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Ruth Kuefler

Guilty pleasures

August 6, 2009 at 12:51 AM

 Today I felt like a kid in a candy store. 

I went online to Shar to estimate how much new strings will cost for my violin and viola, and got delightfully side-tracked in no time. It all started with rosin. Of course, I dropped my rosin a few weeks ago (doesn't that always happen? I swear I've lost more rosin to death by shattering than anything else). I've been managing to use the shards, but I wanted to order a new cake with my strings. Well, I noticed the cute little mini-rosins, and the first thing I thought was how perfect they'd be for my students. The music store I teach at hasn't been stocking rosin lately (very sad) so it would be nice if I just kept my own on hand for students. Well, then I wondered what other goodies Shar might have for my studio. Real fingerboard tapes, for one, would be a welcome luxury. Though actually, at 2-3 bucks, they're not such a luxury after all. I've been cutting up labels lately to use for fingering tapes, but they tend to wear out or get dirty too fast. 


Rosin, check; tapes, check. What else do we have here? Continuing to browse the teaching aids section, I find what looks like an awesome resource called "I Love to Practice!" (Now isn't that a title that warms a teacher's heart?) It's a collection of games that correspond with the Suzuki books. I could really use something like this to supplement my teaching plan for beginners. And why not get a book on the Suzuki Approach to deepen my knowledge while I'm at it? And look, one of those cute cardboard box violins like the one I started out on! Oh so tempting.


Sigh. But reality sets in and I must sort the needs from the wants. I need strings and a folding stand, which comes to about $180 (eek!). I guess I'll just have to finish my other expenses for this semester and check back. Hey, at least these studio splurges are tax-deductable, right? So I tell myself to lessen the guilt . . . ;-)


P.S. A little update on my last blog: several of the local school music teachers responded positively to my emails, and one even invited me to come in and give a few masterclasses/sectionals! And I have 3 wedding gigs lined this month. It's encouraging to see my summer efforts paying off. 

From Tom Holzman
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 1:52 AM

Congratulations on the success of your emails.  And, with regard to the purchases at Shar, remember that in your tax bracket you are only really paying about $115 for the $180 of goodies given their tax-deductible status (lol).  Enjoy them.

From Anne Horvath
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 3:56 AM

Please listen to Holzman about the tax deductions.  Save your receipts, keep track of everything, and back up records.  You are allowed to deduct expenses, and you should!  Happy Shopping!

From john zuris
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 4:58 AM

just a little thing I've discovered about rosin. When you drop it and it shatters, try this before you get "fiddle fever". The pieces still fit together perfectly, right? Get a cotton ball or just use your finger and rub alcohol {I use denatured from the hardware store} on adjoining pieces, and they will go back together. Don't use too much, the main idea is hold it firmly together for a while. The rosin I use fits just right in a candle holder I have: a perfect clamp.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Shar fingerboard tapes *are* good, but they wear out too.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on August 6, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Ruth - To really game the system correctly you need to try to have the mentality that everything you spend money on is related to your work in some way or other.

From Bernice Stochek Friedson
Posted on August 8, 2009 at 7:37 PM

Another way to salvage rosin: whether broken or just worn out with the "Grand Canyon" running down the middle, just heat an old table knife on a gas or electric burner, hold it against the rosin which will melt like butter, and "smoosh" it together. The knife cools quickly, so reheat and repeat until it's all back together and in good shape. Warning: do NOT use a candle to heat the knife.  I did once, and when I went to use the bow that I had just rosined, found a slick, waxen surface! Had to rehair the bow :( 



From Michael Snow
Posted on August 10, 2009 at 4:58 PM

I had an interesting rosin experience last week. As had happened numerous times in the past, I dropped my rosin. But I now use Guillaume rosin, which comes in a very nice round wooden box. I picked up the box, opened it, and found my rosin completely unharmed. So, in addition to the rosin sounding really good with my strings, the box (which seems a little luxurious at first) actually protected my rosin from cracking on impact! Now I'm more sold than ever on this rosin.

From Kristin Mortenson
Posted on August 10, 2009 at 9:35 PM

 Save those rosin shards for your favorite ballerina, Ruth! My daughter is making good use of one of my students' shattered Motrya Gold! :-)

Posted on August 12, 2009 at 5:39 PM

This past Monday I got an alarming call from a friend, "my violin has exploded"...well, knowing that they don't explode but not getting a definitive explanation as to what took place, I gathered my somewhat modest repair kit and off I went to save the day. The tail gut had broken, big deal. It was an ancient "gut" variety which I replaced with a Saconni and while into it fixed the pegs that just about needed a pair of vice grips to turn, and changed the very old and dead strings.

So, now I am short a tail adjuster and a back-up set of Evah' to Shar's online shopping site...yes Ruth, we all have the addiction. $174.00 later I'm done.

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