Practice on Vacation? No Way!
Most people with school aged children probably do not put a lot of thought into the coming school year during their summer vacation. Kids certainly have more pressing matters, swimming, baseball, riding bikes and other fun activities.
Don’t Fall Behind
However, if you take 2 months off from practicing your instrument, whether it is a violin, viola, cello or bass, chances are you will not be prepared for orchestra in the fall. Rehearsals will likely be a tough road for a time as you work to get back into the swing of things.
Your instrument will have missed all your attention and may even need maintenance before beginning the new school year. But, of course, you wouldn’t know. You have not even looked at your instrument all summer long. Right?
Stay in touch. Stay in tune, even if you only squeeze in an hour or so practice each week between all your fun activities. Some things are like riding a bike when you’ve been away and never seem to skip a beat. Playing an instrument is not one of those things.
Speak with your strings teacher before vacation begins. Ask for some tips on what to practice over the summer. Maybe there is an area where you had some difficulty and there simply was not adequate time to give it proper attention. This would be a great way to approach these areas in a more casual and relaxed way.
Mom and Dad, help keep your students engaged with their music over the summer. If they do not take private lessons, Maybe this would be a good time to start. If you live in the greater Greenville area and need help finding a quality instructor, give us a call and we will help point you in a good direction.
Keep it light. Keep it casual. There’s plenty of time for burgers, Bach, baseball and the beach. Have fun and avoid the struggle of starting over again when autumn comes and the new orchestral season begins.
SUMMER INSTRUMENT CARE
In the summer time, the living can be easy, as the song goes. However, heat and changes in humidity can wreak havoc with your bowed instrument if proper care is not heeded.
The physics of your instrument during seasonal change is fundamental.
Humidity causes expansion of the wood and can raise the height of your strings off the fingerboard by pushing your bridge upward. As this occurs, your sound post can also fall out of position. Open seams and cracks can also occur especially when humidity is combined with heat, resulting in costly repairs and sometimes irreversible damage.
Your peg box can be effected by temperature change also. In the summer, as wood expands from rising humidity, you may find the peg holes and pegs expand, becoming stuck and difficult to turn.
The summer months tend to offer ample opportunity to perform or jam with friends out of doors. Avoid exposing your instrument to rapid temperature changes and direct sunlight. When traveling about, never leave your instrument in the car. Never.
Your Bow and the Summer
Remember, it is not just your instrument that can suffer the effects of temperature change and humidity. Your bow is equally vulnerable to exposure. Even if yours is a composite of synthetic materials, the condition of the bow hair and its correct placement in the bow at either end can be impacted in a negative way. If your bow hair develops an improper fit (shrinking hair in hot, dry weather), the camber, or curve of the bow, can be damaged and permanently altered. A bow can break under these conditions.
What Can You Do?
What can a musician do to help ensure the health and wellbeing of their bowed instrument? Just as the physics of your instrument is fundamental, so are the steps everyone can take to prevent seasonal and weather related damage from occurring.
Take Steps Now
The single best investment you can make to help insure the health and playability of your bowed instrument is to make an appointment with your luthier every 6 months for routine inspection and maintenance. During this service you can have your pegs seasonally treated to avoid them becoming stuck, or so loose that you have trouble staying in tune. You might even consider being fitted for both a summer and a winter sound post.
How well your bowed instrument fares from one season to the next is largely up to you. By taking a few very basic precautions based on a basic understanding of the nature of your instrument, you can easily prevent most of the pitfalls resulting from changing temperature and humidity.
Whether you are learning the violin, viola, cello, or bass, your orchestra teacher holds the ticket to your success as a new musician. Make sure your teacher is smiling every time you are around. This will guarantee every bit of success that a teacher-student partnership is capable of. There are three ways you may keep your teacher smiling, resulting in maximum teaching and learning during lesson time.
-Make careful notes while receiving practice instructions.
-Practice as soon after class as possible. A musician benefits most by practicing while new lesson information is fresh and still in mind.
-Practice only the material assigned and only as instructed. This will help you focus on what your teacher intends. Although you should allow time for creativity during practice time, practicing techniques or music not discussed by your teacher places you at risk of formulating improper habits, requiring un-teaching.
-Practice regularly and diligently.
•20 minutes twice a day is better than 1 hour every other day.
•Practice every day, with one day off a week. Give yourself a well-deserved break.
•Mind practice. While away from your instrument, think through your music. How will you play it? Move your hands and fingers as though you are holding your instrument. How will it sound? Imagine what you will hear and what you will feel when the music is perfectly executed.
•Record your practice time and be sure to practice the full duration of your recorded time.
•Chart your progress.
-Listen to your teacher. You will stand out as a student and learn more by simply looking at your teacher intently every time you are being instructed.
-Listen to great music played by great performers regularly. Do this every day.
-Listen to your mom or dad when they say “don’t you think you should be practicing right now?”
-Listen to your friends when they play. Make sure you blend in with them while playing together. Pick out the best player you know and try to emulate their style and sound, then grow yourself to the next level.
Seeking your teacher’s affection should be your mission. It’s ok to be the “Teacher’s Pet” since your symbiotic relationship may yield musical opportunity for years to come.
– “An apple a day” may be too frequent, but there is nothing like an occasional gift of appreciation (not a bribe) that says “thank you for your input in my life”.
– Verbally express your appreciation. Be sincere. Name something specific. A little appreciation goes a long way.
– Develop a passion for playing your violin (viola, cello, or bass) and not only will your teacher enjoy it, so will you.
