Bachelor and master of Music > Musical instrument making
The musical instrument making major studies the morphology of musical instruments in view of the construction, reconstruction and preservation of these fascinating artefacts. The programme wishes to counter the tendency towards uniformity and explore the limitless sound potential of acoustic instruments. Through this work, the discipline makes valuable contributions to the performance practice of both old and new music.
Your research and building practice is based on an in-depth exploration of historical sources and treatises, iconography and specialist literature. You will also study and document instruments from private and public collections, making use of both traditional methods (taking measurements, technical drawing, photography) and the latest technologies (röntgen and CT scans, 3D scanning, ultrasound).
The bachelor programme introduces the students to different techniques through the making of rather straightforward instruments from various disciplines (e.g. the dulcimer, psalterium, Baroque guitar, viol, cornetto …). Students can then gradually move towards a specialization in stringed, plucked, wind or keyboard instruments. The master programme offers an additional course in experimental instrument making as well as an introduction into the conservation and repair of musical instruments. Making music also takes up an important place in the curriculum. Students learn to play instruments, and the instruments they make are also tested and assessed by students of music during the academic year, and by renowned musicians and professional instrument makers for the final exams. Our exam panels in past years have included people such as Jos Van Immerseel, Sigiswald Kuijken, Wieland Kuijken, Karel Moens, Johan Huys, Frans Vos, Kris Verhelst, Stefaan Smagghe, Frank Agsteribbe, Robert Kohnen, Peter Van Heyghen, Marc Seghers and Christophe Bursens.
The musical instrument-making programme is the perfect foundation for a whole range of professional activities. The multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature of instrument making implies an extensive and differentiated curriculum. This not only enables graduates to be employed in a professional instrument-making studio or establish their own studio, but the many practical, organizational, communicative and reflective competencies acquired in the programme will also give access to various kinds of cultural and scientific institutions and organizations: museums, concert and theatre houses, musical ensembles, arts centres, heritage and archival institutions, galleries and study centres. Potential functions include employee in a conservation or repair studio, advisor, exhibition coordinator or builder, educational service worker, orchestra logistics manager, researcher and teacher.
The instrument-making programme maintains close ties with instrument museums such as the Brussels Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), the Museum Vleeshuis / Sound of the City in Antwerp, the Alamire Foundation in Louvain, and other national and international research centres. A number of researchers are also active within the programme, working e.g. on PhD research in instrument making.