Kids Aren’t Lazy Now Available at Gold Violin Shop!

We’re delighted to announce that Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music is now available from Gold Violin Shop in Houston, Texas. It’s an honor to partner with Philip Gold, a highly respected luthier whose string instrument shop has been a Houston staple for decades. Read more about Mr. Gold and his shop in the Houston Chronicle, HERE.

Kids Aren’t Lazy is also available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon (Kindle and Paperback), Amati Violin Shop, Cardiff Violins, Johnson String Instrument, Carriage House Violins, The River Oaks Bookstore, and the Sugar Land Art Center and Gallery. To read the recent review of Kids Aren’t Lazy in the European String Teachers Association (ESTA UK) Magazine, Arco, click HERE.

Kids Aren’t Lazy Now Available from Johnson String Instrument!

We’re thrilled to announce that Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music is now available from Johnson String Instrument! It’s a huge honor to partner with Johnson String Instrument, one of the nation’s most respected sources for string instruments, sheet music, instrument repairs, and accessories. We’re excited to hear how JSI families pursue strategies from Kids Aren’t Lazy in their quests for musical excellence!

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Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music (Photo: Albertine Wang)


Kids Aren’t Lazy Tops the #1 New Release List in SIX Amazon Categories!

We are so excited to share with you that Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music (PDP, 2018) is the #1 New Release in the following Amazon categories on its first day of sales!

Music Instruction & Study

Parent Participation in Education

Psychology Education & Training

Gifted Students Education

Baby & Toddler Parenting


Follow this link to order your own copy!


Music Instruction & StudyNew Release Psychology Education & TrainingNew Release Parent Participation in EducationBaby&Toddler ParentingNew Release Gifted Students EducationNew Release Violins List

Game On! Making Practicing Fun

I still remember the fun practice games I played with my parents as a young violinist. You too can use practice sessions to bond, build self-esteem, and develop positive determination. Playing a quick, relaxing activity in-between practice repetitions helps keep the mood happy, and your involvement demonstrates to your child just how important their progress and happiness on the violin is to you.  Here are some of my favorites for your family to enjoy!


1.) Candy Land

Candy Land is an ideal practice board game because it requires little play time per turn, keeping your practice session on track. Each time it’s your child’s turn, have them play a measure (or song, or new technique) before rolling the dice. What a great way to involve the whole family in practice time fun!

2.) Glitter Wands

There’s something about a glitter wand that mesmerizes even studio parents! Kids and parents alike set up their bow hold on the glitter wand and keep the hold relaxed and accurate until all the glitter falls to the bottom of the wand. Turn the wand upside down and start again!

3.) Arts and Crafts

Give a Rainbow Loom Rubber band to your child for each repetition and see what you can build in a day. Trade play-throughs for feathers, beads, craft supplies, everything. For each step in your project, play a review song. For the true artist, grab a coloring book and fill in part of a picture for every repetition. Paint-by-numbers works especially well for determining how much to fill in for each repetition.

4.) Build Them Up!

Legos (or Duplos, for younger kids) are an awesome way to help kids understand how each practice session takes them to new heights of achievement! Start a Lego village and add a piece for every conquered difficulty. For younger kids, put together a Duplo scene each day, rewarding each effort with a new Duplo. At the end, they’ll have a visual representation of their achievement!

5.) Third Time’s a “Charm!”

For every three times in a row your little violinist plays something correctly, give them a “charm” (a bead for a bracelet). Alternatively, use rhinestone embellishments and glue one on to a project for every three repetitions. Use these creations as presents for friends and family!

6.) Suzuki Review Games

You can find dice, review cards, and other Suzuki-specific games at You can use these dice to play Review Song Bingo as well!

A note on electronic games – while gaming on the iPad may sound like the ultimate practice reward for each kid, I don’t recommend it because isn’t centered around parent-child practicing, and earning screen time makes practicing seem like a chore that must be rewarded. Instead, practicing should be a time when parents and kids work together and enjoy the experience itself. 

Above all, remember that every child’s first priority is making you proud with their playing! Praise their hard work, and let them know that trial and error is part of the process – we practice so much because we know that some things are too advanced to play correctly the first time!

All opinions are by Lauren Haley and all original content is copyright 2015 Lauren Haley Studios.

