The 3-year, full-time program's focus is on construction of instruments in the violin family. A minimum of seven instruments are built in the 3 years; of these, two must be violins and one must be a viola. The remaining instruments are the student's choice subject to instructor approval. A cello is optional. One trimester in the third year will be devoted to the study and practice of set-up, basic instrument maintenance, and repair.
Bi-weekly, 30-minute private lessons and string ensemble sessions are required and are an important aspect of the program. Previous playing experience, while helpful, is not required for admission.
Each student compiles a construction notebook from notes taken during demonstrations and lectures. Using diagrams, drawings, and written notes, this notebook becomes the student's bench manual in which revisions and additions will be made throughout the 3 years.
The theory of sound production and violin design is incorporated into the construction learning process. Students are given opportunities through tours and visiting lecturers to see and hear violins made by old and modern masters. Students are encouraged developing expertise in Cremonese-style violin making and in-cooperated in their own making.
Beginning in the first trimester with construction of one violin body, students will learn preparation and proper use of hand tools and will learn and execute the given sequence of steps in violin constructions. Bi-weekly violin lessons will begin. After completion of the first violin body, a second violin body using different classical models will be built. Scrolls and neck sets should be completed for the two violin bodies. The student will begin his/her construction notebook.
A viola will be constructed. Theory and application of varnish will be studied and all finished violins are varnished. Set-up will be studied and completed on all finished instruments. Students will continue to add to and refine their notebooks. Violin lessons, history/style, and related lectures will continue.
A fourth and fifth instrument of the student's choice will be completed. One trimester will be devoted to the study and practice of set-up, basic instrument maintenance, and repair. Violin lessons, history/style, and related lectures will continue.