July 2007

Update on the Lesson Scam Situation

July 28, 2007 08:15

Thank you all for your kind responses about the violin lesson scam. I went to the police report yesterday with copies of the cheque and western union transfer and a whole folder of the emails. And my bank account statement which showed the money as available....showing I wasn't so dumb...I waited three days and thought the money was in there. Apparantly the teller I went to was new and o.k.'d the check when he shouldn't have. The police told me it was a stolen bank account with a real check...anyway.

Bottom line. There is a detective on the case who might be able to trace the person through email. I saved even the bubble envelope the check came in, although all these addresses are different. I should get a call from the detective in a few days. There is incentive here because there are many many cases similar to this in our area right now....one woman lost her children because of one for 10 thousand dollars that put her so deep in the hole that she couldn't care for her kids. I'm lucky that it wasn't so bad as that.

The thing that makes me so upset is that I'm not a stupid person. I DID see the red flags and asked about them and tried to clear things through. These people were very , very convincing. I am gulible, yes, but I didn't just run out and put the check in my account and take out cash and run to Western Union. The part where the ignorance comes in is that I don't knwo that much about banks and I'd never used Western Union before (or anything similar)....and have only dealt with money or banks as far as a simple checking account.

And I was lulled in easily because we were scratching to make ends meet anyway, and this would have helped out, and the work would have helped in many ways. Intense, short...

I think I have done all I can do. Now I just have to try to keep going on and not think about it too much. The police, the bank, and Western Union were fairly sure I'd not see my money again. But I feel better that I have at least tried to do something about it.

I told my violin teacher i.e. owner of the viola... he was sympathetic, but didn't say anything about the viola. I did play on it yesterday knowing I have to give it back, which means I'm not in the state of mind I was the day it happened...because I couldn't even look at any instrument for two days without feeling ill. Now I can practice again.

Thank you for all the support.

-Jennifer S. Warren
(In response to the last poster in the replies to the original blog post........
are you serious????? I wouldn't be opposed. Maybe there is something I can do in return? My contact info is on my bio page. Family has been helping out as much as they can, though, yes, we are still in the negative with the bank.)

7 replies | Archive link

Don't let this happen to you. Disasterous...

July 26, 2007 17:33

I will make this short, as the matter has been deeply disturbing...yet I felt I needed to share it with you guys because, yes, it could happen to you.
The short version.
I put a listing up on craigslist.com for violin/viola lessons. I had an email sent to me from a woman who wanted her son to take lessons.

Supposedly her son, a 13 yr. old boy, a beginner, was coming to my area for the month of august and she didn't want him to be bored, requesting 1 hr. lessons, three times a week.

As most of you know, that in itself is weird. Three times a week? I told her no. But emails were exchanged and we were about to come to a final schedule, agreement, etc. And then she told me she'd already paid me. But there was a mixup with her secretary and the kid's driver's fee and mine were sent together. So....a certified check for 2thousand dollars would arrive and I was to deduct my sizeable fee from it and then western union it to the driver. Well.

I did this. I waited for the check to clear, or so I thought...my bank said funds were available. SHe was adamant that I send it immediately as he was needing to leave to come here and do this job. I western unioned the 1300 dollars with the 100 dollar fee out of his portion.

TOday I went to buy a printer and my card was declined. I went to the bank. THe check had bounced. I was overdrawn 900 dollars. The check wasn't fraudulent, the account had been closed, so the bank couldn't re-imburse me the money. So I'm in big trouble. Basically with 0 money, owing the bank 900 dollars.

Don't let this happen to you.
It really ruined my day. NOt to mention a lot of other things. Big crisis. All over wanting to teach violin lessons.

Believe me...it sounded very legit. I'm not stupid. But these people were very very smart. And they got me.

