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

Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate what you want from a drummer or what you want to do as a drummer to the rest of the band.

There are some phrases that one should know when describing different kinds of drum beats.

1. The “Money Beat”

The name says it all. This is the beat that everyone wants to hear. So much so that they’ve named it the money beat because no matter how complicated drummers want to get these days, this is the beat that brings in the money.

This beat is your bread and butter as a drummer. On 95% of popular music, you can at least ‘get by’ if you play this beat to the song.

The beat is simple. It consists of playing an alternating quarter note pattern with the kick drum and a snare drum, and an eighth note pattern on the hi-hat.

This is the pattern that Ringo made famous, that is on almost every Michael Jackson CD and that can be found on countless pop songs all over the world.

The beat sounds like this (click the play button below):

2. The “Blues Shuffle” (or a “Shuffle Beat”)

The blues shuffle (otherwise known as a shuffle beat/groove) is a groove that is played normally over blues tunes or blues-rock tunes.

This beat is played in swing time, which means it is a triplet feel. Technically, it is very similar to the ‘Money Beat’ that we just learned. The coordination pattern is literally identical.

However, this beat sounds noticeably different because it is played in swing time (or shuffle time).

3. Four on the floor

Another term that drummers and musicians throw around a lot is ‘four on the floor’. This means 4 equally spaced quarter notes on the bass drum.

This term can be used to communicate different things. Perhaps they simply want those driving bass drum notes unaccompanied by anything else on the drumset.

Other times they may mean to do another type of groove, but keep those 4 quarter notes on the bass drum very present. For example — let’s take a look at a couple of grooves that utilize four on the floor.

4. Disco Groove

For example, four on the floor in a ‘Disco groove’ context means playing a normal beat but with all 4 kick drums blaring and throwing in some open hi-hats.

Take a listen to Gloria Gaynor’s classic ‘I Will Survive’ for a great example of a disco beat.

5. Jazz Swing

The Jazz Swing pattern is similar to the Blues Pattern, however, we will usually shift over to the ride cymbal, use our foot to play the hi-hat on beats two and four, and lay off the backbeat a little to create more space and not have the groove be so narrowly defined.

Although repetition exists, the grooves can be much more freeform.

Using four on the floor is common in more traditional types of jazz and many people will reference it. When you get into more modern jazz using straight four on the floor is not as common.

Jazz Pattern using four on the floor

Jazz pattern with varying bass drum rhythms

6. Purdie Shuffle

You may have heard this name from the well-known drummer Bernard Purdie. Even if you haven’t heard of this man, you surely heard his drumming as he was a studio drummer who has played on hundreds of hit albums.

Bernard first used this beat on Steely Dan’s track Home At Last, but ever since then this is has been a household beat among drummers.

Many drummers have also done a version of this beat on their own songs. John Bonham did it in “Fool in the Rain” (Led Zeppelin), Toto did it on “Roxanne”.

Here’s the basic form of it.

This pattern is so funky and a blast to play around with. It is no wonder it has a space in modern drum parlance.

7. Motown Groove

This groove can be heard on countless records throughout the 60s and 70s. The style of music called ‘Motown’ encompasses A LOT of music.

A few iconic personalities that come to mind are ‘Marvin Gaye’, ‘Stevie Wonder’, ‘The Supremes’…

The groove goes something like this:

It’s a fun, upbeat groove that can get the band up and running and everyone on the floor dancing.

You can hear a similar sort of beat in The Supremes song You Keep Me Hangin’ On.

8. 16th note groove

This beat is sometimes called a ’16th note groove’ or more specifically a ’16th note hi-hat groove’, since it is characterized by its fast sixteenth-note pattern on the hi-hat while keeping a groove going with the snare and bass drum.

Many drummers don’t play this with one hand on the hi-hat, rather they alternate with two hands and hit their snare drum with the opposite hand that they usually hit the snare drum (since most drummers play with their hands crossed).

Here you can hear it utilized in the famous tune That’s The Way (I Like It) by KC & The Sunshine Band.

Beats in other great songs

These were examples of common beats with their names. For more transcriptions of beats in popular music click on these links to our other articles!

8 Songs with EASY Drum Beats

Songs to Learn for Drums (If You’re a Beginner)

6 Great Beginner Jazz Songs to Learn on Drums

How to Read Drums Notes

We love teaching drums here at Jam Addict. There are so many songs that have dominated pop culture that chock full of great drum beats AND are not that difficult to learn!

We’ve assembled a list of songs with drum beats with transcriptions of how to play them.

After each song you will see a player that has the transcription of the beat. You can click play on it to hear how it sounds. You can also adjust the tempo to slow it down or speed it up as you need to.

