Violin Repair Program

Hands-on training for a life in music.


The Violin Repair program at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical, Red Wing campus, is a unique program designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in violin repair shops and music stores.

No woodworking or musical experience is necessary. Topics covered in the nine month program include tool preparation, materials, violin history, ebony work, violin varnish, violin playing, bridges and sound posts, bow rehairing, basic bow repairs, and basic violin repairs. Basic principles of repair and maintenance are emphasized, with as much in lab repetition as possible. The majority of time is spent in the lab, with a minimal amount of lecture time.

Our graduates have enjoyed a 100% job placement rate at shops and stores around the country over the past few years.

In the News

Listen to the story, view pictures, and read the companion article on the MPR NewsQ Web site.

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

Career Opportunities

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

Transfer Credits

Expand your opportunities. Learn how your credits can transfer between MnSCU colleges and universities.

College Articulated Transfer Agreements

Highlights & Instructors

Program Highlights

  • Unique in length and comprehensiveness in the United States


  • Lisbeth Nelson Butler holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in performance and a Master's in Educational Leadership. She is a graduate of the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City. Lisbeth owned her own shop in Iowa for nine years and is a professional violinist. She has been an instructor at Southeast Technical since 1990.
  • Ute Zahn graduated from the Newark School of Violin Making and Repair in Newark, U.K. She worked for three years at the Beverley Music Centre in Beverley, U.K., followed by two years in the workshop of Sandra Wagstaff Violins in Hong Kong. Before moving to Minnesota, she spent seven years working for herself making and restoring violins in Hong Kong, while actively freelancing as a cellist. After several years in Claire Givens's workshop in Minneapolis, she moved to House of Note, where she worked for almost ten years.

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RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | P.O. Box 409 | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

Southeast Technical is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible.
A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities 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.

This document is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by calling (877) 853-TECH (8324) or (507) 453-2700.