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Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 7 — Conductor Markand Thakar On Achieving Transcendent Musical Performances (Part 2)

Episode 7 is part two of Christian Howes’s interview with conductor Markand Thakar, music director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and co-director of graduate conducting at the Peabody Conservatory.

This half of the interview explores more concepts from Thakar’s book Looking for the “Harp” Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty, including:

  • Fundamental elements of totality of the sound
  • Balance, playing in ensembles, tempo, tone
  • Teaching and conducting

Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!

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2015 ASTA National Conference — Things To See

It’s that time of year again when thousands of string teachers, students, artists and product exhibitors descend on city to commence the yearly American String Teachers Association Nation Conference.  This year the location is Salt Lake City, Utah.  Due to staffing at our shop (two new babies born into the EVS family–congratulations Susie and Ted!) we are unable to be physically present at ASTA this year, however through our good friends among the teachers, presenters and exhibitors we will be there in spirit!  If you are an electric player in attendance or a teacher interested in incorporating electric instruments and eclectic styles into your program, here are some of the events we recommend at the Salt Lake City ASTA conference… Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 6 — Conductor Markand Thakar On Achieving Transcendent Musical Performances (Part 1)

Episode 6 is part one in a two-part interview between Christian Howes and conductor Markand Thakar, music director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and co-director of graduate conducting at the Peabody Conservatory.

This fist half of the interview delves into several concepts from Thakar’s book Looking for the “Harp” Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty, including:

  • How music can move all of us
  • How to convey deeper beauty through music
  • The creation and release of tension on the micro and macro levels.

Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!

 

Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 5 — Jason Anick on Jazz Violin Practice

Jazz violinist Jason Anick is an instructor at Berklee College of Music and at the annual summer Creative Strings Workshop and Festival.  Jason was brought up on classical violin training, yet as early as his teenage years he began finding ways to incorporate jazz and other styles into his formal musical training.  In school, although studying the classical violin, his ensembles were all jazz groups. Listen to the podcast to learn how Jason combined the best of classical and jazz practice routines to develop bulletproof musicianship, including

  • his routines and regimens — scales, transcriptions, improvising, working with backing tracks, self-recordings
  • his successful mindset for doing business as an artist and maintaining a confident and striving optimism in the music industry

Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!


ZETA Is Back!

ZETA Jazz Fusion 5, roasted flamed maple top and neck

Five years to the month after we received our last batch of Zeta violins a new shipment has just arrived! Zeta Music Systems, Inc. shut down in 2010, but the worldwide demand for their iconic electric violin brand never subsided. In the interim we’ve gotten dozens of inquiries each month from players all over the world who recognize the looks of the Fusion and Modern bodies and the sounds of the Jazz and Strados pickups.

Prior to its shutdown Zeta had been around for a very long time by electric violin-world standards.  Keith McMillen, who today runs the forward-looking music technology company Keith McMillen Instruments, and Richard McClish, now of RMC Pickup Co., first founded Zeta Music Systems in the late 1970′s.  By the mid-1980′s jazz fusion violinist Jean Luc Ponty made the Zeta brand world famous and the ‘Jazz Fusion’ model iconic. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 4 — Performance Psychology for Musicians with Dr. Noa Kageyama

Dr. Noa Kageyama is the founder of the Bulletproof Musician and holds a Master’s degree in Violin Performance from Julliard and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Indiana University.  In this episode of the Creative Strings Podcast Dr. Kageyama discusses how to practice for performance in order to overcome distraction, nerves and stage fright and stay in the creative moment during musical performance.

Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!

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Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 3 — Matt Glaser on Music Education, Improvisation, and Mindfulness

Matt Glaser

Matt Glaser (Photo by Phil Farnsworth)

In this episode of the Creative Strings Podcast, Christian Howes talks with Matt Glaser, an accomplished Jazz and Bluegrass violinist and the Artistic Director of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music.  This is a great episode both for students aspiring to learn improvisation and alternative styles, as well as for string teachers navigating the changing terrain of strings education in this era of stylistic diversity.

Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!

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Holiday Gift Ideas For Any Budget

holdiday-buying-guide_672



Holiday shopping can be difficult–especially if you are a non-musician shopping for musical equipment! Electric Violin Shop makes shopping for the string player in your life easy by offering a variety of gift options to fit nearly any budget! If you’re looking for something small or relatively inexpensive, check out our Stocking Stuffers category. If you want ideas for something bigger, including instruments and musical gear, take a look at out Holiday Gift Ideas, where you can sort items by price. For further advice on what to get your musical loved one this holiday season, read on or contact us for personalized advice…

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The Top 4 Things To Consider When Beginning An Electric String Instrument

