Renowned violinist Ray Chen has announced an extraordinary giveaway of 100 violins from Kennedy Violins, a leading supplier of student and professional string instruments. This news broke following a captivating and entertaining video of an event at the Colburn School, where Chen challenged students to a unique competition—participants attempted to outplay the virtuoso on specially modified violins (with configurations such as reversed strings and abnormal tunings) to win a prize of $50 or a $1500 Kennedy violin.

The giveaway will take place on Chen’s app, Tonic, starting March 18th. Tonic users have a seven-day window to accumulate practice hours and listening XP. The top 100 users displaying the most dedication between March 18th and 25th will each receive a violin from Kennedy Violins, fostering their musical journey.

Tonic, founded in 2020 by Ray Chen, is a cutting-edge platform designed to transform the solitary practice sessions of musicians into an engaging and communal experience. It aims to make classical music more accessible and enjoyable, connecting musicians worldwide. The app allows users to host live practice sessions, participate in community events, and engage with a global network of music enthusiasts.

This giveaway not only highlights Chen’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of musicians but also showcases Tonic’s pivotal role in building a supportive and dynamic music community. Over a million live Studios have been created on Tonic since its inception, with users from over 130 countries contributing to its vibrant and creative atmosphere.

For a chance to win one of the 100 Kennedy violins, download the Tonic app and start practicing today! Embrace this unique opportunity to enhance your musical skills and become part of a global community that celebrates the joy of music.

Check out the full video of Ray Chen at Colburn here:

About Ray Chen

Ray Chen is a celebrated, international concert violinist, known for his captivating performances and innovative approach to bringing classical music to wider audiences. With a passion for education and community engagement, Chen continues to inspire young musicians worldwide.

About Kennedy Violins

Kennedy Violins is known in the US as the No.1 supplier of high-quality violins and string instruments to both students and professionals. Their long-term commitment to excellence and education aligns with Chen’s long-term vision of supporting musicians at every stage of their journey.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Drummers

Ever wondered why finding a drummer for your band feels like embarking on a quest for the Holy Grail? It’s not just your bad luck; there’s a global conspiracy to hide all drummers! Just kidding. But seriously, let’s dive into why these rhythm maestros seem as elusive as a decent avocado at the supermarket.

They’re in High Demand

First off, drummers are in high demand. Every band, from the garage punk trio to the high school jazz ensemble, needs someone to lay down the beat. Drummers are like the Swiss Army knives of the music world; versatile, essential, but somehow always borrowed by someone else and never returned.

The Space-Time Continuum

Drum kits are not exactly portable. They’re the elephants of the musical instrument world—impressive, powerful, but you need a lot of space for them. This means drummers can’t just stroll to the nearest jam session. They need a van, or at least a friend with one, making their mobility a bit of a logistic nightmare.

The Drummer’s Lifestyle

Night Owls by Nature

Drummers are the night owls of the band. While everyone else is winding down, they’re just getting started. Their peak hours often clash with the rest of society’s, making them mysterious figures who only emerge under the cover of darkness (or in dimly lit rehearsal spaces).

The Loud and Proud

Let’s face it, drums are loud. They’re the main reason neighbors know you’re in a band. This means drummers often have to find secluded spots to practice, like bunkers or soundproofed studios, further adding to their elusive nature.

The Psychological Profile

Marching to Their Own Beat

Drummers are a unique breed. They think differently, often in complex rhythms that the average person can’t fathom. This makes them incredibly interesting but also means they’re marching to their own beat, both literally and figuratively, which can sometimes make them hard to pin down.

The Zen Masters

Playing the drums can be a meditative experience. Drummers often get lost in their world, reaching a state of flow where time (and social commitments) can slip away. This Zen-like state is great for creativity, not so much for remembering to check their phones or emails.

The Search for the Perfect Beat

The Quest for Gear

A drummer’s quest for the perfect sound can be a lifelong journey. They’re often on the hunt for that vintage snare or custom cymbal that will complete their setup. This means they might be more likely to be found in a dusty old music shop than at your local bar’s open mic night.

A Band’s Best Friend

When you do find a drummer, cherish them. They’re the backbone of any good band, providing not just the beat, but the energy and drive that can turn a good song into a great one. Plus, they usually have the best stories.


Finding a drummer might feel like searching for a mythical creature, but fear not. They’re out there, hiding in plain sight, waiting for the right band to come along. So, put up those flyers, spread the word, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find your drummer. And when you do, remember to treat them well. After all, they’re the rarest of gems in the musical world.

