Historic Craft Practices - Musical Instruments

FdA Historic Craft Practices – Musical Instruments

Please enter the characters 0F3E in reverse order in the box below

We will use this data to carry out our obligations arising from your enquiry or booking. For details of how we handle data please refer to our Privacy Statement.

Open Days

Join us for our next Open Day​ on Saturday 9 February 2019.

Register your place online and find out more

FdA Historic Craft Practices - Musical Instruments
Duration: 2 academic years (each 36 weeks) full time

If your goal is to set up an instrument-making workshop or to work in the trade, this programme is internationally respected for the high level craftsmanship students attain. It encompasses the whole field of stringed musical instrument making. This enables students to then transfer their skills to making any stringed musical instrument, including guitar and violin. Through learning and assessing the historical approach to constructing the viola da gamba, students are equipped with a broad knowledge and ability to assess construction for a wide range of stringed musical instruments.

You can expect

  • To learn basic tool skills and advance to decorative and head carving, purfling design and motif
  • To study instrument design, history and playing
  • To complete up to three instrument making projects a year
  • To learn restoration and repair techniques
  • To develop skills in machine setting, woodturning, varnishing, care of timber/tone-wood
  • Visiting tutors in Bow-making, pigment laking, soundboard construction etc.
  • Playing lessons by early music professionals
  • To attend events such as the Greenwich International Early Music Exhibition

Learning environment

  • High tutor: student ratio
  • Your own bench in the workshop with access 7am-10pm, 7 days a week
  • A professional environment that encourages a business-like approach
  • Lectures, tutorials and demonstrations
  • Study tours and visits to specialist collections

(Subject to re-validation)

Contact Hours

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, external trips and visits and workshop practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.

At level 4 you typically have around 18-19 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 4-5 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 8 hours of supervised workshop practicals
  • 4 hours of external trips & visits (on average)
  • 1 hour of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

At level 5 you typically have around 16-17 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 3-4 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 7 hours of supervised workshop practicals
  • 4 hours of external trips & visits (on average)
  • 1 hour of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and workshop or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Overall workload

Level 4: 53% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 633 hours, Independent learning: 567 hours

Level 5: 50% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 600 hours, Independent learning: 600 hours

Prograrmme Structure Year 1

Prograrmme Structure Year 1

Programme Structure Year 2

Programme Structure Year 2

Facilities

You will work in the purpose-built Musical Instrument Making workshop. Specialist facilities include a separate machine shop and varnishing room.

Other facilities on site include an Analytical laboratory, computer suite and the Library with thousands of specialist books, journals and databases.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points:120, completion of a level 3 qualification, for example A-Levels, BTEC, or Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Applicants can be considered if they can provide evidence of prior learning with an appropriate portfolio of work. You will be invited for a portfolio interview.

International applicants should provide a digital portfolio, evidence of English language ability to level B2 (IELTS 6.0) as well as equivalent level 3 qualifications.

Fees

UK/EU:

  • £4,130 per term (£12,390 per year)

International:

  • £4,130 per term (£12,390 per year)

Included is mandatory study trip costs of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study.

Additional costs

Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional, available on request.

Find out more about funding.

Careers

Graduates have become professional makers and repairers. They have gone on to work with J & A Beare Ltd and J P Guivier, both in London, and William Monical & Son, Staten Island, New York. Others have ultimately set up their own practice.

Student perspective

"The level of learning is higher here which is why I and many students from Europe come to West Dean College. We're making in an authentic way, using hand tools, learning about materials, looking at original instruments and building a wide knowledge. We've had specialist trips and access to renowned experts.

What I most enjoy is the pure focus on full-time making and all day workshop access. We're all interested in guitars and enjoy the same music, so the workshop is a great environment.

Our tutor is a professional, well-known instrument maker who teaches us methods to maximise productivity, alongside high level skills. When I graduate I will work first in a violin or cello repair workshop, before going into private practice to focus on making and restoration.

Funding made studying at West Dean possible for me and it has been totally worth it. I applied for bursaries in Holland then, in my second year to The Edward James Foundation at West Dean and private foundations in the UK. I advise any student not to be put off by fees as it is all possible."

Fons Vogel, Musical Instruments student

Muscial Heritage at West Dean College

Curatorial Assistant Sarah Hughes shares insights from the college's rich archive of material, shining a light on Edward James musical patronage and collaborations, from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Find out more

Tutors

Shem Mackey MA

Programme Tutor - Musical Instruments

Shem Mackey is a founder member of the British Violin Making Association (BVMA) and founder editor of its newsletter. His research into instrument construction has been published in The Strad, Early Music and various publications of the BVMA and Viola da Gamba Society.

Dr Nicholas Pyall

Programme Co-ordinator FdA Historic Craft Practices

Nick specialises in instruments inspired by Viennese guitars of the early and mid-nineteenth century, including those with extra bass strings, and the mid-twentieth-century guitars of the North American 'golden era' of acoustic guitar making. In recent years his passion has led to him studying the instrument's development and societal history.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.

Open Day - register today

Come and find out what makes West Dean College such an amazing place to study. Explore the studios, take a tour with students, discuss your study options, and find out about funding at our next Open Day on:

Saturday 9 February 2019

Suitable for Foundation Degree, Diploma and Masters.

Register your place online and find out more