I took a field trip with my daughter’s string ensemble to Top Notch Violins in St. Louis. It was a cool morning visiting the back of the shop and hearing how they mix the ancient art and modern techniques of creating and repairing violins, cellos and basses. It was a relatively small space with four workbenches, several instruments around, lots of little parts and tools, a fridge, coffee pot, a back door and a small window.
Their passion and energy was really contagious and they didn’t have to tell us they had lots of fun together in their work environment. It’s a happy place and they enjoy, listen to and support each other.
Aside from some of the violin basics – the sound post, structure, wood, methods, etc, I also learned these three lessons:
Learn To Formalize Passion
Passion alone won’t get you to the place you want to be. You have to learn to formalize it by learning skills, taking the right steps, and doing something concrete. It comes down to strategy. The decisions you make as you are on your journey to put legs on your dream and passions will determine if you will succeed. Add discipline to passion and keep at it.
Always Be Knolling
The definition of knolling is “the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization.” It’s become popular in creative photography, but can be useful in any area of life. In some ways, it’s more than just tidying up, it’s taking time to organize your space and things as you go so your mind stays clear and focused. When you know where things are and why they are there, it makes a world of difference. This can be as true for a violin shop workbench as it is for your desk, home or garage.
Want To Do or Learn Something – Hang Out With People Who Do It
The luthiers in the violin shop had advice on how to get started in this business: just start hanging around and learning all you can from those who do it. This is great advice for any area of life. If you want to learn something or get better at something, you have to learn from others. Read all you can, ask all you can and listen all you can. This can apply to the type of person we want to be as well! And, as the team there described, it can also work in reverse – you will more than likely become like whomever you choose to hang around – so choose wisely.