The Boy Who Couldn’t Sing

Antonio was an Italian boy who loved music, but whenever he tried to sing the music that was in his heart, it came out so badly that all his friends laughed at him. Next to singing, the boy loved to hear the violin. He had a pocketknife he always carried with him and he would whittle all sorts of things with it. One day Antonio learned that the greatest violin maker in all Italy, the great Nicolo Amati, lived in his village! Antonio began to whittle a violin and worked for many hours on it. When finished, the boy walked to the house of Amati, who just happened to answer the door. The boy handed the master the small violin he had carved and said, “Sir—I love music, but cannot sing. I wish with all my heart I could learn to make violins.”

The great Amati smiled, looked at the small gift and said, “Beautifully done! You want to make violins? And so you shall! In time your violins will make the most beautiful music ever heard!” And so, Antonio Stradivari became the pupil of Nicolo Amati and in time made violins that equaled his master’s.

Source : Bits and Pieces, January, 1990, p. 11

More about Stradivari : (born 1644?, Cremona, Duchy of Milan — died Dec. 18, 1737, Cremona) Italian musical-instrument maker. An apprentice of Nicolò Amati (from c. 1666), he established his own business in Cremona, eventually working with his sons Francesco (1671 – 1743) and Omobono (1679 – 1742). Though he made other instruments (including harps, lutes, mandolins, and guitars), few survive, and after 1680 he concentrated on violins. Moving away from the Amati style, he developed (c. 1690) the "long Strad." The Stradivari method of violin making created a standard for subsequent times; he devised the modern form of the violin bridge and set the proportions of the modern violin, with its shallower body that yields a more powerful and penetrating tone than earlier violins. The period 1700 – 20 is considered the peak of his productivity and quality.

Source : Britannica Concise Encyclopedia