An Interview with Skilled Luthier, Dereck Coons

Tell us about your journey! What led you to this point?

My passion is and always has been for making violins and other instruments from the violin family, including violas, cellos, and basses. However, I didn’t always know that that’s what I wanted to do. In fact, coming from a family where no one played music, it never even crossed my mind. 

When I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, and even went to Indiana University to lay the groundwork to go to medical school. But, when I was told that I couldn’t continue with one of my elective classes, it looked like I’d hit a big enough obstacle to completely derail my chosen path. 

It was a music class, and I was getting knocked back because I didn’t have a high quality guitar. I also didn’t have $4,000 to pay for one. So, I thought it was all over for me, until a friend mentioned that his father taught violin-making at the university’s Jacobs School of Music. All I had wanted to do was make a good enough instrument to get back to my class. Instead, I found my purpose. 

Ever since, I have been dedicated to crafting and caring for bespoke violins, and eight years ago, I opened my violin shop to help me build my reputation and develop a clientele that would support the output that I’m capable of. 

Now, after successfully providing sales, rentals, repairs and restorations to so many, I feel as though it’s time to focus simply on making the best instruments that I can. Finding Dmitry Badiarov, a master in custom violin design and my mentor, has been incredibly helpful as I set out on this path. I can use the lost secrets that Dmitry has shown me as well as his marketing insights to take my business to the next level. 

What has been your biggest achievement?  

I suppose I would have to say that being a truly honest and successful business owner is one of my biggest achievements to date. And, what makes it even better is that it is also the thing I love to do! So, it’s not just my achievement, but my passion as well. 

I think it’s important to say, though, that I count being a good husband as an equally big achievement. I’m very proud of the fact that I can provide a good life for myself and my family, and grateful that I can do so by following my dreams. 


What’s the biggest result you help your clients to achieve? 

I help my clients to develop confidence both in their ability and in their equipment. And, when I do, it’s clear to see the psychological braking mechanism that holds them back is released. They become so much more capable of achieving their dreams once that happens, and it’s a joy to see them gain the courage of their convictions! 

Building up my clients’ confidence is a top priority of mine. By doing that, one by one they start to see the barriers to success come down. It really is amazing how much closer this gets people to fulfilling their true potential, and so quickly, too. 


What would be your biggest piece of advice for readers who want to achieve the same?  

If my story can teach readers anything at all, it’s that you should always follow your dreams and live your passion. If I had ignored my newfound love for violin-making and tried to plough on as a doctor, I never would have understood my full potential, and the same can be said for pretty much anybody. When the universe is trying to tell you something, you have to listen. 

You also have to learn to be both patient and persistent. You’re unlikely to achieve much if you just sit and wait for things to happen for you, so you have to push. Just don’t get frustrated or disheartened if you don’t achieve the results you want right away. Keep going as you are, and eventually the world will open up and offer you opportunity – often when you least expect it!


What are the biggest mistakes you see people make and how can they be avoided?  

All too often I see people placing blame on others or on outside circumstances when things don’t go their way. While it can be difficult, you have to be able to accept responsibility for who you are, where you are in life, and how far you’re getting. When you do, you’ll start making much better, more considered decisions. 

What happens when people start accepting responsibility for their reality, whether they’re a musician, a business owner, or something else entirely, is that they begin to see that change really is possible. At that point, it becomes more and more apparent that good things are just around the corner. 


How do you plan on further growing your business?  

I want to continue growing my business in the same sort of way that I have grown it over the past eight years: by being persistent, patient, by working hard, and by doing as much as possible for my clients. Ultimately, my plan for my business is to help those I serve to achieve their goals. 

Where can the readers find you? 

If it’s on a Sunday, probably out in Tampa Bay on my boat or under the water scuba diving!

But, for those who want to find me online, they can visit my website at https://www.dcoons.com/. I’m also on social media, so readers can follow me on: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dereckcoonsviolinmaker 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CoonsDereck 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dereck_coons/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dereckcoons/ 

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Luana Ribeira

Luana Ribeira is a best selling author, international speaker and host of business Innovators Radio.