I have spent most of the evening, after music and dinner, processing photos or working on setting up a laptop for teaching. In the process of doing this, I have been listening to a variety of music… but for this I thought I would deviate into the world of carbon fibre.
Wooden instruments are a pain when travelling. Firstly, they break. Lord, do they break. Particularly if the airport handlers get hold of them.
Paul Casey returns to class at the University of Ottawa next week, minus his prized instrument and with a gigantic grudge against the country’s largest airline.
The 20-year-old music student says he is contemplating legal action against Air Canada after his $13,800 viola was damaged beyond repair in the baggage compartment of a trans-atlantic flight this July.
Mr. Casey was one of a handful of Canadians selected for the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, a student-training orchestra, which performed across Europe and worked with opera legend Placido Domingo.
But what should have been the experience of a lifetime turned into immense disappointment when he arrived in Belgium and found his viola with a snapped neck, a broken back and sporting about 12 cracks on its front.
“I didn’t start crying or anything because I expected that would be the outcome when they made me check it,” Mr. Casey said yesterday, noting the instrument’s case bore three “fragile” stickers.
Let us say that when I fly I leave instruments at home. But this is not an option for the travelling professional as it is for us amateurs. So they insure, pack well… and are seriously considering alternative
Secondly, tone wood is rare, and getting rarer. I love my wooden instrument and bow, but I have a carbon fibre backup. So an alternative would help.
And carbon fibre instruments exist. So to music. Let’s start beautiful
And then a little more cool and jazzy. (The concert uke and a 16 inch viola have very similar scale length, and one can reinforce the other. Seriously)
And the use of carbon fibre, midi and a home studio (the disguised carbon fibre violin — painted so it does not stand out in the orchestra)
Yes, I can play guitar, ukulele and viola: own all of the above. But they are all wooden, and they all tell a story. Gear acquisition has, with instruments as with cameras and computers, have to be resisted.