Now I can't get my viola that I've fallen in love with...150 year old beautiful, easy to play, fitting, tone-spellbinding viola that was an amazing deal with a trade-in to my old teacher and valued friend. THis opporitunity will not happen again. I was floating and playing it every minute I could this week until I was able to make the final decision and the downpayment. Which is now gone. In the bank trying to reduce that negative balance.

Lots of crying.

Hope this saves someone from the same bastards.

-Jennifer Warren

12 replies | Archive link

Bach Largo (from double concerto in D) arr. by yours truly.

July 19, 2007 02:54

In response to the post I made earlier today with the Hindemith on it...in reply to the sweet comments.... I copied/pasted my answer from that to a new blog so I can post the first Bach arrangement. (details below)

Well, I started playing viola because I had always wanted to, but no viola I ever played fit well and it caused pain. Then my father passed away in Nov. of 2005. It was very sudden, and I went up to Canada for the funeral. While there, I played his viola (he was a violist) and it was the most beautiful, lovely, viola sound I'd ever heard from my body and musical soul. The viola was a perfect fit. I am built a lot like him, only female version :). I fell in love with both his viola and the desire to play viola all over again. I love the viola, everything about it except maybe not being able to latch onto literature (I think due to ill-fit of viola). I really wanted and hoped to be able to have his viola, or buy it. But it is almost 20 thousand dollars and the person selling it in the family needs the money for a car that will last her the rest of her life. Monthly payments of a hundred bucks a month won't really work in that situation.

But I'm not giving up. I just need to find the instrument that will allow me to feel the sound and love for the sound I make and music I play like his did. It doesn't have to be that instrument, but one that suits me as well.

That's the story in a nutshell.

I'll post my Bach when I'm done with it. It will be a few weeks. I've got one version of the Largo I like, but the vivace I think will be better on the new instrument. Maybe. Hoping. Sound-wise. This viola is lovely with slow lush pieces. I think I could post the Largo now....

5 replies | Archive link

Hindemith and my new viola craze

July 18, 2007 14:35

This is a recording of the Hindemith duo for viola and Cello that was recorded last June at a Tribute recital (in memory of my father, who was a violist.....I arranged some of his music, too, I'll post those another time). I am on viola and my friend Tamar Moten is on cello. Her part is harder than mine. Anyhow...

I'm so excited! I have been struggling with my viola for about a year or so now. That was either the point where I was done experimenting with the newness of a different instrument, had put on a serious recital, (serious as in...Bach suite, Hindemith duo for viola and cello, the Passacaglia me on the viola part, Bruch Romance, etc...and the Faure violin sonata two movt.s), or had come to the point where I needed more out of an instrument and wasn't getting it. I don't know. But I've been so frustrated with it's lack of flexability and total inability to FIT. Accessories or me, personally. It has a great sound on some days, but the C string takes much work to clean...well. In a nutshell, it might be a good instrument for someone else, but it is too heavy, thick, and slow-responding and and and and... for me.

The problem is that I am poor and can't just go out and buy a new viola....or any viola. The luthier shops around here don't do trade ins (like a car dealership would) and putting an instrument on consignment could mean years before a sale. Anyhow. So I contacted my violin teacher who has sold me my concert violin, this particular viola, several good bows...etc.

He has another viola that he is willing to trade with this one, add on another $1,200.00. He trusts me to pay in monthly installments because I always have done precisely that...making it a priority in my finances out of respect. The instrument (from what he says) easy to play. It is a light French instrument, smaller than the one I have now (although the one I have now is 15.5", it is really big in other ways if that makes sense), and has the mellow sound I like. I get to pick it up next MOnday and try it for a week or so.

I really needed this possibility to come along in order to keep the pilot light lit in the viola department. I love the viola, but between trying to avoid injury because of an ill-fit and fighting with it musically....well. I'm on fire now!

I arranged the Bach double for violin and viola and am recording both parts. I have the Largo recorded how I like it. I recorded the vivace last night and it needs some parts re-done. I'm putting the Allegro onto Finale today and will record that soon. My violin is a French violin from 1815. I wonder how the two will sound together if I like this french viola? Anyway. then I'm going to re-record all three movements with the other viola and compare.

