Eugen Friesen – Creative Cello Workshop 2020

Attention all cellists!   NS Design Artist and Berklee College of Music professor Eugene Friesen will be conducting his Creative Cello Workshop 2020.  Join Eugene with his group of international cellists for this exciting 5-week online course starting Saturday, June 6th.

Sign up here

Be sure to check out his fun looping improvisation on his NXT Cello for the Berklee World Strings Department.

More on Eugene . . .


Ned Steinberger Visits the Worchester Poly Technical Institute Guitar Innovation Lab

NS Design Founder Ned Steinberger meets with scientists at Worchester Poly Tech Innovation Lab Ned Steinberger (center) meeting with Tommy Maloney (left) and V.J. Manzo (right) in the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab at WPI.

NS Design Founder and award-winning instrument designer, Ned Steinberger recently spent some time in collaboration on confidential research regarding electric guitar technology, with Tommy Maloney and V.J. Manzo of the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worchester, MA. Continue reading…


Julie Lyonn Lieberman releases her new tutorial A FESTIVAL of VIOLIN & FIDDLE STYLES

NS Artist Educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman -Festival-of-Fiddle-Styles-book-cover

NS Design Educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman releases her new tutorial A FESTIVAL of VIOLIN & FIDDLE STYLES available for Violin, Viola and Cello. Julie is Artistic Director of the exciting Strings Without Boundaries seminars and is a storied author and teacher with of 12 Books and 6 DVDs distributed by Hal Leonard Corporation and 24+ String orchestra scores published by Alfred, Kendor, and Carl Fischer. Continue reading…


NS Artist Noor Che’ree Joins the Spring 2018 “I Believe You” Tour and Clinic Featuring Emiko

 

NS Design Bassist Noor Che’ree is embarking on the “I Believe You 2018 Tour” with Rock-Pop musician Emiko. The National Tour begins on March 21, 2018. Along with drummer Lee Piatelli, the trio will play a series of shows throughout the US. In May 2018, Emiko Asia Tour will play in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bantam Border Stage Festival, The World Youth Jazz Festival (Kuala Lumpur), and Jakarta, Indonesia.

While on their US tour this spring, Che’ree and Emiko will hold the ‘Emiko LIVE! Songwriting & Instrument Demo Clinic Series’ at select Sam Ash Music Store locations around the country. Che’ree is representing NS Design, along with Emiko and her brand partner Hammond Organ USA. They will share their experiences and process in the music creation process, from concept to writing to performance and recording.

Along with sharing his insights and tips, Noor will demonstrate the versatility of the NS Basses and various types of available bass sounds from the RADIUS Bass Guitar. Attendees are welcomed to play the instruments and take part in the process during the clinic.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn and work with Che’ree and Emiko. Visit the Sam Ash Events Calendar at for a current list of locations, dates and times.

For tour dates and locations for the “I Believe You 2018 Tour” with Emiko visit her website: www.emikomusic.com

For more information about Noor Che’ree visit www.noorcheree.com


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Five – “Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop”

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Lyonn’s Roar, “Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop” by NS Violinist and Educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman.

For those of you returning to school this September, put fiery bounce in your bow by developing your “chop” percussion techniques on your violin, viola, cello or upright bass.

Starting as what was called the “chunk” technique and made popular by the father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, “chopping” has quickly become a fun and funky way for players to keep the groove moving. Bill Monroe’s fiddler Richard Greene (pictured below) further developed the “chop” technique into his own artful musical language.

Be sure to check out an excerpt from his guest appearance at the Strings Without Boundaries Summer 2016 Session in Seattle, Washington:

For lessons in how to develop this technique in your own playing, check out the Lyonn’s Roar – Fifth Edition “Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop”.

Go to Julie’s Strings Without Boundaries website page to learn more about contemporary and alternative string techniques or check out her book How to Play Contemporary Strings: A Step-by-Step Approach for Violin, Viola & Cello. Complete with video tutorials, backing tracks and a step-by-step approach including explicit notation, it will get you on your way to building new skills and techniques.

