It’s easy to say that anyone can become a luthier, but this isn’t entirely true.
Not everyone has the time, interest, or inclination to pursue this field as a career or even as a hobby. A passion for creating musical instruments and maybe an appreciation of the history of stringed instruments can both help, as can having a lot of patience and a lot of self-discipline: you’ll need both to pursue luthier education well.
At its basic level, being a luthier requires combining the art of music with the craft of working with wood and metal to build things with your hands. However, a modern luthier also may benefit from knowledge of electricity and electronics, which can be used to craft electric guitars and amplify sound. Learning a thing or two about 3D printers also couldn’t hurt, as this developing technology may have some potential for creating components for instruments faster and more affordably than in the past.
Luckily, we’re well past the days when someone was supposed to partner with an experienced luthier and spend an undetermined amount of time working with them in an apprentice capacity. There wasn’t necessarily any formal curriculum; it was more hands-on or even observing.
Today, many luthiers are still willing to share their knowledge to make sure it is preserved for future generations, but there are also more formal training programs from accredited schools which people can sign up for that do have a standard set of courses.
For people wondering what is the luthier education requirements, it seems like their answer may vary based on training programs and interests.
Learn About You
Knowing where your interests are may shape your journey when trying to put a learning plan together.
Your interest could also be a philosophical question too: are you someone who prefers the artistic/creative/musical side of making a wonderful hand-crafted instrument, or do you get more enjoyment out of the mechanical aspects of the craft, such as working with all sorts of pieces of wood and metal to make music?
Your possible career paths could also include thinking about why you’re pursuing this path. Do you want to open a shop to make instruments? Do you want to repair broken instruments? Do you want to work with a band or an orchestra? Do you want to make instruments and sell them for a lot of money?
Types of Instruments
There are a variety of stringed instruments out there that someone can be taught to build or repair. Guitars are certainly the most common in today’s world, but there’s also a call for ukuleles, violins, violas, bass, cellos, mandolins, historical instruments like lutes, or even more exotic instruments from other cultures.
Even if you only want to work with guitars, there are still several disciplines, including electric or acoustic.
Types of Classes
For those wondering about what is the luthier education requirements, most educational programs have a blend of creative and technical. Along with in-depth classes about music, most include information about the different parts of instruments and what is involved in making them create certain tones.
Learning about acoustics helps, which is the science of how sound moves.
Courses can also include the basics of running a business, since people may want to be a luthier as a job.