The Wedding Season Starter Kit

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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 to a gig without one! Some people are satisfied with the traditional folding stands, but these can be flimsy when you have a large gig binder or you are outside and subjected to a strong wind. A sturdier stand with a flat back that is still portable, such as the ones by Peak, are a great alternative if you run into this problem.

Clothespins: Don’t let your music fly away! We all have stories of forgetting clothespins and suddenly watching our music make a run for it across the lawn or flip open to a different piece. Traditional clothespins are a great option–lots of musicians keep a box in their car for this reason. We also carry an over-sized music clip for a more elegant solution.

Gig books: Every wedding will want something a little different, but in many cases they will want standard fare such as the Mendelssohn Wedding March or Pachelbel Canon. Lots of musicians build their own gig binders with a set of arrangements that they can use for multiple weddings. The Latham wedding series and the Last Resort Music compilations are among the most popular since they come for multiple types of ensembles. The Last Resort Music series can even be mixed and matched depending on instrumentation.

Note: Make sure your music is appropriate for the venue and ceremony. If you are given free reign to choose repertoire, don’t play something that you wouldn’t normally perform in a church or synagogue. 

Stand lights: This is another great back-up item to keep in your car because you don’t know what the lighting is going to be like at any given gig. We carry our own JSI brand in addition to popular brands like Mighty Bright and Lotus. Stock up on extra batteries too–no light in the middle of a performance is not ideal.

Outdoor instrument: This is definitely not an option for everyone, but a great idea if you are able to swing it. Many people hold on to their old instruments when they upgrade and use them for outdoor gigs or any performance that they wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing their usual instrument to. Some players use alternate bows as well, especially carbon fiber bows like Codabow and JonPaul.

 

Wedding Gig Infographic

 

Good luck and happy gigging!

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

Rent or Buy?

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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 a beginner:

  1. Insurance. Our rental program comes complete with comprehensive instrument insurance that includes normal wear and tear, size exchanges, and replacing broken or damaged strings.
  2. Low-risk commitment. Beginners tend to either be young or just that: beginners. Renting allows you to try out the instrument and gauge interest before making a serious financial commitment.
  3. Rental Equity. At Johnson String, you build equity as you rent. 100% of the first year’s rent (excluding insurance and tax) plus 20% every subsequent year goes toward rental equity that can be used to purchase an instrument in the future.
  4. Finances. We offer three levels of rental instruments, not only allowing beginners but more advanced players access to a quality instrument. This is great for when the player needs a new instrument of higher quality but you are not ready to make the financial commitment.

Why Buy?

  1. You are ready for the investment. Purchasing an instrument is a great investment for your musical future. With Carriage House’s trade-in policy, 100% of the purchase price goes towards an instrument of equal or greater value when you trade in your old instrument. This allows you to better your instrument as your skills grow and change.
  2. Quality. While our rentals are well-maintained and high quality, they are still rental instruments. There comes a point when the player outgrows their rental and an instrument with a setup of higher quality is required. An instrument from our sales department is also not passed from renter to renter, and won’t have the same level of wear and tear. All instruments from our sales department also come with a one year warranty against defects in craftsmanship and materials.
  3. Finances. Violinists should expect to spend at least $1,200, violists $1,500, and cellists $2,600 for the instrument alone. If you purchase the instrument, bow and case together as an outfit Carriage House Violins offers a 10% discount on the bow and case. You will also work with a sales consultant who is a player and can give you informed recommendations. In addition, we offer home trials with up to two instruments and three bows at a time. This is the perfect opportunity to try out new instruments in a variety of environments and to get teacher and peer feedback.

**An additional option is to purchase a rental outfit. Give us a call or stop in for more details.

But I still don’t know what to do!

We can still help! Use the flow chart below to determine what might work best for you:

Rent or Buy Flowchart

 

Still not sure? Feel free to give us a call at 800-359-9351 or stop by our shop at 1029 Chestnut Street in Newton Upper Falls, MA for more information!

Learn more about our rental program here and our instrument sales here.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

Cello Month 2016 at Carriage House Violins

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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 can!

