Violin Making & Repair

The three-year, comprehensive Violin Making & Repair program at NBSS is one of the few full-time instrument making programs in the U.S. The curriculum provides a solid foundation to the art and science of stringed instrument making, and an introduction to restoration.

Violin Making & Repair is learned through hands-on work. The program follows the highest standards of the craft and teaches repair, restoration, and set-up of stringed instruments.

Over the course of this three-year program, you’ll build six violins and a viola. You keep and can sell all instruments you build. Students, alumni, and faculty regularly receive international recognition for the craftsmanship and tonality of their instruments.

Schedule & Curriculum

  • Students are admitted in September and February.
  • The maximum enrollment is 12 students.
  • Classes meet 8:00 am- 3:00 pm, Monday – Friday, September through June.
  • The course length is three, ten-month academic years (40 weeks per year, 120 weeks or 3900 class hours*).
  • Students who complete the program receive a Diploma of Violin Making & Repair.

Class hours equals clock hours.

Careers

Graduates of our Violin Making & Repair program work for others and are often self-employed luthiers. Others go on to be shop owners of full service string instrument shops. They repair, restore, and build violins, violas, and cellos.

Please keep in mind that the job classifications defined by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) do not match the highly specialized skills of graduates from NBSS. Therefore, it’s difficult to be specific when looking at wage and employment data.

The closest job classification the DOL uses is “Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners,” which includes repair of percussion, stringed, reed, or wind instruments, often with a specialization in one area. The classification does not include repair and tuning of electronic instruments. This classification falls into the same category as our Piano Technician Career page.

Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners held about 7,800 jobs in 2020. Occupational Information Network (O*NET) predicts there will be a less than 1% decline in jobs from 2020-30, with roughly 800 job openings within that decade.

According to O*NET, the average annual salary for musical instrument repairers was $36,810 as of 2020, with an average hourly rate of $17.70. Payscale reports that the median hourly wage in 2022 was $15.35. However, they also note that experience has a moderate effect on income. Income for this occupation varies widely based on industry and location. The U.S. DOL reports the following:

Industries with the highest levels of employment for musical instrument repairers:

  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores – Average annual salary: $38,100 | Average hourly wage: $18.32
  • Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance – Average annual salary: $39,920 | Average hourly wage: $19.19
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing – Average annual salary: $43,180 | Average hourly wage: $20.76
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools – Average annual salary: $58,000 | Average hourly wage: $27.89

Top paying industries for musical instrument repairers:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools – Average annual salary: $58,000 | Average hourly wage: $27.89
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools – Average annual salary: $56,450 | Average hourly wage: $27.89
  • Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing – Average annual salary: $43,180 | Average hourly wage: $20.76
  • Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance – Average annual salary: $39,920 | Average hourly wage: $19.19
  • Sporting Goods, Hobby, and Musical Instrument Stores – Average annual salary: $38,100 | Average hourly wage: $18.32

Top paying states for musical instrument repairers:

  • Texas – Average annual salary: $40,760 | Average hourly wage: $19.60
  • Illinois – Average annual salary: $45,250 | Average hourly wage: $21.75
  • Pennsylvania – Average annual salary: $40,510 | Average hourly wage: $19.48
  • California – Average annual salary: $45,730 | Average hourly wage: $21.99
  • Florida – Average annual salary: $35,410 | Average hourly wage: $17.03

For more information, visit the following resources:

12:1
Student to Faculty ratio
7
6 violins and 1 viola crafted by each student in the program
70%
Students who receive financial aid

People

Faculty

Violin Making & Repair Teaching Assistant
portrait of Roman

Violin Making & Repair Department Head



In addition to the regular faculty, we often have established artisans visit the School to lead workshops and special classes. Some of our guest lecturers include:

  • Andrew Ryan
  • Philippe Raynaud
  • Paul Wiessmeyer
  • David Hawthorne
  • Marco Coppiardi
  • Christopher White VM ’88
  • Kevin Kelly VM ’92
  • David Polstein VM ’89

Explore the Facilities

The Violin Making & Repair space includes a dedicated bench for each student, and a machine room, finishing room, sharpening station, library, and drawing area.

Additional Information

2020 Violin Making & Repair Graduate & Employment Report

  • 6 Violin Making & Repair students started the program in September 2016 and had an intended graduation date of July 2019.
  • 67% of this student cohort graduated in 2019.
  • 100% of these graduates are employed in the field.
  • This data was officially reported to ACCSC in October 2020.

This disclosure is required by our accreditors, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools & Colleges (ACCSC).

For each of our career training programs, we consult with a group of top professionals in the field to ensure our curriculum continues to meet industry needs and trends.

The Violin Making & Repair Program Advisors are:

  • Kevin Kelly VM ’92
  • David Polstein VM ’89
  • Christopher Reuning
  • Ben Ruth
  • Andrew Ryan