For more information about all of NS Design’s instruments including the NXTa Electric Violin that Julie plays and its eco-friendly, active yet battery-free features, and the affordable and road-worthy WAV Electric Series of instruments visit ThinkNS.com.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Four – “Electric Technique: The Same . . .or?”

Photo Courtesy of NS Artist Avery Merritt

Welcome to the fourth edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR, “Electric Technique:  The Same . . .or?” by NS Violinist and Educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman.

Whether you’ve just unboxed your new NS Violin, plugged in your acoustic for the first time, or are just ready to unleash into new territory on the instrument you already love to play, these exciting iNSights will take your playing to another level and help you stand out in any performance setting.

Chord connection fills, textural ghost notes, chopping techniques, and incorporating guitar and horn like riffs to electrify your string sound, Lieberman highlights a range of suggestions for expanding your violin’s voice using several alternative techniques.

Electric Technique

This fourth edition includes a bonus interview with violinist Papa John Creach of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.  Papa John is an exciting and unique violinist and performer that understands how to truly stand out on a stage. In the interview, he talks about how to “Get Down, Get Dirty and Give it some Guts” on your electric.

How else do you achieve these techniques? Attend a summer program that will help you build new skills, there are quite a few to choose from.  Check out Julie’s book, How to Play Contemporary Strings: A Step-by-Step Approach for Violin, Viola & Cello, with its video tutorials and backing tracks, it’s a sure way to gain skills and have some fun.  Visit her website for more information on all her books, DVDs and courses. http://julielyonn.com/

For more information about all of NS Design’s electric violins and electric violas and the new eco-friendly, active yet battery-free NXTa Electric Violin, or the affordable and road-worthy WAV Electric Violin visit ThinkNS.com.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Three -“Get The Best Tone On Your Electric”

By Julie Lyonn Lieberman

Photo courtesy of Blackerby Violin Shop, Austin, Texas

Welcome to the third edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR, “Get The Best Tone On Your Electric,” with highlighting iNSights into Choosing an Electric Instrument, Amplification and Effects, and Strings and things by Julie Lyonn Lieberman.  Check out this informative article that covers all the bases of Electric String Instruments:

Get the Best Tone on Your Electric

This edition features a special interview with Fan Tao, Director of Research and Development for D’Addario Orchestral Strings

Check out this informative article and the many videos of Julie demonstrating the use of multiple effects units and changing strings on the NS Violin.

Learn more about all the amazing electric bowed string instruments NS Design offers at ThinkNS


NS iNSight – Chats With Champions – Ned Steinberger

NS Design’s founder and instrument designer Ned Steinberger was invited as a featured speaker at the Skidompha Library “Chats With Champions” series this past month in co-sponsorship with Sherman’s Bookstore in Damariscotta, Maine.

In the talk titled “Trial, Error and Invention” Ned discusses the evolution of his life’s work from his childhood passion for woodworking, early career as a furniture designer interested in ergonomic design challenges and the path that ultimately unfolded for the state-of-the-art innovations he brings to the musical instrument world.

Ned describes his forays into business, his early collaborations with Stuart Spector, meeting Les Paul for the first time, and the trials and tribulations of his process for finding the optimal sound potential of an instrument as it relates to its design and construction.

Guest guitarist, David Martin provides examples of the sonic variations and technological advances that make Ned’s instruments so exciting and versatile for players and listeners alike.

For more interviews and discussions with Ned, please visit the Interviews link on our website or go to the NS Design YouTube channel linked here.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Two – “String Drumming”

Welcome to the second edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR – “String Drumming” filled with iNSights into how to inject fire into your bow by Julie Lyonn Lieberman.

