HH Elementary Strings

February 6, 2015
by hh

Hilary Hahn’s Favorite Things to Watch in an Orchestra Concert

from Hilary Hahn’s Favorites List.  Read more about her here

Hilary HahnI went to my first concert when I was five years old. Since then, I’ve spent many hours observing various orchestras and getting to know orchestral musicians, and some visual characteristics catch my attention over and over again. Most of the time, I notice these when I’m watching as an audience member – when I’m onstage, I’m much more absorbed in the music itself, picking up on different types of cues.If you’re relatively new to classical orchestra concerts, check out this list: it might give you some new ideas of fun things to look for the next time around.

Bowstrokes in the violin and viola sections:
All of these performers move together, thanks to carefully notated bow-direction markings in the music. The bowstrokes are choreographed for consistency of tone and articulation, but of course visual unity is taken into account. This is noticeable especially in fast music, and especially when a note is attacked in unison, making for an army of spear-like sticks cutting the air together.

Continue Reading →

December 2, 2014
by hh


All 5th graders please bring your instrument and music for rehearsal tomorrow (12/3/14) morning at Simmons.  Transportation is provided.

October 26, 2014
by hh

Getting to know your Horsehair

by Susan Baer via Suzuki Association of the Americas

Have you ever imagined what the horse that donated its tail for your bow hair looks like? Where does it live? Is it a mare or a stallion? Here are some interesting facts that might help you get to know your horse:

  • Horses that produce hair which meets the standards for use on bows live in very cold climates. The frigid weather causes the hair to be thicker and stronger. Most bow hair comes from Mongolia, Siberia, Canada, Argentina, and Australia.
  • Most bow hair comes from natural blonds! Darker hair can be bleached, but it weakens the hair. Some cellists and bassists prefer brown or black hair because it tends to be coarser and create more grip.
  • Odds are that your bow hair came from a stallion, so you may want to give your horse a boy’s name!

Continue Reading →

October 10, 2014
by hh

How to Motivate your Child to Practice

By Dr. Robert A. Cutietta

from:  http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/how-to-motivate-your-child-to-practice/

Girl playing the piano
Among the numerous challenges that parents face in handling children’s music lessons (choosing the instrument, finding a good teacher, etc.), getting kids to practice is the most daunting of all. The severity of the problem and the importance of practice make it hard to believe that there are so few articles addressing this. What’s more, parents and music teachers often resort to the failed tactics they remember from childhood in desperate attempts to motivate kids to practice.

A common example of this issue is the “practice for 30 minutes” rule, in which a music teacher will recommend that the child practice 30 minutes a day and generally increase this time as they get older. In attempts to enforce adherence to this arbitrary commitment, parents will often “pay” the child for 30 minutes of “work” with something rewarding like watching TV, playing outside or playing video games. The problem with this method is that it makes the 30 minutes of practicing something to be endured in order to do something that is valued. But what is so sacred about 30 minutes of practicing? Where did this standard unit come from? How is it better than 27 minutes or 34?

To transform practicing into a rewarding activity, parents should encourage reaching daily musical goals. For example, instead of saying that 30 minutes of practice is enough regardless of what is achieved, you might say, “Today the goal of practicing is to play the first eight measures of your piece without any mistakes.” Whether reaching this goal takes 12 minutes or 40 minutes isn’t important. What is important is that the child knows the musical goal of each daily practice session and feels motivated to be as efficient as possible while practicing in order to reach that goal and feel that sense of accomplishment. If the goal is playing the first eight measures on Monday, the logical goal for Tuesday is to play the next eight. Pretty soon, the child will acknowledge the cumulative goal of the week: to play the entire piece free of mistakes. This leads to more motivation, more effort during practice and most importantly, pride in what they have accomplished.

Continue Reading →

September 3, 2014
by hh

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the Hatboro-Horsham String Program!  Please register in order to receive all the pertinent information regarding lessons, rehearsals and orchestra concerts.

If you do not have a computer at home, please let me know and I will make sure you receive a hard copy of the registration material.

June 17, 2014
by hh

The Art of Violin sizing: What size violin does your child need and why is a violin that is too big dangerous?

by Glenda Gail Walsh, Westminster Suzuki Strings

I have come to understand in my decade of teaching violin that sizing a student is an art form. It takes a skilled eye, experience and a deep understanding of string technique.