New York, NY – Kennedy Violins, a revered name in the music industry, has announced a generous
donation of 50 instruments and the facilitation of another 495 instruments to support The Harmony
Program in New York. This strategic partnership aims to significantly bolster music education and
enrich the lives of children in the city’s most underserved neighborhoods.

The Harmony Program, a distinguished 501(c)(3) organization, is renowned for its dedication to
promoting collective music-making, thereby instilling essential life skills and fostering meaningful
connections among peers. By integrating music education directly into communities that are often
underrepresented in classical music, The Harmony Program is making a profound impact, shaping the
future of over 3,000 students annually.

With this substantial contribution, Kennedy Violins reaffirms its commitment to fostering the arts
and supporting educational initiatives. “We are thrilled to partner with The Harmony Program, a beacon
of hope and excellence in music education in New York City,” stated Joel Kennedy from Kennedy
Violins. “By providing these instruments, we are not just giving tools for music; we are empowering
children to build confidence, discipline, and a sense of community.”

The Harmony Program‘s track record speaks volumes about its dedication and effectiveness in
nurturing young talent. Boasting an 89% attendance rate across its programs, the organization has
successfully reached over 7,000 children, delivering more than 5,000 hours of instruction annually. The
results are noteworthy, with 82% of students meeting the program’s musicianship standards and 93%
achieving age-level expectations in self-esteem.

This collaboration is not just about providing instruments; it’s a testament to the power of
partnership, community support, and the enduring impact of music education. Both Kennedy Violins
and The Harmony Program are excited about the future and the endless possibilities this partnership
brings to the children and communities of New York City.

Kennedy Violins provides quality, affordable stringed musical instruments, instrument rentals,
and lessons. They are actively involved in supporting music education and performance opportunities
for young musicians in the community

In the enchanting realm of music, the sound of the violin evokes profound emotions, from intense passion to soulful nostalgia. The quality of a violin, coupled with the dedication of its player, can make or break a musical performance. 

While many beginners often struggle to find a good violin that doesn’t break the bank, Kennedy Violins, under the vigilant eyes of its founder, Joel Kennedy, has been making a substantial impact in this domain.

Face to Face with Joel Kennedy

joel kennedy

Joel Kennedy, Founder and President of Kennedy Violins, is not just another businessman; he’s an accomplished musician with a fervent dedication to his craft. Joel’s musical journey spans over three decades, playing the viola and violin. An alumnus of the renowned Eastman School of Music in New York, Joel isn’t just academically trained; he carries the torch of professional orchestral experiences from across the United States.

Joel’s endeavors are not just about selling violins, but also fostering the next generation of musicians. Many of his students have found their way to top conservatories in the U.S. and overseas, a testament to his commitment and prowess.

The Inception of Kennedy Violins

kennedy violins exterior

When asked about his journey with Kennedy Violins, Joel shared, “I officially began Kennedy Violins in December of 2000. However, even before that, as a stringed teacher, I had been providing instruments to my students and friends.”

But what really makes Joel’s heart resonate with Kennedy Violins? “My favorite aspect,” Joel states, “is having the opportunity to effect change. The influence of Kennedy Violins isn’t just local; it’s national.” Joel’s vision is clear – to dismantle the stereotypical elitist perception of classical music and ensure that bowed stringed instruments are accessible to everyone, regardless of their socio-economic background.

On being questioned about his favorite instrument, Joel endorses the Ricard Bunnel, “It’s cost-effective and serves as an optimal starting point for any beginner interested in classical music.”

Joel’s musical tastes lean towards the masterpieces of Shostakovich, although he fantasizes about collaborating with Beethoven – perhaps to discuss the necessity of those repeated notes! And beyond the realm of music, Joel harbors an unexpected passion – auto racing!

Meeting a Gap in the Market

Joel’s journey into selling violins started from a genuine concern for his students. Many would turn up with low-quality instruments purchased from the then “wild west” of the internet. Recognizing the dire need for affordable yet playable violins, Joel tapped into his luthering background (a skill learned from his father, a professional instrument maker) and began supplying well-set instruments. Word quickly spread, and soon, Kennedy Violins was born.

As Joel candidly puts it, “The biggest challenge I’ve had as a business owner is containing the growth of the company.” Such is the demand for quality violins that Kennedy Violins’ team often feels like “Santa’s little helpers,” working diligently to get instruments ready and out the door.

