There is a maker near Asheville NC who I think makes instruments in the range you are looking for. It's been awhile since I've played one though, so I am not sure how they are. But may be worth a visit. https://rickenbackerviolins.com/
Another maker is Dereck Coons but he recently won a certificate of tone at the VSA competition so I would try his stuff soon before his prices go up. As of right now I think his instruments run for about 10k.
Finally you could also try and find a local violin maker and see if your daughter likes any of their instruments. Or if she likes certain qualities from a handful of them you could see about having that maker build your daughter a violin based on what she likes. I found my new violin from a local maker when I was returning a trial violin and he had just finished it. He doesn’t rely on his violins to earn a living so he sells them for a really good price. For a violin under 10k I like it quite a lot. Although since it’s a new violin it behaves like one so the sound changes every once in a while as it opens up but I’m excited to see how the sound develops over time.
Also, do look into trying to improve the violin with a luthier like Tom said as well as looking into a better bow. I know it might sound weird spending this kind of money on a stick, but there are some really nice bows in the 3k-6k price range and can really take your daughter’s playing to the next level.
Were it me, I'd be looking at this as a long term project and seeking out good, reputable luthiers who sell instruments on commission. I would much prefer purchasing a violin from an expert who can bring the best out of a violin, versus a salesperson.
And who knows, you might find a bargain. Violins sold on commission can take time to sell. After a period of time, owners may become pliable. If you find one you like that's a bit over-budget, make an offer. And the more quality violins one looks at and plays, the better idea they have of what they really want and need. It's an education process. It's really helpful to try out violins that are both above and below the budget.
I have a violin that I thoroughly enjoy playing, and I payed less than 60 cents on the dollar, compared to it's appraised value. I purchased it in an August, and earlier that year, the owner told my luthier to substantially drop the price. Then, I came along.
For myself, there's no way that I would want to purchase a new violin. The thought just does not appeal to me. So in dealing with older violins, a good luthier can back up the purchase with a warranty. If something happens, they're available and have the knowledge and skills to make it right.
And, the next violin might not be the last violin. As someone pointed out, reputable luthiers will accept trades they sold at the original, full purchase price.
Don't forget about the bow. This or that bow can make a huge difference in the voice of a violin.
That said...what's your daughter working on these days? Are you generally happy w/ her teacher? Do her goals seem realistic? Is she going to summer festivals? Playing in master classes? These are important things to calibrate. Honestly, seems odd to need a new violin again so soon after buying the current instrument. Many intermediate and early advanced students do just fine learning on $4K instruments with decent CF bows. Being concertmaster of a middle school orchestra (speaking from personal experience) doesn't necessarily translate to being competitive in the pre-conservatory circuits. (not all $4K violins are created equal, as others have pointed out, and maybe you got a clunker.)
I also can't say enough nice things about Kelvin Scott in Knoxville TN. We bought my daughter's cello from him. Every time I see or hear it I wonder how the heck did we end up with such a great cello. Violins run more than your target price, but last time I asked, not enough to eliminate from consideration, and are a bargain given what some similarly well known makers charge these days.
Atlanta has decent local shops. If you travel anywhere, I'd aim for Chicago. I agree with the recommendations to try a Topa (or several). Laura Vigato makes nice violins (under $10k last I saw), also. However, in the $10k-15k range, there will be a lot of young, promising makers. I've liked Giancarlo Arcieri's instruments in that price range. If you could push to $20k, you'd have a much broader selection of fine, well-established makers.
However, I'm alarmed by the fact that you only bought a year ago and already the violin is considered inadequate. Why was the instrument not tested for its ability to sound decent in the upper positions? That's such a BASIC quality of a decent violin -- certainly these days anything in the $1,500+ range should sound good in all positions (and plenty of Chinese workshop fiddles in the sub-$1k range will manage that) -- that something must have gone seriously wrong in the purchase process. I'd identify what that was and ensure that it won't happen again before you possibly toss away another $15k.
I think you need advice on what constitutes a good violin. Superficially loud, bright violins are misleading, even if kids tend to be instinctively attracted to them.
A $4k instrument ought to be plenty adequate to serve a kid who presumably is intermediate level at best. (Otherwise the issues in high positions would have been discovered immediately, not a year down the line). Many students go to conservatory with instruments in that kind of price range. That's probably not an instrument that a student might want to use to play the Tchaikovsky at a major concerto competition, but your kid is probably a long way from worrying about something like that -- which would give you more time to save.
But she definitely doesn't need a better violin in order to enter that competition.
A $4k violin and decent bow should be perfectly adequate for a lifetime of amateur playing, and it's certainly adequate to win a youth symphony audition and compete locally against other kids who aren't on a pre-conservatory path. (Now, whether you bought a $4k violin that isn't trash is a different problem, but if you bought from a shop you may want to see if you can arrange a lateral trade to get something else at roughly the same price, even if you sustain a small financial loss in doing so.)
