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What does MN think of crowdfunding for an instrument?

(40 Posts)
cingolimama Thu 20-Apr-17 11:27:30

Friend of mine's son (violinist) just got accepted into a junior conservatoire. The kid is seriously talented, but was advised to get a new instrument so he can cope with the demands of repertoire at his level. The family are on a low-income, and already receive a few grants and they would be able to exchange current instrument etc to cobble together some funds. However, a new violin and bow of the required standard would be around £3000, which is way more than they can afford.

I suggested crowdfunding. It's something that personally, I'd be happy to contribute to (I've been asked for various things in the past and usually cough up), but I know that some think it's "grabby". But if it's for education for a young person, as opposed to a holiday or a wedding, would that be okay with you?

MN jury, verdicts please....

GaelicSiog Thu 20-Apr-17 11:45:44

I might do, depending on my own finances at the time and how well I knew the kid. But the number of crowdfunding links I get sent nowadays, if I donated to them all I would have to set up one so my own DD could go to nationals, which kind of seems a bit ironic.

whatatod0 Thu 20-Apr-17 11:48:07

why not? go for it. People will either give or not. Its up to them.
I would also suggest looking at local council sites for grants and talented youth schemes.
Good luck!

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 20-Apr-17 12:53:21

i don't personally like crowdfunding but I would like to think that noone is stupid enough to contribute if they don't want to and anyone who does knows exactly what they are doing. If you know any local businesses then it might be possible to get someone to agree to some sort of sponsorship. worth looking into.

2014newme Thu 20-Apr-17 13:24:37

Nothing wrong with it but I wouldn't personally contribute to a £3k violin for a child 😂
If he's that good, he'll make it even with a less good violin.

cingolimama Thu 20-Apr-17 13:38:39

Thanks for the replies. I've suggested some grant giving bodies (my friend is aware of most of them), but hadn't thought of sponsorship from business, and will research that - thanks nonick.

2014 - why not contribute to a £3k violin? The quality of instrument makes a vast difference to your ability to play certain pieces, extend technique., and of course affects the sound you make. Serious musicians (child or not) have eye-wateringly expensive needs. Why should only the well-off be able to develop their talent? Sorry, I'm not trying to argue with you, just understand your reasoning. Is there a "cut-off point" for you in terms of value of instrument?

2014newme Thu 20-Apr-17 13:49:05

Did you see the family whose son won young musician of the year? The whole family are amazing musicians but struggling with the costs. A single string is £75.
I wouldn't contribute, although I see nothing wrong with crowdfunding, because I wouldn't pay for someone's child's hobby. I have enough on paying for my own! so no cut off point it's just not something I would do. If the son is that good parents will find a way as we all do!

MrsEvadneCake Thu 20-Apr-17 15:05:00

If you do crowd fund I suggest you look at the arts council matched funding. They give you half of you raise half. My husbands band have just successfully crowd funded for £4000 with matched funding.

NeverTwerkNaked Thu 20-Apr-17 21:23:40

It's definitely worth them investigating options.
At a more advanced level, I used to write trust deeds so that a group of people could invest in (and own) an instrument that would be played by a professional violinist.

NeverTwerkNaked Thu 20-Apr-17 21:26:09

(I.E. I think it becomes quite normal at a certain level for the owner and player of an instrument to be different people!)

NeverTwerkNaked Thu 20-Apr-17 21:29:14

I wonder if the conservatoire could suggest some ideas/contacts?
Or in our village we have a local charity that grants to Children from the village for educational grounds- their local parish council or similar may have contacts?

It's an amazing achievement for him, I am sure out there will be someone who can help.

A media campaign could work too? Someone might have a violin gathering dust that they would like to see played again

corythatwas Fri 21-Apr-17 09:19:11

It's the kind of thing that I would like to leave money for in my will if I had money to spare. Crowd-funding sounds fine.

But as pp have said, also investigate other sources: there are funds kicking around out there that nobody knows about.

NataliaOsipova Fri 21-Apr-17 09:26:09

I'm on the fence on this one. I think it depends how it is worded and how aggressively it is pursued. Might also look better if, say, you started it off rather than the family themselves? Eg I'm trying to raise money for my friend's son. You can obviously email all their family and friends as well, but then it looks like a nice gesture from a friend who has herself contributed, rather than a money grab from the people themselves?

GaelicSiog Fri 21-Apr-17 09:49:48

Seconding Natalia. It definitely looks less grabby not coming from the parents. I know a LOT of kids who had to give up expensive hobbies they were good at because their parents couldn't afford it. Of course it's not fair, but you can't donate to all of them.

cingolimama Fri 21-Apr-17 12:21:16

Thank you all very much - some excellent ideas here!

I consider myself to be pretty sussed about music grants, but I had no clue the arts council matched funding. Will investigate!

Nerk, yes I understand that many professionals don't actually own their instruments - as they can be incredibly valuable. He's not quite in that league yet, but will most likely consider that for the future.

