creative funding

August 28, 2019, 9:40 AM · I am a bit nervous to post something like this, for fear of it seeming like I'm irresponsible or something...but here goes...

The master teacher of the week-long course I took last week was very helpful. During my last lesson, he was particularly encouraging about my playing and progress, and said he would like to continue working with me. He invited me to attend, if I could, his next course, which takes place in about a month in Switzerland.

I would really like to go! I found working with him to be a great experience, and the level of playing at this program in Switzerland will be incredibly high - I will be far "behind" all the other performers, so I know I will learn a ton. And I would have the benefit of going in knowing that this teacher will do his best to help me do my best, and that is a very valuable asset!

He encouraged me to apply for a scholarship, which I did. Hopefully there are funds left, at this late date. However, the scholarship won't cover hotel/airbnb/hostel and/or transportation, and the highest estimate for these costs is way out of my ability to afford it (a large part due to the fact that it is so near the dates, it's Switzerland, and I didn't have any time to financially plan for it). The lowest is still a big stretch.

All that to say...I am an expert on being thrifty re. travel and accommodation and food. Even still, I would need an outside source of financing.

Does anyone know of any general scholarships or grants or things like that that I might apply for? Or have any other brilliant ideas/suggestions?

I appreciate in advance your helpful and kind responses.

Replies (27)

August 28, 2019, 10:19 AM · Congratulations!!!

Perhaps a kickstarter or gofundme (or patreon) campaign for friends/family/etc where in exchange for patron's generosity you can offer them an inside glimpse into your process? I am not super familiar with the details of the three platforms (or of indiegogo's either), but maybe it's worth a shot?

Home exchange might be a possibility to help save on housing costs - but to be honest, my one experience doing so was meh.

Am sure others will have ideas too!

August 28, 2019, 2:38 PM · Thanks Pamela! I actually hadn’t heard of a couple of those platforms! So that was really helpful info!

I find it really uncomfortable to ask for monetary support in that way from friends (don’t have a large family network) instead of organizations, but I also think it would be so foolish to waste this opportunity. I will think about it some more...

Another friend suggested busking in the city centre - I’ll look into the rules for that here. Any song suggestions? I thought Sinatra pieces might be crowd pleasers. :)

August 28, 2019, 6:34 PM · IIRC you have a freelance job in some other profession? My guess is that it likely pays more than any busking etc. that you could do, per hour. I'd take on more of that work. Otherwise, the Bank of Mom and Dad.
August 29, 2019, 9:19 AM · I always assume that people do not have a Bank of Mom and Dad to rely upon. (I certainly don't!)

For your time ROI, I would agree with Lydia that your current job would pay more per hour than busking. If you could scrape together an extra project to take on between now and when you leave, would that be a way for you to afford the trip?

August 29, 2019, 9:37 AM · Yes, I freelance as a copyeditor/proofreader. The trouble with freelancing is that the jobs find me...but I don't currently have a job in the wings, so to speak. I have asked my contacts here to pass the word along to people who might be looking for help in this way, but I can't predict how/where/when I might get the next project!

The program has let me know that they don't officially have any scholarship money left...but they are trying to figure something out for me and will let me know next week. That is very nice of them!

On market days, I imagine busking might be worth a shot. It might at least pay for a couple of nights in an airbnb...I now have a friend to do it with (who is also going to this program), so it won't be as intimidating. :)

August 29, 2019, 9:37 AM · Yes, I freelance as a copyeditor/proofreader. The trouble with freelancing is that the jobs find me...but I don't currently have a job in the wings, so to speak. I have asked my contacts here to pass the word along to people who might be looking for help in this way, but I can't predict how/where/when I might get the next project!

The program has let me know that they don't officially have any scholarship money left...but they are trying to figure something out for me and will let me know next week. That is very nice of them!

On market days, I imagine busking might be worth a shot. It might at least pay for a couple of nights in an airbnb...I now have a friend to do it with (who is also going to this program), so it won't be as intimidating. :)

Edited: August 29, 2019, 9:12 PM · What about offering your copyediting services or offering to take on administrative duties for the program in exchange for tuition or housing? Some music festivals provide that option. Otherwise, can you wait until later to take this course?
August 30, 2019, 12:42 AM · I'll be very surprised if busking brings in more than a nice dinner. But it's certainly worth a shot if you don't have anything else profitable lined up for that time.
August 30, 2019, 12:41 PM · Thanks for the suggestion, Frieda! I sent them a message with that idea.

