It’s that time of year again, when thousands of string teachers, students, artists and product exhibitors descend on a city to commence the annual American String Teachers Association Nation Conference. This year the location is Tampa, Florida. If you are an electric player in attendance or a teacher interested in incorporating electric instruments and eclectic styles into your program, here are the sessions and exhibitors we recommend at the conference…



  Christian Howes Creative Strings Academy (online improvisation instruction) — Booth # 306 CodaBow International Ltd. (DIAMOND, LUMA, JOULE, and PRODIGY carbon bows) Booth # 503 Connolly Music Company, Inc. (The Realist transducers and violins)  — Booth # 111/113/212/210 D’Addario & Co., Inc. (strings and Planet Waves cables) — Booth # 401/500 Eastman Strings, Inc. (Bridge Violins) Booth # 617/716 Mike Block String Camp — Booth # 321 Super-Sensitive Musical String Co. (Sensicore strings) — Booth # 505 Wood Violins (Viper, Cobra [cello] Sabre, Stingray, Concert series ac/el) — Booth # 121/220 Yamaha Corporation of America — Booth # 201/203/205/ 300/302/304    


  Improvisation; It’s Not Just for Jazz! Learn to Teach Melody, Harmony and Accompaniment by Listening, Imitating and Improvising (using any style of music) on String Instruments. No prior Improv Experience Necessary Wednesday (pre-conference session) 12:00pm -- Room 1 If you teach middle school, high school or college, teach at a private studio or are a student teacher of violin, viola, cello, bass or guitar; this session is for you. Tampa area string students will be our guinea pigs (along with ourselves!) for this exciting afternoon session of hands-on learning. Three renowned string teachers will teach improvisation and composition from a non-jazz perspective. Eclectic Electro-Acoustic Violist/Composer Martha Mooke will introduce empowerment and teaching methods using ensemble and peer-to-peer partnering games and exercises. Cellist Mike Block (member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and Director of Mike Block String Camp) will explore playing and learning by ear through modern pop songs. Violinist and composer Andy Reiner will teach tune creation, exploring the compositional side of traditional music by dissecting fiddle tunes. Presenters: Martha Mooke,Eclectic Electro-Acoustic Violist/Composer; Mike Block, Yo Yo Ma Silk Road Ensemble; Andy Reiner, violinist and composer   Power of Strings: Plugging in the Creative Spirit Thursday, 4:00 -- Room 1/2 This hands-on workshop introduces, explores and delves into methods of incorporating electric string instruments and electronics (foot pedals, hardware, apps and software programs), improvisation and creative approaches to making music into an existing school program. “Plugging in” string instruments expands the students’ creative and performance opportunities that have both educational and real world applications. Includes informative handout and follow-up opportunity with clinician. Presenter: Martha Mooke, Yamaha Corporation   Eclectic Styles Multi-Level Master Class Friday, 9:30am -- Room: 20/21 Clinician: Jeremy Kittel, performer   Collaborative Practicing through Improvisation Friday, 12:30pm -- Room: 18/19 We will be exploring a series of collaborative exercises based on improvising scales, arpeggios, grooves, and thinking harmonically. They will improve your ear-hand coordination, empower your creativity, and develop technique and facility on your instrument. Presenter: Mike Block, Berklee College of Music   Tools for the 21st Century String Player Friday, 1:45 -- Room 1/2 Room: 1/2 It’s a jungle out there! What skill sets are needed to be a complete player today? Classical training, technical foundation, ability to improvise, business acumen, writing and arranging, playing electric and acoustic, stylistic versatility, recording technology - these and more! Join Sean Grissom, Joe Deninzon, and David Wallace for a panel discussion/demonstration/jam - drawing from their experiences to brandish the tools necessary to maximize employability as a string player in the 21st century! Presenters: Pinkney (Sean) Grissom, New York City Public Schools; Joe Deninzon, performer; David Wallace, Berklee College of Music   A Beginner’s Guide to Going Electric: Fundamentals of Creating a Great Sound with a Pick-up, Microphone or Electric Instrument Saturday, 2:45 -- Room: 1/2 Featured in World Magazine, cross over violinist/violist/guitarist, Earl Maneein will explain and demonstrate literally every component of creating a great electric sound using an acoustic instrument with a microphone or pick-up or an electric instrument. Amplifiers, cables, pick-ups, microphones, and direct input boxes will be explained. Special attention will be given to equalizing sound and which frequencies suit each instrument. Presenter: Earl Maneein, private studio teacher