What to do with grant money
My son (freshman in HS) has been extremely fortunate to be granted a second fellowship this year that assists kids from traditionally underrepresented groups in classical music. As part of this fellowship, he gets $3000 he can spend on an instrument or bow any time in the next 2.5 years or so.
He currently has a very nice modern violin that is appraised for $11,000. It's the quality of most violins twice its value because it is new and the maker is not particularly famous. He has a bow appraised for $2000 that is good, but has some weaknesses (doesn't bounce great).
His teacher has said both are sufficient for now, but he may need to upgrade for college auditions. She said expect to need to go to the $30-40,000 range for the instrument, and a comparatively better bow.
We are saving, but to be honest, I am not sure us buying a violin in that range is realistic, even saving for 3 years.
My question is, what would you invest in? Spend it all on a better bow earlier on? Save it for the better violin, which may or may not happen? We don't get cash, so if he doesn't spend it, the grant monies disappear.
How do people afford this violin thing????
not an expert but given his violin already cost 10k, i would spend the grant money on a bow upgrade, maybe sell his existing bow and add that to the 3 grand, so ultimately you have 4-5 grand for the bow.
I would invest in a better bow - a strong bow that really engages the string makes advanced bow techniques so much easier, not to mention the fact that it limits the chances of E-string whistling. Your son will be able to draw a deeper tone out of his instrument as well, which will make him sound even more impressive than I'm sure he already sounds.
Don't rush your decision. Your son is young, and he already has a good instrument, and the bow might become a high priority over the next two years, or it might not.
to add to evan's point, my best mate went to conservatory with a 5k usd violin, and a friend of mine who is considered a child prodigy who performed at various professional levels including soloist at lincoln center also didn't have a violin that cost that much. the point i'm trying to make i guess is he doesn't need a more expensive violin, unless its a violin that cost 11k but sounds cheaper.
I would invest in the better bow right now. If you are in the $5k-6k range, you can buy a bow from just about any contemporary maker. You should have plenty of choices in Chicago. As a high schooler, I got a bow from a now-Michigan based bowmaker, Douglas Raguse, whose bows should be readily available in the Chicago violin shops and are worth trying.
that Reed Yeboah exhibition is 10 blocks from me i think i'm going to go check it out haha
With the size grant you have there, a bow is kind of an obvious choice. Especially if you are concerned his existing bow has limitations.
I have never owned a violin worth more than $20K in my life. I am currently playing on a $17K Cison, as are several other people in my orchestra. There's no reason to move up in violin until his current instrument limits him, and even then you may be able to find a suitable instrument under $30K--look at the Cisons, for example, which I think are now at $20K.
I am so glad for your family and your son that you received this! I don't have any better suggestions on how to use it, but I just wanted to rejoice with you!
That's one teacher full of BS or taking a percentage from the local violin shop.
Susan, based on his (lovely) videos, I think you probably won't need to be concerned about another violin until he starts competing internationally and people show up with borrowed Strads.
I am late to the party, definitely agree with folks suggesting to start auditioning bows. By far the biggest potential bang for the buck assuming the current violin sounds good.
The price of an instrument doesn’t necessarily always go hand in hand with quality. Some $11,000 Derazeys can sound just as good as a $100,000 violin in my opinion. You can get a good bow for $3,000. Have a look at auctions such as Tarisio. You can find some great deals there quite often.
Thank you so much for all your detailed comments. Lydia, especially, thank you, since you likely know the teachers involved and what his program is like. And for evaluating his violin in his recordings!
Yep. I actually have a passing childhood acquaintance with his teacher; we studied with the same teacher but at slightly different times. (My mom remembers her better than me, and tutors one of her other students.)
is this your son?
Yes, though he's not going to be happy you found his webpage. LOL The videos are mostly old. I need to update with recent stuff. I haven't gotten around to uploading in about 6 months.
yeah i can see why your son got the 3k grand money, i hope all the recommendations here helped you and your son out of course its not that his current bow is a slouch from the clips.
He's got a publicity site, so he
Susan you must be very proud, congratulations! Just listened to his Wieniawski concerto movement with the DePaul orchestra.
Wow, outstanding playing! (His violin sounds great too. :-)
Susan, I agree. He is very good. Alghough I'm slightly annoyed that I'm 8 years older tban him and play nowhere near like that.
watching his vid kinda made me wish i sticked to violin more when i was at his age, instead i picked up the electric guitar and joined a band haha.
Thanks, everybody, for the kind words. He's kind of at that age where he doesn't want to stand out (except when he is on stage, ironically), so he currently finds his website and any publicity annoying. He'll get back to liking it once he gets over that.