Page 62 - WVG2017
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From page 59
eventually graduate, they leave his studio with a professional, con- cert-quality instrument — even if they can’t play a single note.
One such student is Brendon Keiser. He has been working on his violin for the past two and a half years and hasn’t let the fact that even if the violin were complete today (it should be done sometime around the first of the year) he couldn’t play it.
Keiser used to work in the medi- cal field and took to heart the advice that in order to stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, you should use your brain to learn something challenging.
He knew Lisus through a bee- keeping group to which both belong and thought learning to build a violin and then how to play it would certainly qualify as a challenge to his brain.
He said the hardest part for him was scribing the inlay that circles the body of the instrument front and back. That process, which Keiser said took him approximately 16 hours to complete, involves cutting a track to a precise width and depth by hand and setting in a thin, black strip of material. The inlay serves not only as decoration but helps prevent the body of the wood from cracking.
“Anyone can do this if they have the patience,” Keiser notes. “Brian is a perfectionist and I knew we wouldn’t be cutting any corners and that is important to me.”
Robin Villa, another student nearing completion on his instru- ment, says he was drawn to the class because he uses modern tech- nology to build bicycle frames and thought the idea of doing something entirely by hand would be soothing. “It’s Zen. It’s peaceful. You can spend hours working on this and at the end of the day you can look at it and really feel like you have accom- plished something.”
To Villa, the arching on the
Brendon Keiser’s violin begins to take shape with the forming of the sides.
body of the instrument was the most difficult aspect of his build.
“Brian insists on tolerances of .25 millimeters. That precision appeals to me,” Villa notes.
He marveled at Lisus’ ability to judge the weight of a piece with re- markable accuracy and to be able to look at the delicate contours of the arching and see even the tiniest im-
The side pieces of Robin Villa’s violin are attached using a form and clamps.
Continued on page 64
Photo by Robin Villa Photo by Brendon Keiser

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