These songs start easy and get more complicated. As always, if you’d like to learn more we have tons of free articles about how to learn other songs as well!

So without further ado, let’s get into it and start learning some songs with easy beats!

1. Imagine – John Lennon

Let’s start off simple. Although there are variations and fills within this song, we can still play along to it with the simple drum beat that drummer Alan White uses on the song.

Go ahead and adjust the tempo of this song until you feel coordinated enough to play it comfortably at the correct tempo.

The trouble may come when you are figuring out where to start and stop within the song, however using your ears it should not be too hard to follow along.

2. Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz

This song is so fun to play! It’s really energetic and doesn’t dip the whole way through. It also has a pause during the chorus to let you catch your breath.

Although there is no ‘real’ drummer on this track we can play along to it all the same. This beat is very similar to the last beat we learned, we only are ‘dropping’ one bass drum note.

Let’s take a look at how the beat sounds in its isolated form:

This beat may seem fast, and if it does I want you to slow the tempo down and practice it SLOWLY.

Even if you think you are a stud and can manage, do yourself a favor and slow it down. It is better to be meticulous and accurate at a slow tempo than fast and sloppy.

When you listen to the song there are some extra fills that he does, but we won’t worry about them for now.

3. Stayin’ alive – The Bee Gees

Although the bass and snare pattern on this song is rather easy, the open hi-hat may be tricky for some if you aren’t used to it.

This requires that you hit the hi-hat at the same time that you lift your foot up, achieving a washy sort of sound that you will quickly snap back to closed on the first beat of the next measure.

Let’s hear what it sounds like:

Slow it down and really try to get the open hi-hat under control before you speed it up.

4. Fields of Gold – Sting

Although this song uses a shaker we can simulate it by using the hi-hat like our previous songs. The cool thing about this song is that you can learn to do the cross-stick, which is a technique that you hit the rim of the snare drum with the side of your stick.

A cross-stick looks like this:

Ep. 49 The Perfect Cross Stick Sound - YouTube

The beat is rather simple otherwise. Let’s take a look at it!

This beat is rather slow so tempo shouldn’t be a problem. However, this is a great tune to really work on making your cross-stick sound nice and crisp.

5. I Just Called To Say I love you – Stevie Wonder

Here’s another easy tune that is rather easy to learn on drums. It deals with the same instruments we’ve been using: hi-hat, kick and snare, and is relatively unchanging except for a few pauses and fills.

This is what the beat looks like transcribed:

6. 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins

Although this bass drum pattern is a bit tricky at first, the repetition and musicality of the beat makes it a song that is totally manageable.

From a drumming perspective, the entire song is basically a two-bar drum beat that drummer Jimmy Chamberlin plays for the entire 4 minutes and 21 seconds of this song.

The pattern looks and sounds like this:

If the pattern seems tricky to get ahold of at first, give it some work. It becomes quite memorable after a bit of work on trying to memorize it.

7. Paranoid – Black Sabbath

This song is a fun song that repeats a simple beat with a fill throughout the song.

During most of the song, we have a hi-hat pattern of steady eighth notes with an alternating kick and snare on each quarter note.

The fill is usually placed on the fourth bar of a pattern that lasts four bars.

8. Money – Pink Floyd

This song sounds a lot harder than it is.

While it is in a 7/4 time signature for most of the song and while there are a lot of nuances in the song that make the drumming on this track spectacular, it is totally possible to play through the song even for beginners.

Let’s start by learning the basic beat for the verse:

You will find that although this is complicated it is definitely doable. But because it is in an odd time signature you are going to have to pay close attention to make sure you don’t turn the beat around.

Then for the chorus, things get a bit tricky. It is still in 7/4, so you could technically play the same beat. But instead, the drummer organizes into two bars of differing time signatures: 8/4 and 6/4.

Let’s learn them separately then together. This is the section of 8/4.

Note: this is during the section: ‘I’m in the high fidelity first-class traveling set”.

Then the next section of 6/4 goes like this.

Put together, they both should sound like this.

And then we go back into the verse section.

These two patterns repeat for the first half of the song. When we get to the second half (the jammy part), the song goes into 4/4 and is easier to follow along.

Practicing makes these songs easier!

If these songs feel too hard, don’t worry! They will get much easier as time goes on. If you are looking for other songs to play along to check out some of our other articles that have songs to play along to.

Top Easy Drumming Songs for Beginners! (with drum tabs)

6 Great Beginner Jazz Songs to Learn on Drums

Songs to Learn for Drums (If You’re a Beginner)

How to Learn Songs on Drums By Ear ?

