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Degree in musical instrument making and repair.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by KarinaZakri, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. KarinaZakri


    Aug 11, 2012
    I am a girl from Norway whos starting a musical instrument making and repair course at the London Metropolitan University in september, but I have been reading some forums and a couple of days ago a great deal of doubt slipped into my mind.

    It started when I called the Uni to ask for some papers that I could send to the norwegian government about student loans, and I asked if the guy from admissions could write down the fees, course name, university and all the other things I need to get the loan.
    When I got the letter it said that I have to pay 10 000 pounds a year in course fees (instead of 6500) because I am norwegian, and norwegians are being treated as international students since Norway is not a part of the EU (I thought that since norway is a member of the EEA it would not make a difference about the course fees).

    Even from the start I had thought that this is a LOT of money, even when I thought I had to just pay 6500 pounds! And I know that its a hard business to make a steady income, and by the sounds of it I will have a student loan of about 45 000 pounds by the end of it...

    So I was just wondering.. Is there anyone that could please give me some good advise about what I could do about it, should I try to get apprentice ship already now? Does anyone know of a master luthier in the London area that is willing to take on an apprentice, and should I maybe begin as an apprentice an do that for a year and then start the degree?

    Karina :confused:
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    This is a 4 year program? What do they teach you? Would you need the degree to do what you want to do?

    That's a lot of money.
  3. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    I didn't even know there was such a thing as luthier school. I'll bet most luthier's learned by doing rather than going to school. Your idea of trying to apprentice somewhere is a good one.
  4. monti2889


    Jul 19, 2012
    Stewmac.com is a great place to start, they sell tools, have tutorials, books, starter kits, and links to luthier colleges in the US,(you may be able to talk to them about any "learning abroad" options for you). Redwing (or the one in in Minnesota) comes highly recommended.

    Traditionally this is a skill that was taught through apprenticeship so, my thought would be, that you shouldn't have that hard of a time finding someone to at least let you shadow them for awhile.
    I would suppose in a worst case scenario, you find or purchase some instruments that are in need of repair and try your hand at making them playable again, (maybe even document your progress and start a portfolio). Then you can use your portfolio to bargin for apprenticeship.
    Anyway, I can't think of any other advice I can give you, so don't give up and good luck in your ventures.
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'd say Roberto Venn has taught their fair share of luthiers, but many are self-taught or former apprentices. I'd dare say a diploma does not carry a lot of weight here in the US. Something to consider before taking on a lot of debt to work in a field where few people make a decent wage.
  6. Reticle


    Jul 24, 2009
    Charleston SC
    Do you have any woodworking experience? In my opinion, even if you have the most basic woodworking skills, you would be better served investing that money in tools and materials. With the almost limitless amount of information you can find on the internet, teaching oneself is always an option. Not to mention, what is a degree going to say that an example of your work can't?
  7. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Go to nursing school, then buy whatever bass you want, and/or get into making them as a hobby (then you'll be able to afford it). Don't know about Norway, but health care jobs in the US pay very well, with great security and benefits.
  8. kzr750r1


    Aug 12, 2011
    Still kick myself for not going to Roberto Venn when I was younger.
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Sounds to me like she is interested in lutherie as a career, not nursing.

    I would say an apprenticeship would be your best bet. Personally I find it easier to learn in a work type of environment as apposed school.
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
  11. Roaddog77


    Nov 11, 2011
    Yeah don't spend that kind of money on this. It's ridiculous that they would charge you more. They do it in the US too if you are out of state but that's way too much.

    If you cant find anything else and that's what you really want to do then do it but I think you can find many better options for your money.
  12. Yvarg


    Mar 10, 2007
    Buena Park, CA
    Just from some rough calculations, the estimated £45,000 for tuition costs for the school in London translates into about $72,000 US dollars. I have never heard of this degree you're talking about and I did a fair amount of research into going to a school to learn this a few years ago (2008, to be exact). Unless it comes with some pretty damn good reviews from some important people in the field of work and can pretty much guarantee placement into a decent job upon graduation I'm not too sure I would ever consider it. I ended up going to Roberto Venn School of Luthiery, a well respected trade school for guitar building and repair here in the states (nevermind the fact they don't spell lutherie correctly in their name). Their estimated cost of tuition and material costs (at the time of my attendance) for the instruments you build there is around $10,000 USD (£6,200 GBP). Besides the cost being a mere fraction of what you might spend at the London university, this course is an intensive five month long study rather than four year long degree. Now, I've never studied abroad and really don't have any clue whether or not British universities operate much the same as American ones, but I have been apart of our education system on this side of the Atlantic. I will say that while four years seems like a much longer time frame and a lot more education as a result, for the two years I spent pursuing a degree at a local University in the states I can without hesitation say that I learned a lot more in those five months at trade school. It is a totally different environment though, the schedule at the university is much more open and spread out with time to do lots of extracurricular activities, whereas for the five months I attended Roberto Venn it was pretty much five months of eating, drinking, and breathing guitars (sometimes literally). There was very little time left to myself.

    Anyway, that's just been my experience. Please realize that what might be the right path for one person is not necessarily the right path for another. Good luck in your search!
  13. mirwa


    Aug 4, 2012
    Australia - Perth
    Skip the degree, find a local luthier to take you on that is respected in the industry and start.

    This way you get paid to learn and in the end have skills that count.
  14. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    The faculty of London Metropoilitan University we're talking about here used to be called "The London College of Furniture" in Commercial Road. One of my keyboard playing friends studied for an electronics degree there over 30 years ago and they had luthiery courses there then (despite the name it was never just about furniture) so they have a long established and well respected courses in luthiery. I may be wrong but I believe that Martin Petersen who makes the wonderful Sei Bass studied there when he first came to the UK.

    Back in Martin's day, university tuition fees didn't exist for UK citizens (although Martin is German so he may have been classed as a 'foreign' student). It is only a succession of UK governments who have tinkered with the university system and the tuition fees that they charge. Just 10 years ago my son went to Oxford University and I covered his tuition fees which were just over £1000 for each of the 4 year he was there - so that was as recently as 6 years ago. Since then, fees have increased to £3500 and this year they have increased to £9500 per year even for UK citizens, so I'm not sure that being from Norway is such a disadvantage.
  15. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Check out the Chicago School of Violin Making (not just for violin)- http://www.csvm.org/
    I know some people that went here and are making a nice living repairing instruments.
  16. KarinaZakri


    Aug 11, 2012
    Thanks a lot for your help, i've contacted some local luthiers now, and just hope someone will take me on as an apprentice.
  17. KarinaZakri


    Aug 11, 2012
    as I wrote in my thread the tuition fee for UK and EU students are £6500 but students from norway have to pay £10000 in tuition fees.

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