While many bowed string players focus on traditional techniques, Julie will show you how to be iNSpired to take flight, how to move and groove.  There’s a world of exiting possibilities you can add to your technical grab bag.  Check it out at: http://www.stringswithoutboundaries.com/string-resources/string-blog/rhythmizing-bow.html

Don’t forget to practice these tips using our great collection of CR, NXTa and WAV series violins at  www.thinkns.com.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition One – “Special Effects”

 

Welcome to the first edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR – “Special Effects” by Julie Lyonn Lieberman.  Julie focuses on using effects with electric bowed instruments, including multi-effects processors, and how they can add “spice” to your playing and sound.  To see a video demonstration of some of the sounds you can achieve, visit Strings Without Boundaries http://www.stringswithoutboundaries.com/string-resources/string-blog/special-effects.html.

Fiddler Markus Fahrenberger’s effects and tools on the road.

For more information on the full line of NS stringed and bowed instruments, visit www.thinkns.com.


Introducing Julie Lyonn Lieberman’s “The Lyonn’s Roar!”

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NS Design is pleased to announce that NS Artist and String Educator JULIE LYONN LIEBERMAN will be featured in a new series that we affectionately call the “Lyonn’s Roar!” Every month readers can look forward to education and advice on how to improve as a player, performer and musician and get the most out of your electric stringed instruments.

Julie has been at the forefront of the string evolution/revolution for 35+ years as a performer, author, composer, and producer. Her most recent of eight string books on eclectic styles and creative musicianship is titled “How to Play Contemporary Strings” (Hal Leonard). She is the Artistic Director for the summer program, Strings Without Boundaries and is an NS Design Artist/ Educator as well as a D’Addario Premiere Clinician.

Julie is the proud recipient of the 2014 ASTA: American String Teachers Association Kudos Award, over two-dozen ASCAP Plus Awards, eight Meet the Composer awards and three ASTA National Citation for Leadership & Merit awards. She has written and produced two National Public Radio Series: The Talking Violin, hosted by Dr. Billy Taylor, and Jazz Profiles: Jazz Violin hosted by Nancy Wilson, and has composed over two dozen alternative styles string orchestra scores for Kendor and Alfred Music.

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Also, Julie is the creative genius behind Strings Without Boundaries (SWB). SWB is a Summer Program For Traditional  & Contemporary Strings, where 21st century technique meets tradition, creativity and style. The SWB upcoming session will be in Omaha, NE on July 23-27th 2017.  Each day attendees can choose from two dozen classes in American and world styles, creative musicianship, technology for strings, and more…

 

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We are excited to hear more from Julie and her expansive knowledge and iNSights into all things strings and more.

To learn more about Julie, visit JulieLyonn.com. For more about the NS instruments she uses, visit www.thinkns.com

 

 


NS iNSight – A Perfect Fit

 

RADIUS Users cover

Music instrument aesthetics are rarely, if ever, considered from a scientific point of view. Yet for industrial designers and architects, form must meet function. And there is a lot of science and technology to apply in this way.

While technique for playing bass is often the subject of passionate discussion, and there are varying theories (plectrum, fingers, slap, tap, Simandl method, one note per fret method, etc.) the design of the instrument itself has a lot to do with the overall playability of the bass and the ability of the player to successfully use those techniques. When the very first electric bass was created it was just a squared, slab of wood with no cuts or rounded/beveled edges. Ergonomics took a backseat to sound production. And while there were changes over the years, they were an answer to specific player issues and ideas rather than a look directly at design. Even today, most of the emphasis and science in the music instrument industry goes into the materials and electronics of the instruments. Guitar and bass aesthetics are merely a function of what is pleasing or challenging to the eye.

