This course is intended as a supplementary course to the nine-day Musical Instrument Making course. It aims to assist:
1. Those preparing to make a new instrument on the nine-day course
2. Those continuing or at the finishing stage of an instrument made on a previous nine-day course at West Dean College. Please note that in general varnishing and polishing will not be covered.
Teaching is generally on a one-to-one basis, catering for your individual needs and dictated by ability, previous experience and knowledge. There will be group demonstrations where appropriate. As the course takes place in the main workshop, adjacent to the other courses in this series, you will also gain knowledge by interaction with fellow students and other tutors. Those starting certain instruments have information provided by the tutors. Some instruments require attendance on several courses to complete, this may depend on your skill base and opportunity to continue work at home, we recommend you discuss this with your tutor prior to the course when they contact you. Health and safety is discussed as an integral part of the course.
If you play an instrument please bring it along, as we have many informal music sessions.
Work can include the following aspects:
1. Starting the hurdygurdy
- Discussion of drawings, wood selection and construction techniques
- Using jigs and moulds
- Initial preparation of wood, eg. soundboard/back gluing and thicknessing and rib-thicknessing
- Making the peg block and making the wheel
2. Finishing the hurdygurdy
- Skimming and preparing the wheel surface
- Cutting bridge and nut grooves
- Fitting and aligning strings
- Setting string/wheel pressure and applying cotton
- Making and fitting the trompette chien
- Tangent fitting and adjusting
- General setting up and tuning
3. Making the clavicytherium keyboard
- General discussion of clavicytherium, methods of construction, action, etc.
- Planing and thicknessing keybed and keyblank
- Marking out and drilling for balance pins and keyguide pins
- Preparing balance rail and keyguide reinforcement, fitting and drilling
- Fitting balance pins and guide pins
- Cutting out individual keys
- Cutting mortices and guide slots in keys
4. Continuing construction of other instruments already started
However, please note varnishing and polishing will not be covered.
Please note: Humidity levels in the workshop are variable to dry; whilst the College has addressed this, some factors are beyond our control, therefore instruments are brought and left in the workshop at your own risk.
Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above
Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.
(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)
Andy has been attending the West Dean Musical Instrument Making Course for over 35 years, firstly as a student and then as a tutor. His work as a restorer and maker in the horological and musical genres gives particular insight into technical aspects, especially for keyboard instruments and hurdy-gurdies, which have some "engineering" content.
Places available - Book now
2 places available - Book now
Places available - Book now
If your goal is to set-up an instrument making workshop or to work in the trade, our Foundation Degree in Musical Instruments is internationally respected for the high-level craftmanship skills students attain. It encompasses the whole field of stringed musical instruments. Find out more