Avoid beginner frustrations by keeping these things in mind as you dive in

Nationally renowned strings educator and friend of the shop Scott Laird is at the forefront of helping teachers introduce electric bowed string instruments into their classrooms and studios.  He gave the presentation below, entitled “Ten Practical Strategies for Inspiring Your Students with Electric Stringed Instruments”, at the 2013 American String Teachers Association National Conference.  Before getting into his ten strategies, Scott outlined four great “precepts” for teachers looking to incorporate electric strings into their school programs.  We think these principles are right on the money and apply equally well to anyone taking up an electric stringed instrument for the first time.  The four precepts are covered from 05:30 to 10:25 in the video and we’ve outlined them below…

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Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 2 – Randall Williams: How an Indie Musician Bootstrapped Tours on Veggie Fuel and why he Let it Go

Creative Strings Podcast is a production of Christian Howes, sponsored by Electric Violin Shop

Randall WilliamsIn this episode, Christian interviews singer/songwriter Randall Williams about the many creative ways he engineered a career in music. Randall explains how he got his foot in the door by offering value to (as opposed to asking for money from) music stores, manufacturers and distributors, folk festivals and his audiences.

Learn more about Randall Williams, his music and his travels at whereisrandall.com. Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!

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Step Up to Yamaha and Get a Rebate up to $100 at EVS

Step Up to Yamaha

Why ‘Step Up’?

Your skills have grown and matured and with them your need for a better instrument, one that works with you to realize your musical expression. Yamaha’s step-up Silent strings models accomplish this with their features, design, and overall playability – all of which aid advancing musicians with their musical growth.

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Creative Strings Podcast Ep. 1 – Billy Contreras: Inspired Insights from a Country Fiddler and Jazz Master

Creative Strings Podcast is a production of Christian Howes, sponsored by Electric Violin Shop

Jazz violinist Billy Contreras sat down with Christian Howes live at the 2014 Creative Strings Workshop to discuss Billy’s life, music, and more in the first episode of the brand new Creative Strings Podcast.  The conversation is interspersed with a progression of amazing clips of Billy’s playing from when he was young through to today.  In these clips you will hear Billy’s evolution and incredible stylistic variety, and the discussion gives insight into Billy’s improvisational thought process.

Next episode >>

Visit christianhowes.com for further notes, links and information about the topics discussed in this episode, as well as a full listing of the tracks used as musical samples.

Visit electricviolinshop.com/creativestrings to receive a special discount for Christian Howes listeners!

A Guide to CodaBow Violin, Viola & Cello Bow Models

codabow-violin-collection

The bow makers and engineers at CodaBow use advanced materials to bring consistency and affordability to their great bow designs. CodaBow’s graphite and kevlar bow sticks have the same performance agility and tone-drawing capability as fine wood bows that are several times more expensive. Whether for use as a primary performance bow or as a travel / backup bow, there can be little doubt that CodaBow bows represent some of the best value in the strings industry. If you’re looking to invest in a bow, the question then becomes not whether to choose a CodaBow but which CodaBow to choose. The following guide breaks down the choices for you to aid in your decision-making process.

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Bows Without Borders: CodaBow’s GlobalBow™ Technology

How CodaBow’s GlobalBow™ technology will permit your CodaBow® to cross any border on the globe

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Due to increased international regulation, shipping or transporting items containing endangered, regulated, or monitored species across international borders can result in delays, fines, and confiscation.  With those species including Ivory, Madagascar Ebony, Tortoise Shell, Pernambuco, Lizard Skin, Whalebone, Mother-of-Pearl (Shell), internationally traveling string musicians may find it difficult to cross borders with their traditional wood bows.

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Choosing a Multi-Effects Processor: Good, Better and Best Recommendations

Multi-effects processors offer great value and variety for beginners and are compact and portable for the touring pro. Electric Violin Shop carries a handful of multi-effects processors from Boss and Digitech, which range in price from about $100 to about $300, including:

Good: DigiTech Element XP
Better: DigiTech RP360XP
Best: Boss ME-80

Compare our Good, Better and Best multi-effects options in the chart below or click here to view them in our catalog.

All of the multi-effects processors we carry come with dozens of different preset effects, as well as the ability to alter and store changes to any of them. All include a mute/floor tuner as well. Things to consider when differentiating between Good, Better and Best multi-effects processor options include whether you will need any or all of the following features…

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Lindsey Stirling to Play Aurora Violin on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Excerpted from NBC Universal press release:

Electric Violinist Lindsey Stirling featuring Lzzy Hale to Perform on Aug. 6 Results Show

NEW YORK – July 31, 2014 – The Aug. 6 ['America's Got Talent'] results show (9-10 p.m. ET) will feature a thrilling performance by electric violinist Lindsey Stirling, performing her hit single “Shatter Me,” featuring Lzzy Hale from the Grammy award-winning band Halestorm.

