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December 2021 Newsletter

Happy Holidays everyone! We cannot believe another year has flown by! What are you most grateful for this year? For us, it is undoubtedly the blessing of family, friends and our wonderful students! Here is what you can look forward to in this issue~

  • December Birthdays

  • Student of the Month-- Vyla Forsberg-Manthe

  • Congratulations to our All Staters!

  • A Quick Q&A-- Answers to common violin and viola conundrums.

  • Holiday Discount Special- 20% for you and a friend!

  • Fanny and Felix's Follies


December Birthdays!

We want to wish our December born students a most happy birthday!

Metta M.

Zaira T.

Kartheek M.

Kai S.

Student of the Month

Vyla Forsberg-Manthe

City and state currently residing? Lynnwood, WA What are you playing/working on right now?

Summer Song in Sassmannshaus vol. 2 and about to start shifting! When did you start in SSS?

2019 What drew you to the violin? I thought the violin was a cool instrument and would be fun to learn. What is your favorite musical experience to date?

I enjoy listening and dancing to music. I danced in the Nutcracker as a snowflake, angel, and party guest. In what other activities do you participate?

I am currently participating in competition gymnastics. Any other tidbits about yourself that you want others to know?

I love animals because they have a beautiful nature and are sweet. Currently, I am in fourth grade and I love my music and art classes. Recently, I learned to play the ukulele in music class. I found the ukulele interesting since it has c, e, a, and g strings that are in different locations from the violin.


Congratulations to our 2021 All State Orchestra Members

Once again, Sešek String Studio will have several students represented in the 2021 Washington All State Orchestras. They are:

Lena C.- viola

Joy L.- violin *

Ronald L. -violin*

Sky M.- viola*

Lilian N.- viola*

Claire P.-violin*

* Denotes returning All State member

Please join us in congratulating our students on their amazing accomplishment!


Quick Q&A-- This month we are answering a few questions to some violin and viola things we commonly get asked! Perhaps they pertain to YOU!

1. What is the best age to begin playing?

Well, that is a tricky one to answer, because there are potentially many variables at play including maturity, gender, etc.. But, IF we have to give one hard and fast answer, between 3 and 8 years old. HOWEVER, you can start playing at any time, the sooner the better! We have had a beginner in their 60's do very well and progress to a good level!

The reason for the previous response is that the neuroplasticty of the brain is at its peak when children are between 3 and 8 years old. This is also the time when children acquire language(s). Notice, we said "acquire,"not learn. Young children are like sponges absorbing everything in their environment. The learning just happens. Musical learning fires the same areas of the brain where we acquire language and engages both hemispheres in a way that is quite unique compared to other disciplines. If you want to know more about the science of musical learning, there are TONS of peer reviewed studies on this subject. Simply Google, "Music and Child Development."

2. How much do I need to practice? (Like for real, for real?!)

To become a virtuoso, 2-8 hours a day 98% of the year once you've mastered the basics. Not a joke. It's that much.

Cincinnati based violin guru Kurt Sassmansshaus has trained several internationally acclaimed violinists and top professionals over the last 40+ years. This is his guide for the average amount of practice you should strive for to get good results:

If you play for fun

  • Age five: 30 minutes

  • Age eight: 45 - 60 minutes

  • Age ten: 60 - 75 minutes

  • Age twelve to adult: 90 - 120 minutes

If you want to be a professional

  • Age five: 30 - 45 minutes

  • Age eight: 90 - 120 minutes

  • Age ten: 2 hours

  • Age twelve: 3 hours

  • Age fourteen to eighteen: 3 - 4 hours

  • Violin major in college: 5 hours

These are minimums - The actual time depends on you.

Getting a drink, answering the phone, etc. does not count.

Again, we want to stress, this is what HE says. Even the play for fun numbers are higher than we know most students do per day. Let's just be very honest~ 99.7% of us will never practice the necessary amount needed to become a virtuoso. But, you can still become very good with less practice. The best thing to do is to get in as much quality practice as possible! Enjoy the process and don't worry about the numbers. (Unless you wanna be a professional..... then panic! LOL!)

*All credit to Thank you to Mr. Kurt Sassmansshaus for making all of his available for FREE!

3. How can I get rid of a shaky bow?!

Well, it depends..... Shaky bow can be the result of several issues. We've listed them from the most common to the least.

~Uneven pressure of the fingers on the bow and/or tension-- By far the most common reason for a shaky bow. If you are gripping your bow frog in a way it doesn't like, you will have a spasmodic sound. The kinetic energy from your tense hands vibrates through the bow stick resulting in that less than desirable pulse n' scratch that we all know too well. Holding the bow without suffocating it will allow the bow to "breathe," resulting in a more beautiful and even tone quality.

~Random bow speed, crooked bow pulls, and/or unnecessary/incorrect arm motion-- This ties in with first issue. Again, your bow doesn't like the way it is being handled. With the help of your instructor, start by getting in the mirror and see what's going on. You are already in the right place if you are reading this article! We will certainly help you get a grip on this issue. Get it?! *groan* okay... that was bad.

~Nervousness-- Being nervous can certainly cause a shaky bow. If you only get shaky bow during adrenaline inducing activities such as performing in a recital, that's perfectly normal and not something to worry about. With time and additional performance opportunities, your nerves will likely get better. There are several natural methods for calming the excitement such as meditation or breath work. Again, this is Google-able and worth a search if you have this issue.

~Too much caffeine- An undercover culprit. If you are consuming highly caffeinated products before a lesson or performance, STOP NOW. Morning joe contributes to a shaky bow. Try matcha or tea instead. The lower caffeine levels in those beverages will still perk you up without the tremor inducing effects. (If you read last month's article, you'll already know the benefits of matcha. Link to that article is here!)

~A bad bow- The least common reason, but a plausible one. Maybe you have what we call a "goofy stick." Some bows just act like gelatin, especially in the middle third. If this is your bow, it may be time for an upgrade. We can help you choose stick that will better suit you and get that sound of your dreams!

So, which one (or ones) do you think could be your issue?

Hope these answers help! Is there something you are dying to know? Send us your question at See you on the next one!


Fanny and Felix's Follies

The Poodlessohns are loving their extremely lazy lifestyle! What could be better than snoozing on an oversized chair? Did you notice they are rocking their fun and fanciful Christmas collars? Right on time for the holidays!

By the way, Fanny turns 2 on December 22nd! So if you want to give her a birthday hug or treat, let us know! She will certainly appreciate it <3


20% OFF for you and a friend!

It's our best promotion yet! To say thank you to all of our wonderful students and parents we are running a 21 day special! Check it out!

Current students: Get 20% off your January tuition when you recommend a friend and they enroll for lessons! They get 20% off too! New students: Get a free trial lesson AND 20% off your first month of tuition when you enroll for lessons! Offer valid December 1-20, 2021. Don't wait! Share the gift of music with someone today! For details, email us at

See you next year!


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