RADIUS blueprint cover

Ned Steinberger is synonymous with innovative headless instruments. Yet it is not as well known that Ned designed the body of one of the most iconic basses of all time, the Spector NS-2 bass. Yes, the NS stands for Ned Steinberger. As a furniture designer and builder specializing in chairs, Ned understood that function and form are all essential to an aesthetically pleasing, yet functional piece of furniture. And it was in that Brooklyn co-op that he shared with some up and coming guitar and bass builders where he first applied those principles to music instruments. In collaboration with Stuart Spector, he designed something radical for the time, a rounded, radiused bass body with cuts and carves that naturally fell against the body of the player, making the bass exponentially more comfortable and easier to play. His body shape has been copied numerous times over the years, by some of the world’s largest guitar manufacturers.

With the NS Design Radius Bass, Ned uses ergonomic science and technology and has taken the body contour to a whole new level. While maintaining and refining the back body curve cut so that the bass lies on the player’s body comfortably, the front of NS Diradial™ Body has a 20 inch radius, which, in combination with the general wedge shape of the body, shifts it into more comfortable orientation for the right and left hand. The slight wedge shape of the body tilts the body and neck slightly inward so the fingerboard is more visible to the player, and the concave curve on the back of the body creates a more stable platform. The radius of the bass is continued along the entire body, to include pickups and bridge, to optimize the playability and comfort of the bass.

 

CR RADIUS butt

The pictures show how the radius has been built into the bass. Built in based on technology.

Simple, yet intuitive. Form, science, and engineering meeting function.


NS Insight: Highs & Lows

NS Insight: Highs & Lows

There’s a reason why professional bass players love the big, punchy low end and the glistening highs & harmonics of an NS Bass. Here’s what’s going on:

Human hearing is naturally strong in the mids (roughly between 1 and 5 kHz, the vocal frequency range), but drops off at higher and lower frequencies. Most instruments, including basses, have a matching problem producing sound: strong in the mids but tapering off at both ends of the sound spectrum where a great deal of important tone content resides. This is usually compensated for with equalization, boosting the highs and lows, suppressing the mids. However, that signal processing comes at a price: loss of quality and clarity.

Highs and Lows graphic

How are we different? One of the features of every NS bass is the Polar™ pickup system. Unlike an ordinary pickup, the Polar pickup doesn’t lose sensitivity above or below the midrange. The piezo technology embedded at the base of bridge harnesses the entire range of frequencies your strings produce – with full fidelity, and full force. And your ears can definitely hear the difference.


Strings Without Boundaries – Summer Sessions

NS Design Artist, Educator, Violinist and Composer Julie Lyonn Lieberman is proud to announce her popular Strings Without Boundaries sessions for 2015. Pairing educational opportunities for amateur and professional players in a highly exciting and positive environment, exploring traditional and contemporary musical styles for string players. NS Design is excited to have NS Artists Charles Yang (violin), Dr. Gregory Walker (violin) and Lisa Liu (violin) joining Julie at select locations.

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SUMMER PROGRAM FOR TRADITIONAL  & CONTEMPORARY STRINGS:

ATLANTA — WISCONSIN — SEATTLE
June 22nd     July 27th           August 17th
Where 21st century technique meets tradition, creativity and style
Darol Anger (WA), Paul Anastasio (WA), Matt Turner (WA & WI), Lisa Liu (WA), Randy Sabien (WI),Judy Hyman (WI), Gregory Walker (WI), Martin Norgaard (GA), Andy Reiner (GA), Aaron “Von Cello” Minsky (GA), Katherine Irwin Thomas (GA), Bert Ligon (GA), Charles Yang (GA), and Julie Lyonn Lieberman (GA, WI, & WA)…

 

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Artwork by Christos Karapanos
Strings Without Boundaries creates a sharing environment for amateur through professional players as well as students and teachers of all ages and backgrounds.
We focus on string technique and repertoire from American and world traditions, creative musicianship in all styles, and technology-enhanced approaches. In addition, we offer teacher-training and optional clock-hour and Graduate credit.

