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violintipsy

Cant decide

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Hi i am very interested in going to a violin making school i am from United States so i want to study here but two big names have come up

Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City

and also

Chicago school for Violin Making

did anyone go there or have any opinions on which school would be best ???

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It might be a good idea to visit both schools and talk to instructors, administrators, and students. Getting a first hand exposure to both schools will probably tilt your preference one way or the other.

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I went to the VMSA -88-91. I was very happy there. It was the leading school at that time.

But I don't have an opinion which school is better today, as things change.

I have heard good things about the school in Boston. I would also consider Newark in England.

If I were you, I'd contact the leaders of the trade and ask their opinion.

Edit: As skiingfiddler said, travelling to those places would probably be a good help.

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I think this thread might be useful.

For what its worth, my luthier, who has agreed to teach me the basics of violin making while I go to college, afterwhich I'm thinking I'll go to violin making school, keeps trying to convince me to attend his alma mater Cremona. I wont deny that it would be cool to go there, but very unlikely financially unless there's some kind of substantial scholarship for that sort of thing.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
violintipsy

did anyone go there or have any opinions on which school would be best ???


I attended the Chicago School and am now a member of the board of directors there.

Visiting the schools and meeting the instructors is an excellent suggestion. The surroundings (the city), and what is available for you to see/experience is also an important factor. Nice to have access to nice old instruments while you're training your eyes...

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"The proof of a pudding is in the eating." If I were looking for a school, I'd try to look first at the results. Have they produced some really good makers?

It seems you really learn just the rudiments of making in school, but those fundamentals are really important if you want to develop your training and talent into real skill. I think you learn the most from actually making and restoring instruments, but if you learn basic theory and techniques well, you'll progress a lot faster, so I'd look for schools which had a number of graduates that went on to fairly early "success", recognition by the market.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Nonado

"The proof of a pudding is in the eating." If I were looking for a school, I'd try to look first at the results. Have they produced some really good makers?

It seems you really learn just the rudiments of making in school, but those fundamentals are really important if you want to develop your training and talent into real skill. I think you learn the most from actually making and restoring instruments, but if you learn basic theory and techniques well, you'll progress a lot faster, so I'd look for schools which had a number of graduates that went on to fairly early "success", recognition by the market.


I think a case can be made for all the major schools in that regard... each has produced successful makers. As you noted (and was discussed on the other thread that was linked in this one), the training and experience gained after school is as, or more, important.

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I spent 1 semester at the Chicago school before taking an opportunity to apprentice. Though I was a bit discouraged about some things at the school, I certainly would have stayed there had I not had a different opportunity. Some friends that I made there are all working in shops around Chicago now. Many of my complaints about the school were likely corrected by simply going non-profit. I am already hearing of great things they are doing there that they were not doing when I was there.

I don't know much about the SLC school, but there is definitely something to be said for the number of successful, and award winning makers that come out of there.

Jeffrey's comment about studying old violins is very true, and you can definitely do that in Chicago.

I went to a 4-year college, got a degree, and worked a professional job before attending, and I recommend it.

Many people in year 3 are basically trained but paying tuition to build instruments for the school to sell. Are they still learning and getting guidance from teachers? Of course. It depends on the individual. The number of instruments you make there becomes an obligation as part of you degree program. If you want to keep them, you have to buy them.

The first semester and possibly 2, you share a teacher with many people, and you're basically doing the same things you could do spending 5 seven hour days with the Johnson & Courtnall book, except you'd have a lot more money to buy tools. A few grand can buy you a lot of tools. The only difference is having someone to check your work.

Also, it is true that schools only prepare you for a job in a shop, where the real learning takes place, but I'm not convinced that a diploma from a school would get you that job more easily than walking in with a well made violin and showing what you can do in a bench test.

I think, as an introduction, if you find a good maker in your city, if they won't work with you, they'll at least comment on your progress, the rest is up to you.

As you can see by many people that post here, you get pretty far with resources that are out there

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quote:


Originally posted by:
colledge

Many people in year 3 are basically trained but paying tuition to build instruments for the school to sell. Are they still learning and getting guidance from teachers? Of course. It depends on the individual. The number of instruments you make there becomes an obligation as part of you degree program. If you want to keep them, you have to buy them.


Hi Colledge. All good points, and it's good to see the perspective of someone who took an alternate route. I have a few comments, though.

I agree that it really does depend on the individual. When I look back, I think I learned much more during the second half of school than the first. Part of the reason for this is that I put myself out there both in and away from school (worked in a shop, did some repair for Tschu Ho in school, made a 'cello; which is/was optional). Not all students do. Of course, the school was a different then (it was 3 1/2 years, summers off. Now it's 3 years with a tri-mester system; When I started school it was still downtown and was called the Kenneth Warren School)

quote:


The first semester and possibly 2, you share a teacher with many people, and you're basically doing the same things you could do spending 5 seven hour days with the Johnson & Courtnall book, except you'd have a lot more money to buy tools. A few grand can buy you a lot of tools. The only difference is having someone to check your work.

I think that there are a couple important differences (there are others) between learning from a book and having an instructor available is use of tools (prep, sharpening, body position, etc.) and the ability to gain feedback through the process. Of course, this is a mute point if you are indeed able to find a training position with a good maker.

quote:


Also, it is true that schools only prepare you for a job in a shop, where the real learning takes place, but I'm not convinced that a diploma from a school would get you that job more easily than walking in with a well made violin and showing what you can do in a bench test.

Concerning skill and train-ability, in the end, I agree. As a former employer, I'd say that finishing a program does show commitment (a plus), however.

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