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Spring 2022

Warm Spring Greetings to All,

Here at our musical Happy Place on the 4th floor at Salmon Falls Mills, we are playing more notes than ever and very much in-joying  the kindred spirits of our community!

While the world changes dramatically, we are nourished by and connected to the consistent and deep realm of music. It is that place where we become free of concerns and move into focus, calm, fun, and maybe even a wee bit of bliss — together through our music and study of music.

We are excited to welcome Cathy King, guitar, to our Tunes&Tech session class on Monday nights! Cathy is a long-time friend of ours and she is absolutely stellar:) Thank you Cathy:)

With several new students starting fiddle/violin study lately, a monthly Beginner Tunes Group is slated to start up mid-summer.

At long last, the  wonderful Salmon Falls Open Studios event Will Be Happening! This mill-wide popular event will be held early summer, and Full Circle will  be offering lots of fun activities and even performances by our own community and guests as well.

We can  happily  look forward to this spring bringing a bounty of great musical opportunities, reunions, new and old friends, and above all, Joy and Gratitude for our Music.

Yours as Ever in Harmony,

Cayt & Pico! 

Practice Mojo for Hard Times

One of the gifts we are blessed with as musicians is our practice time. This private, quiet, intimate time with our instrument takes us into calm and focus – and sometimes joy, satisfaction, honest work and also gratitude. We often experience a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. And we certainly can find respite from the ongoing changes and chaos of our world.

Despite the many benefits of “practice” we may be too emotionally and physiologically fatigued these days to even begin a practice session. Our Mojo may have waned dramatically, and our only current view of practice is that it requires a lot of energy or focus - which we simply don’t have right now. But instead of just letting it go, we can still be connected to music in easy, healthy ways! And as we do so, our wild mind will be stilled, blood pressure normalized, anxiety diminished, endorphins activated.

Here are three “bandwidth” approaches to staying connected to your music and instrument, to mix & match as you like! Try for 2 or 3 per week, in any combination or just one way:)

Remember.... Connection is the key to your musical joy, in whatever modality you are able to experience it.

1. Stay in Touch

Connect to music by listening to your favorite tunes, symphonies, and performers – whether in recordings, listen-as-you-drive, concerts, live trad music sessions, or videos. Listening can happen passively and actively. You may enjoy following along with sheet music as you listen to your favorites.

2. Check-In

Without grand plans, for 5 minutes or less, just pick up your instrument and play some open strings to feel the connection of the bow on the strings and listen to the resonance of your beautiful violin. If the desire to play/explore more arises, keep your heart open and play whatever shows up. Be sure not to impose “shoulds” or judgments about what you are doing. Keep it simple. 5-10 minutes of communing with your fiddle can be a beautiful experience.

3. Target Practice

If you’re excited to accomplish something, or you're thinking of a tune or skill you want to improve, you may like immersing yourself into it. That focus can take you into a very serene and/or calm place. Just one item (with a simple warm-up) is your best approach!

Once again, keep things simple without self-judgment or constant corrections. Keep it slow and easy-does-it. If the “point of diminishing returns” arrives just thank your fiddle for the lovely visit and close your session.

A Final Thought...

We are in a relationship with our music and our instruments. As in all relationships there is the ebb and flow which we are smart to honor. Let’s all be kind to ourselves these days as we stay in connection to our music, in the most graceful and caring ways we can.

Are Geared Pegs in your Future?
Which ones are the geared pegs? Can you guess?
At some point in the winter, you pick up your violin to play and discover it is SO out of tune that your fine tuners can't handle it. OMG... I hate trying to tune my actual pegs... Wait, they just keep slipping... Low humidity strikes again. Your pegs have shrunk and won't stay put.

Geared pegs to the rescue. Although I had heard how easy it is to tune with geared pegs – and how they aren't affected by humidity – I had hesitated because I was in love with the look of my heart-shaped pegs. With a little research, I discovered I could have both: the ease of geared pegs PLUS beauty.

There are three main options available for geared pegs:
  1. Wittner. Made of plastic (black or a really fake "rosewood" plastic). 8:1 gear reduction.
  2. Knilling's Perfection. Plastic, Rosewood or Ebony; two shape options. 4:1 gear reduction.
  3. Pegheds. Ebony; 5 shape options. 4:1 hear reduction. 
Wittners are slightly chunkier than regular pegs since the gears are in the head. Only the head turns. Perfections and Pegheds are similar (Perfections license Pegheds' technology): they work a lot like regular pegs except they turn smoothly and don't slip regardless of humidity. 

I looked at lots of YouTubes and reviews and determined that all three would function well, but I liked the heart-shaped option of the Pegheds. Bob Miller Violins in South Portland ordered and installed them for me, since he does lots of business with Pegheds. If anyone in the Full Circle family wants to know more, feel free to email me at charriman@masongrant.com.  (Cynthia)

Did you guess? My old pegs are on the left; my geared ones are on the right.
Cayt & Jim to play at Garden Party
Cayt and Jim Prendergast (guitar) – shown here with a young fan – will be performing garden music on June 10 at the Sarah Orne Jewett House in South Berwick from 4-6 p.m.. Join them for some delightful music!
Sound Sanctuary in Late Summer
Sound Sanctuary, Cayt’s adjunct music endeavor for sound relaxation therapy, is launching in late summer. Cayt is nearing the completion of her one-year course of Professional Certification for Sound Relaxation Therapy, as a student of the premiere world sound therapy institution — the British Academy of Sound Therapy. If you’d like to be a part of her case studies sound therapy sessions or would like more information, just email her at artistviolin@gmail.com.
Photo: Cayt's daughter Mel tries her hand at sound therapy.
Book: The Violin Conspiracy
In Brendan Slocumb's novel The Violin Conspiracy, Ray McMillan teaches himself to play his great-great-grandfather's beat-up fiddle and dreams of becoming a world-class violinist. Though it's not easy to follow this path, growing up poor and Black in rural North Carolina, Ray somehow makes it to the big leagues. And so does his fiddle, which turns out to be a priceless Stradivarius. This page-turner chronicles Ray's determination to make it as a violinist – and his challenges when his violin is stolen and held ransom for $5 million. The book's many themes, from racism in the classical music world to family dynamics, make this a gripping read.
Do Dogs Like Music?
One of the most musical members of the Full Circle family is Pico. But just what is going on in his head, when he sings along with the violin? Dr. Amy Learn, a veterinarian in Richmond, VA, recently shared her thoughts. One of her interesting findings: classical music seems to relax dogs.
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Rollinsford Lower Mill, suite 401, 402, 406
3 Front Street
Rollinsford, NH 03869

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