With over 40 years of experience, Johnson String Instrument is the largest string instrument dealer on the east coast. The cornerstone of the company is our extensive rental program. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail—everything from setting up our fleet of instruments to managing your account is designed to make your rental experience easy and enjoyable.
Our rental program is so successful because we listen to what our customers need. Students need high-quality, affordable instruments that will make their experience enjoyable. Parents want staff that are well-informed, insurance to cover inevitable child mishaps, and convenience when it comes to managing their accounts. Finally, teachers want to send their students to a reliable place and know that each student has the right tools. It is with these things in mind that our rental program has evolved and expanded over the years into the household name it is now. Start a rental today by visiting us in-store at 1029 Chestnut Street in Newton Upper Falls, online at www.johnsonstring.com, or by phone at 800-359-9351. Watch our newest video to learn more:
Every student’s worse nightmare: Bach judging your district audition.
Auditions got you worried? Not sure how to prepare? We’ve got you covered! Many of us at Johnson String Instrument have gone through auditions so we’ve been there. We asked our staff to share their tips and tricks to help you do the best that you can. They had some great advice:
1. Relax! Breathe! Try not to get too worked up about it. Every musician (even the judges!) has had to go through auditions, and everyone knows it’s a nerve-wracking experience.
2. Scales! Practice scales! More scales and arpeggios! I missed out on senior districts by bombing the scales because of a combination of nerves and not practicing enough. Get the format down, make them second nature, and that will help you not only with scales but also with sight-reading.
-Alex Wagner, Product and Inventory Specialist, violinist
1. Be sure to listen to the entire piece. The audition committee can tell if you are hearing how your part interacts with the rest of the ensemble. Hearing the piece as a whole rather than just your part is the difference between a good instrumentalist and a good musician.
2. Perform your audition rep for as many people as possible before the audition. I know it can feel awkward or embarrassing but that’s the point! Better to get all the jitters out in front of friends/family than the audition committee.
-Sara Wilkins, Customer Service Representative, cellist
My biggest piece of advice would be not to practice for several hours on the day of an audition. The truth is that your repertoire is as good as it’s going to get that day. A great alternative to playing through the music over and over is to come up with a ritual that helps you feel calm and focused. A couple methods I’ve used are to play a scale (slowly) with all of its arpeggios or to eat a piece of my favorite chocolate while I warm up.
1. Be able to play excerpts in any order presented. Be able to switch from fast and technical to slow and calm.
2. Play for non-string players. If you have rhythm issues play for drummers. Excerpts that have tricky shifts or string crossings, play for flute or other wind players; they are less forgiving about string player-specific issues.
3. Tape and film yourself to look for areas that need improvement.
4. Be ready at least a week before the audition, and relax.
-Jon Crumrine, Bow Maker, violist
Set a box of doughnuts (or preferred favorite treats) in the corner of the audition room. Whenever you get nervous, look at them & feel relieved 🙂
Then treat yourself afterwards!
-Amy Nolan, Store Manager, cellist
1. Get plenty of sleep.
2. Eat well.
3. Live healthily.
4. Play your audition for anybody who will listen, especially if they might have some constructive advice.
5. Read all of these books by Don Greene, and practice the techniques found therein with diligence and devotion.
-Phil Rush, Sales Consultant, violist
Still need to purchase your music for districts? Stop into our store or visit our website, and good luck to all auditioning in the coming months!
Choosing strings for your instrument is a personal and complicated process. With so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, we are here to help!
Here are some important factors to keep in mind:
What style of playing do you do? What works for a classical player may not work for a jazz musician or fiddler and vice versa. Different genres call for different types of sound, which can be achieved with different kinds of strings.
How do you characterize your instrument’s sound? Strings have the ability to enhance or stifle the particular qualities of your instrument. In order for them to help rather than hinder, know how to characterize your instrument’s sound. Is it dark or bright? Mellow or piercing? This knowledge will help you work with your instrument rather than against it.
What are you looking for? Do you want to brighten the sound? Tone down the power? Speed up response? Slow it down? Knowing what you are looking for helps make sure your strings accommodate your needs.
There are three basic types of strings: gut, steel core, and synthetic core. Keep in mind that the majority of players today use steel or synthetic core strings. The basic differences are:
Warm, complex sound
Softer under the fingers
Long settling period
Shorter playable life
Sensitive to changes in climate
Stable tuning, settle quickly
Direct and cutting sound
Thinner sounding than gut or synthetic
Warmer than steel core strings
Stable tuning and settle quickly
More subtle tonal colors than steel
Most widely-used type of string today
Similar tonal qualities to gut
**Keep in mind these are generalizations. Each type of string will perform differently for different instruments, and the varying qualities of each will appeal to some and push away others**
Experimenting with strings involves trial and error. Now through October 9th, Thomastik is having their back-to-school sale on select string sets and bundles for all instruments, making this a better time than ever to try something new with your strings. As always, our string prices are up to 55% below list price.
For more detailed information about the different kinds of strings we offer and their differences, please visit our website.
Are you a first-time player learning to use rosin? Curious about how rosin works? Watch the video below to learn about the basics of rosin, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informational videos!