My Last Summer: Southern California Violin Makers Workshop

SCVMW workshop tools

Note: Sadly, the 2020 SCVMW workshop had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

For the last fifteen years I have  been teaching violin making for several weeks every summer at the Southern California Violin Making Workshop (SCVMW) in sunny Claremont, California. It’s been an amazing experience because of the wonderful friends I have made, the pleasure of watching my students progress, and how much it has helped me consolidate and articulate ideas I have had about violins. Through all that time, the workshop coordination/administration (a gigantic proportion of the work!) has been admirably handled by Jim Brown and his assistant Bob Gravlin, who’ve made sure I never had to think about a single thing other than violins and teaching the class. Together we’ve developed a strong community of friends and colleagues–a highlight of the workshop and the best reason to return each year.

When the workshop started, I was an independent violin maker, but since the inception of Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins, each year it’s become increasingly difficult to take off more than an entire month each summer (two or three weeks of teaching and a week at each end with 80 pounds my most-needed tools riding on a UPS truck to and from California).

This year, June 2020, will be my last teaching at SCVMW.  The workshop will be continuing in slightly different form, more oriented to beginners, and the bow making portion taught by Lynn Hannings and George Rubino will continue unchanged. You can find out about this year—your last opportunity to catch a class with me, and I believe a couple of spots may still be available—and start making your plans for next year at

Even though I will not be at SCVMW after the summer of 2020, I have no intention to disappear! I will remain available to all my former students and hope to stay in touch, and I plan also to return to some of the writing projects that have been on hold. And visitors are always welcome at my Chicago shop (just call or email ahead).

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