Ellen Stern

Fest Profile

I mostly use bones to aid in learning new tunes, usually in the car, which is probably why I never learned to play 2-handed. One pair in my right hand is sufficient. In the car I use a pair of very soft and quiet pine bones to protect my ears. I’m a brilliant player in the car but nervous sweaty hands undermine my rhythm and keep me from playing much in public.


I first saw rhythm bones played by a musician in a New Orleans street band circa 1980, and I was mesmerized, but it was several years before I acquired my first pair and learned to play them. Met Steve Brown soon after that, sat in on the first RBS planning meeting at Natick High, and the rest is history.