Breakthrough artist Lindsey Stirling has dazzled the music industry with over half a billion views on her YouTube channel, Billboard chart-topping hits and sold out tours worldwide since she first appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010.  A classically trained violinist from Gilbert, AZ, her recently released sophomore album, “Shatter Me,” debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.  Lindsey’s self-titled debut album earned her a 2014 Billboard Music Award nomination for “Top Dance/Electronic Album,” has sold over 300,000 copies in the U.S. without the backing of a major label, and has gone platinum in Germany and gold in Poland and Switzerland. The album reached #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Chart and Classical Album Chart and peaked at #23 on the Billboard Top 200.  The track “Crystallize” has become a viral smash, racking up over 100 million YouTube views.  For more information, visit www.lindseystirling.com.

Sign our petition: Electric Violin Music Isn’t Noise

Electric violinist Jeff Neil, of Synergy Violins, has entertained listeners in downtown Greenville, South Carolina for more than a year. Despite having performed with prior permission from the City, his recent renewal application for his street performance permit was denied. The reason, as stated by Greenville special events coordinator Victoria Cervantz: “The amplification rules for street performers is being tightly enforced and monitored…Electric guitars, electric violins, loop stations, background music for instruments, etc. are no longer being approved in order to fully abide by the ordinance as well as in response to noise complaints from visitors, residents and businesses.”

However, Chapter 36, Article V, Section 36–143(k) of the Greenville, South Carolina, Code of Ordinances* clearly states that while “all street performers in conducting street performance activities shall be subject to the city’s noise ordinance…performances with sound amplification are excluded unless the city manager or the city manager’s designee issuing permits determines that the amplification is necessary or proper for the musical or other sound component of a performance.”

Amplification is necessary for the sound component of a solid body electric violin performance. Furthermore, Neil says that in the many times he has played, he has had only one noise complaint, and responded appropriately because he did not want to lose the chance to perform.**

Tell the City of Greenville and other cities that electric violin music is not noise by signing our petition.

Petition - Electric Violin Music Isn't Noise - GoPetition

2014 Summer Eclectic Styles String Camps and Festivals

Students and teachers — consider taking advantage of some time off in the summer to both hone your technique and explore different musical styles by attending one of these fine string camps! Our list focuses on camps that teach and promote alternative (non-classical) styles such as jazz, rock, blues, latin, bluegrass, celtic, etc. Below these listings are links to other online resources that list great string camps, classical or otherwise, throughout the country… Read the rest of this entry »

‘Heartbleed’ Bug Patch Installed On ElectricViolinShop.com

Electric Violin Shop takes the security of your personal data seriously. To that end, we wanted to alert those of you who were not aware to the existence of the Heartbleed security vulnerability. We also wanted to inform you that electricviolinshop.com has installed the security update to block Heartbleed, and let you know what you should do to protect yourself and your personal information.

First, we recommend that you use this tester (enter https://www.electricviolinshop.com and click ‘Go’), which actually goes to the site, sends a malformed heartbeat and extracts ~80 bytes of memory as proof, just like an attacker would. It doesn’t check versions or make assumptions, it looks for the bug.. The lastpass.com Heartbleed tester that was linked to from the CNET article on the “Heartbleed” bug only checks to see a site is using the Apache server. It automatically assumes that any site that uses Apache could be vulnerable, without actually letting you know whether or not the site you’re looking up has taken care of the problem.

Once the sites that you habitually visit have fixed the problem (electricviolinshop.com has already done so, but you should check, just to be sure), clear your browser’s cache and cookies before logging into any site. You should then change your passwords, starting with sensitive accounts like banks and your main email account.

Unearthed Documents, Recordings Point to Heifetz’s Prog Rock Beginnings

by Duncan Monserud

A young Heifetz sports a 'mop top' in this 1923 concert bill.

A young Heifetz sports a ‘mop top’ in this 1923 concert bill.

Jascha Heifetz is universally regarded as a pioneering classical music recording artist, but what was not known until recently were his 1920’s recordings of what musicologists are labeling “Proto-prog rock.”

The discovery came last fall when a new tenant moved into an apartment in New York City’s West Village and found a small chest tucked away in a utility closet. Among its contents were concert posters, an early recording contract and a handful of 78 rpm records.

Heifetz 78's found by Stoddard

Heifetz 78′s found in NYC apartment building in 2013

The finder of the artifacts, Hugh Stoddard — himself a music collector and enthusiast — realized that these must be rare and potentially important memorabilia. He soon contacted Samuel Epstein, Ph.D., a Professor of Musicology at Queens College CUNY. Dr. Epstein immediately recognized these to be evidence of what had been previously believed to be myth within musicological circles: Jascha Heifetz’s early electric rock period. Read the rest of this entry »