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Shaping the head

Violin makers have always been aware of physical issues like repetitive strain injury – but it’s just as important to take care of their mental health and wellbeing. John Beames examines some of the most common problems, and suggests some ways to combat them

Lutherie

Points of interest to violin and bow makers

I’ve been getting worse, I barely have delusions of adequacy
IMAGE JAN BRECKWOLDT

Without a doubt, violin makers are a complex lot. Even so, when it comes to our personalities, we do display some commonality – characteristics that enable us to do the type of work that we do. Luthiers often face similar psychological challenges, from within ourselves and from the life we lead. Here I will be considering these factors, and offering some strategies to tackle them.

When I ask myself what essentially characterises violin makers, I think immediately of perfectionism, attention to detail, inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and patience. Of course there are even more, but it is these that drive us to perform with mastery and excellence, to persist in achieving high standards, and to encourage us in our making or restoration work.

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About The Strad

We talk to the members of the Belcea Quartet and ask why more young people are turning to period performance. Students of Kató Havas pay tribute to the late violin teacher, and there’s a look at asymmetric instruments. Plus a Mendelssohn Masterclass and Renaud Capuçon’s Life Lessons.