A little note from our owner Mary:
As we were helping what felt like the ten thousandth child try an instrument that we help the teachers in schools with their recruiting process with hundreds of hours of staffing, it occurred to me this fall.
Parents are able to give their children a gift through Golden Music's rent-to-own program, through the time and exposure in finding the instrument they are passionate about. It is a lifetime gift of music!
It takes several important steps to finding the RIGHT instrument.
1) Have the ability to trade to other instruments when trying out as sometimes the first one picked isn't the one that creates an intrinsic love or passion. (FYI: You can trade instruments through our rental program!)
2) It is important to have a high quality & well maintained instrument that will always be serviced. It is easy and less stressful for the student to receive a loaner instrument while repairs are being done by our shop!
3) Make practice time a habit & have patience! Music is a progressive journey through the squeaks and squawks, changing instrument decisions, and taking the time for lessons, rehearsals and personal practice.
Pictured here is Golden Music at Arrowwood Elementary School in Highlands Ranch, CO last year, helping kids tryout instruments. Golden Music helps over 100 schools this time of year, so their programs can be up and running!
Last Week, Andrew Briggs came by Golden Music to try out some cellos. We got the pleasure of hearing our set of Apprentice and Master cellos performed by an amazing professional. If that wasn't great enough, he went ahead and took one of our cellos home to use at his outdoor concerts this summer. Here are some clips of the different cellos and him playing:
When it comes to a safe haven for your money, little can beat a rare old violin. Other things always have their ups and downs. In the boom years of the 1990s, everyone assumed property was “safe as houses,” but then came the crash of 2007.
Gold was the miracle investment from 2005 to 2012, but in the last two years it has bombed. Shares are good for the long-term, but in the short-term they can be scarily volatile. In the crash year of 2008 they fell around 30 per cent, and bounced back by the same amount the following year.
Compare that with the steady rise of stringed instruments, particularly violins. A study quoted in the Economist concluded that the annual rate of return for a Stradivarius violin between 1980 and 2011 was 15.4 per cent, without any of the sudden surges and drops that send investors’ stress levels through the roof.
Until now, the virtues of instruments as an investment vehicle has been hidden from view. Instrument dealers inhabit an old-fashioned world, shut away from the rough-and-tumble of the financial world. That may be about to change, if the recent on-line instrument auction from Beares, one of the most venerable violin dealers in the world, is any sign. Simon Morris, one of Beares’s directors, says the motive was to show the world that the trade is moving with the times.
“Not so long ago there were just a handful of dealers in Europe and America, who were on first-name terms with buyers and sellers,” he says, “but it’s changing fast. The trade is becoming much more international, and we have to reflect that, and open ourselves up to a new market.” However, Beares isn’t about to abandon its old ways. Visiting their premises near Oxford Circus is like stepping back into the past.
n the workshops, the craftsmen still work with tools barely changed since the days of the great Cremonese makers of violins and cellos, such asGuarneri and Stradivari. Racks of wood slumber in quiet corridors, maturing like fine wines. And Simon Morris himself has the comforting air of unshakeable probity that was once the hallmark of the English banker.
He takes me up to a showroom where two would-be buyers are putting a couple of instruments through their paces. “Here they are,” he says, gesturing airily at the wall-racks where nearly all the 29 violins available in the auction are hanging. On the other walls are the bows, violas and cellos being sold alongside them.
Missing from the racks are the so-called “Cabriac” violin by Antonio Stradivari and another Cremonese violin made a century later by Guadagnini. These are the two most valuable instruments in the auction, with guide prices of $2.5-3.5 million (£1.5-£2.2 million) and $1-1.5 million (£630,000-945,000) respectively. The other violins are priced at anything between £4,000 and £500,000. “Generally auctions are clearing-houses, and the rule of caveat emptor [buyer beware] definitely applies,” says Harris.
“That’s not the way we want to go. We’re only prepared to have an auction where absolutely everything has been authenticated by ourselves.” Is he ever caught out himself? “No, but I don’t always get it right at a first look, when someone tests me.” I can’t resist pointing quizzically at one of the violins. “Well, hmmm... it looks like a French copy of a Guarneri pattern,” he says. Sure enough, the label says it’s exactly that.
Back in his office, I ask Morris whether he agrees that stringed instruments, especially violins, make good investments. “They do, because it’s an almost completely risk-free investment. At the top end there’s a diminishing supply, because certain instruments are bought by banks or foundations and will probably never come onto the market again.
"And on the other hand, the demand is constantly increasing, as new countries enter the market. It’s especially strong in the Far East, where excelling at the violin is a way of demonstrating that you’ve reached the West’s level in cultural terms.
"First it was Japan, where there are now around 35 Strads, then South Korea, then Taiwan. In China there are apparently 30 million people learning the violin, and it can’t be long before we see Chinese collectors in the market.”
from the Economist: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/11211888/How-good-an-investment-is-a-violin.html
Featured Violin - the Szasz Friderich line exclusive to Golden Music; we have been visiting Romania and buying the "fritzy's" since 2007. At an affordable price for a single maker master instrument, the Fritzy's are hand crafted in Reghin, Mures, in the heart of Transalvania, population 33,000. The industry of Reghin is closely related to the traditions of the medieval trades, starting with the resources in the close vicinity, rich in wood and farm produces, the goods of the private producers from Reghin are in the market all over Romania and abroad. Reghin is well known for the industry of the musical instruments, especially of violins. There are many companies that produces instruments using the famous resonance wood from Calimani and Gurghiu forests. The violins made in Reghin are used abroad.
Szasz (nickname "Fritzy") began his work in a violin factory in 1977. He left the large factory for a small workshop in 1990, where he was an apprentice to Ciurba Nicolae. He perfected his technique alongside a master with his guidance and experience. In 2003, Szasz opened his own workshop. Hemakes instruments for people all around the world.
Here is an example of one of the Golden Music "Fritzy's (click here)" Right now we have several in stock including product number 4579 and 4580.
This picture is from our first trip to Reghin in 2006. It is the owner, Mary and Fritzy.