Taught course

Historic Craft Practices - Musical Instruments

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation · West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Entry requirements

Formerly West Dean College Diploma (University of Sussex award) The FdA will appeal to you if you are aiming for further study or are an international student. A good standard of general education to level 3, for example: A-levels, BTEC or Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, combined with evidence of prior learning and an appropriate portfolio of work.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

Fees and funding

Currently a third of all tuition fees are met through bursary or scholarship funding.

Qualification and course duration


full time
24 months

Course contact details

Registry Office
+44 (0) 1243 811301