|DATE 11/19/2004 10:11 AM
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.
Mt. Pleasant Violin Maker Forming Ties with China
|This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council about the people, places and preservation efforts along U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway. Paul Hart is used to teaching himself new skills. As a teenager, he learned to make cellos and violins on his own, and now runs a violin-making school and studio in Mt. Pleasant.So the fact that he has once again become his own teacher is not a surprise. But his chosen subject is: Mandarin. Hart has been trying to learn the language ever since he traveled to China a year ago to teach violin making.
He quickly became enamored by the country, its landscape, people, and history, and is now is hoping to learn more about it by studying its language. He plans to return to China to again next month for another teaching session.
“I’m looking forward to it, I really enjoyed my last trip and would love to actually live there for a little while and teach,” Hart says during an interview from The Tree’s Breath Violin Making School in Mt. Pleasant.
Hart was asked to go to China by his former student, Jay Ifshin, who owns violin-making companies in Berkeley, California, and Guangzhou, China. “I went over as a consultant. They don’t have a long tradition of violin making in China, so I was helping them with style and details. Their goal is to produce the highest-quality violins in China.”
Hart, who has been teaching violin making for decades, said the experience was very different from teaching in the United States. Here he teaches to students who pay tuition to learn the craft, and it takes about four years to become a violin maker. In China, he was teaching people who are employees of a company.
“They are paid to make violins. I don’t know if that is the reason, but they learn a lot faster. I tell them what to do, show them how to do it, and they get it done,” Hart says. Many of the tools used in the craft are different in China, as are some of the techniques. But his Chinese pupils are open and receptive to new ideas and concepts, he says.
Hart was able to spend about a week traveling in China during his last visit. “I took about 500 pictures, it was just amazing.” Guangzhou is located about 100 miles from Hong Kong, and he traveled with a tour group of native residents to Beijing and other cities.
“I saw quite a bit of the country. It was very interesting traveling with Chinese citizens to see parts of China that they had never before seen,” he says.
Hart hopes to do more sightseeing during his return visit. He’d also like to form more ties to the country. “Some of my other former students are interested in starting a violin-making school over there. I don’t know if it will happen or not, we’ll see.”
For now, Hart is looking forward to his trip and continues to teach and build violins in Mt. Pleasant. He opened his school about six years ago in a 100-year-old building on the city’s Main Street.
Before moving to Sanpete County, which he chose for its rustic, rural lifestyle, Hart had been teaching his craft and living in Salt Lake City since 1969. He has also spent time in Mexico teaching and making violins at a special art school.
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|For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council