Rented and Collected…

Yep, we have rented our violin and even though mummy (who still can’t believe how trusting they are here) told him he won’t be able to bring it home till August when he does start lessons, the violin is now sitting in it’s case, lying next to the now unused child-sized guitar (mummy is still sad about that but hopeful that he will pick it up again).

That’s correct, you read right – we rented the violin and brought it home with us. Did we have to start paying from July, instead of August? Nope. And the contract for rental was also very simple; it just states what was rented, what’s the value of each item, name, address and contact number of renter (that’s us), how much is rental fees each month and that was it. There wasn’t even a start date or any long conditions of rental. There was just a few lines at the bottom of the A5 sheet (ya, not even an A4 official looking sheet) which states that if rental is for less than 3 months we have to pay for at least 3 months and if we return the violin after 3 months of use, we would have to pay for new strings to be fitted for the next renter. i asked her (the violin shop lady) how she knows when we start – she said she will just make a note, where i’m not sure. Also she did not say that we must pay our fees every month, she did not even note down how often we should or would be paying the fees. She just gave us a few payment slips and told us to pay regularly; how often is up to us. They trust us to pay regularly on our own accord, starting in August.

Where i come from, that’s just not the way things are done. If you did business this way, you would most definitely be taken advantage of and make a loss. But here things are soooo different – there is a trust between service/goods provider and customer. People expect that you would be honest and civil and hold up your part of the deal. In German, i believe it is called “anständig”, which translate to be fair, becoming, decent, honest, modest, proper, self-respecting, square. i don’t think there is a single word in English which fully describes what this German word means.

Anyhow, i’m getting carried away here. Back to the violin rental.

So we went with a friend whose little girl also chose to play the violin. It was a great time of trying out different violins (so many sizes and tones). i am so happy to have gone with someone who has a music background and get some help on picking a good violin and she also asked questions i would not have think to ask. Thanks my dear.

Here are a few photos:

Left: she is measuring him for length of arm. Right: she is letting him try playing.
We had to choose from all the ones hanging and finally narrowed it down to just 3, based on size. Can you point out the one he chose? He chose one with a more mellow tone.

For the last week or so, since we got the violin at home, he has been taking it out of its case and “playing” it (ok, so he is just running the bow over the strings at the moment – but still 😀 ). He is just as excited to start lesson as he was when he made his choice a month ago. i’m excited for him too.

i can’t get over how smugly happy he looks here 😉

Now this is not a cheap instrument so i wanted to be sure that we took good care of it. Where do i go for help on this? Well, the internet, of course 😉

Isn’t it just a beautiful instrument?

There are so very many website and Youtube videos which teach everything from how to store your violin properly to caring for the strings and telling you about things like dampits (the use of which is debated among musicians). The one very important thing i have learnt is that the instrument must not be subjected to extremes of temperatures and humidity. This can potientally cause irreparable damage to the very expensive wood body of your instrument. So we now are on a new journey to learn as much as we can. Hopefully the teacher will give us more guidance along the way.

i leave you with these 2 websites which i found helpful about the care and maintenance of violins; The Sound Post and ViolinOnline.


I’m Very Serious…

That’s what Tobias said when i asked him how serious is he about learning to play the guitar 😉

He has been talking about wanting to play for a while now. While we were in Singapore, Daddy had said that maybe we could get a guitar for him from there – likely cheaper than over here in Switzerland. But we got caught up with meeting family & friends & of cos all the amazing foods that we didn’t get round to buying one there.

So he was a little disappointed to be leaving SG without one. But i told him, maybe we’ll find one in Switzerland.
The week before Aldi (one of only 2 German supermarkets in Switzerland) had a special on a guitar – just CHF75/. – i though that’s cheap – we should go see. So we hopped over (there’s an Aldi just next to where we live) to have a look last Friday evening. Tobias was very excited! BUT… it was not the right size – it was an adult full-size guitar & Walter felt if we bought that, Tobias would not manage to hold it properly & was hinder him from learning. So we didn’t buy. Needless to say, the little guy was very very disappointed now! Near to tears that he could not get a guitar.

That’s how we came to go shopping for a guitar for him the very next day & we bought one – a shiny brand-new one for …. (wait for it…) CHF… (can you guess how much?)… CHF355! i thought it was very expensive but Walter says this is Switzerland and it is a good one so…

Here’s our happy little camper with his new musical instrument:

See it is a child-size one…The one on the right is Daddy’s.

Here he is having lessons with Daddy:

He is finding it very painful to keep pressing so hard on the strings but Daddy says he has to keep at it till his fingers are used to it & then no more pain. i encouraged him, saying,”Remember what Tigeress in KungFu Panda said, she kept hitting the tree till she doesn’t feel anything anymore. That’s how she became awesome. So you have to keep pressing.”

Watching movies does help parenting – hehehhee;)