Now, if you're decently well-off and it's no big deal to drop $15k (or $20k) for the heck of it -- I'm guessing this is your situation -- your kid will probably enjoy having a better violin, and amongst a certain tier of upper-middle-class parents, it's probably almost an expectation that you'd invest in your child's hobby at that kind of financial level even if they're not serious about music.
But if $15k isn't a pretty casual expense for you, I'd think more than twice. You won't necessarily be able to resell the violin for what you paid for it, so think of that as $15k sunk and gone, not a $15k investment. Is your kid $15k serious about the violin? Is that $15k better spent on something else?
Finally, when she tries out instruments, make sure someone like her teacher plays the instrument (and the old one for comparison) for her so she can hear what she will sound like to others. She may like the way an instrument sounds under her ear only to find out that it does not sound so good to people listening to her. Good Luck!
Music can be a brutal business. By trying to obtain such a loan of an instrument, it is at least a sign that she is accepted and has a shot.
@Bruce- I had no idea about this. I was hoping there will be a school to offer her a scholarship. She is a straight A student- so far (granted she is only in 8th grade, and the hard part just starts now). And medical school can be very costly.
I believe his violins are in the $10,000 range (at least they were) and, as you might suspect, they do not last long on the market. Two of them, made and sold last year, are pictured on their website. One is a Baroque violin, the other a copy of a 1788 Lorenzo Storioni.
BTW, I get no compensation for referrals.
Philip Ihle was $25K several years ago when I was viola shopping, I wonder if quite a bit more now. Doesn't Susan's son play a Noah Scott Saunders violin? It will likely be good enough to get him into one of the best conservatories in the country.
Paul, Montgomery makes a really nice Goffriller model we played. Too big for my 5'2" daughter, but super nice sound. And he has a small but nice selection of good modern maker bows.
Ouch, and double ouch! To me, that sounds very much like a teacher who is hustling the sales commissions offered to teachers by some dealers and makers.
Things in this account that seem a little odd: the teacher knowing the value of violins of other students, the rapid progression from Vivaldi to Mendelssohn under a new teacher, the fact that the old teacher thought this instrument was fine and you like hearing it, the sense of competition (better violin than x, etc.) underlying all of this.
I know that a lot of kids are motivated by competition and by prizes (I was one of them) but...it's not the 100-meter dash. There's not a finish line. Violin is the journey of a lifetime; one is never "done" with Mendelssohn; there's not a simple metric by which to judge oneself better or worse than someone else (not repertoire, not violin value, not even orchestra seating position).
I'm curious: why did you decide to change teachers? And are you otherwise satisfied with this one? Also wondering if your daughter has played any chamber music – this is the thing that has kept me hooked on music and it's better (I think) for things like ear training, musical development, etc.
For serious young players with upper-middle-class parents in big cities, contemporary violins in the $15k to $30k range are pretty normal. An Ihle falls squarely into that range (or did in the past, anyway). But your daughter might be falsely attributing her peer's superiority to their violin, rather than to the peer's meaningfully better technique.
You should keep in mind that a great violin requires a player who is adept enough to handle it. A great violin can nudge a player to be better, because it offers more precise feedback, but any imprecision or poor technique on the player's part can be magnified by the instrument's responsiveness.
It's possible that your teacher is right and this violin simply won't cut it for even youth symphony auditions, because it's a bad instrument for its price and it would take a herculean effort to overcome its problems. But if they're claiming that a decent-for-its-price-point $4k violin won't cut it (i.e. that it would be inadequate to trade laterally in the same price range), they are lying to you, and I would be exceedingly hesitant to take any advice they give you regarding the instrument selection process. (As David Burgess says, it suggests kickbacks -- and the willingness to take advantage of a well-off but violin-ignorant parent.)
I think you have to ask yourself if you're willing to spend $15k to have your daughter keep up with the Joneses. If you want something in the Ihle class, and you want it now, you're going to need to up your budget, because you need to find a great contemporary maker who has inventory available -- not a three-year waiting list. I'd put aside $25k.
Once you get above the top tier of workshop instruments (~$4k-ish), spending more money results in relatively small incremental improvements in playing qualities. All violins have trade-offs, and you're gambling to some extent on finding something in your budget that's really good for its price. The more you spend the better your odds of finding something in a reasonable amount of time. But if your daughter can't sound good enough on a $4k violin, she won't sound good enough on a $15k violin -- or even a $40k or $400k violin, either.
But if it were my kid, I'd be having a serious conversation about money, priorities, and not deciding you have to have X just because your friend has X. And I'd forbid the teacher from talking to your kid about a different violin without your being present.
