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Invitation to "Open Letter" (Teacher input requested)


MingLoo

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Dear Strings, Piano and Orchestral Teacher:

You are invited to add your comments to the "Open Letter to Our

Students" page. Please see:

http://beststudentviolins.com/OpenLetter.html

NOTE: This document is a open letter to our students, from music

teachers contacted via the internet forums associated with strings and

piano pedagogy. Teachers are public school teachers, private teachers

(or both), university teachers, conductors and performance artists. If

you would like to contribute remarks to this page, please send them to

webmaster. Please indicate whether you like to be quoted or anonymous,

and if quoted, if you would like a link included to your email address

or webpage.

Thanks!

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"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."

Ruskin, John

John Ruskin is a great writer, but I'm not sure how that applies to my survey. I really don't know what you mean by that. I sell really good violins from Howard Core, which is probably the best distributor of instruments in the US. Perhaps you're misinformed?

At any rate, have you ever looked at the "Teacher's Questionnaire?" Quite a number of teachers, on Maestronet and other forums, contributed to that. See:

http://beststudentviolins.com/teacherquestionnaire.html

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I confess that the replies to the original post have surprised me. Perhaps there is a negative reaction to a post that is somewhat more overtly commercial than many. On the other hand, many Mnet participants are commercially involved, and many postings include links to members' web sites with commercial content, such as discussion of price, quality, terms of service, etc.

I looked at the web site linked in MingLoo's post and found it rather unremarkable within the constellation of sites with similar aims. There is an assortment of low-to-moderately priced instruments, supplies, and music. I didn't study it carefully, but noted no obvious deceptions, low-ballings, mis-labelings, etc. The lowest price fiddle is certainly cheap, but there are higher-priced models too. In particular, I did could not discern that the site specifically intends to prey on those shopping exclusively on price.

In short, absent further explanation of the criticism, I demur. Cheers.

HS

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John Ruskin is a great writer, but I'm not sure how that applies to my survey. I really don't know what you mean by that. I sell really good violins from Howard Core, which is probably the best distributor of instruments in the US. Perhaps you're misinformed?

At any rate, have you ever looked at the "Teacher's Questionnaire?" Quite a number of teachers, on Maestronet and other forums, contributed to that. See:

http://beststudentviolins.com/teacherquestionnaire.html

I don't get the connection between the Ruskin quote and BestStudentViolins either. Their violin prices range from about $200 to almost $5,000. There is a valid market for inexpensive violins for young beginners, and most players I know (amateur adults) would not consider $5,000 "cheap." I think the purpose of the survey and the "open letter to students" is mostly to bring traffic to their site and is hence a marketing tactic. Some might object to that, but heck, we are all interested in promoting ourselves and what we do, and any post from a violin maker or dealer could be said to function as an indirect form of advertising. We call it networking, and I think it's great. But I don't think the BSV products are cheap or shoddy in terms of their intended purpose.

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Thank you for both of your positive responses, which I find very touching. BestStudentViolins.com was preceded by about 12 years of Connie's Violin Page, which was absolutely non-commercial, online research in string pedagogy (except for the Amazon.com affiliation, for which we still get all of about $16.00 a month).

I guess I am obsessed with designing webpage and the internet, in general; my page was one of the first five or six online, way back in the day, along with Cheniston Rolland, John Krackenberger (who's pages I initially developed), Shiela's great page, and a few others. There was NOTHING back then. That's why is hurts me when people accuse me of being materialistic. I've spent hundreds of thousands of hours doing this over the years, and not getting paid at all. I put up items for sale that people need, I only post things which I would use (and do use, myself) and anyone who has done business with me knows that the prices are very low and my focus is not at all, on making money. I just love the instruments.

Initially, when I started this "project," the biggest complaint was that there wasn't content. I have made it my business to provide content, keep it updated, and consult with anyone who would, about the topics. I get lots of interesting emails, including friendships with eminent people who are kind enough to write me. In total, we have 168 pages online and they get massive amounts of hits; more than I ever envisioned when I started. So my point is that it's not done to generate income; that's never been the motivation, as anyone should be able to see.

If you will return to that page, I've added the following links:

Also of interest to teachers:

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Initially, when I started this "project," the biggest complaint was that there wasn't content. I have made it my business to provide content, keep it updated, and consult with anyone who would, about the topics. I get lots of interesting emails, including friendships with eminent people who are kind enough to write me. These pages have gotten a little over 500,000 hits since the beginning of the year. So my point is that it's not done to generate income; that's never been the motivation, as anyone should be able to see.

One of my students gave me a coffee mug that says, "Do what you love, love what you do." I am fortunate in being able to live that advice. I've said this before: just because someone does something in return for an income doesn't make them materialistic. The vast majority of us need to work for a living. If we do it honestly and try to give a little extra as MingLoo is doing, then everyone benefits.

Mary

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