Luthier courses

Luthier courses

Does anyone know of any good luthiering (is that the correct word?) Courses within the highlands. My daughter -16 and still in school- is very interested in crafting guitars, mandolins and what not.
Any advice?

Re: Luthier courses

Is she looking for a ‘proper’ course, leading to a degree/diploma and eligible for student grants etc, or does she just want to learn the skills?

As far as proper courses go, in the UK I think the only options at the moment are Guildhall University and South Thames College, both in London (if she is interested in violins you could add Newark and Cambridge). Competition for places is extremely fierce, and you really need to make a couple of instruments to show aptitude and commitment before applying.

If she just wants to learn the skills there are a few small independent colleges offering short, non-qualification courses (though I don’t know of any in the highlands) and most luthiers are happy to take on paying students - you might even strike lucky and find one prepared to take her on as an unpaid apprentice or intern. What she needs to do is google all the local makers, go and see them and see if she can get a foot in the door somewhere.

If she is thinking of this as a career she should think very, very carefully. If she envisages making a living by sitting at a workbench making instruments she can forget it. You can probably count on your fingers the number of people in this country who do that. Even for some of the ‘big name’ makers it is a sideline, they make their main living in other ways. I graduated from London College of Furniture (now Guildhall University) in the ’70s, and last year I was talking to my old tutor - he pointed out that he had taught there for twelve years, eight students per year. And of those 96 or so students, only three had gone on to become professional makers (and none of them made their living entirely from making).

Re: Luthier courses

Where are the highlands? Do you mean Highland Park? Pretty sure there’s nothing that close by. I think the closest part time course is offered at UNH in the summer. Their website is http://www.learn.unh.edu/violin/

Re: Luthier courses

Guildhall University…..it was the University of the Arts when it started, not so many years ago. I can’t keep up !

Re: Luthier courses

I think it’s changed again Pete, I think it’s now The Metropolitan University. But it will always be London College of Furniture to me!

Re: Luthier courses

"Where are the highlands?" — in Europe.

Posted by .

Re: Luthier courses

In the Scottish part of Celticland. 😉

Re: Luthier courses

"In the Scottish part of Celticland."

There is no such thing as ‘Scottish’ any more. We’ve decided we want to be ‘Northern British’.

Re: Luthier courses

Maybe Lauren will come back and tell us when she gets the electricity back on in the croft.

Re: Luthier courses

What ? She wants to go to college from home ? Sh’e missing out on a great opportunity there.

Re: Luthier courses

I should have clarified, Highlands of Scotland.

It’s doing a course from home as she is still in school.

Re: Luthier courses

Might be worth looking up Seumas McLennan, who is a Skye-based luthier and makes lovely instruments.

And Highland Park is a fine whisky.

Re: Luthier courses

The Anniesland College course is excellent but is full time and coveres two years. I attended as a part-time student in 2004/5 after retiring from my career as an English teacher. Since then I have made around thirty instruments, mainly mandolin family, but this is still a hobby venture. It is very difficult to survive as a full-time builder and especially when you are younger and have to get a reputation built up.

The Gaelic College in Skye may well be able to put you in touch with someone as they have their Traditional Music course based there. Does your daughter play an instrument as well?

Re: Luthier courses

Further to my note above, the school in Skye is called Sabhal Mor Ostaig and there is also the Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton High School - both offer music education but may well have access to luthiers and builders in your home area.