Learn more about these exciting sessions at:
http://www.stringswithoutboundaries.com/


Chance Wilder Onody likes to make his own rules – FBPO interview

Hot, young up-and-comer says bass is “not a background instrument”

By Mindy Rochwerg

December 3, 2014

2014 BPL Chance 1a

Twenty-four year old Chance Wilder Onody is starting to get noticed, and deservedly so.  Primarily self-taught, Onody, has been described as a “virtuoso bassist” and “classical crossover instrumentalist.”  Chance recently sat down with FBPO’s Jon Liebman to talk about his musical upbringing, unique style and what lies ahead.

Onody, whose mother, Tara Wilder, was a country pop artist, first took up the bass when he moved with his family from British Columbia, Canada, to California. Upon transferring to his new school, Chance had the choice of two electives – Orchestra and Introduction to Marine Biology. Not wanting to have more homework than necessary, Onody (pronounced “ON-ID-DEE”) chose orchestra, though was quickly surprised to find out that the “stringed instruments” in the course description did not include guitar. When advised so by the musical director, Chance took a look at the instruments, saw the bass and said to himself, “It’s big, I’m big, it only has four strings – how hard can it be?

With no prior experience other than some piano lessons and having played ukulele for a short time, Chance, who says he has a “keen sense of pitch,” told the musical director he could play the upright bass and proceeded to intently watch the other bass player in the orchestra. From that limited exposure, Onody was able to pick up enough to play the new instrument with the rest of the orchestra, even though he had never before held a bow. He says he “fell in love with the instrument.”

read more here at For Bass Players Only. . .

Download Chance’s first single feeling good here. . .

 


Electric Strings Seminar at Northwestern High School, Rock Hill, SC

Rock Hill Group

On October 25, 2014, I headed down to Rock Hill, SC, to work with the orchestra students at Northwestern High School.  Their teacher is Marsha Gross and she had recently invested in a quintet of electric stringed instruments to use as part of her recruiting and retention efforts for the orchestra program at the school.  This is especially cool because she really didn’t have a background in electric strings and simply wanted to branch out and do something different and cool for her students.  She also picked up a bunch of Digitech effects processors to use with the groups as well.   I took a couple of NXT and CR violins, violas, basses, and cellos to the session, along with a ton of sound equipment so that everyone would have an opportunity to get hands on instruments during the day.

The day ended up to be really an amazing day of playing and learning.  I headed out of Durham, NC around 6:00 AM in order to get started at 9:00 in SC.  I started with a quick performance for the kids, so they could see how I perform on my CR violin, using loops and efx processing.    I wanted them to understand that the key to being an electric violinist is to be a solid violinist and musician.

Next, we talked about optimum set up for hearing yourself and getting comfortable with the sound coming from an amp rather than the instrument.  We also discussed tone controls and listening for the best tone possible.  Once everyone was set up with a great tone quality and a comfortable playing environment, we played for a while as an ensemble and discussed the experience as well as ways to optimize intonation, dynamics, and monitoring.

Cellos

After lunch, I gave them an extensive tour of effects processing, covering EQ, reverbs, time based effects, filter effects, distortion, and pitch shifters.  Then, we ended the day by getting everyone set up with an in-line effects processor and turning them loose to get creative.  I was also able to give the kids pens, lanyards, stickers, and other cool stuff from NS Design,, the Electric Violin Shop, and D’Addario Orchestral.  (There is nothing like free stuff to get everyone interested real fast!)

In then end, it was a fun day, full of learning and playing.  I think that everyone left with a new set of tools for real creativity with bowed electric strings.   Congratulations to Marsha Gross for her innovation and forward thinking approach.   Congratulations to the students for great attitudes and preparation, as well as a real openness to my ideas.  The students could not have been any nicer and attentive. And, big thanks to all at NS Design for supporting this type of work in so many ways.

 

Scott Marsha


Maputo and Interlochen

IMG_0670 Hi all –

Last week, I had the pleasure of performing with the Intermediate Jazz Ensemble at Interlochen, under the direction of David Kay, on the David Sanborn/Bob James tune, Maputo.  The performance was a ball and the reaction to the NS Design CR4 violin in that setting was magnificent.

