Students and NS Design at Interlochen

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“Mr Laird!! It arrived! It arrived today!”

These are the words I was greeted with on a Tuesday morning during my last week of the summer at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.  Cello student, Luis Enriquez, from Belgium, has been a student at Interlochen for the past 3 summers and has been part of numerous performances where I would solo on my CR4 or 5 violin with my Intermediate Concert Orchestra on the famous Kresge Hall stage.  I must admit, when he told me he was getting a new NXT 5 string cello, it didn’t come as a big surprise.   It was, however a great thrill.  Luis brought the instrument to the next rehearsal and showed it to me and the rest of the orchestra with great enthusiasm.

 

Earlier in the summer, we had spoken about the possibility of him getting the NS Design instrument.  We had discussed amps, effect processing, and possible choices of  retailers as well.  In the end, I know the NXT 5 cello will be a great choice for Luis as he begins his electric journey on the cello.  He also picked up a small effects processor which led to  a great discussion about reverb, delay, and “mix.”

 

This is how NS Design and music education fit together so neatly.  Kids want to be creative.   Kids get inspired.    Kids spend more time with their instrument and build their skill set as musicians.    Everybody wins!!

 

Congrats, Luis.  I can’t wait to hear what you come up with as you begin to develop your technique on your new instrument,  new ideas as a result of the technology, and your new style of playing with your 5 string electric cello!

 

Peace.

Scott


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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Interlochen 2014

IMG_0303IMG_0572IMG_0567Hey all –

I had a blast on Tuesday, July 8, performing with the Intermediate Jazz Ensemble up here at Interlochen in Northern Michigan.  We did the old David Sanborn/Bob James tune, Maputo from the mid 1980’s.  I have my CR4 violin up here and have been giving it a work-out, performing with various groups and doing some of my solo stuff as well.  Here are some pics from the Intermediate Jazz performance and an art exhibit opening that I played for last week.  (Drastically different weather!!)  For the solo stuff, I loop my guitar on a Boss RC 300 Loop Station, then play the head and solos on my CR4 or CR 5, depending on how I feel that day!

I will be performing again with the jazz students tonight at 6:30 and will certainly be soloing with an orchestra or two as the summer progresses.

Peace.

Scott


The NS WAV Violin at Marshall Music Co. in Traverse City, MI

Hi all –

I am conducting again this summer in Michigan at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan.  It has been a great start to the summer and we are looking forward to lots of good times and music this summer.  I had a chance to play my CR Violin for an art exhibit opening here at the Interlochen Campus last Thursday and am sure there will be plenty of other opportunities to break out the electrics.  This afternoon, my son and I stumbled into Marshall Music Company in Traverse City Michigan (www.marshallmusic.com) and had a cool encounter with Dave Weber and all of the folks at Marshall Music.  It turns out that they have an NS Design Wave violin out on the floor and are super excited about the NS Design line of products.  I took the opportunity to touch base with Dave about a bunch of ideas about amps that work great with the wave, as well as some tone quality and efx processing ideas. I also shared some ideas about the videos on D’Addario Bowed’s Youtube site.   Thanks to Dave and everyone at Marshall Music for making me, my son Matt, and my whole family feel so welcome!

Dave Weber at Marshall Music, Traverse city, MI

 

Scott Laird performing at Interlochen Arts Camp, 2012


Thom Sharp’s Nanigo with Solo Electric Violin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey all –

For you string teachers out there:  How about trying the tune based on West African rhythms called Nanigo, by Thom Sharp (Latham Music)  with percussion section and electric violin?  I did this piece at Interlochen last week and it was a huge success!  This week, I will be doing his “Samba Me This” along with an improvised solo on soprano sax by my friend, David Kaye.  Thom’s charts are really well done and can be performed with or without improvised solos.  They almost all can can effectively incorporate electric violin.  I encourage you all to take a minute and check out Thom’s stuff!

All the best.

Scott


Concert Day!

It is Wednesday, July 27, 2011 and I have my first concert performance today at Interlochen Summer Music Camp with the Intermediate Concert Orchestra.  It has been a great 9 days of teaching and rehearsing and I can truly say that my ensemble is ready for their performance.  We finally had a rehearsal in the hall yesterday and it really changed the way that the musicians and I heard the ensemble.

 

If I am honest, the rehearsal in the hall didn’t start out the way I had hoped.  I thought that we would run the program, hit some spots, and run the program again.  As it turned out, I think the ensemble was a bit overwhelmed by the room, the anxiety of the first performance, and 5 or 6 of their instructors out in the hall, watching the rehearsal, taking notes for me.  All of those factors, put together with the general fatigue that they are starting to feel led to a sup-par start.  The kids were missing entrances, phasing tempo, missing bowings, and generally freaking out.  I have to admit, I was surprised and a bit upset.  As a result, I scrapped the “run-through” and just rehearsed.  This proved to be much more productive and we were able to “right the ship” and salvage the rehearsal.

 

For my string educator friends that read this, I want you to know what we are playing and the things that we are focusing on.   This is a middle-school group with musicians whose experience and ability ranges from quite high (my concertmaster is working on the Lalo Concerto and many of the students are quite accomplished soloists) to students with very little experience in a serious ensemble with attention to watching, tempo changes, uniform bowing style, etc.   I tried to program varied repertoire with lots of opportunities for expression and musicianship.  We will start with the Latham Suite for String Orchestra, by Theron Kirk.  In the March movement, we focus on “breathing” into beginning of phrases, short sixteenth notes on the hooked bowing, dynamic sustained notes, and energy in general.  The Elegy 2nd movement is an opportunity to really emphasize the importance of watching the conductor and huge changes in style within a movement (ranging from very sustained and sad to “incalzando” or “with fire.”) I really stretch and tug the tempo in this one.  It takes a huge amount of maturity and patience from each player.  The final movement, Finale, is a syncopated dance that requires attention to rhythm and articulation from start to finish.  Our second piece is Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Major, arranged by my friend, Tom LaJoie.  The kids will perform this work without a conductor and the focus has been on terraced dynamics, intonation, and moving with the music, leading from any and every chair.  Next, we will do Percy Fletcher’s Folk Tune and Fiddle Dance.  This old string orchestra standard is one of my favorites.  The Folk Tune is an opportunity to teach tempo, key, and meter changes within a movement.  We have worked on phrasing, dynamics, watching, and many other ensemble techniques in this one.  The Fiddle Dance is reminiscent of Copland’s Hoe Down and is simply a blast to perform.  Dynamics and drive are paramount in this movement.  We will finish with Nanigo, by my friend Tom Sharp.  It is cool tune based on West African rhythms.  We will be adding a 7-piece authentic African drum section for this one.  I will also be joining the group on my 5-string NS Design CR violin, soloing over the last section of the piece.  This work starts out “piano” and builds throughout, ending with a huge fortissimo.  This is great for teaching a tricky 2 against 3 rhythmic pattern in the context of a really fun work.

 

We have a short rehearsal this afternoon and a warm-up on stage right before the performance.  I am rally psyched for the entire day.  I know that it will be great fun.  I am so proud of this ensemble.  I often say that an ensemble has to do the rigor first.  But, when that is accomplished, they then can release any stress and simply play from the heart.  This group has done the rigor.  I hope that they can play today with joy and expression without losing their attention to detail.  I believe that is the key for this group of young musicians today.  I know that I will enjoy the ride today, with the knowledge that we have prepared well.

 

I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!

 

Peace.

Scott


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