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2021’s Hottest Master Classes for String Music Students



During the pandemic, we lost much in the way of physical contact and in-person learning. At the same time, so much unexpected good has come about. Who would have thought we would have burgeoning access online to concerts, speeches, performances, and in particular, master classes for strings students? 

As things begin to open up again, many of the country’s most prestigious music programs are offering master classes in various forms. Whether you would like to attend a session in person or prefer to use your at-home online portal, the following are seven master class offerings that any intermediate-to-advanced strings student can attend. 

Here’s a general overview of them below, but you’ll need to scour the websites yourself for further information on how to enroll, apply, and whether there are any audition requirements.

1. Juilliard’s Starling-DeLay Virtual Symposium for Violin (6/22-25)

Our first mention goes to a world leader in performing arts education: Juilliard. The Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies is presented this year as a 4-day online seminar in collaboration with the Juilliard Evening Division as part of their 2021 Summer Series. You’ll find the online application here

The next Symposium will take place virtually from Tuesday, June 22 – Friday, June 25, 2021, and their 2021 Artist-Faculty line-up includes:

2. Berklee’s Global String Program (6/21-25)

We always include Berklee’s renowned Global String Program in our posts about the best summer strings camps in the nation. Berklee has worked hard to create a safe, in-person, and on-campus program. If you can attend, we highly recommend it because you’ll have the opportunity to explore a prospective music school in addition to providing exceptional masterclasses.

This program is open to all strings players rather than focusing on a specific instrument. There, you’ll learn from some of the world’s leading string virtuosos and educators. Under the direction of David Wallace, chair of Berklee’s String Department, you’ll explore a wide variety of string styles, including folk, jazz, bluegrass, classical, old-time, and Celtic. Master your technique on violin, viola, cello, mandolin, harp, banjo, and more. Discover new musical styles and techniques under close guidance. Fill out the form at the bottom of the Global String Program site to learn more.

3. Viola Master Class Sessions with Ronald Houston (6/21-25)

Ronald Houston is an associate professor of violin and viola at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of Performing Arts. You can read more about him here. This summer, Houston is directing an audition-dependent Viola Zoom Master Class Clinic from June 21 to June 25. 

The sessions are led in the morning and focus on technique, repertoire, and Houston’s masterclasses. Call 972-489-3193 or email for more information.

4. Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Preparatory Pedagogy Master Classes (6/15, 6/22, and 6/29)

Peabody Prep is hosting three “String Pedagogy Hot Topic” master classes this summer. The “Hot Topics” are as follows:

  1. Scales for Technique and Musicianship (violin and viola) with Rebecca Henry. A fun fact about Rebecca Henry is that she was our own Mimi Zweig’s first graduate assistant.
  2. Teaching and Encouraging Musical Interpretation (all strings) with Daniel Levitov
  3. Using Technique with Increasing Musical Purpose (violin and viola) with Christian Tremblay.

Major Bonus: With registration for each Hot Topics class, participants may also register for a one-hour private online follow-up session with the instructor. These sessions will be scheduled directly with the instructor at a mutually agreeable time. The teacher chooses how to spend the time with the student (lesson, pedagogy discussion, observation of a student video, etc.).

5. New Jersey Suzuki Workshop (7/10-11)

Have a younger child who is looking for a strings camp or master class this summer? Check out the New Jersey Suzuki Workshop. Your child will get a kick out of the fact that they can attend a camp in New Jersey – online!

The group provides string instruction for violin, viola, cello, piano, and guitar. They are committed to providing resources to parents and students. As a non-profit, they have raised scholarship funds to support students and families who may not be able to attend their workshops otherwise. Click here for information about their scholarship offerings.

7. Duke University Summer Camp (7/19-24)

Another in-person opportunity to meet with string musicians from all over the nation. The Duke University Summer Camp, which includes masterclasses, is for students from 7 to 18. They offer six full days of large ensembles, chamber music groups, music theory, outdoor activities, elective classes, and a final concert.  

Advanced high school students called “Teen Volunteers” assist Duke University String School faculty, and the camp takes place on the beautiful campus of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Durham. Click here for more information about the camp.

7. Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCAP) Summer (dates vary)

Roosevelt University’s CCPA Summer Program offers various virtual master classes and music programs depending on the student’s focus. 

