Tag Archives: accessories

2013 Poetry Contest…WINNER Announced!


This year, our entrants really brought their A-game!  It was difficult for the judges to come to a decision, but a winner has finally been announced!  The winner is Elizabeth Ryan and her poem “The Beauty of Music.”

A well worn case sits on a shelf, its surface framed with dust. Its leather covering is old, its handle and hinges rust.
In side this case such beauty lies, that’s yet to be untold. The beauty of an instrument, which such rare treasures hold.
The case is lifted gently up, and placed with loving hands. Upon a wooden table near, it finds a place to land.
Its lid is opened to reveal a wooden object there. A Violin, this treasure is, a treasure O so rare.
A small child picks it up, and plucks the strings to tune. A smile gently plays her lips, as fresh as a day in June.
The bow she takes and rosins it, to play her music fair. The Violin on her shoulder she places with such loving, tender, care.
Now, hark! a single string she plays, alive with beauty bright. A melody than slowly forms, it fills every heart with delight.
The music slowly fills the room, with fullness to behold. The melody’s a minuet, from the Great Masters of Old.
The music grows in rapid course, now slow, and now it’s fast. The scenes that dart before your eyes are years of long time past.
Now it’s spring time in the meadows, now it the warm, hot, summer, days. Now the leaves are falling gently, now a visit to winter is paid.
O, the glories of such music, O, the treasures it can hold. O, the joys the Lord has given us, O, such wonders to behold.
We should thank the Lord for music, and remember with each string, that even playing music, should glory to him bring.

The judges really liked her descriptive imagery.  Elizabeth has won our Premium Accessories Package.  Congratulations!

We are also pleased to announced two honorable mentions.  Cecille Lee Gove and her poem “It’s Music.”

What is beautiful and soothing to the ears,
A treasure that brings both laughter and tears.

It comes in all sizes, shapes, and sounds,
And has trillions of fans all around.

It’s high and low, flat and sharp,
And brightens even the dimmest heart.

It’s country, gospel, classical, and rock,
And something no living creature can mock.

It’s the piano, organ, piccolo, and flute,
Violin, viola, mandolin, and lute.

It’s the fiddle, banjo, guitar, and xylophone,
Oboe, clarinet, drums, and saxophone.

It’s bass, treble, soprano, and alto,
Whole, quarter, half, and eighth notes.

It’s better than bronze, silver, and gold,
And anything the ears can ever behold.

What’s the answer – do you know it ?
It’s God’s gift to us all – it’s music !

As well as, Paolo Ferrer and his haiku “Sound Post.”

A Breath. Bow meets strings.
The being’s essence expressed
Soul soars, woes fleeting

Thank you to everyone that participated!  Stay tuned to the blog and our Facebook page for news of upcoming contests.

Roses are Red…

Roses are Red…
We are trying to get into the Valentine’s spirit here are Kennedy Violins by writing a lovely little poem about how much we love violins, violas, cellos, and music but, we have writer’s block!  Maybe you can help.

Submit a Valentine’s Day poem to our facebook page!  We’d love to hear your sonnets, odes, and perky limmericks.  To sweeten such a sweet request, we will pick a winner from all the poems submitted by midnight (PST) on Tuesday, February 14.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, February 15.  The winner will have their choice to receive a set of D’Addario Helicore strings, a Music Doctor Metronome/Tuner, or a Portland Acoustical Shoulder Rest.

*Please note: to qualify, a submission, must be posted on the Kennedy Violins facebook page.  The poem must be an original work of the person submitting it and can’t have been previously published.*

For inspiraton, please enjoy these classic Valentine’s poems:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet.
And so are you.

Roses are blue.
Violets are red.
If you agree,
You’ve got rocks in your head.

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Please don’t kiss me,
‘cuz I have the flu.

Shopping list — Rulers, pencils, and… violin strings!

Back to School. As a mom, it means I “get” to take my kids shopping for new clothes and school supplies. But, for music students, it also means getting ready for a new season/year of rehearsals and performances. Now is the best time to make sure your instrument is ready for hours of play. You can always take your instrument to your local music store to have it completely inspected and set up for the year, but that usually comes with a premium price tag. However, there are so many things that every string player should take the time to learn about their instrument.

For younger students, it is always good to make sure that they are starting the year with the correct size instrument. The tried and true method of sizing a student to a violin is putting the violin into position under the chin with a fully extended (straightened) left arm under the instrument. If your child can wrap their fingers all around the scroll practically reaching into the peg box, he/she is ready for a larger violin.

