In the first year of the bowed instrument making section students will be doing a number of introductory exercises to familiarise students with fine woodwork and the aesthetic shape of the violin. They then get down to making their first violin (modelled on a Stradivarius, “Medici”, 1716), which will be finished at the end of the year.
In the second and the third year, they can choose the next instrument they want to build from among a violin, a viola or a cello (only in the third year) in a modern or baroque version. The progress of each student plays a role in this choice and determines whether a third instrument will be built. Often more than three instruments are built.
These instruments are built under group supervision, but the exercise is concurrently very personal. For it is a complicated process of challenges, patience and perseverance, and every student proceeds according to his or her own inclination.
The time-honoured “apprentice-master” practice from the glory days of this craft is thus perpetuated while meeting the requirements of project-based and integrated instruction.