There are so many factors in finding the correct size that it can be stressful and confusing for parents, teachers and students. Sometimes the process is over simplified and the incorrect size is chosen. It’s more complicated then measuring the child’s arm with a yard stick.

In this article I hope to educate parents and teachers about different violin sizes and the dangers of an instrument that is too large.

Your 1/16 size violin is not the same as my 1/16 size! All brands are not equal!

Violins come in many sizes and the actual measurement of the instrument varies greatly from different brands! For example, Eastman and Suzuki brand instruments tend to be smaller than a Scherl & Roth. I find that the Scherl & Roth instruments are wider in the upper bout and sometimes the bodies measure anywhere from a 1/2 inch to one inch longer then another brand like Eastman or Suzuki. You will also see that even within the same brand there are variances! Is there anything wrong with that? Absolutely not! It’s true that all violins come in different sizes even within student instruments. There is less standardization (traditional measurements used in violin making to classify a violin as a specific size) in sizes lower then a 1/2.

Continue Reading →

June 17, 2014
by hh

Specials on Summer Instrument Rentals

Need a rental instrument for the summer?  Here are some great graduation specials you might consider:

Johnson String Instruments

VIOLIN:  All Size for 3 months:  $75

VIOLA:  $78 for 3 months

CELLO:  All sizes $123 for 3 months


Shar Music

VIOLIN:  $15.99/month

VIOLA:  $21.99/month

CELLO:  $42.99/month


Southwest Strings

VIOLIN: $13.99/month, $14.99 shipping

VIOLA:  $15.99/month, $14.99 shipping

CELLO:  $34.99/month, $39.99 shipping

May 27, 2014
by hh

Take me to a Concert!

Philadelphia Orchestra Summer Concerts at the Mann Center

June 27 @ Mann Center – Philadelphia Orchestra – Beethoven 9

July 23 @ 8pm – Disney’s Fantasia

July 24 @ 8pm – Symphonic Sports-Tacular w/ Merrill Reese and Peter Schickele

July 25 @ 8pm – Legend of Zelda

July 31 @ 8pm – Russian Romance Revolution, Di Wu, piano

August 1 @ 8pm – Van Cliburn, A Tribute

August 2 @ 8pm – Michael Feinstein & Friends


Other Exciting Concerts

June 1 @ 3pm  Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall – Philadelphia Youth Orchestra

June 7 @ 8pm Kimmel Center – Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra

June 8 @ 4pm Kimmel Center – Philadelphia Sinfonia

June 8 @ 12pm All Saints Episcopal Church, Wynnewood – Copeland String Quartet

June 14 and 15 @ 4pm – Helen Corning Warden Theater – Frederica (Concert Operetta Theater)

July 1 @ Delaware Water Front at Penn’s Landing  ** Philadelphia Orchestra Free Concert**

July 1 @ 7:30 – Mt Gretna Playouse, Elizabethtown – Canadian Brass

July 6 @ 7:30 – Mt Gretna Playhouse, Elizabethtown – Lysander Piano Trio

August 9 @7:30 – Mt Gretna Playouse, Elizabethtown –  Russian Festival Chamber Orchestra

May 27, 2014
by hh

Coming Next Year! Cavani String Quartet

CavaniFor the past 30 years, The Cavani String Quartet’s career has earned lasting and enthusiastic recognition for their superlative performances and their passionate commitment and expertise in the field of arts education and community engagement. Their most recent performance earned this accolade: “The Cavani Quartet is a true musical tour-de-force… an astonishingly beautiful and technically superb performance…chamber music at it’s best“ Cleveland Classical.com
The only ensemble to be selected twice, in both 2005 and 2011, The Cavani String Quartet is the recipient of the Guarneri String Quartet Award for Artistic Excellence, from Chamber Music America. Appearances include Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Ambassador Series in Los Angeles, Muziekcentrum De Ijsbreker in Amsterdam, Festival de L’Epau in France, and the Honolulu Chamber Music Society. The Cavani Quartet has the honor of being a winner of The Cleveland Quartet Award at The Eastman School, the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award as well as numerous competitions including, Fischoff, Banff and Coleman. Continue Reading →