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Money Thing

OMG!  Time just flew by. I didn't even notice that I haven't posted in so long!!!!  I started this post three years ago and never finished until now.  It's been what?  three years?  My son is already in college, just started his 2nd year at a conservatory.  I helped him move into his apartment last month.  Reading my past posts reminded me of the journey my son and I had until he became self sufficient enough that he didn't need me any more when he practiced.  It just happened so naturally which many parents will agree as your child progress, you have fewer things to comment.  Technical parts are done.  When my son plays out of tune, he knows that and fixes it before I can even point it out.  Musically, we are more like exchanging ideas, but he has his own and that makes him unique.  I just watch him grow as a musician:)

Now, below is the post I started three years ago and never finished, but I will, now.

Initially, when your child start taking lessons for the violin, what you spend is for the instrument and supplies needed and the lesson fee.  The lesson fees vary depending on the teacher.  In the suburbs, somewhere between $30-$50/hour and in the big cities like New York, it could cost upward of $100+ is expected.  But as your child progress and seriously considering some sort of conservatory, it really starts to add up.  In my case, it has been financially draining.  We sought after the teacher who lived several states away from us, so commuting and lodging and the lesson fee one weekend a month totaled in close to $1000 and this is not even the conservatory.  It was a private teacher.  This is not very unusual.  Surprisingly, I found out so many are  in similar situations after speaking with other parents who I met at the camps and the competitions.  It really becomes a family affair.  The institutions like the Juilliard pre-college tuition is $9,200 a year and even the Curtis Institute where you are offered free tuition once you are admitted, you still need living expenses if you are from out-of-state.  That could cost you close to $10,000 - $20,000 given that it is located in downtown Philadelphia.

This is not the only thing, though.  The violin and the bow will cost more as your child moves up in size.  My son's former teacher told me he didn't necessarily have to have an expensive violin when he was still in fractional size, but to invest in a quality violin when he is ready for a full size.  His first 1/4 size violin was about $250 from an online shop, 1/2 size about $800 which I posted in the past (Nuener) from a violin shop his teacher knew and 3/4 size $1500  from his teacher which she kept after her daughter grew out of it.  Then I passed it on to one of her students for the same price.  You can see the $$ amount goes up as the size goes up.  This is due to the quality not the size.  This goes for the bow as well.  His first one was about $30, then $150 and $300-400 for the 3/4 size.  Big jump from the first one to the next was because I got him the pernambuco bows versus the brazilwood bow.  This is my own experience purchasing the instruments, but of course, this is not typical or average.  Some people will spend more or less depending on their preference.
Now, talking about a full size violin, I have to admit I made a mistake.  It was really financially difficult time for us when he needed to move on to a full size violin, with monthly expenses for his lesson out of state and other financial circumstances prevented us from saving up for his violin.  So what did I do?  I found a violin on ebay for $250, handmade in China.  I had it shipped and arrived in 7 days.  It came with a bow and a case.  He was happy and it made bigger sounds.  Of course!  It is a bigger violin!  We took it to his teacher who was at a summer camp we were attending.  At the lesson, he basically told me it was a crap, but by then my son was getting used to playing on it and managed to produce decent sounds where his teacher who is used to a very expensive antique violin had a hard time playing on it.  I was so embarrassed that I bought him a "crap".  If your child is a serious student, don't even think about it!!!  But I have to give my son a little bit of credit.  He managed to win a competition at the camp with that ebay violin!  After that,  his teacher must have felt sorry for him, he found my son a patron who still to this day, loans him a quality violin which we will not be able to afford to purchase.  My son is a lucky boy to find someone like that, but usually quality violins can cost anywhere from thousands to millions.  Some antique bows will cost as much as one's house.

It is expensive to raise a violinist, but it is so rewarding if your child is passionate about it, and the door will open if you knock!

This post first appeared on Me, Myself And Violin, please read the originial post: here

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