The nice thing, I imagine, about busking in Europe vs. the States is that coins are worth a whole lot more here! :)

August 30, 2019, 1:26 PM · Mind if I ask how much you are shooting for? Better assume that the program will come up with a scholarship after all - else you probably don't have much chance.

Busking can be very lucrative if you are with someone that knows the market. My experience is that its best to have a lot of variety - not just show tunes but the whole gamut of classical (think wedding tunes) to pop - and learn some oldies because oldies are often the biggest tippers. One of the best I had was a couple who's own child was studying cello away from home. Guess they related....

August 30, 2019, 1:50 PM · Anita, try getting in touch with Inksplash: LINK. They hire freelancers, as far as I know (although I believe they're shifting towards a full-time remote-work model). It's run by Christina Castelli, a professional violinist, Juilliard graduate, and former laureate in the Queen Elizabeth. It's possible that she might be sympathetic.

August 31, 2019, 9:09 AM · Thank you Lydia!! I’ll send them a message. That’s a great lead. :)

Yes, without the scholarship, I don’t know that it will make sense to continue to try to go....

By busking, I’m hoping for 100 in a day. I know that’s high, but what’s the cost of hoping? If it proves lucrative, maybe I’ll do it a few times - the weather is nice for it at the moment. In the perfect world, an extra 400 or so might be nice (not in one day, of course...)

And maybe another editing job will come unexpectedly my way...

September 3, 2019, 9:10 AM · They found scholarship funds for me! :) !!! :)
September 3, 2019, 10:18 AM · WOOHOO Anita!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does this mean that you are able to go?

Would love to hear what you are up to in terms of rep, tech work and so on...

September 3, 2019, 12:36 PM · Yes! It means I will make it work somehow!!! It would seem foolish not to, I think... :)

I'm extremely grateful and beside myself with excitement. :D

Sure - I am always happy to share.

After working on the Mozart 4 for a few weeks and not really being able to pull the piece up past some barriers in terms of alacrity of left hand fingers and bow work, my teacher decided I should step back from working on rep and focus on all of the ground technique. My very first reaction was a sense of failure, but I quickly calmed myself down - this was, in fact, what I had originally thought this year would be filled with. And since I never had solid technique-building the first time around, this is actually a great opportunity! And my teacher is awesome! Otherwise, I think I would never get past a certain ability level - as was being shown by Mozart 4.

So, I have been doing hours upon hours upon hours of Sevcik and Schradieck...scales, including thirds and sixths and octaves, which are new for me...arpeggios...bowhand exercises...shifting exercises...I am sure there is more that I am not thinking of at the moment...

I am applying these things to small, technically easier pieces, so that the difficulty level does not get in the way of trying out all the things I am learning on music - Meditation (which is the piece I played in the masterclass ending performance), Vocalise, Valse Sentimental, Paganini Sonata 12, Moto Perpetuo, Faure's Berceuse...etc.

It seems to be a matter of trusting that faithful work on these repetitious things over a long period of time will bring results. And they have, so far! I have seen a change in the way I put my fingers down and pick them up (thank you, Schradieck...), the amount of tension in my thumb, my legato and pulling a nice sound with my bow, my bow hand's ability to feel the sound and my flexible...

I am still hoping for breakthroughs in shifting, which I haven't quite understood how to "crack" yet. It's my white whale, it seems! And further breakthroughs in bowing stuff is my deep desire! (always) and not tensing my thumb when I play things like Moto Perpetuo or double stops - my hand gets tired easily because I easily start to squeeze. No-no.

Is that it? That's all I can think of right now. Sorry for the all-over-the-place summary! ;)

September 3, 2019, 3:20 PM · Anita - oh great stuff!

I dream of the day that I can play the more complex music that brought me back to the instrument, but it seems I'm still gnawing away on the tech/foundational material and working on smaller pieces - much like you (although I was recently told that I could back off the technical/foundation work, except scales of course, and to focus on the rep more!)

Looking forward to you sharing another video of your playing (and progress)! ;)

Congratulations again on the scholarship!

September 3, 2019, 5:34 PM · "The nice thing, I imagine, about busking in Europe vs. the States is that coins are worth a whole lot more here!"

Yeah here in the US we're so damned smart that we make coins that aren't worth the metal they're made from.