*sigh* another atrociously long blog from Jennifer that could have been said in one or two paragraphs. Somehow.... :)


3 replies | Archive link

fast, full and twisty

July 10, 2007 16:15

Today I took a break from all the stressful and increasingly overwhelming projects and music things I'm trying to arrange and do well and get financial support for...and getting a studio up and running and all at the same time avoiding personal thoughts like the ones elicited from a return of my availability contract with one of the classical concerts not booked. It wasn't a mistake, I checked. THey just don't need me for that one. So....am I sitting at the back of the section all year, or in the 2nds or am I just being highung and over conscious this week?

Yea. Had my first viola gig in a quartet. The wedding was inside of a stone church in a state park with two ceiling lights and no temperature control (in July in TN that means that we were dripping sweat on our instruments, seeing spots by the end of the ceremony and the violist couldn't see the finer markings on her music, i.e. measure numbers). I got lost in "sheep may safely graze" not so safely apparantly! I came in matching the cello. Only she was playing 8ths and I was playing quarters. It would have been just fine and no one would have noticed except that the second violinist was generously giving me subtle info on measure numbers and I couldn't see the measure numbers back in the corner. AHH. I didn't get with it until the repeat. I was all in a fit about how badly I did that until I had reasurance from the other members that they were so hot their hair was melting and brains were melting and everyone made mistakes.

All my training playing violin in ensembles didn't prepare me for playign viola in ensembles. TO some degree it did, but I found myself in a very strange twilight zone experience. LIstening-wise, ensemble-wise, harmony-wise. My harmonies didn't sound correct to me even when they were. Oh, and intonation wise.

How strange.
In the light that I'm doing massive work on getting funding for an educational trio or quartet to play real lit. for public and in schools and underprivaledged...

ANYWAY!!! The point of the first sentance being...

I was going to be a regular person today...visit with my mom, get my oil changed, etc.
But by 6:00 pm I felt weird. Where was I, what was I doing? Why was I NOT PRACTICING OR DOING WORK???? And logged on to v.com for some reassurance that I am a musician today even though the day was spent dealing with real world issues....the non-musical ones..

Now, to tighten up that bow, adjust the shoulder rest just so, pick my favourite torturous etudes and technical studies to work on, and think glorious thoughts about Bach.

Ah. Life is so fast, so full, and so twisty.

Jennifer Warren

5 replies | Archive link

Rules of Recording?

July 7, 2007 07:38

I've been a bit absent from v.com. But I've had it in my bookmarks and hit the site from the side pretty much daily for a few minutes of reading.

I've been busy researching different avenues of funding and sponsorship for a quartet (right now trio...we haven't found a second violinist yet...we want real commitment).

Right now I'm listening to the Naxos recording of the Beethoven trio opus no.8. I'm hearing some very VERY fast vibrato, and a certain sound that to me suggests that the recording has been compressed (speedwise). Is this done? I like a fast vibrato, but this seems un-naturally fast. The CD is with: Denes Kovacs-vln, Geza Nemeth-vla, Ede Banda-cello. Never heard of any of them, but I'm not exactly the most well-versed listener.

I'm recording simultaneously with listening on my computer's soundcard Creative Audio Soundblaster Audigy 2 zs (z5?). Using the "as you hear" funcion on the program "sound forge". I'm not listening to the playback of the recording right now, though, Im listening to it AS it records. So I don't think that is a factor.

IS that acceptable or done? (compressing a recording for taste, making it faster?).

Back to researching.

p.s. I'll be playing viola in the trio. Looking through the Beethoven part was discouraging because it seemed so boring. But listening to the recording it soudns as if every player has equally important and interesting parts. Just doesn't seem that way when practicing it at home by myself :).


4 replies | Archive link

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