MSC Southeast - Violin Repair Program
Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Violin Repair

Hands-on training for a life in music.


Study repair and maintenance of violin family instruments — violin, viola, cello and bass — as well as bow repair and rehairing.

In the Violin Repair program at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing, students learn about tools, wood, trees, basic principles of repair, and common repair and maintenance techniques.

The Violin Repair program at MSCS is unique in that it is structured for an entire academic year. Shorter workshops, some as brief as a week, offer an overview of the repair process. Three and four- year programs teach violin construction but do not provide the same degree of in-depth focus on repairing instruments and bows.

  • Fine motor skills, patience and the ability to focus on the work at hand are essential.
  • No previous experience with woodworking is required as violin repair is very different from other woodworking crafts.

The aim of the program is for students to be prepared to work in the best violin shops in the world and to continue the lifelong process of learning the art.

In recent years,our students have achieved 100% job placement: those who earn the Violin Repair Diploma and are seeking employment have consistently found work in the field.

In the News

Minnesota Public Radio News
Listen to this 2009 story, view pictures, and read the companion article on Minnesota Public Radio News.

Major Offerings

Instrument Close Ups

Learn more about the musical instrument repair programs on our Red Wing campus at

Outcomes & Opportunities

Program Learning Outcomes

Program graduates will be able to:

  1. Perform a professional quality set up on a violin, viola or cello. This includes the pegs, nut, fingerboard, saddle, sound post, and bridge.
  2. Diagnose and perform basic violin family repairs to a professional level of quality. This includes (if necessary) taking apart, gluing, reinforcing, making of replacement pieces, and repairing the varnish.
  3. Diagnose and perform basic bow repairs, including rehairing, to a professional level. Grip replacement, crack gluing, crack reinforcement and rehairing may be included.
  4. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the violin makers of the past and present.
  5. Identify resins, solvents, oils, and oleo resins, including their characteristics, uses in varnishes, and methods of making varnish.
  6. Communicate accurately using written, oral, and electronic methods.
  7. Identify instrument making woods, characteristics, and origins, including sustainability issues.
  8. Safely prepare, make, and use basic and specialty hand and power tools.

Placement & Costs

Program Job Placement: 100%
Estimated Program Costs (PDF)

Career Opportunities

  • Music Stores
  • Repair Shops
  • Musical Instrument Manufacturers
  • Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Transfer Credits

Expand your opportunities. Learn how your credits can transfer to other colleges and universities.

College Articulated Transfer Agreements: Specific agreements between MSC Southeast and other institutions to accept transfer credits.
Minnesota Transfer: Transfer information provided by Minnesota State colleges and universities, Minnesota private colleges, and the University of Minnesota.
Transferology: A nationwide network to assist students in determining which courses will transfer.

Highlights & Instructors

Program Highlights

  • Unique in length and comprehensiveness in the United States


  • Steve Rossow earned diplomas from the Guitar Repair and Building and Violin Repair programs at MSC Southeast in 2002. He apprenticed with luthier John R. Waddle in Saint Paul, under whom he studied violin making and restoration. Returning to MSC Southeast as a full time instructor in 2010, Steve now teaches violin construction and repair, and also serves as an instructor in the Guitar Repair & Building program.

  • Charlotte Matis graduated from MSC Southeast in 2002 with a diploma in Violin Repair, and also completed Archtop Instrument Construction in 2003. After a year doing repair in Milwaukee at Cascio Interstate Music, she moved to the workshop at Claire Givens Violins, whom she worked for until 2012. That spring she opened Blackbird's Music Store in Minneapolis, where she is shop foreman and teaches violin. Charlotte can also be found playing her fiddle with various local bands.

© 2019 Minnesota State College Southeast

RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment base on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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