If the violin is the right size, it is probably time for a new set of strings. Strings can stay intact for years, but they can lose their playability and projection, especially if they are synthetic core strings (Dominant, Zyex, etc.). When changing a set of violin strings, always start with the E string, then proceed to change the G, D, and A strings. A few months ago, Joel wrote a blog on slipping violin pegs. He demonstrated how to change strings properly onto the peg. It is important to wind the strings onto the peg correctly to avoid slipping pegs. And, while you are changing your strings, it is always a good idea to take the time to clean the rosin build up with some violin polish. Never use any other type of cleaner or polish on a stringed instrument. The oil rubbed finish of most instruments have unique properties that can be critically compromised with household cleaners or polish.

When changing strings or polishing an instrument, always be careful with the bridge. Avoid bumping the bridge when cleaning, and watch the angle of the bridge during and after changing strings. New strings will need a day or two to stretch out. During that time, the angle of the bridge can be pulled by the strings. For the most part, the bridge should be angled perpendicular to the body of the violin. If a bridge is left tilted at the wrong angle for too long, it can eventually warp and even break.

One thing that is worth taking your instrument to the luthier for is to get a bow rehaired. Like violin strings, bow hair can visually appear to be in pretty good condition. Eventually, though, rosin can build up and the surface of the bow hair can become dull and almost slick. When bows get to this point of wear, it is difficult to pull sound from the strings, no matter how much rosin you use.

While you have everything out of the case, it is a good idea to grab a vacuum with a hose attachment and clean every nook and cranny. Open each compartment and get every trace of rosin out of the case. Eliminating the build up of dust and rosin inside the case will help keep your violin and bow in great playing condition for a long time to come.

For a newly sized violin or new strings, check out our selection at Kennedy Violins. If you aren’t sure which is the right one for you, please feel free to contact any of us. We have recently added a few new musicians to our sales, customer service, and luthier staff, so we are all ready to help you gear up for the new school year.

Accessories for Every New (Violin) Outfit

Purchasing an instrument seems like a daunting task, and the most difficult part is over once you decide which instrument you want to get. Right? Perhaps…

There are many accessories available for anyone who has purchased a violin from Kennedy Violins – from the earliest beginning student to the advanced or professional performer. At Kennedy Violins, all violin outfits include a variety of the following, depending on which instrument you purchase: bow, case, strings and rosin. But, beyond the basics that come with every instrument, there are more options available.

What many people don’t realize is that they can improve the tonal quality of their instrument by making a small upgrade to a higher quality set of strings. For customers who order upgraded strings at the same time as their instrument, we can install the strings for you and provide the default strings as a back-up set. Our highest recommended strings are Helicore by D’Addario. While they have a steel core, they still produce a warm, clear sound. The steel core means that the strings will stay in tune and maintain a high level of performance for a longer period of time.

Shoulder rests are required by most teachers. Shoulder rests not only help fill the gap between the shoulder and the instrument, but they also promote proper posture. Good posture prevents aches, pains, and even injuries to the neck and back. The options for shoulder rests are vast. Younger students can get away with something simple like a shaped sponge held on with rubber bands. More advanced shoulder rests consist of a padded, curved bar that clamps around the lower bouts of the instrument. We recommend the Portland Acoustical Shoulder Rest. Not only does the curved wooden bar make it more visually appealing, but the maple also helps the sound carry while it resonates around the instrument.

Most people who are new to stringed instruments and live in drier climates do not realize that it is important to keep the instrument well humidified. Areas that get extremely cold and dry in the winter tend to be even drier, due to forced air heating systems. When the humidity level dips below the 40-50% range, instruments can suffer from going out of tune easily or having the back or belly panels separate from the sides. Damage to an instrument from low humidity levels can be easily prevented by using a humidifier, such as the Damp-It system. If your case didn’t come with a dial hygrometer, there is no need to worry. The Damp-It system comes with a simple color changing indicator and chart that will help you decide when the air is too dry.

Every teacher will be pleased with a student who owns a metronome to help them keep a steady beat while they practice. When you’re choosing a metronome, you should consider including a tuner as well. A good example of a metronome/tuner combination is Music Doctor TM-100D.

And, finally, a folding music stand is a great option for any musician.

Also, cellists – don’t forget an end pin anchor! As a teacher, I find that many beginning cello students who don’t have an end pin anchor continuously struggle unnecessarily.

As with any new venture, it is easier with the proper tools. Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs that will cover these accessories with more detail.