Yesterday was a banner day for Violin Wise and the course participants. Two of the participants presented Mr. Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan with the violins which they had repaired and set up by themselves, a donation from us to the Lalgudi Trust to be put to use by deserving violin students. He delighted us by drawing a bow over the strings and giving these instruments his stamp of approval.
Two years back, during our three week course, we were unable to get around to making such a donation. We were inundated with violins which belonged to outside customers and the course participants couldn’t really stick with any one violin in particular in the course of getting repairs accomplished. Alex or I often had to take the instrument away from the student and speed the process with our own hand in order to get it delivered and out the door in time.
This time, I brought along ample numbers of broken violins which had languished in my shop in California, violins which I could never find time to repair, given my busy schedule. Thus, we were able to use these instruments as didactic objects without the pressures of delivery deadlines. A wonderfully tranquil atmosphere ensued in the shop, as if we were all tucked away from the hectic world, left to hum a happy tune and work at our own pace. The students even seem to have gotten used to our applications of spit and animal glue. In this setting, they have accomplished a tremendous amount. With the fine assistance of Alex, they have learned some dauntingly complex restoration techniques. It is humbling to see my own hand reflected in their work.
Tomorrow will be the last day of our course. They will go back to their normal work environs, now better equipped to face the great tsunami of violin repair awaiting them. They have assimilated well the philosophy of approaching the violin without doing harm and leaving it in better condition than they found it. I’ll be like a proud papa, turning them loose in India. And, we’ll hope to see them next time. For after all, we will be back, thanks to Mr. Krishnan and the Lalgudi Trust.