Also, that's a very interesting idea about someone other than the family kickstarting the funding. That's something I could do.

Thanks again!

ImperialBlether Fri 21-Apr-17 12:23:18

I think the conservatoire would be best placed to give advice on this. It must be a problem they come across every day.

Witchend Fri 21-Apr-17 13:16:51

I would have mixed feeling about that.

On one hand I don't think money should stand in the way of true talent either in music, sports or any other activities like that. I wish there was more opportunity in this country for helping people who have talent so they are the ones who make it, not those with money.

However I'd join with the person upthread who said they don't like crowdfunding. Often it seems to be basically "I don't want the hassle of saving up so I want others to pay" (not saying that it is in the case of your friend, but it colours my view) or in some cases presenting a totally misleading case. eg the NHS won't pay for it, when they're not offering it because it is known not to help.

Also if parents, or even friends of parent,s put it in then unless I knew them really well I wouldn't donate because I would have no way of knowing whether:
a) My child's a genius is true or not.
I've had several conversations recently about a friend's "genius" dc. I've heard all about how they realised the dc was desperately musical about 6 months ago. They realised when dc was asked to prepare for grade 1 in a common woodwind instrument that they'd been learning for 2.6yrs at that point. They are totally convinced they are a genius and their 10yo is headed for glory in their instrument. They have convinced mutual friends so much they say the child's name in a reverent tone. grin I can see them crowdfunding for a better instrument.
b) Whether actually the family can afford it but their choosing not to, because they think others can pay. Dd2 needs a new trumpet before the next grade. We're not looking at £3k, but it's going to be instead of a holiday this year, and possibly next year as well. So I'd want to feel that they weren't just expecting others to pay and were putting something in themselves.

What would convince me to pay would be things like: Local known music teacher's endorsement. Going to a concert and hearing them play and knowing they were actually excellent. Knowing the family and that they do put a lot financially.

Sorry to sound negative. My view is coloured by I don't think I've ever seen a crowdfunded thing that I know something about and either wondered how they're getting away without being charged with gaining money by false pretences or why should people pay for you to get a freebee.
I know neither of these are true in your friend's case, but that's my local experience. Do check before doing it for your friend though; I would loath it if someone did that for me for the above reasons.

hapsburg Fri 21-Apr-17 13:21:24

If the family are looking at grants I would advise searching for 'educational awards' as well as just specific music awards. DD has recently been awarded funding towards musical expenses by an organisation that give grants for all sorts of educational costs eg. travel expenses, courses, projects, school fees, purchase of equipment. They do not promote themselves as a 'musical charity' at all so would not appear on the usual lists of funding providers. I'm sure there are other similar organisations in different areas of the country, they can just take a bit of finding.
I'm not sure how I feel about crowd funding for this purpose - I guess it may be worth a try and people will either think it's worthwhile and donate - or not. At some point we will have to buy DD a horribly expensive instrument and I have no idea how we will manage it - people have enough expenses for their own children - but I don't think I would feel comfortable doing it like this.
Previous posters are right that the conservatoire will have come across this situation many times before and should be able to advise.

BillyButtfuck Fri 21-Apr-17 13:32:11

If I'm totally honest if I was sent a request to contribute towards a crowd funder for this it would be a definite no. I'm struggling to find enough money for food and fuel for the rest of the month though.

I wouldn't begrudge being asked though nor would I think it grabby or judge. Perhaps if I had a lot more disposable income I'd think it quite sweet and dig deep.

Saldebain Fri 21-Apr-17 13:39:43

I would. It's seems "worthy" enough

Unlike the crowd funder I saw recently to help the owners of some beach huts which were vandalised. Very expensive beach huts which are presumably insured hmm

cingolimama Fri 21-Apr-17 17:08:14

Witchend I really appreciate your honesty - it's actually very helpful. And your suggestion of an endorsement, or a concert is an excellent one.

I cannot believe someone crowdfunded for a vandalised beach hut!!!

NataliaOsipova Fri 21-Apr-17 22:30:50

I was thinking that a concert would be a good idea. You could organise a sort of musical soirée and ask people to buy tickets or make contributions with proceeds to go to the new violin.

Noteventhebestdrummer Sat 22-Apr-17 08:13:21

He could borrow a high quality instrument from this wonderful organisation

gillybeanz Mon 24-Apr-17 21:10:31

I don't know anyone who has been expected to stump up so much for a violin, as a junior.
Gosh, even the violinists at dd specialist music school aren't expected to pay so much for a violin. Some of them are working at undergrad level and entering YMOTY and don't have that expensive of instrument
He'd have to be an experienced pro working in a renowned orchestra to spend so much.
I'd question the source of the advice tbh.
It has nothing to do with rich or poor, moreover bad advice.

Kiwi32 Mon 24-Apr-17 21:25:25

My immediate thought is I don't love crowdfunding and wouldn't a more traditional way be for some fundraising activities/events-like the concert suggested. Could he do a sponsored something?? More likely to get media and thus business interest that way too.

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