Maintaining a practice habit during the summer months can be a challenge. Between teacher and student vacations, limited or no school programs, and the general schedule shift of the summer months, music sometimes takes a lower priority than it does during the rest of the year. A lot of students put their instrument in a case and don’t take it out again until fall.
Here’s a few ideas for motivating your own practice this summer:
-Keep your instrument accessible. Make sure your case doesn’t get covered with the swimming gear or put in the closet behind the hiking packs. Keep your instrument in a place where you spend a lot of time so it is ready to go whenever you feel like practicing.
-Find unique ways to practice fundamentals. Grab a stick during a nature hike and practice your bow hold. Practice long, smooth bow strokes timed with the rotation of a sprinkler. Use the whir of an ice cream maker as a metronome for Schradieck finger exercises. There are fun quirky ways to incorporate music all around us!
-Learn some new summertime tunes that might be from a different type of music than you typically play. My grandparents always requested I play “Memories” from the show Cats when I traveled with them so that became my summer song one year. Pick up a fiddle song or baroque number and give yourself a new challenge.
-Bring your instrument on vacation! Family members often enjoy hearing your progress and playing for new people can be a fun change of scenery. While it can be intimidating to strike up a tune in the middle of a campground full of people, it’ll be a far more welcome sound than another motorhome generator. Music is a community event and you might attract other musicians who want to join you.
And speaking of joining other musicians…
-Follow and use a social media hashtag like #PlayHomiePlay (started by ThatViolaKid) or #100DaysofPractice (Hilary Hahn’s hashtag for motivating 100 consecutive days of practice) or #MakeShareMusic (Kennedy Violin’s hashtag for Make Music Day) to join other musicians who are sharing their practice and music. Online communities are often not our first idea for sharing practice, but they can be a valuable resource and provide awesome motivation.
Do you have other suggestions for summertime motivation?
While Kennedy Violins trade-in program is often used by younger students as they move through the fractional size instruments, we also encourage customers to consider trading up their full size violins. Playing a new instrument can offer unique insights into beloved music while giving advancing musicians an instrument that will continue to inspire. We know that musicians are more motivated to practice when their instrument contributes inspiring potential.
Beginning students should consider trading up to an intermediate violin when they begin working in 3rd position and above. Some of our most popular intermediate violins are:
-The Antonio Giuliani violin – The Giuliani is known for it’s sweet, ringing tone. For students unsure of their tonal preferences on the spectrum from dark to bright, the Giuliani offers a tonal sound that sits somewhere in the middle. It balances the full lower register with a even upper register.
-The Anton Gerard violin – The Gerard is our first stop for fiddle players. While classical violinist also appreciate the rich depth of tone, fiddle players tend to be drawn to the Gerard with irresistible force. Anyone who enjoys the dark end of the tonal spectrum will enjoy playing the Gerard.
-The Nickola Zubak violin – The Zubak has a focused intensity that delights violinists who want fast finger work to shine. Each note played on the Zubak sounds crisp and brilliant. This is a bright toned instrument and challenges players to play as precisely as possible.
Intermediate students should consider trading up when they begin working in 6th and 7th positions and when they need an instrument with even more power and resonance. For these students we strongly recommend:
-The David Yale Signature Series violin – The Signature Series has a gorgeous full tone that makes the instrument itself feel alive. Each instrument is unique and we match individual violins with the tonal preferences of our unique customers. Call Kennedy Violins and request your custom Yale Signature Series match-up!
Trading up is easy! Call Kennedy Violins and speak to a customer service representative about trading up a current violin for something with more resonance, more depth of tone, and more possibilities!
Supporting the string player in your life can mean doing more than just attending performances! If you are looking to buy something a little more practical than another violin-playing angel for your musician, check out this list of 10 helpful products from Kennedy Violins! Or find the complete product list HERE on our website
Rosin: Rosin is a little cake of tree sap that is applied to the bow to add friction to the interaction of the bow and the strings. Many players use whatever rosin is included with their instrument, but there is actually a wide array of rosin options that can have markedly different effects depending on the climate and needs of the player. This season we are highlighting the Clarity Spectrum and Pirastro Goldflex rosins due to their popularity with customers year-round.
Strings: Violinists have to purchase new strings on a regular basis so a new set is always a welcome gift! Strings enhance different tonal qualities of the instrument, and trying a new set is always an adventure. Check out the customer favorites D’Addario Helicore or Pirastro Obligato!
Single String: If an entire set of strings seem like a big commitment, why not try a Gold E string? The tonal color in the gold wrapped E string is favored by players of all levels.
Books: An excercise book might not seem like the most exciting gift, but it shows you are committed to the excellence of your student! Look at Introducing the Positions for a peek at what Kennedy Violins’ staff recommend as a great way to push an intermediate player into more solid position work, and confidence in their developing positions.
Practice mute: Sometimes parents need a little break, right? Gift your student a practice mute to put a damper on the sound for a bit.
Instrument care poster: Kennedy Violins is debuting these gorgeous new instrument care posters this season! While they will be included with every outfit purchased, you can also purchase one individually. These make great gifts for teachers!
Electric violin: For the vioinist who is longing to rock out, consider giving an electric violin. These unique and fun instruments are very popular as gifts.
