch the bow to the strings, and cringe at just how terrible the resulting sound is. It can be a bit scary when you notice a sudden change in sound with seemingly no cause. However, in most cases these changes in sound quality can be attributed to relatively common problems with potentially simple solutions.
Where to look first
If you’re … Read more
Musicians and music fans know that drummers act as the “engine” of the band, providing the “pulse” for the music. Often overlooked, however, is the all-important job of bass players – being able to lock in with the rhythm section in order to set the tone of a song or whole performance.
Whether you are a string bass player or play its electric counterpart, you and the drummer will set the pace and flavor of … Read more
When kids think about summer vacation, they envision all that comes with the warm weather and outdoor fun. But wouldn’t it be great if we could help them develop a desire to continue practicing and playing their stringed instrument during the break?
What follows are some helpful tips to keep your child’s instrument and abilities in tip-top shape and ready for their return to school in September.
Help your child find something they love to… Read more
As you begin playing the violin and gathering all the necessary accessories, you may wonder: do violin strings go bad in time?
Unfortunately, yes, violin strings do expire. So any stories you may have heard about an old violin that was found in a drawer and still played perfectly the moment it was discovered are most likely not true. Regular upkeep —- including string replacement -– is necessary to maintain a violin in perfect playing … Read more
Naming inanimate objects may seem a bit quirky or even pointless to some, but plenty of people think of it as a fun way to give a bit of personality to a prized possession. You may know someone that makes a habit of naming their cars or their plants. But have you considered people who name their instruments?
For those who have multiple instruments, giving them each names can be a lighthearted way to differentiate … Read more
Violin can be a tricky instrument to learn, especially for beginners. As a result, plenty of learning devices have been developed to improve the student learning experience. Finger tapes are one such tool. They are designed to help teachers mark out note placements for their students. Finger tapes are usually colored dots or strips that can be applied to the fingerboard to indicate different notes.
Most beginning students will rely on finger tapes to learn … Read more
For beginners in particular, purchasing a new violin may seem like a big commitment. If you’ve just started taking violin lessons and have not yet determined if it’s the instrument for you, the cheaper violins may seem more cost effective. However, there are some common problems with cheaper violins to watch out for.
Price isn’t everything, of course, and just because a violin is expensive doesn’t mean it has good sound or plays well. So … Read more
Viola vs. violin is the age-old battle of the stringed instruments. While the viola sometimes is referred to as a “big violin,” there’s more to their differences than that. Along with the size of the viola, it also has a lower pitch and greater depth of sound than its more famous cousin.
Due to the violin’s popularity, it can commonly be thought that the viola isn’t as important to the orchestra or symphony as whole. … Read more
There comes a time in every musician’s life when they have to decide the type of investment they are willing and able to make in their instrument. If you are a beginner or intermediate cellist who has previously rented a cello, then it might be the right time for you to consider purchasing your next instrument.
Your first time buying a cello is a major event in your musical career, so be sure to take … Read more
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It’s that time of the year when college seniors are looking forward to being handed their diplomas and branching out into their chosen field. For some people, it may be easy to decide what path to follow after college. For others, however, the prospects aren’t as obvious.
If you are going to college to study music, you may find yourself wondering what to do with your music education degree once you graduate. The music industry … Read more
For upright bass players that use a bow, rosin is a necessity, since an un-rosined bow will not create the friction required to produce sound. However, choosing bass rosin can be a complex process. While there are a few standard, reliable rosins that work, there are many new rosins available for string players, so picking the one that’s best for you can get confusing.
First, a little primer about bass rosin: it tends to be … Read more
You have decided to break into the world of stringed instruments, but you are not sure where to start. From violins and violas to guitars and a host of other instruments, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you.
Today we will look at the cello, which offers deep, warm, brilliant tones that are singularly arresting. The cello can access a range of musical emotions, allowing composers to feature it in … Read more
Here are a few articles from our “Caring for Your Instrument” series — everything you need to know about taking care of your instrument and understanding when it may need the help of a professional luthier.
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