There were a ton of young violinists in the audience to see the performance and I was particularly pleased that a member of the National Symphony (Washington DC) was there to hear her son perform with the band on trumpet. Following the performance she and many of the students were interested to hear more about the instrument, specifications, the strings (D’Addario NS Design Electric Strings always!), what bow I use (Coda Joule always!), amps, and other details about improvising and performing.  The pics tell the story in many ways.

Peace.

Scott

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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

laird@ncssm.edu

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

 


CR Violin in hotel room

Hey all –

Just  a quick note to remind everyone how handy it is to travel with a CR Violin for practice in hotel spaces.  I am on the road with my family – heading up to Interlochen, MI to conduct for a few weeks and my 14 year old son will be attending the camp.  We spent a night in a hotel in Ann Arbor last night and he wanted to take a few minutes to run over his audition piece for orchestra and seating placement at the camp.  We didn’t want to disturb the other guests with his acoustic instrument, so I told him to plug his Ipod headphones into my CR violin. He practiced for about 45 minutes without bothering a soul and felt really good about his preparation.

It is easy to overlook this important feature of the CR series instruments.  They sound fantastic in headphones and don’t require any other hardware.  All you need is a set of earbuds or headphones with a mini-plug and you are good to go!

I will be posted updates periodically from Interlochen over the next few weeks.  So, look for more posts in the near future!

Peace.

Scott


Strings Without Boundaries

Hi All.

On Tuesday, June 28, I was in Pittsburgh, PA, at Duquesne University, representing NS Design at the Strings Without Boundaries Workshop. This is a great workshop each summer and I was really pleased to be there.  As part of the day, I gave 3 presentations.

First, I had the opportunity to speak with the teacher-track students at the conference.  This was essentially a Q and A session and we touched on the topics of recruitment for school programs using bowed electrics, the importance of good monitoring for dynamic performances, setting up electric ensembles, and the differences between active and passive instruments.  Next, I gave an elective session for students on the nuts and bolts of amplification.  Here, we covered some of the same topics for a totally different set of students.  These included monitoring, speaker size, speaker placement, use of DI boxes and preamps and other amplification-related topics.  Finally, I finished the day with an elective session of effects-processing.  In this session, we really got into the nitty-gritty of reverbs, time-based effects (delays, chorus, and flangers), filter effects (phasers and wah-wahs), harmonizers and pitch shifters, looping, and distortion.  We covered a bunch of vocabulary and parameters of all of these great effects as well as practical uses of all of them.  If you would like to see some of my sessions on effects, check out thelessonroom.com and search “electric violins”.

All in all, Strings Without Boundaries is a great event and if you are interested in expanding your improvising and alt styles skills, I highly recommend this event.  Special thanks to Julie Lyon Lieberman and Stephen Benham for inviting me to be part of the faculty this year!

Peace.

Scott


Lamar Stringfield String Camp 2011

Lamar Stringfield Haydn Orchestra with Scott Laird on CR Violin

Hi all –

For the past two weeks, I have been teaching at the Lamar Stringfield String Camp at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.  It was another great year at Lamar Stringfield with many fantastic moments.

I am frequently asked how I incorporate electric strings into my teaching.  This week, at the camp, I programmed a little blues piece as part of the repertoire for the “Haydn” Orchestra which consists of students from 4th grade through 8th grade.  As part of the performance, I brought in professionals to play guitar and drums and I played my CR violin.  I had the kids play through the piece 2 times and on the second pass, the guitarist (my friend and colleague, Todd Miller from Apex, NC High School) and I took turns improvising over the chart.  As part of the rehearsals, I also took the opportunity to have a 20 minute Q and A session with the kids on electric violins, how they work, and how to play them. I was thrilled to tell them all about the WAV Violin and the NXT Instruments as well.   It was a wonderful learning opportunity for everyone.  The students really took to the style, especially when we added the drums and the performance was really successful.  The linked video will give you a good idea of how things went.