The Art of Choosing a Violin: The Kennedy Violins Selection for Beginners and Intermediate Players

kennedy violins luthiers

Kennedy Violins, as its reputation suggests, is no ordinary violin establishment. They’re the proud stewards of the legacy of violin craftsmanship. 

Just as the great luthiers of Cremona, Italy shaped the destiny of the violin, so Kennedy Violins curates a collection that is as much about the journey of music as it is about the instrument. For beginners and intermediate players, understanding the Kennedy lineage of violins is key to finding the perfect instrument.

For the Novice: The Promise of Beginnings

Ricard Bunnel Premier Student Violin Outfit: Think of the Bunnel Premier as a wise old teacher, patient and kind. It’s an upgrade from the Bunnel Pupil, crafted for those who are stepping into the world of violin for the first time. Its wood quality offers a richer, warmer sound, setting beginners on the right path from their first note.

Antonio Giuliani Etude Student Violin Outfit: This violin echoes the tales of countless music classrooms. Often recommended by teachers, the Antonio Giuliani Etude is known for its resonant tone, a hallmark of quality for those beginning their musical journey.

Antonio Giuliani Primo Violin: For those still growing, both in age and musical prowess, this violin offers a resonant tone that belies its size. The Primo Student Outfit is a testament to how even smaller instruments can deliver grand emotions.

Charting the Intermediate Path: Embracing Growth

Louis Carpini G2 Violin Outfit: Often, growth is about pushing boundaries. The Carpini G2 is renowned for being a standout violin under $600. It’s a superior student instrument, perfect for those looking to challenge their limits.

Franke Henner Violin and Fiddle Outfits: When intermediate players reach for the Franke Henner, they’re connecting with select tonewoods that bring out the nuance in their play. The outfit is tailored for those who’ve surpassed the basics and are seeking the finer hues of sound.

Renée Nicolette Violin Outfit: Evoking the French traditions of violin-making, the Renée Nicolette carries an artistic flair with heart-shaped tuning pegs and unique construction. It’s for those who see music as an evolving canvas.

Nicholas Gand Violin Outfit: This violin whispers tales of concert halls and intense practice sessions. With its deep, resonant tone, Nicholas Gand is perfect for the intermediate player with an eye on mastery.

The journey of a violinist is deeply personal, and Kennedy Violins offers a range of instruments to resonate with each phase of learning. From the beginner’s cautious first steps to the intermediate player’s confident strides, there’s a Kennedy violin that’s more than just an instrument—it’s a companion on a musical odyssey.

Joel’s Digital Symphony: Guiding Violin Enthusiasts on YouTube

Joel Kennedy makes weekly tutorials on how to help beginner and intermediate violinists out with their craft.

Joel’s presence isn’t just limited to the realm of violin craftsmanship. He’s carved a niche for himself on YouTube, amassing over 25,000 subscribers. On his channel, Joel weaves his expert knowledge of violin playing with tips and tricks that benefit beginning and intermediate players alike. 

Regularly posting informational content, he has become a beacon for budding violinists and enthusiasts, guiding them through the intricate world of strings and resonance. His passion for the instrument is palpable in each video, making his channel a go-to space for anyone eager to delve deeper into the art and science of the violin. Here’s example of one of his blog articles that helps beginner and intermediate players alike.

Harmonizing Passion and Craft: A Final Note

Kennedy Violins has made an indelible mark in the realm of stringed instruments. Through dedication, passion, and sheer hard work, Joel Kennedy and his team have successfully challenged the status quo, ensuring that students across the U.S. and Canada have access to quality, affordable violins. 

As students embark on their musical journeys, Kennedy Violins stands as a beacon, guiding them towards a harmonious future.

Remember: all you need to practice positive reinforcement is to keep yourself open to it and to avoid the impulse to go against it. In order to be able to practice positive reinforcement effectively, you need to know how to implement it in your daily life.

Here are 10 examples of what you can practice in your everyday life in order to practice positive reinforcement and be more effective:

1. Think positive thoughts

Person doing thumbs up

Think about how to create positive situations for yourself. For example: what did you learn when you received a compliment?

Think of a compliment you can give yourself: you can put yourself in a situation where you can succeed and then describe how you achieved that situation. Or describe your reasons for being proud of yourself, e.g. you were able to keep up with your colleagues without compromising your best performance.

Imagine how it will feel when you have done something positive and don’t allow negative thoughts to interrupt you.

If you can imagine such scenarios, you will soon realize how easily you can motivate yourself to do positive actions. But the key is to try to imagine positive scenarios in your head in order to create the positive reinforcement.

