The first function is provide selected Ignatius students with violin repair skills sufficient to address violin maintenance and playability adjustment services for tuition-free music programs serving low-income families.
In a middle class family, a child is given or rents a violin with one on one private lessons being the norm. Within this setting, when the strings or bow become worn, the private teacher and parents interact and corrections are made--but not in the middle of a lesson. After a series of lessons the child auditions for membership in an orchestra which does not include private instruction, and is performance driven for orchestral practice and concerts. $250 to $300 would be at the lower end of costs.
For the family on a tight budget this is not possible, but the city is home to some non-profit foundations who fund or who operate tuition-free, group violin lessons. Those schools who provide music lessons to these families in those settings that are the focus of StringWizards. If you are 14 and see yourself in this paradigm, it is life transforming.
Were you the Ex Dir of one of those music schools, it should come as no surprise that repair expenses are the first to be chopped when the budget gets tight. Sadly most schools lack any formalized inspection regiments, and that causes neglect to accumulate. You cannot have teachers sacrificing group time to fix stuck pegs or failing bows. This puts individual student progress and satisfaction at risk. A child can assess a deflated soccer ball, but not a deficient violin, and will blame herself as deficient. Delay your exhale. Take three long breaths, and imagine yourself in that circumstance.
If you are still reading, here's more. The gigging artists you have hired as teachers are not trained or equipped to address repairs. Most undergrad music performance majors rent the most expensive violin they can afford and all repair skills are not even considered, so you have no experience in this capacity. The StringWizards' outreach is specific to this situation. We help with both the maintenance and the procurement of instruments for music schools serving income disadvantaged families.
The second function of StringWizards is inspiring tomorrow's non-profit leaders. We are a collegiate level, multi-discipline, social entrepreneurship experience. Come and see for yourself. There are three course outcomes for the shop participants
Learn violin repair,
Manage the business side of a service organization
Publicize program methods, outcomes and awards.
Learn digital communication arts and business writing skills.
Pre-covid, sample grant inquiries and guest speaker invitations were sent to major Chicago arts foundations not for donations, but requesting mentorship. Responses were positive and more are planned for the coming school year.
PROGRAM TERMS AND CONDITIONS
In Matthew 25 there is the story of a master giving each of three servants some “talents” to invest in his absence. A broken violin is like a buried talent, not an invested one.
If you help me promote this in your home rooms, a few St. Ignatius kids will have an exceptional essay to compose.
Visitors are always welcome.