These three activities will encourage high performance teaching and high performance learning at lesson time. Your smiling teacher will provide multiplied dividends toward your success as a musician and will keep the both of you happy along the way. ~ j
18th Annual Bluegrass First Class
Friday: Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, The Grascals, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, The James King Band, Will Clark & 10 FEET DEEP, Dillon
Saturday: The Bluegrass Album Band, Lonesome River Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Russel Moor & IIIrd Tyme Out, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Julia Ann Band
Sunday: Appalachian Fire
Jim Clinton Violins, is having a celebratory, treasure hunt sale on Thursday, the 13th of March.
Just push the big, blue button above for instructions.
Why is their celebratory sale on the 13th? And not Saint Patrick’s Day?
This is Jim Clinton Violins’ 13th year!
Hurry! Press the big blue button above to see what you can do to receive up to 21% discount, plus $100 off almost everything, including special orders at Jim Clinton Violins.
If you wait till St. Patrick’s Day, you will miss this sale!
Play Antonio Scrollivarius here or read below for video script and additional information.
Europe, the land of Stradivari, the birthplace of the violin, is coming to Jim Clinton Violins. At least twenty three European instruments, many with special, one day pricing, will be here April 1 through Monday, April 14, 2014. Samples of handmade violins, violas, celli, and basses will be here. Touch them, view them, listen to, and play them. Will a European instrument at these prices be your next instrument upgrade choice? Find out for yourself. Press the link below to learn about the European violin making concept, and find out for yourself, if one of these gems is perfect for you.
Special pricing applies only on Monday, April 14, 2014.
A significant shipment of European, handcrafted, workshop instruments has recently arrived in the US, and their exclusive, US importer has given Jim Clinton Violins special permission to exhibit samples from this shipment, making them available for your review, purchase, and order. Models designed for the serious student through college level, to semi-professional will be arriving at Jim Clinton Violins during the first week of April. Our workshop technicians will be hovering over these European jewels, putting them through their paces, tweaking, and testing them for our one day sale on Monday, the 14th of April.
Jim Clinton Violins, 3400-D Rutherford Rd. Ext., Taylors, SC, 29687, 864-322-2622, www.jcviolins.com.
Jim Clinton Violins is celebrating their 13th year! But since Jim and friends plan to be in church on the 13th, this explosive sale will have to wait till April 14, one day before tax day.
A new work by celebrated composer Dan Forrest, Requiem For the Living,
will be performed by the BJU Chorale and the University’s chamber strings,
under the direction of Dr. Warren Cook.
The concert will be held in the War Memorial Chapel on the campus of
Bob Jones University and will begin at 8PM on April 25, 2014.
Free tickets are available in the Music Library of the Gustafson Fine Arts Center,
located near the Chapel venue.
According to the composer’s website, Dan Forrest has been “premiered in major venues
around the world, ranging from the World Choral Symposium (Argentina) to Izumi Hall
(Osaka, Japan) to Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and
ACDA conventions. His music has been broadcast multiple times on American Public Media’s
Performance Today.” The work by Forrest to be featured on the concert,
Requiem for the Living, is “scheduled for dozens of upcoming performances across the US
and abroad, including multiple performances in Carnegie Hall.”
For more information, please contact the BJU Music Library during business hours at
Have you ever felt like the sales pitch at the store was more beneficial to their bottom line than to serving your interests? Here are a few ways to determine whether or not you are being served. Be sure to read the last item. A phone call removes the impressive store facade from your conversation and quickly gets you to the heart of a store’s attitude toward helping you.
If the salesperson goes into the “pitch” informing you of all the features and prices and asks minimal questions, you may not be experiencing good service. The more interest a salesperson takes in your story and listens to you, the better your future with that company. Some sales clerk questions may be qualifying you but many questions asked of you indicates interest and effort in finding the best recommendation for you.
Along with listening comes the good service habit of allowing you time and space. Hurrying you along with the sale because another call may come in or because the next person is waiting is not only rude but leaves you uninformed, under served, and merely another number at this store. A good sales consultant will often create opportunity to step out of the room to give you and your musician or spouse a chance to discuss the information privately before making a decision.
A patient consultant willingly repeats important information, even voluntarily.
Every contract has a requirement for each side to fulfill. If your representative tells you only the wow of their presentation, you will get the bad news later after you have signed the contract. By the way, a contract that doesn’t cover the good and bad news doesn’t tell you what is coming.
Competitors negative opinions of each other are biased opinions at best.
Pressure to make a purchase now minimizes your power in the decision process. Sometimes you may miss a good deal, but try to obtain information in advance of that pressure situation, should it occur. Every sale has to end some time, so be informed before the sale. Make a call and visit the website. Waiting till the last day for class forces you to make a pressure decision.
Ask lots of questions. You will make a better decision if you know what your options are.
Asking the clerk to explain the plus and minus of a particular selected item vs the plus and minus of another selection will help you choose a more personalized product than what you were seeking when walking into the store. Read “Why JCV?”.
Big impressions are often smoke in mirrors when it comes to good products and personalized service. Shop around and find a local, small business that wants and needs your business. You can tell when a shop will try harder to serve you, even if they don’t seem to be the biggest, lowest priced guys around.
“This is our model to rent. This is our upgrade model. Any questions?” If that is what you get, there is not much for your child to grow into should he/she succeed. You do wish for your child to succeed. Lots of options here….
“We have high quality instruments and the lowest prices.” Discernment is necessary to understand that two different instruments may be discussed here or that this claim is simply too good to be true.
Shop with people you like. Enough said.
Telephone manners and conversational courtesy informs you about a company and its culture. Before you walk into an impressively decorated and fully stocked store, you will have the advantage of knowing the people of this business before seeing their well planned facility presentation. Remember, you will be doing business with this company in the future, not just today. Once in the store, you are not obligated to stay and begin a long-term business relationship if you are not being treated fairly on the first day. Contact Jim Clinton Violins….see if they pass the test.
March 3, 2013
@ McAlister Auditorium