How is it that drummers can seemingly blaze around the kit with a flurry of triplets? We’ve all seen drummers that know how to just tear the drum kit apart with their technique, so what is the secret?

It’s actually not as difficult to do as you may think—and the reasons to learn these techniques are numerous.

Whenever I’m ending a show I love to just rip the drums apart, bombastically machine-gunning the toms and cymbals with the energy of the crowd cheering me on. It’s an awesome feeling.

So how do we do it?

Fortunately, you really only need to learn a couple of patterns and you can already start ripping around the drums. These patterns will start simple, but then get much more complicated!

Let’s check some out. For these exercises I’m assuming you have a snare drum, and a high and low tom (you really don’t need anything else to learn to unleash the fury around the drums).

Single stroke triplets

You can do A LOT with single-stroke triplets. You could write a whole drum solo with then.

These are exactly what you’d think. They are simple alternating triplets that take 6 notes to cycle around. 

They look and sound like this on the snare drum:

So how do we take these triplets around the drums? The trick here is to experiment with note placement, this means experimenting with the orchestration of these notes.

Let’s put the first note of each triplet on the low and high tom, respectively. That will sound like this:

Notice that we didn’t change the sticking at all. We start with the low tom because our right hand is closest to it, and same deal with the left hand and the high tom.

Moreover, even just getting this pattern played fast and evenly will already impress many people.

Let’s try some other orchestrational patterns with this sticking. Try putting two toms at the beginning two notes of the triplet and leaving all the rest of the notes on the snare drum.

Make sure you don’t get confused that this is a six-note pattern. Many of my students play the first two notes and want to put the pattern in 4/4 (and play eight notes instead of six).

Now try alternating between the two patterns we’ve just heard. Let’s do two bars of the first pattern and two bars of the second pattern.

(Note: Go ahead and play with the tempo to hear how the pattern sounds slow and fast).

At a fast tempo, this pattern already feels like we are tearing across the drums, and doing so in a musical fashion!

However, don’t forget to practice this slow and work it up, we want these notes to be smooth, not rough and out of time.

Crafting a solo

Now the last step for me, if these are new patterns for you, would be to take these three and create a drum solo out of them. So start with the very first pattern on the snare drum I showed you:

Then add that in the middle of the other patterns. Here’s an example of a drum solo I’ve created with these exercises.

Try to create your own!

Moving around the drums with other stick combinations

The single stroke is very powerful in triplets, but there are also many other stick combinations that are great for moving around the drums.

In keeping with the theme of starting with the right hand (as most people are right-handed), let’s try the three-note pattern: Right, Left, Left.

On the snare drum, this sounds virtually the same as the single strokes. However, this sticking allows us to do some really cool things much simpler than with single strokes.

Let’s explore how it sounds to put each right hand on a different drum. So we’ll start with the snare drum, then the high tom, then the low tom. All the left hands are still on the snare drum.

Very cool. However, let’s put this in 4/4 so it feels a little more natural. We will add an extra triplet starting with the floor tom.

Okay, practice this well since this will be the basis of the next exercises we do with this sticking.

As of now we’ve kept the left hand on the snare drum, which is fine but let’s experiment moving it to the other drums.

So we will keep our right hand doing the same pattern.

For our left hand, we will keep it on the snare drum for the first two triplets. For the second-to-last triplet, we are going to play the left-handed notes on the high tom, and for the last triplet we will put left-handed notes on the floor tom. 

That will look like this:

Although this will feel complicated at first, some practice will make this pattern manageable and sound really cool!

Create a drum solo

Now feel free to combine these different patterns and make your own solo! Here is a solo that I created.

Other sticking patterns (continued)

The last pattern I want to leave with you is a variation of the pattern we just learned. It is the same pattern (RLL), however instead of starting on the right hand we will start on the left hand, and THAT will be the first note of the triplet.

That sounds like this:

The advantage of using this pattern is that the pattern sounds like we are accenting the last note of the triplet, which is a really cool sound.

For example, let’s alternate putting the left hand on the tom. So for the first triplet the left hands are on the snare drum, and on the second triplet, the tom.

Starting with two left hands may feel awkward at first, but once you start to hear the groove it won’t be as challenging.

We can use this same exercise to move around the whole drum kit. Let’s hear how that sounds.

Triplets are our friend

It is no secret that triplets are my favorite rudiment. They are so groovy and versatile. In most musical situations, triplets will be welcomed and seen as a groovy addition to your playing.

The cool thing about triplets is that there are so many ways you can manipulate them do give them their own unique sound.

Here is a PDF of what we’ve just gone over so that you can practice them offline.


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