The Right Fit: Shoulder Rests

The biggest step to improving technique is setting yourself up for successful playing posture.

A student who finds the violin uncomfortable or painful is unlikely to put in extra practice, and an inconvenient set-up hinders virtuosity. There’s a shoulder rest out there for everyone, so let’s find the one for you!


1.) Wolf Forte Secondo

Ideal for taller students playing on 3/4 – 4/4 violins, the flexible and curved shape of the Secondo creates comfort and security. The height adjusts for even the longest of necks, and the contour of the shoulder pad makes the Secondo reliable despite the added height.

While the grippy rubber feet of the Secondo wear out eventually, replacements can be purchased online and in many shops. For heavy use without replacing the feet, expect a product lifespan of  6 months to a year, as the screws eventually become shaky.

Note: Violists who are playing on 14” violas should select the 3/4 – 4/4 violin size of the Secondo. However, the viola version of this shoulder rest for violas over 14” tends to not fit instruments or shoulders well as the length of the shoulder pad is not long enough to compensate for the width of larger violas.

$29.95, available on

2.) Everest ES Series Shoulder Rest

These are the most durable shoulder rests on the market for the price. Everest loses points for not being nearly as customizable as the Wolf, but it makes up for that with good design. The rubber feet make putting this shoulder rest on the violin difficult for beginners, but Everests do stay securely in place during practice and performance. The plastic holes for the screws will eventually wear out, but even so, the overall construction for this one is solid.

As a bonus, Everest shoulder rests come in various colors, making them ideal for students to take to school as these won’t get lost in the sea of plain Kun shoulder rests. Everests are best suited to students who are too small for the Wolf Secondo but too advanced for a Kun. Sizes range from 1/10th violins to 16.5” violas.

$14.96, available on

3.) Kun Original

While Kun is the most recognizable brand, it offers the least flexibility for a custom fit. On the bright side, Kun makes shoulder rests in sizes for just about any violin or viola. Additionally, smaller Kuns come in a range of colors, making them more special for young students. However, these shoulder rests tend to slip off the instrument during performance and the height is limited. Further, the rubber feet tend to wear out and the plastic beneath them can break with long-term use. While this shoulder rest works for petite students, its short height and slippery grip on the instrument often results in students squeezing the violin with their left shoulder or supporting the instrument with their left hand.

$21.44, available on

4.) Bon Musica

Bon Musica is the most secure shoulder rest on the market for those with slim shoulders and a long neck. It allows the left shoulder to relax completely. Further, it stays put on the instrument during practice. While the components of this shoulder rest feel cheap for the price, the comfort Bon Musica provides to those who fit it well is well worth the cost. One more thing to know is that the size of Bon Musica shoulder rests frequently prevents them from fitting in students’ violin cases.

$46.34, available on

5.) Foam Shoulder Rest

Best for early beginners, a foam shoulder rests mimics the advantages of using a sponge without having to cut one into the right shape yourself. Some students prefer to stack two of these together to gain additional height, as foam shoulder rests tend to become flat after a few weeks of playing. The relaxed feel of foam shoulder rests helps students drop their left shoulder, making this choice brilliant for the youngest beginner.

$1.65, available on

6.) OttoMusica Magic Pad

One of the least expensive options and certainly the most fun, these work best for the smallest of violinists as well as for advanced students who otherwise would prefer not to use a shoulder rest. The small animal securely and gently adheres to the violin at the beginning of each practice session and can simply be removed for storage without damaging the instrument’s varnish. Violists, especially, who prefer not to use a shoulder rest but who do not want their shoulder to muffle the sound of the instrument may benefit from these. The downside, however, is that the small height of each magic pad makes them impractical for taller musicians.

$4.79, available on

7.) No shoulder rest

Some violinists and violists are most comfortable without a shoulder rest. If you’re considering this switch, speak with your teacher about how to achieve this without negatively impacting the speed and accuracy of the left hand.

All shoulder rests are available on, with the prices listed pertaining to full-size violins. Violists should confirm the measurements of their instrument before purchasing, and young musicians are encouraged to re-evaluate their shoulder rests as they grow to maintain comfort and posture. All opinions are by Lauren Haley and all original content is copyright 2015 Lauren Haley Studios.