September 3, 2019, 7:06 PM · Elise, how on earth could YOU have come to be busking for anything other than charity? and, even if for charity, having that much experience in it, too!
Sorry, Anita, the aim of these posts is to try to help YOU, and my brain box isn't quite functioning that well at the moment. You're not in a position to BORROW, are you (probably unacceptably risky)? You couldn't clean, drive, waiter/waitress, cycle-courier (I shouldn't be recommending this last, with my brother threatening to go sick with worry if I ever again get back on that bike - and I'd only been cycling to SAVE money/time, rather than earn it) or something?
September 3, 2019, 10:03 PM · Anita, if you're having problems with left-hand squeezing, and shifting (the two are related), try practicing a passage or a scale entirely with "whistles." That is, have your left thumb just barely in contact with the neck, and the fingers of your left hand only just barely in contact, as if you were playing nothing but harmonics. It will sound dreadful.

After playing a passage with "whistles" one or more times, add *just enough* weight to your left hand fingers to get rid of the whistly sounds, no more. Most likely this will be result in much less left hand pressure or squeezing than you normally play with.

Shifting technique is related; a proper shift is executed on a whistle. In slow motion, a shift consists of: playing the note you're shifting from, releasing the left hand to a whistle, moving on the "old" finger in a whistle (closing or opening the elbow so that the hand frame remains consistent), landing in the new position, putting down the new finger if different, adding weight.

Yes, I know there are other types of shifts for artistic or technical reasons, but this is the basic idea of standard shifting.

Edited: September 3, 2019, 10:28 PM · I find if I'm not paying at least some attention to how I execute shifts, there can even be a tendency to grip *harder* during the shift. That's when the study books have to come out (again).

Copy editing? You should advertise to edit chemistry and physics dissertations (for starters). Most of the ones I read need significant editing help. I know someone who does this (but only locally). She has absolutely no academic background in chemistry or science whatsoever. You think the clientele is frugal? Well the job market is very good and these people are eager to trade their assistantships in for real money. One month of the salary difference pays for your services.

September 4, 2019, 3:30 AM · great find by Lydia this Inksplash company actually run by a violinist!!
September 4, 2019, 4:39 AM · Pamela, yes! It's slow, but, as a teacher recently told have to train your brain in slow speeds so that it can track at higher speeds. There is a difference between playing fast while being able to think alongside in slow motion vs. playing fast and panicking or not thinking at all! :) One is a rock, the other is sand. I like to imagine that all this slow, painstaking work is going to make me able to think so much faster when I (we!) finally get to the pieces we long to play.

As for a video...I do have a recording from the performance at the end of the masterclass. I post it with consternation, haha. Because it's always vulnerable to put videos out there. Oy. Scary. I will say that I was very glad about a few things: one, how I handled the nerves. It was the biggest hall I've ever played in, and during the dress rehearsal, I got unbelievably nervous. I was able to use some tactics during the actual performance (and before) to control the nerves a bit. Second, I had made a discovery a few days earlier re. bow hand, and was able to apply it some of the time during the piece! I considered that a success, though it wasn't ALL the time. Third, I hoped to not get distracted by thoughts and mistakes during the performance, and I did feel I was able to redirect my attention most of the time to the present, to the music whenever there was a bauble or blip. In the end, I was glad to have the experience. Ok, here goes...:

Oh my, there is actually a plethora of cycle-courier jobs in my city - it's the biking capital of Germany!

Paul, yes, I have a feeling that, if I had a different personality/strengths/any sort of business sense, I could find as many copyediting jobs as I needed. I need to work on this. I get intimidated by discussing fees and so forth. It's partly maybe that I can't myself imagine paying someone so much for these services, so I feel so bad asking for fair pay! (Even though it's intense work, and I know I do an excellent job.) Not insurmountable! I just have to decide to be a bit braver about these things...

Mary Ellen, thanks so much!! I tried this, and it made a difference! I think it's a habit to clench (and panic!) when I shift, so it will take some patient re-wiring to get out of that habit. Kind of you to share your expertise! If you have time, could you say something more about the other kinds of shifts? Is there ever a time where you don't keep contact with the string as you shift? I have so many questions about's always felt like an unclear concept to me.

The idea of the closing/opening of the elbow is also a really helpful image.