I encourage string educators to give something like this a try.  Regardless of whether you do classical, jazz, bluegrass, or some other style of music with your orchestra, the NS Family of Instruments are perfect for this type of performance.  And, I guarantee, your students want to not only see you  perform, but perform with you as well.

Best wishes!

Scott

 

 


NS Design’s Instruments Electrify the Classroom

Music educators across the country are discovering that electric stringed instruments offer a new, powerful way to engage young musicians. As the string education community has begun to embrace what it terms “alternative styles”—including jazz, rock, and many kinds of fiddling and world music—electric string instruments are attracting attention for their ability to play amplified without feedback, and their ability to incorporate electronic effects.

Teachers at the forefront of electric string education are quick to point out that the advantages of the instruments extend beyond performance settings. Amplification gives some students a new sense of empowerment, and for many, it clarifies the challenges they face with their playing technique. The process of creating and refining sound electronically requires students to think about aspects of music they would not need to consider with an acoustic instrument—a valuable means of engaging a generation already steeped in technology.

NS Design recently interviewed four different players, including educators who use electric instruments in their classrooms, as well as performers who use electrics to attract new audiences to the possibilities of stringed instruments in general. We are proud to work with these musicians, and we hope that sharing their perspectives will inspire other teachers and students to new musical endeavors.


New possibilities

For Scott Laird, who is Instructor of Music at the North Carolina School for Science and Math in Durham, NC, technology serves both as a pedagogical tool and as a focus of instruction, and NS Design’s instruments are a centerpiece of the classroom. Laird’s performance career has revolved around the electric violin and the technology associated with it. As an educator, he champions a “blended curriculum” of classroom instruction reinforced by online resources, such as D’Addario’s Web site The Lesson Room, to which he has contributed several videos. In his classroom, Laird says, electric instruments serve the dual purpose of facilitating performances that would not be possible with their acoustic counterparts, and engaging students in a more complex understanding of music.

Laird says that overcoming the amplification barrier is the biggest practical advantage to incorporating electric strings in an educational setting. In so doing, educators can remove the restrictions that often keep string students from trying jazz, rock, and other amplified genres.

“From a performance standpoint, it completely opens up what you can do with a bowed instrument because volume is no longer a limiting factor,” Laird said recently in an interview. “The great violinist in your school can play with the jazz ensemble.” In addition, NS instruments’ precise tone and volume controls of offer practical advantages in orchestrating student performances. “We use the NXT Bass to accompany the wind ensemble,” he said. “It lets us get just the right amount of volume and a really warm tone.”

But besides expanding performance options, Laird explains that electric instruments make students think about music in new ways. The precise control NS instruments offer over their output signal—and their ability to use electronic effects—requires students to plan and analyze the sounds they wish to create.

“Electric instruments ask students to think about tone quality as it relates to an adjustment knob, a reverb tail, a delay. These are questions that traditional string students normally don’t have to answer,” Laird said. “One of the main things teachers are called upon to do is encourage students to step out of their comfort zones.”


Great week at ASTA in Kansas City

This week, I have been at the American String Teacher’s National Conference in Kansas City.  It has been a fabulous week of instructional seminars, exhibits, and networking for string educators and students around the from around the United States and even some from around the world.  Electric bowed strings are always a big part of this conference and this year was no different.  The conference included a huge “Eclectic Strings Festival” that focused on jazz, rock, and other “Alt” Styles.  Several NS Design dealers were featured in the exhibit hall with booths.  It was a great week and NS Design was certainly a big part of it!  There was certainly a fantastic “buzz” around the NS Design products and educational possibilities.

Scott with the guys from Electric Violin Shop at the ASTA Exhibits

 

Scott and Dalton Potter from Potter's Violins

A student tries out the new NXT Cello