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a career as a maker


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Here is a question for the people earning a living at making and repairing. My goal is to be a maker. Thats it. I have a ten year plan on acomplishing this and it keeps getting longer. I've been thinking about getting training in repair.

Here is the question. Would I end up repairing for the rest of my life and never be a full time maker? Now, I know it would be dependent on me, but I live in Minneapolis with alot of graduates from the big named schools. Seems like most of them, not all, become repair and restoration experts, but with little output of new instruments. I'm not sure if its economics, experience or both. Any input is appreciated.

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It seems to me that you need to hook up with a good violin shop that will front your instruments. You should talk with Rodney Miller, who makes instruments and sells them out of Stamell Stringed Instruments in Amherst, MA. He seems to be making a living doing just what you are looking to do, supporting his family and having a good time too. You can reach him through the shop. I also recommend talking to Douglas Cox in Vermont and Francis Morris in Great Barrington, MA. These are all makers that seem to have figured out how to do it. The other option is for you to find a Sales rep to actively front your instruments as part of a range of instruments they carry. This way, you can focus on your work and let them do all the heavy lifting.

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To a certain extent, I agree. I find myself trapped in never ending repairs and rehairs, it's a full time occupation for me.

Still, I manage to make, in my off time, on average, three violins a year. I'm on 32 33 &34 now. There is no way I wouldn't make, no matter what else I did for a living.

It's like anything else in life. It's a bit like playing an instrument, if it's important enough to you, you'll find time to do it, even if it's not your primary occupation. I have to laugh at some of my friends who keep putting off starting their first violin. If you don't just get to it, eventually time or the desire simply runs out.

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