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Bantam Studios
Brooklyn, NY

Bantam Studios is the home of "Booze Violin and Booze Guitar", low-cost group violin and group guitar classes and lessons for adult beginners.

Founded in 2012 by Ginger Dolden and Pete Lanctot, Bantam Studios is a haven for a cross collaboration of Music, Graphic Arts, Creative Consulting and Music Education.

Chamber Strings I

Chamber Strings I: Week #8

Ginger Dolden

We did more run-throughs and fine-tuning, and recorded again.  Take a listen and assess one more time.  

This week is about confidence, energy and endurance. Be proud and satisfied of the work you’ve put in.  A few pointers in the week before performing:

  • Don’t over-practice.  Focus on the very, very specific parts that trip you up or feel weird.  

    • Run through sections of the piece, but not the entire thing. All material you run through should sound like a performance - energetic, loud and confident!  

    • Envision your audience, the stage lights, the whole shebang. Visualize giving the best performance you’ve ever given. :) The more you can visualize it, the more comfortable and fun it will be the day of!  


Chamber Strings I: Week #7

Ginger Dolden


We ran through the whole piece!  Now our goal is to clarify any confusion as to how specific areas go, and fine tune trouble spots in regards to intonation, articulation, dynamics and phrasing. The more efficiently we can clarify these details, the closer to a really unified and awesome performance we’ll be.

Fine tune

We recorded a run-through, which I’ve attached here.  Take a listen and pay attention to how you’re matching the other players, and any issues you need to work on. Don’t over-criticize yourself!  If you notice a big mistake, circle it, commit to working on it later, and move on.  What’s important is how you’re contributing to the group, not how shiny and perfect you think your playing should have been.

Chamber Strings I: Week #6

Ginger Dolden


We reviewed all sections, individually. By now you should be running the sections straight through as well as working on individual practice.

Articulation, ensemble playing

We focused on matching articulations and watching for cues from either the first violins or whomever had a moving part in different sections. Articulations and cues need to be written in your part. Don’t be the jerk that forgot to look up or play staccato because you thought you’d remember to do it 100% of the time after we talked about it.

Chamber Strings I: Week #5

Ginger Dolden


We reviewed the exposition with dynamics, and a development run through.


Today we looked at the recapitulation.  The “recap” starts by reinstating the exposition, but it will quickly develop differently, as it’s bringing us to the end of the piece.

Chamber Strings I: Week #4

Ginger Dolden


We reviewed dynamics in the exposition and ran through the development.  

Intonation in development

The development changes keys constantly - this section in classical music is always meant to create instability - unfinished melodies, key changes, non-sensical transitions. Subsequently, it’s often the hardest section to play in a sonata-form movement.  Work on run-throughs and intonation especially this week.  Use a metronome so you don’t slow down.

Chamber Strings I: Week #3

Ginger Dolden


We reviewed the Exposition and Development.  Good work so far! Things may sound rough but if we can navigate through the part we’ve worked through a big step. Keep refining intonation now for both sections.


We went over dynamics in the exposition. If you have the melody or moving part, your sound should be a little bigger than the rest (even if it says pp).  If you have long notes, your sound will be light and blend.  It’s so important to LISTEN to the parts around you to know if you’re balancing or not. Begin to incorporate dynamics as you run through the exposition this week.

Chamber Strings I: Week #2

Ginger Dolden

Week 2:


We reviewed the tempo markings, talked about watching conductor cues, and ran through the exposition.  Keep practicing run-throughs at home and begin to fine tune intonation now.


We ran through the development.  A lot of new keys show up in this section, so play scales and drills that relate to those keys. Listen back to the recording to study this part more as well. Begin practicing run-throughs of this section in addition to run-throughs/intonation refinement of the exposition.

Chamber Strings I: Week #1

Ginger Dolden

Week 1:

Welcome everyone!  This class is designed to help you sharpen your skills as a chamber musician.  The main goals are:

  • To gain rhythmic skills

  • To learn the basics of following a conductor

  • Fundamentals of playing in a section

  • Blending sound, intonation, and articulation in an ensemble setting

NOTE: Please keep in mind that outside practice on individual parts is crucial to the development of these skills.  Some section-specific work will be necessary in rehearsal.  However, to fully participate as a member of an ensemble, it is imperative that you should up prepared to play your part and can run through it with reasonable comfort.  

Drills, tempo markings, bowings

We went over some warm-ups and drills to help facilitate the material in this piece. Practicing scales and exercises in the relative keys of a piece will facilitate the piece tremendously.  It will also help ensemble blending and intonation as well. We also discussed the tempo markings and bowings and how to approach those.

Sonata Form

We went over the form of the piece, which is called Sonata Form. It’s a common structure used in classical music.  Generally, the sections are as follows: Exposition, Development, Recapitulation, and Coda. They are listed in your scores, and we’ll go over what each section means later in the semester.

We ran through the exposition (up to the repeat), or as much as we could get through.  Please practice this first section for next week.

Practice running through

Practicing for ensembles is different than individual.  Rather than fine-tuning first and then gradually playing the whole thing, ensemble members must learn how to run through a piece first.  That means prioritizing RHYTHMIC aspects; sticking to a tempo, counting rests, counting long notes.  It also means learning how to skim through difficult sections without losing the tempo or getting lost.  My recommendation for this week is: play through the whole exposition with a metronome on. Even the rests.  Familiarize yourself with the experience of running through it on your own so we can run through it as a group. Do not practice isolated parts until you’ve run through it a couple times. This is how the pros do it, folks!   


PDF: Haydn Violin 1
PDF: Haydn Violin 2
PDF: Haydn Viola
PDF: Haydn Cello
PDF: Haydn Score