Terry McGee wrote:Getting back to the general notion of apprenticeships, it seems to me that it's not a generally viable thing, for the many reasons already proffered. Imagine you live in Cincinnati, and decide to do an apprenticeship with me in Australia. You drop your day job, fight with the immigration people over a visa, sever your family and friendship ties, fly halfway round the world, find somewhere to stay in our retirement/coastal resort environment, get paid a pittance, learn a lot, fly home, find somewhere to live again, find another day job to recapitalise, slowly build your resources as funds allow, finally get it all together having rather forgotten a lot of what you've learned, and thus take a while to pick up where you'd left off, financially, emotionally, flutemakerly. Not attractive.
It did strike me some time back that a better approach might go like this. You stay in the day job in Cincinnati, you stay in your current house, stay with your friendships and relationship. You undertake an i-apprenticeship with me (or another maker, but I'll get to that!) I send you some written material on whatever the topic-de-jour is. You try it out, fail miserably, come back to me and we work out why. Once we're over that hurdle, we move on to the next topic-de-jour. There will be plenty of them!
Success of course breeds confidence, and finally you have a product that you can be proud of. So discussion turns to marketing, and making it better. Only when you're starting to earn an income do you drop the day job.
Now, what's the catch, you ask, and why did I say we'd come back to the question of makers? Whoever took this on at the maker end would need to prepare an awful lot of information. For that to be worthwhile (or at least not too big a drain), the maker would need quite a few i-apprentices. And the information packages would not be cheap.
But cheaper I'd guess than a return flight to Australia!
Thanks for sharing your perspective, Terry.
I happen to live in Ohio not too far from Cincinnati, so it wasn't hard to imagine.
The i-apprenticeship type of situation sounds like a good one. For me, the in-person apprenticeship idea is appealing because of issues like the reamers which boggle my mind a fair bit, but you guys are right about the impracticality of modern in-person apprenticeships. I work in the metals industry so I can understand the values of different alloys, but I don't have experience with machining at this point so I'll need to find a good machinist friend like Geoffrey Ellis did.
Regardless, I have a few years still before I will be at the stage of life where I can afford the equipment, time, and space for wooden flute-making. (I have done bamboo flute-making in the past. But now that I am in Ohio, I don't have access to as much space or bamboo as I did while in Texas.) It is because of my bamboo flute-making past that I daydream about the idea of an apprenticeship but in reality, I haven't even owned a wooden flute of my own yet... (Though I'm 5 months in on an order for a flute from Terry.)
All that aside, I'll keep watching for new flute-makers as they come on the horizon.