  • Composition (June 14-25). Dr. Kyong Mee Choi and Dr. Stuart Folse lead this two-week exploration of acoustic music composition. Open to high school and college-aged composers, this institute is an opportunity to develop work already in progress or start from scratch. Summer Composition Institute (SCI) will conclude with a viewing party of the final recital in which composers’ works will be presented and performed by CCPA Faculty Dr. Winston Choi (piano) and Dr. MingHuan Xu (violin).
  • American Music (July 12-16). CCPA’s American Music Institute team, comprised of faculty with backgrounds in performance, pedagogy, core music studies, and music history — presents an intensive, real-time program that will consider the many intersections of American musical life. 
  • International Music Institute (August 4-14). This program is available for violin, viola, cello, bass, and piano players. CCPA’s Chicago International Music Institute faculty invites string players and pianists (HS through college-age) to apply to this exciting online event. Students will take individual private lessons and attend lectures and master classes presented by CCPA’s world-class piano and strings artist faculty through remote technology.

Visit Roosevelt University’s CCPA website and expand the appropriate category boxes to learn more about the programs and how to apply. Each one is a little different.

These seven hot master classes and string camps are only the beginning. Use your search browser to become familiar with other virtual and in-person opportunities. As any advanced or professional string musician knows, master classes are where deeper learning and practice can elevate you to the next level of your potential. We hope you take advantage of that!

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Learn About the DENON S302 DVD Home Theater System



One night several years ago, I finally said enough was enough. I was tired of the piles of cables and cords lying behind the entertainment console and the makeshift speakers positioned all around the room. The goal behind it was surround sound. So the next day my husband went on a mission to discover something that would improve our lives. We decided to try the Denon S302 DVD Home Theater System. It had a lot of great features, but also a few issues.

Rather than name all the positives, I felt everyone deserved to hear a few of our struggles with the Denon S302 DVD Home Theater System. First of all, we got it because our son wanted to hook his iPod into the system. The box claimed it was perfect for this option, but the price tag also said $1,600 US. It said it would replace all systems and would have more wattage with the speakers and subwoofer. It also claimed to easily hook up with our other products like an Ethernet cable and a built-in wireless system. These all seemed like good choices that day.

We were so thrilled when we realized we could tune into Internet radio, play computer videos and enjoy the wide range of radio stations through the tuner. However, after we installed the software that we had to pay extra for so it would connect with the PC, we discovered there weren’t enough connections in the back. Even wireless connections were lacking. This created a few issues.

If you want a good starter system, then the Denon S302 DVD Home Theater System is one to try. However, it wasn’t right for us. One the other hand, you should check it out yourself and see how it works for you. You may find it’s perfect.

Source by Bobby Miller

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Obesity – Toxic Food



Doing a recent tally of our rapidly disappearing freedoms I got to wondering about the increasing practice in the UK of refusing essential medical procedures to people who are deemed too fat. We all eat and, according to surveys, most of us still believe to be true that which is presented to us in the mainstream media. It seems hardly fair then to deny an individual medical treatment because they have become obese, yet at the same time connive in the relentless daily promotion of products heavily laced with hydrogenated fat and other man made chemicals, by food manufacturers and multinational supermarkets.

Their reasoning seems to go something like this:

‘We will continue to bombard you with images of synthetic and unhealthy foods at every opportunity and particularly at those times your subconscious is off guard and at its most vulnerable. But if you will persist in being brainwashed by the artfully enticing imagery and carefully targeted soundbites, and allow yourself to overindulge in that which we are, at great expense, striving to persuade you to overindulge in, then we will have no option but to withdraw your right to medical treatment irrespective of your continuing compulsory life long contributions’.

Imagine for a moment if you can, an emotionally detached psychopath legally empowered to execute ad agency executives and food manufacturers alike unless the unadulterated truth is broadcast instead of the usual ‘beautiful’ people promoting the usual ‘this is so good for you’ consumer targeted spin.

I think it may go something like this :

‘The picture on this packet has been produced in a special effects studio with the assistance of shaving foam, polystyrene offcuts, colour enhanced engine oil and high sheen hairspray. Disclaimer : The promotional image on the packet sleeve should not be taken as an indication of the contents’.

‘For hygiene purposes we can guarantee the ingredients have been thoroughly boiled at extremely high temperatures for an extensive period at our purpose-built factory thus ensuring that texture and any remaining nutrients have been eliminated although we cannot give assurance that every operative will have washed their hands after a visit to the rest room since we do not have the staff’.