2. Give yourself positive feedback

Photo of a sign and eyeglasses on table

You probably know how to give compliments and how to give constructive criticism. But what about rewarding yourself for your own accomplishments?

For example: when you walk into a room and see how the room is already set up, this is positive feedback because you have done a good job.

If you were working on a difficult project, this would be a positive reinforcement because you have put in a lot of effort to solve the problem.

3. Catch yourself when you fail

Believe in Yourself

Most of us are often very quick to criticize ourselves when we do something wrong. But if you learn to catch yourself when you fail, you will see that you don’t need to punish yourself for your mistakes, but learn from them and take positive action.

For example: if you fail to follow a recipe and the food you have prepared is tasteless and horrible, you should not punish yourself by punishing yourself, you should learn from this and move on.

If your child breaks a toy while playing with it, he should learn from his mistake and keep trying.

4. Reward yourself

children, win, success

Now it’s time to think about rewards. If you know that when you accomplish something great, it is very rewarding, you will be more likely to achieve it the next time.

So for example: if you have finished your work on a project and have successfully achieved your goal, celebrate! Why not get your favorite drink and enjoy a small reward? Maybe this is your reward for achieving your goal.

If you want a bigger reward for your next goal, do not stop at finishing your first task, but try to achieve the next goal as quickly as possible.

If you are finishing an important task at work and everyone starts cheering for you, take a minute to applaud yourself. It will make you feel like you’ve done a great job and motivate you to go on and do more difficult tasks.

If there is no reward that you want to receive, you are more likely to feel that you have done a good job. So in order to reinforce yourself, ask yourself what would motivate you to continue doing a good job. For example: you have achieved your goal, but do you want to be promoted?

Think about what you are going to do with the reward you have achieved, and try to bring this reward with you.

5. Get straight to the point

Woman holding a smiley balloon

Don’t be wishy-washy, give yourself hard reasons why you are worth it!

Find concrete reasons that are positive to your self-esteem and write them down. Ask others for advice if you are stuck and get real reasons to be happy.

This does not mean you should neglect where you want to improve but you should definitely not skimp on the complements.

6. Focus on yourself


White printer paper

Find something that makes you happy, something that you do all the time. Start thinking about how you want to change how you do things so that you can be more successful.
Or tell yourself that you do things because it is the right thing to do and that you don’t have the time to waste. The word “should” is negative and you can use positive instead: “I am going to … because it is right for me”.

7. Create strong memories

Woman using umbrella with lights

Think back to all the positive memories you have from the past and then think about what you do now in order to make the same type of memories.
One method is to keep a journal about your daily life. At the end of every day write down what you achieved, who you talked to, what you were doing, what you ate, etc. The positive emotions will make you a more positive person and help you create more positive memories.


TLDR: Take care of yourself and others by really caring about them, the rest should follow

Use these simple techniques to practice positive reinforcement and get more effective at doing what you want to do.

The upcoming film Sister of the Groom follows Audrey (Alicia Silverstone) as she heads to the Hamptons for her brother’s wedding. As she arrives, chaos ensues between her family, her brother’s French fiance, and the surprise arrival of her ex. 

To accompany the film, composer Jay Lifton was in charge of creating a score to guide the story as chaos ensues. Below is a several track exclusive, including one song by Lee Reitelman done in tandem with Jay, as well as 2 pieces of the film’s score. This is a sneak preview of the official release of the film’s soundtrack, which is set to come out on streaming platforms including iTunes and Spotify on January 4th 2021.

Listen here exclusively via SoundCloud!

Jay Lifton · Sister of the Groom Soundtrack Pre-Release


As both composer and musical director, Jay worked closely with director Amy Gross to create a refined orchestral score with some French and Mediterranean instrumentation that matched the theme of the film. To do this, he used a combination of instruments, including his uncle’s bouzouki and mom’s vintage Iorio accordion. 

Other projects upcoming from Jay include composing music for “Hudson Falls,” a TV pilot starring Richard Kind and Jessica Hecht. He is also working on the upcoming documentary IIt Took 50 Years: Frances Goldin and The Struggle for Cooper Square, the story of a determined group of residents in New York’s East Village who fought developers from demolishing most of lower Manhattan to make way for luxury condos.

Sister of the Groom comes out on December 18, 2020 on VOD platforms including via Charter, DirecTV, Cox, Comcast, as well as through Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon Video and Google Play

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