I also want to say a word about treating the violin like a rat race. I think it can be motivating to a kid to climb whatever ladder they see. (I was, bluntly, one of those kids.) But it does a disservice to music to treat it like a constant competition. And it does a disservice to the musician, because classical music is, for adults (and any kids with a pre-professional mindset) fundamentally a collaborative activity. "I have to be better than X peer" is a ruinous attitude, and I practically see it glowing from your posts when you describe your child's desires.
From all the context, I honestly suspect that both the old teacher and the new teacher are getting commissions from dealers.
In terms of foundations to loan instruments, I am not familiar with the details. The RBP foundation does. There are many others. Google it, network through them, ask her teacher.
An important part of getting such a loan is the social acceptance that you are worthy of such an instrument. Not just that a teacher says so, or that the parents think so.
I like Matthew's idea of getting some outside opinions. I'd be happy to give you an informal one offline, though I'm not an expert.
So it makes sense first to ensure the current violin is optimally set up for your daughter’s current ability – some of her frustration may be resolved by an expert adjusting the sound post (etc), or by finding another type of string that creates new tonal possibilities. And then look at upgrading the bow, your daughter’s stage (Mendelssohn) is exactly where the limitations of a bow are going to become apparent, and a significantly better bow may make a bigger difference than a better violin.
How good a violin is for the player correlates poorly with its price. There are good violins in almost every price range, but you can expect to find them more often at higher prices (but might still find ones that are unsatisfactory). With my daughter we set a budget of (in US terms) about $3000, and we evaluated around 40 or more violins before finding the one that in her hands had qualities far above the others. And then some years later got a lot of benefit from a significantly higher quality bow once her playing capabilities needed that. It is clear from what you write that your daughter is well able to identify what she wants from her violin, she will know if she still needs something better than she gets from a new set-up and better bow, and then the strategy should be to test-drive as many violins in your price range as possible.
Ralu, it sounds as if your daughter is something like mine; she was one of the best violinists around when at school but has now gone on to study medicine. She really appreciates her music now (she is in the University orchestra and a serious string quartet), partly because it is a way of switching off from her studies, partly because she is good enough for her to get some self-confidence when studies might be proving hard, and also of course because it is just such fun and she goes home afterwards with a positive buzz!
Compare race car drivers. Yes, the driver has to be good, but the faster and more controllable car will give its driver the edge.
I think I said this in an earlier post- we went to Beau Vinci last week to try some violins and the first 3 that were brought to her were a Vennasso (16k), Patrick Toole (15k) and a Cox (22k). She didn’t know the prices when she tried them- and she picked the Cox (storioni model). I told the store owner my price range was 10-15k before we went there, but she never really cares about that and sneaks in more expensive instruments. She also tried a 1926 Heberline, a Iannini (1950), and a Hungarian one - Hollo Bence- which was 25k. She only liked the Cox and the Hungarian one.
I’m learning as much as I can about violins, but I’m not a good judge when it comes to price- it the violin is worth that much or I can find a similar one (sound wise and playability) for less.
Keep learning.. I think you're doing a great job.
(Now, an instrument can be excellent but not right for a particular player's physical approach or desired sound, but it's generally useful to recognize the specific qualities of what you're trying out, i.e. to say "I really like to dig in but this instrument's sound cracks quickly under pressure" and recognize that to get the best sound of it requires approaching it differently, so either you adapt to the violin or you decide it's not for you.)
Tom, there are kids playing violins worth 6 figures in some of our local youth orchestras (as far as I know, not the one my daughter plays in). This kind of gamesmanship is one of the reasons why she does not audition for them.
Since there does not appear to be anything like consensus on whether there is much to be gained by upgrading to a better instrument, I will ask this question. Is the likelihood of an applicant to Curtis or Juilliard (or similar) getting through, in any way related to the quality of their instruments? For example, will there be no difference to the outcome if a highly skilled young person plays a $5,000 instrument instead of a $250,000 instrument (assuming in this case that the price is correlated to quality of sound and playability)?
There are two main reasons the better violin helps. The first is that really good violins are often easier to play. They are more responsive and you don't have to fight them to get them to do what you want them to do. That in and of itself can make a good player sound like a great player. The second is that a good violin will often make you be a better player because you can find more nuance in the colors of the sound.
To take another example, I think a lot of (non-pro) players have a tendency to over-control their spiccato because their bow doesn't bounce predictably when the player uses the correct technique (largely letting the bow do its own thing with a minimum of motion on the player's part).
A great player who already knows the appropriate way to get the sound they want can generally figure out how to adapt for the quirks of a particular violin, even a bad violin. But a player who is still learning -- like your typical kid -- doesn't easily learn that control when the response of the instrument is unpredictable (or bad).
So I'm a believer that kids should get the best instrument that their parents can comfortably afford. That's smoothing the path. As a parent, you can also choose to make your kids to work harder to succeed.
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