September 4, 2019, 9:00 AM · Have you ever seen an inverted roller coaster, where the ride train hangs from the track? Imagine that during a shift, an invisible track connects the note you're starting from to the note that you're going to, and your hand is gliding smoothly (or at high velocity, being catapulted) along that track. I tend to think of that trajectory, on an upwards shift to high positions, as more of an arc than as a straight line. Importantly, it is aimed. Set the initial finger solidly, and release the pressure, as if you were using the initial drop like the start of a springboard; mentally picture (kinesthetically imagine) where you're going, execute the zip-along-the-track motion quickly, arrive, drop the final finger.

Most of the time, your finger is left on the string extremely lightly so that you have a tactile measurement of the distance. In practice, you may do some thrown/pivot shifts where that is not always the case, but as a general rule of thumb, finger-on-string is the way. You can choose to shift on the finger you're leaving from or the finger you're arriving onto (or on rare occasion, some other finger entirely, which can be useful if you're mentally framing out a double-stop).

How much kinesthetic memory do you have for the correct motions of playing the violin? If you think of a passage, can you imagine playing it in your mind, replaying the feel of the motions and the string under your fingers? (Can you do it vividly enough to be able to tell when you'd have arrived out of tune?)

September 4, 2019, 10:53 AM · I like to imagine that as well Anita! I am able to play a lot faster than I could with mental tracking, although it is still far from the perfection that does not exist ideal. I'm getting there, it's a process. Moto Perpetuo definitely helps with the slow to fast playing with mental tracking.

Very nice playing! You've come a long way since your Mozart from a while back! :)

Re: shifting and thumb tension - I utilize both Mary Ellen's and Lydia's practice and mental techniques. They make a big difference.

For thumb tension, when it creeps back in, I will also stop to relax my hand every line or so when doing Schradieck (for example, could be anything!), then relax every couple of lines, and so on - until the hand is relaxed throughout and I am mentally able to notice when my thumb starts to tense and can immediately release it. Hope that makes sense.

September 4, 2019, 11:04 AM · Anita, set your fee at $50 per hour minimum. With a one-hour minimum. Commit this information to a website somewhere. Then you will not feel bad "haggling" because you can just say "my prices are on my web site."

Now suppose someone wants to know how much it will take for you to edit their whole doctoral dissertation. Well, you could estimate a number of hours, like 10 hours ($500). Then you get into the first ten pages and you realize it's going to take twice as long. So you just adjust your threshold for correction so that you're fixing half the number of mistakes. Instead of rewording sentences, you mark a sentence and write "awkward - rephrase". Or, you do a professional job on it like I know you will, and next time you estimate higher. The problem is you can't estimate yourself out of business. Most people just want to make sure their documents don't have really horrific gaffes. They don't care if it's not Tolstoy or Goethe.

September 7, 2019, 3:16 PM · I apologize for taking a few days to answer! I had an academic conference which made it hard to do much else besides that and practice (and sleep, a little...)

Lydia, I remember you mentioning this before in response to one of my threads! I had forgotten, but find the imagery really helpful (again). Oh, that hermeneutical circle...

No, my kinesthetic memory is not that good. I can visualize, but cannot say whether the distance I am visualizing will result in a clean note or not. Hmm...I suppose I can try to pay attention, when practicing shifts, to visualizing it and see if it improves my capabilities...

Thank you, Pamela! :) It's good to hear that you see improvement - it's so hard to see oneself... Also, I have been trying your trick of relaxing while playing scales and arpeggios. (Also to release tension in my face)

Paul - thank you. Want to be my copyediting agent? :) I think I am fairly good at estimating time it will take to do a particular job, especially if I can take a look at it beforehand to see what state it is in. I also try to get a sense of what the writer wants - just correcting basic mistakes and making things consistent re. punctuation and British vs. American spellings, for example, or also giving comments on content? It's just that people, if they have never hired a copyeditor or proofreader before, tend to be shocked by how much time a job takes, which gives me a vague sense of guilt. I told my university that the job they wanted would take me 260-280 hours. They insisted upon hiring me for 120 hours. Then, after those hours were used up, they doubled the contract to 240. Then I ended up working 268 hours, the last 28 without pay...they were very happy, in the end, with my work, but try as I might at the beginning, I could not convince them that doing edits and multiple revisions on a 24-chapter book would take longer than 120 hours...

September 7, 2019, 4:36 PM · ... because they never did this kind of thing themselves...

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