Monday March 7th, 7PM: Cello Month Launch Party: Wine and Hors d’oeuvres Reception

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Come to learn more about the exciting events hosted by Carriage House Violins as a part of Cello Month! You can also get the first look at our month-long contemporary cello and bow exhibit and meet many of the makers involved.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to info@carriagehouseviolins.com.

Tuesday March 8th, 7pm: Jim McKean, More Than Meets the Ear: Bringing a Cello to Life

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In this lecture by luthier and author Jim McKean, you will get a brief look at the sources of the design of the cello and how the construction allows a maker to create a unique work of art, both visually and tonally.

Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary. 

Thursday, March 10th, 7:30PM: Tao Ni Cello Recital

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Originally hailing from Beng Bu, An Hui Province, China, Tao Ni is an accomplished cellist currently playing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Performing:
* Felix Mendelssohn: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Major
* Gaspar Cassado: Suite for Solo Cello
* Dmitri Shostakovich: Sonata for Cello and Piano in d minor
* Nicolo Paganini: ‘Moses’ Variations on a theme of Rossini

Tickets: $20. To order, please click here

Friday, March 18th, 7:30PM: Terry King: A Lecture on Gregor Piatigorsky

Terry King

Join cellist Terry King, author of Gregor Piatigorsky; The Life and Career of the Virtuoso Soloist, in a talk on this legendary performer and teacher.

Book signing after the lecture.

Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary. King’s book can be purchased here

Wednesday, March 23rd, 7PM: Joel Krosnick Tribute

Joel Krosnick

Juilliard String Quartet cellist Joel Krosnick is stepping down after an incredible 42 years in the quartet. Join his friends and colleagues in paying tribute to this achievement and his illustrious career.

Reception to follow.

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP to info@carriagehouseviolins.com.

Tuesday, March 29th, 7:30PM: Mike Block Cello Recital 

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Hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the “ideal musician of the 21st century,” Mike Block is a multi-style cellist and composer. Do not miss this amazing solo performance by the Silk Road Ensemble cellist and Berklee College of Music professor.

Block will expand your conception of what is possible with the cello, as he attempts to connect the world’s cultures through music.

Reception to follow.

Tickets $20. To order, please click here

March 7th-April 2nd, Standard Business Hours: Contemporary Cello and Cello Bow Exhibit

Maker exhibit

The 2nd Annual Cello Month Contemporary Cello and Cello Bow Exhibit will begin with the launch party on March 7.  Throughout the rest of the month, the exhibit will be open during our normal business hours. For more information on the makers being featured, visit our event page.

Share your excitement (and photos!) with us using #cellomonth on Twitter and Instagram, or post directly to our wall on Facebook.

Happy Cello Month!

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons

 

Cello strings that fit your instrument and style

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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 a full set of violin strings. Thankfully, a cellist’s C string is not as thin as a violinist’s E and will last longer.

Playing level: More expensive brands may not be necessary for beginning players, while less expensive brands may not provide enough color or nuance for more advanced players. Teachers will often have recommendations or preferences for their students, and what you prefer when you are first starting out will probably differ from what you prefer further into your playing career.

Style of playing: This does not refer to genre alone–how you play will also determine what you’re looking for. Have an aggressive playing style? You may need something different than someone who doesn’t.

Mixing and Matching: More so than violin, most cellists do not use a complete set of one brand. Many use two different brands for the top and bottom strings, while others go so far as to have different brands for all strings. You’ll need to experiment to find the right fit for your instrument. See the chart below for common preferences:

Cello Strings Chart

But what about electric cellos?

The same principle applies–you’ll need to experiment and see what works best for your instrument. Some brands make strings specifically for their instruments (like NS Design), but many electric cellos can use the same strings as an acoustic instrument. Be careful though; some pick-ups will require a specific type of string in order to function correctly.

When in doubt, talk to your luthier or salesperson–they will have invaluable firsthand knowledge that can help you find the right cello string for you.

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Copyright © 2016 · All Rights Reserved · Silvija Kristapsons