SmartMusic Blog and My Take

There’s a blog post over at the SmartMusic site with tips for band directors that teach orchestra. Check it out here. Anything to help strings in the public schools is a good thing but I have some comments on the article.

from the article:

Open seams- Using a bent knuckle, lightly rap around the entire perimeter of the top and back of the instrument. If you hear a ‘slap’ sound, there is an open seam that will get worse if not repaired right away. Do not repair this on your own; special type of glue is required. An open seam is usually an inexpensive fix at a reputable repair shop.

Sound post- Peer inside the right F-hole, and make sure the sound post is present and standing. If not, a repair shop will set it for you, often free of charge. You can purchase a tool and learn to set a sound post yourself, by watching videos on YouTube, from an experienced repair tech, or an experienced teacher.

Why not just say what the ‘special glue’ is? It’s hide glue. It’s also interesting that the author suggests trying to set a soundpost when glueing a seam is MUCH easier. He also says nothing about the LOCATION of the soundpost which is critical!

Holding the instrument


To determine the proper endpin length, the nut (base of the scroll) should be near the top of the student’s forehead when the student is standing. Proper bass position requires a slight rotation so that the right edge of the back of the instrument contacts the player’s left stomach and groin. The instrument should balance without the student’s hands.

First, the nut is the piece of wood that the strings go over. Yes, it is located at the base of the scroll.

Second, “the nut (base of the scroll) should be near the top of the student’s forehead when the student is standing”, IS MUCH TOO HIGH. (Well, I suppose it’s fine if you’re spending all your time in thumb position.) At this height you will see the left arm and shoulder raise higher than the left causing the spine to misalign and leading to fatigue, pain, and injury.

Align the nut a little lower – right about at the eyebrow.

And the whole premise of the article just shows how band oriented SmartMusic is. They rarely have the music I use and I’ve seen their scales / exercises notated with the text, “Lip Slurs”.

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