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Frederica

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  1. BTW Not sure if this should be considered or not: I mentioned this topic to someone who does not play instruments. He pointed out that a very expensive instrument (5000, 10,000, maybe even 3000 $) could make other kids at school or music school/ lessons envious and that might result in bullying or damaging the violin on purpose. I don't know if this is a thing, if kids that age tell each other what their instruments cost and if they get jealous, but it might be a good idea to tell the daughter not to elaborate about the price of the violin. Also, he pointed out: Would one send a young teenager on the bus/ subway with a $8000 to $10,000 instrument, especially with other kids that age who often "rough around" on public transport? Or kick bags, also violin cases, around during breaks? I recently read an article about a cello that got damaged when a kid accidentally kicked the cello case lying on its side under the table during a break. It took some months to get the insurance money and only then could the cello be repaired, so the kid was without its cello for more than half a year. Actually, if I bought my kid a violin for 5000 to 10,000 $, I'd probably invest in a cheaper instrument (500 to 1000 $) to take on public transport and to school.
  2. How about going in price groups? Ask for violins up to $ 3000 first, then for violins up to $5000 and maybe just so that she was able to try one, too, for violins up to $10,000. Also explain the prices to your daughter before at home: What could you buy for $3000, $5000, $10,000? That's how much these violins would be worth. It might also be that she plays 10 violins in the $3000 range and finds her (current) dream instrument. If you then take the violins she wants to test to her teacher who plays them and hears her play them, I would guess you'd have a very good idea about the most suitable instrument for her. And, of course, SHE will have a very good idea about which instrument she wants. (And then, when she is used to that instrument, I would go looking for a bow to go with it.) If possible, the instrument should be tested at home and during the lesson and if she plays chamber music or in an orchestra, the instrument should be tested there, too. Especially I would not give my daughter the idea that the higher the price, the better the violin, so that in the end she believes "oh, it's only a $3000 violin, it cannot be that good!" Ask her about the differences of the violins the tests: How do they feel, are they easy to play, too loud, too quiet, how does every string sound, how do high and low positions sound, are they easy to play or not etc.? Take notes, than later she can compare more easily. If you get permission from the violin maker (not sure if they are okay with that), take short video of every violin she plays, so that later she can better compare/ remember, "ah, that was the violin with the mellow e-string, that was the violin that was a little heavy" etc.
  3. I am always amazed at this "famous violin maker vs. mass production" talk. I own a factory violin from Markneukirchen from 1895. Yes, it says "copy of Stradivarius" inside. But apart from really loving the sound - I had the chance to play three of those instruments, I loved the sound of two of them, the third seemed a little hoarse - the idea of owning something now 125 years old, that has a history (unknown to me) and made it through two World Wars at all give me a good feeling. Also, most hobby violinists do not have so much money to buy a violin for 5000 €, 10,000 €, 25,000 € (Schleske violin), much less of course 200,000 up to more than a million euros or dollars. So, shouldn't we be thankful that so many instruments were made, in factories, in homes, alone or in shared work, that were worth maintaining through all this time (100 years is not a short time - few people have possessions that are 100 years old), that some of these instrument sound really good to the layperson's/ hobby player's ear and are affordable? Wouldn't it be bitter if we believed, only Cremonese instruments from the 17th/ 18th century were "good" violins and we could never afford them, so why bother with learning the instrument at all? My old Schuster-violin has the deepest G-string-sound I have heard, deeper than any other violin I played on and I really love that. It is not very loud, it wouldn't make it in front of a live orchestra, but it doesn't have to. I am wondering why these violins (and some others) are often talked about in a disappointed or apologising tone. If not everybody can play a Stradivari or Guadagnini even and many people can find good sounding modern or older instrument that are affordable without saving several years, should that not be a reason for joy? I have heard some of the Markneukirchen violins may sell for up to 20,000 € and not even project enough to make it on front of a live orchestra. Now, if we find one for 1000 € or less that has a good sound, shouldn't we be happy that we can afford such an instrument, especially if we love the sound as well? Should it matter if it was made by several people, or in a real factory, or if it is not as perfect as some of the master violins - shouldn't it matter more that is sounds good (not decent, but good enough for a hobby player to actually spend money on it) and also, that is has a little history, been through some hands of people who liked it well enough to spend money on its maintenance and pass it down? If there are 5 million of them and some of those sound really great for hobby players, shouldn't we be happy that most of us will be able to afford such an instrument instead of bemoaning the fact that not every violin is rare and expensive?
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