“…It all began when you were but a glimmer in your daddy’s eye.” … so goes the tale, and such may well have been the case.

Sounds of singing and the piano were as much a part of  life upstairs in our house as were hammer and saw in the basement. The gift of a small hammer and a bag of nails at age five was followed by violin lessons at seven – seemingly incongruous then, but looking back, now seems as harmonious as coffee and cream.

The violin lessons eventually led to a performance degree, which led to a teaching career in various string programs. There were always plenty of students with old violins and no one (or no money) to fix them. Making bridges and gluing cracks became part of the mosaic. I wanted to know more about bow rehairing, tonal adjustments and traditional methods – things I could not learn from a book. I packed myself off to New Hampshire for a few summers of training by some of the most respected craftsmen in the US at the time. I was very, very lucky to be there just at the time when age-old mores of  jealously guarding trade secrets were giving way to openly sharing knowledge and skills with a new generation of hungry minds.

In 1983,  an economic recession left me without a teaching position. The Bowed Instrument Shop became a registered name, and I took over maintenance of the inventories of the Halifax Schools Music Department and String Music Atlantic. This pool of about 1500 instruments provided me with an endless supply of violins, violas, cellos and basses needing every imaginable repair. The convergence of my father’s artistry with wood, metal and design, and my mother’s love for music had found a medium in which to grow. My father worked alongside me in the earlier years and helped me enormously developing new tools and teaching me old skills.

This unique background has given me many advantages. As a teacher, I understand the challenges of students (and their parents). To succeed, they must have a decent sounding, well adjusted instrument. It is always a pleasure to help them find one that is affordable. When working with professionals, my experience as a player helps me to judge the way a violin or bow is responding and make adjustments that are critical to obtain the best sound and feel. Having inherited good hands and eyes is plainly a gift.

After working from my home for twenty-five years, I was invited to open a shop in the historic Maritime Conservatory building in Halifax. Our tiny studio opened in the fall of 2007 with my daughter Gwen as assistant. Over time, The Bowed Instrument Shop has become a trusted resource for string players throughout Eastern Canada. We are equipped to offer complete, specialized restoration of bows along with professional repairs for the bowed instrument family. We stock a modest supply of good quality old and new instruments, bows, strings and accessories for students and professionals.

If you come when we are not too busy, you may find a “knee-high” peeking in at the doorway, or a slightly older one sitting at the bench asking far too many questions. Please feel free to follow their example.