selecting_a_school
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SELECTING A SCHOOL

With so many lutherie classes to choose from today, you'll want to explore the field thoroughly and weigh your options carefully. A good place to start is the comprehensive list of education opportunities at the Guild of American Luthiers website. Getting a sense of each program's particular emphasis and strength is important for finding the best fit for you. I hope the following suggestions are useful to you in this regard.

Because each individual's mix of personality, resources and goals is unique, no single lutherie school or training program can be the best choice for everyone. Some of you are looking for a strong foundation experience to support future self-directed learning. Fine. We can help, that's what we do. Some of you want simply to build your own guitar, your dream guitar. Also fine, but not what we emphasize. Some of you might prefer to minimize the initial challenge of making your own guitar by spending a week or so in a supervised setting, assembling a kit of pre-made parts. Equally fine, and opportunities for this sort of experience are available. Some of you younger folks want training in skills that will qualify you for work in a guitar factory. Such schools exist and are easy to find. Some of you might prefer to get your luthier's feet wet by building a guitar one night each week at a local community college. And, some of you are looking for a long-term, structured, comprehensive education in the craft. If this describes you, be sure to include Bryan Galloup's School of Lutherie in your research. You'll be in great hands. These and other approaches to lutherie instruction exist to serve the many types of individuals drawn to this craft, so cast a broad net to find the program that looks best to you.

The wild card in all this is the quality of instruction. Teaching skills don't necessarily come with the teaching role. To determine what quality of instruction to expect, you can either talk to a school's graduates or visit the school and sit in on a class. You can experience a teacher directly by calling him or her on the phone with your questions (but please always respect the value of a craftsperson's time). A brief chat should give you a good idea of a teacher's knowledge, style and willingness to helpful, and how well you're likely to work with and learn from him or her. Beyond all this, a teacher's years of experience, reputation, and record of accomplishment in the field are there for you to consider.

So, your homework has already begun. Explore the many lutherie education opportunities, weigh your options and find a learning situation that best fits your personality, resources and goals. Wherever you choose to study, we want you to come away from the experience confident that you made the right choice; solidly prepared and motivated for a lifetime of continued learning on your own.