A Well-Rounded Approach

The Violin Making School of America’s curriculum is designed to immerse students in the world of the instrument, from the trees that produce the wood, to meeting some of the greatest musicians in the world

Step by step, you’ll make seven violins and a cello, or if you prefer six violins, one viola, and one cello. You’ll learn it all, from traditional making techniques to varnish, setup, and playing.

You’ll have the opportunity to study the work of great makers of the past and to meet great players of the present.

You’ll learn how to reach the Luthier’s goal: to make instruments beautiful to the eye and ear.

Over the years our students have seen great violins like the Soil Stradivari and the Kochanski Guarneri, and learned from great players such as Hillary Hahn, Yo-Yo Ma and Isaac Stern; and great contemporary makers like Sam Zygmuntowicz and Gregg Alf.


  • The school program is designed to be completed in 3 years.
  • The traditional, time-honored techniques of making are emphasized.
  • An optional summer schedule is offered in June and August. There is no school in July. A repair class is offered during the summer program.
  • School hours are 8 to 4, Monday through Friday. The three year program length is 3900 clock hours. One-on-one workshop instruction is provided
  • Art classes are given which include technical drawing, for eye training.
  • Violin lessons are provided, as basic playing skills are a necessity in the profession.
  • There are lectures on construction, varnish, setup, and repair.
  • Weekly classes are held on historic makers and schools of making, often including hands-on viewing of classic instruments.
  • Regular classes are given in tonal properties of instruments.
  • Classes with visiting soloists occur when possible. Soloists who have visited the school include Isaac Stern, Midori, Sarah Chang, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Yitzhak Perlman, and many others.
  • There is an annual one day wood trip to the Uinta Mountains, near Salt Lake City.

First Year
•Progress review after first 3 months
•2 violins are made “in the white”, i.e. no varnish or setup.

Second Year
•The student makes a third violin.
•The student makes one fractional size violin, e.g. 3/4 size, or a viola.
•A cello is started.

Third Year
•The cello is completed.
•All instruments are then varnished and set up. At the same time, a violin is made; this will be the graduation model. If the faculty approves, the student then begins Graduation Examination work.

•Two violins are made (1 in the white, 1 finished).
•The graduation work period is 3 months.
•A short (3 page) thesis is written.
•An organized, legible, complete notebook is presented; a technical drawing is also prepared, along with an original art project.
•There is a brief oral examination with a guest examiner and faculty.

Upon successful completion of the graduation requirements, the student is awarded the Certificate of Luthier, and keeps the varnished graduation instrument. The remaining instruments become the property of the school. The student may have the option of purchasing their instruments from the school once they are all completed and approved.

School Calendar 2017-18

Sept. 5 Fall Quarter begins; tuition due
Sept. 22 Wood trip
Oct. 9 Columbus Day Holiday
Nov. 23 – 26 Thanksgiving Holiday
Dec. 1 Winter Quarter begins; tuition due
Dec. 22 –  Jan. 2 Holiday Season/New Year break
Jan. 3 School resumes
Jan. 15 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday
Feb. 19 President’s Day Holiday
Mar. 1 Spring Quarter begins; tuition due
Mar. 30 – Apr. 2 Spring/Easter break
May 18 Graduation Day
May 25 Last day of school
June 4 Summer session begins (optional); tuition due
July    Summer break
Aug. 1 Summer session resumes; tuition due
Aug. 31 Summer session ends
Sept. 4 Fall Quarter begins; tuition due

*dates subject to change