10 Practical Strategies at ASTA

Back in the middle of March, I had the opportunity to present an educational session to attendees of the American String Teachers Association National Conference in Louisville.  The session, entitled, “10 Practical Strategies for Incorporation Electric Bowed Strings into the Music Classroom,” is designed to give teachers some simple ideas for getting your string players’ hands onto these great musical instruments.  Ultimately, I believe that  young musicians’ creativity will be jump-started with electric strings and, in the end, the will be better musicians for the experience.  Teachers can tend to be cautious with technology, so I wanted to give them some super-practical ideas for putting this technology to good use.

There were about 50 folks in attendance and the energy in the room was great.  There were lots of questions and ideas throughout the session.  I had a ton of video to show and every suggestion that I made, was something that I have done in the past.  We had vibrant conversations about harmonics and overtones,  performance ideas, the exceptional tone quality of NS Instruments and their blend with acoustic instruments, practical assessment, and a variety of other topics.  In all, the day was a great success and NS Design continued to shine as the worlds leader when it comes to education and electric bowed strings!

Here is the outline from the session: 

10 Practical Strategies for Incorporating Electric Strings intoYour Classroom 

Scott D. Laird

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics


ASTA Conference

March 2013 

  1. New twist on traditional repertoire
    1. Try playing Bach Partitas on your CR 5 String!
  2. Enhance other ensembles
    1. Double Bass with band or jazz band
    2. Cello as bassoon
    3. Pit Orchestra – amplify your string section
  1. With rock bands
    1. talent shows, extra-curricular, FUN!
  1. Violin quartet  – (2 violins w/ traditional strings and tuning, one violin with viola strings, on violin with viola strings and a dropped octave pitch shift to cover cello parts)
  1. Direct recording (assessment and creativity)
    1. Audacity
    2. Other Wave Editors
    3. Step Sequencers – I love FLStudio as a sequencer and then add electric violin
  1. Technology education  (National Standard)
    1.  frequency, equalization, amplification, efx processing
  1. Composition (National Standard)
    1. Writing with  5 string
    2. Triads
    3. Melody and pedal tone
  1. Rockestra
    1. ASTA Curriculum Scope and Sequence 2A and @B: Tonal and rhythmic Aural skills and Ear Training
    2. Students listen to pop and rock music and create arrangements exclusively by ear
  1. Simple amplification (Use them for National Anthem at sporting events and other school-wide functions)
  1. Improv education   (National Standard)
    1. With jazz orchestra
    2. Looping or delay
    3. Band in a box
  2. Silent practice (with CR Instruments)
  3. Transposed for covering wind parts