‘Aspartame : has been added to satisfy the public’s penchant for a hint of sweetness, to confuse diabetics and those who imagine it will lead to weight loss. The methanol from aspartame is converted to formaldehyde and then formic acid. Unlike natural fruit and alcoholic beverages there is no ethanol to counteract this. Chronic, low-level exposure to methanol has been seen to cause heart disease and pancreatic inflammation; everything from weight gain to seizures, strokes to liver and kidney failure to anti social behaviour and depression. In fact there are over 90 known incapacitating conditions attributed to regular ingestion of aspartame, far too numerous to list in this brief summary. But we can let you know aspartame is a neurotoxin and an excitotoxin. Which is to say it will ‘excite’ neural cell activity to the point where brain cells will self destruct. Over time fewer brain cells and creeping memory loss will leave you at a distinct disadvantage for critical evaluation of future food marketing campaigns’.

‘We take this opportunity to offer a special tribute to the EU, the FSA and the FDA for their combined efforts in banning the sale of Stevia, a natural, calorie free sweetener with no side effects’, which would have had serious potential to damage our profit margins’.

‘Hydrogenated Oil and Fat : added to create a nice feel and sense of texture. Each batch of hydrogenated oil has its own characteristics and we cannot control the outcome. Inevitably residues will remain in the final product but we do successfully remove all traces of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. This is achieved by injecting hydrogen into oil at high pressure with temperatures reaching 210C in the presence of a carcinogen, usually a compound comprising 50 percent nickel and 50 percent aluminium, for approximately 6 to 8 hours. The resultant malodorous trans fatty glue is then bleached and deodorized and classified as a plastic’.

‘The human body does not know what to do with plastic so dumps it wherever there is a space handy, usually along artery walls and around the midriff adjacent to vital organs such as the pancreas, significantly hampering the optimal function of insulin receptors and corrupting a wide range of metabolic processes including those of unborn offspring’.

‘The benefit of this synthetic chemical to the profit margins of food retailing multinationals in prolonging shelf life cannot be overstated and far outweighs any bothersome disabilities you may experience’.

‘We work closely with the pharmaceuticals who in turn work tirelessly to produce and promote a choice of ‘corrective’ drugs for each and every unpleasant or life threatening syndrome you may develop’.

‘This product may contain traces of insecticide, fungicide and herbicide’.

Nice Fantasy while it lasted….back to the usual hogwash then.

Source by Elga Mackie

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Lenovo IdeaPad 720S Info: All the Details You Need to Know About This Razor-Thin Notebook



One brand that can always be counted on to deliver high-quality computers is Lenovo. This is especially true with business laptops, like the new thin, light and sleek Lenovo IdeaPad 720S. The premium laptop doesn’t have to be used for just business, however, as its hardware and software are powerful enough for entertainment as well. There are many fun things you can do on this computer.

The first thing you’ll likely notice when you take it out of a box is its anodized-aluminum design and beveled edge. The back and front edges can both tilt in the same direction. The display is available in 14-inch or 15.6-inch sizes.

Not only does the anodized aluminum look good, it has the additional benefit of dispersing heat efficiently. The 720s stays cool to the touch, even after streaming HD video.

Here’s an overview of the specs:

• Processor: 8th generation (14-inch version) Intel Core i5 processor – 6MB – 1.60 GHz / 7th generation (15-inch) Intel core i5 – 6MB – 2.50 GHz

• Memory: 8GB DDR4 2400-MHz (both versions)

• Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce dedicated graphics – 2GB (14-inch version) / NVIDIA GeForce GTX – 4GB (15-inch version

• Hard drive: 256GB PCIe Solid State Drive (both versions)

• OS: Windows 10 Home Edition – 64 version

• Wireless technology: 802.11 AC (2 x 2 version)

• Bluetooth: Version 4.1

The displays are designed the same, even though they’re different sizes. Either way, you still wind up with a FHD IPS screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution, anti-glare technology (touchscreen is optional), and integrated webcam. This camera is 0.9-megapixels and produces good images. The speakers are JBL-tuned and do a good job of delivering solid sound.

Battery of the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S

Another great thing about this IdeaPad is its four-cell 55-watt hour li-polymer battery, with its more than nine hours of life per charge. There’s not a problem when it gets down to 0%, either, as it only takes one hour of charging for the battery to get all the way up to 80%. You can charge via USB cable. The ports that come with the notebook include USB Type-A (always-on), USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.1 Thunderbolt, 2-in-1 headphone/microphone jack, and 4-in-1-card reader.

You know you’ve got a nice looking machine when it has been treated with similar techniques used to polish and shape diamonds. The Lenovo IdeaPad 720S has been redesigned with angled edges that make it look very thin. It’s recommended that you choose the optional fingerprint reader to keep all of your data safe and secure.

After reading a Lenovo IdeaPad 720S review, the very next step is to look at coupons to help you save money on this machine. If you are thinking of ordering accessories for it, you should easily be able to obtain Lenovo promo codes to help you save on those as well.

Source by George Botwin

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