Bow: Sometimes a new bow is like a breath of fresh air to a violin practice that feels routine. Bows can add new depth and suprising refinements to technique. We recommend our carbon fiber bow for students who need a sturdy new option.
Cell O’Clock: For the string player who has everything, the Cell O’Clock adds a touch of class to the studio space. Call Kennedy Violins to learn more about these unique limited edition clocks.
Music Stand: There are too many budding string players out here who balance sheet music on bookshelves and chairs, and have to constantly prop their music up! Consider investing in a folding music stand and investing in the future of songs being played through without interruptions!
The Kennedy Violins 2016 Instrument Scholarship Essay Contest is an exciting opportunity for us to reward dedicated violin and viola students in Oregon and Washington states with the gift of a free violin or viola! Each contestant may enter by submitting a two-page, double-spaced essay exploring the following question:
What skills do learning an instrument help you develop for your future, and who or what inspires you to keep playing?
Who can apply?
The essay contest welcomes single entries (one essay per student) from elementary, middle, and high school viola and violin students in Oregon and Washington States. Spread the word, and invite your students, friends, and children to enter!
When do I apply?
Please submit entries by June 1st, 2016. By submitting you are confirming that all written material is original, and granting Kennedy Violins permission to print and/or publish winning essays.
What if I need a fractional instrument?
Size trade-ins are available for growing musicians!
Kennedy Violins is honored to support Better Bows, a fundraising campaign with a goal to provide the local Wy’East Middle School Orchestra of Vancouver, Washington with high-quality carbon fiber bows for use in the classroom. We invite you to donate and support this great cause!
How does it work? “Bowbrarians” will care for a complete set of bows students can check out for use during classroom rehearsals. These high-quality, durable carbon fiber bows will be for in-class and performance use only, always cleaned and returned after each use.
Giuliani Carbon Fiber Bows Kennedy Violins is proud to contribute our durable, strong, and super-responsive Giuliani Carbon Fiber Bows to the Better Bows cause. These bows, when well-maintained, will be played on by over the course of 20+ years, making a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of orchestra students.
Why contribute? Kennedy Violins will donate one bow for every two bows purchased with funds raised by Better Bows. We believe in supporting the youth in our local music community with high-quality, yet affordable instruments and accessories.
Make a difference in the lives of our talented youth by contributing to Better Bows today!
Are you wondering where you might best fit in your local music community? Check out this infographic shared with us by Emily Parker with collegematchup.net. As you’ll see, the multi-faceted music industry has a place for all personality types!
We are always thrilled to receive great news from members of the Kennedy Violins family all over the world. Congratulations to seven-year-old Leah Kramaric from Zagreb, Croatia, who recently won first prize in the regional Croatian competition playing on a Louis Carpini G2 Violin from Kennedy Violins! Leah is now qualified for the national competition, the largest in Croatia.
The Kramaric family loves Leah’s 1/2-size Carpini G2 purchased from Kennedy Violins last year. According to Leah’s father, Damir, Leah “loves the instrument and demands (nothing less, mind you) to purchase a 3/4-size Louis Carpini G2 from you again. Well, I guess that’s it then. How can you argue against that? You’ll be hearing from us pretty soon again. Thank you to all of you at Kennedy Violins who put in good work for the benefit of your customers.”
We love hearing success stories from performers throughout the nation playing on Kennedy Violins instruments. Congratulations to Emily Chisholm from Porter, Indiana, who recently performed and scored gold in her first competition held by the Indiana State School Music Association!
Emily plays on our most popular instrument, the Ricard Bunnel G2 Violin. In the words of her mother, Michelle, “She loves it and we couldn’t be happier!”
We are so thrilled to hear about Emily’s musical achievements with the Bunnel and wish her the best as she continues her musical journey!
Have you had a positive experience with your Kennedy Violins instrument? Email your story to liz@kennedyviolins to share on our blog!
This holiday season, Kennedy Violins can’t wait to offer you seasonal surprises for twelve days straight. With a new deal revealed every day from December 1-12, check back often to find savings on your wish list of items including our most popular instruments, accessories, and staff picks. ’Tis the season to make some music!
Congratulations to twelve-year-old fiddler Jayden Halverson for winning first prize in the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair Junior Fiddler’s Contest! Jayden is in her fourth year playing the violin, currently studying Suzuki Violin School, Volume 4.
We are proud to share that her winning performance was played on one of our favorite instruments, Kennedy Violins’ Anton Gerard Violin. We hope the Gerard continues to support Jayden throughout her bright future as an award-winning musician.
We would also like to thank Jayden’s father for sharing Jayden’s success and satistfaction with the Gerard with us:
“We are so amazed by the sound of [the Anton Gerard Violin]. Directly out of the mail the instrument sounded so wonderful and played so smoothly. I was amazed that after a few months of playing the sound just keeps getting more depth and soul. Not only does it sound amazing, but the finish and one-piece back make this violin look as rich as it sounds. My daughter absolutely loves her Gerard! She took this fine violin all the way to the winner’s circle. This year she and her Kennedy violin won first place in the Wisconsin State Fair fiddling contest. ”
– Chad Halverson
Again, congratulations to Jayden! May your musical journey lead you to even greater heights.