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Winter Workshop Wrap-up


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There have been some active Maestronet participants absent from the Pegbox for a week now.

Thanks to the unselfish expertise of Michael Darnton, there are a group of us that learned more in the last 5 days than I could possibly communicate. Learning together not only grew our knowledge, it has built wonderful friendships. From all over this country and Canada we listened and worked and listened and worked (some 'till wee hours of morning). We had a wide variety of skills that were shared including a storyteller that made us smile.

All violins that I make (or even restore) will have attention to details that my eye could have never caught before Michael pointed them out and showed how to approach. That and friends is what I gained the most. Now finishing those details as well as Michael does,, that's a different story.

It is just wonderful how an internet forum can be the interface that brings people together not only to share some knowledge but ultimately to build strong friendships.

Thank you Michael and all my new friends and to Maestronet.

p.s. Hope there are no pictures or sound tracks from the late night entertainment(?) next door!

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Most of the group is traveling home today. I just could not resist saying something already.

My right thumb can sure vouch for Michael's sharpening method on scrapers. And dna is supposed to be one of the new violin marking methods, right? I'll just have to wait and let the other guys and gals jump in tonight and tomorrow for more.

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I certainly had a great time! You wouldn't believe how nice everyone was, friendly, and eager to do things--even though the day started for us a 8AM, some of them were working to midnight and beyond, too. I wouldn't have believed before this that in a group of 9 people, essentialy randomly self-selected, there would be such a wonderful collection of 100% interesting and friendly people. And Regis did a fine job--the whole thing, and all the planning--right down to each day's agenda--was entirely his idea, not mine, and everything was totally smooth, especially since he was taking a personal interest in everyone, making sure we all got there, had a smooth week, and got back home with a minimum of fuss.

And here we are:


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I had a really good time and got so much out of the workshop. Thanks to all and -especially- to Regis and Michael. A great blend of great people, each with a unique angle, and the perfect amounts of learning, working, thinking, laughter, stories, inspiration -- we covered a LOT and Michael was always willing to explain and share his methods and various opinions (!!) It's kind of impossible to explain how much fun it was so I'll leave it at that for now...

Oh yeah, and in terms of the late night entertainment, all I have to say is "Swizzle Stick" -- yeah, Barry? Ha!

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I'm the one standing 4th from the left or right...I guess that puts me in the middle!

We had a great time. Worked hard and learned more in one week that I could have learned in several years doing the same things I had been doing in the past. Michael pointed out small things that make a huge difference going forward.

As we exchange ideas on this forum, you form opinions about how you think people might be in person. I was truly unsure as to what type of person I thought Michael might be. Well he really is a master violin maker, no smoke & mirrors, but he is also a terrific guy! We saw his work and heard it being played by a skilled young man who is auditioning for the S.F. Symphony. Michael not only knows his stuff but also knows how to convey his ideas to his students in a very logical understandable way. You can never underestimate the impact that you have on another persons life by helping them achieve their dreams and desires when you teach them something new. When Amati taught del Gesu I'm sure he had no idea how his efforts would impact history. Maybe none of us will turn out that good but Michael helped us along our journey to achieve our dream.

Not only did I learn more that we can really expalin on this forum...I made many new friends that I sure I will be frineds with for a long time!

Barry Dudley

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Wow, what a great time I had! And with a truly wonderful group of folks. Thanks Michael for sharing your knowledge with a bunch of keeners like us. Thanks Regis for your southern hospitality. And thanks to the whole group for creating such a comfortable learning environment.

The sharpening advice made a huge, instant difference. The bee-stings I cut actually give the "illusion" of an experienced maker. Well at least three out of four of them do! I'll post pictures of my finished product when the time comes.

I've come home with a wealth of knowledge and some really good belly laughs. I'm ready for the next one.

so ". . .live from the Swizzle Stick Lounge. . ."

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Had a great time, too! Michael's tips were priceless, and the seafood was yummy!

We had a great group of people, and that really made the whole thing. I'm looking forward to staying in contact. I'm the one in the white t-shirt.

Now I just need to find the time to apply to the things we learned!

Swizzle on, Swizzle on!

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I'm third from the right in the blue. This was just a fantastic experience and hands down the best workshop I have ever attended in many aspects. Not the least of which was the chemistry of the group. I doubt if you're going to get that every time, but it certainly was a marvelous experience. Many people have a lot of knowledge in re: violin making and repair but few have the ability to communicate that knowledge clearly on a variety of skill levels. Regis was a perfect host and made everyone feel comfortable from the start. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Jim Brown

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It has been a long time since I posted here. Once upon a time an unnamed moderator took me to task for an opinion I had (one that was shaky at best), at which point I remembered the valuable lesson that it is sometimes better to learn with one's mouth shut and ears open. At the recent workshop Michael taught I mostly kept that lesson in mind, partly because I was furiouly scribbling notes. Us participants were very lucky that our teacher not only is very knowledgeable but also able to convey his ideas understandably. Now all we have to do is take those teachings and spend years(?) learning how to do what he made look so easy. I'm in the red flannel shirt. Violin maker or convict?


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