Our Instructors

Our instructors have spent decades learning the fine art of making and restoring stringed family instruments and bows.  Some have entered the field through playing, while others from various technical fields.  All are accomplished artists in their own right and many are award-winning makers, some having received recognition in competitions with the distinction of Hors' Concours from the Violin Society of America.  This is an important honor received after having earned three gold medals in VSA International Competitions. This qualifies the honoree to judge competitions making them an excellent resource for information.  We hope to pass their extensive knowledge and experience on to you, our next generation of makers and restorers, through demonstrations, instruction, and professional example. 

Because our instructors are active within the industry, it may be necessary for them to bow out for a season. Many of our instructors have returned to teach workshops while others are active with the VSA fulfilling their elected duties for upcoming competitions and conventions in November. Check the site in mid-November for the 2024 Schedule of Workshops. 

Registration opens November 15, 2024.  Thank you for your continued support. 


Kristin Siegfried Ballenger
Kristin Siegfried Ballenger is an award-winning violin maker and restorer. She is a graduate of and former instructor at the Chicago School of Violin Making and holds a music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. While still in school she started work at Seman Violins, where she continued after graduation. In 2019, she began as an instructor at the Chicago School of Violin Making with Antoine Nedelec. She has recently moved to Boston and focuses on new making along with her work at Reuning & Son Violins. She is currently a member and Vice President of the Violin Society of America.

Tom Croen
Tom Croen is an award-winning violin maker working from his studio in Eugene, Oregon. He has been actively making instruments and is a member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and the Violin Society of America, where he has served on the Governing Board of both organizations. Tom has earned the distinction of 'Hors Concours' after having won 3 gold medals from Violin Society of America International Competitions. Tom stays challenged and inspired by being a workmanship judge at VSA competitions and writing publications on the subject of instrument acoustics and other aspects about the craft of violin making and repair.
Chris Germain
Christopher Germain makes award-winning violins, violas, and cellos from his studio in Philadelphia, PA. Chris has served as the President of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers as well as the Violin Society of America and has served on the Governing Boards of both organizations. He also is a member of the Entente Internationale Maitres Luthiers et Archetiers d'Art and has served as a judge for numerous international violin making competitions.
Rodney D. Mohr
Rodney Mohr has been actively making bows for nearly 40 years and is a member of the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers, where he earned the degree of Master of Bow Making. Mr. Mohr has produced over 1,100 bows, making him one of the nation's most prolific bow makers. As one of the country's leading restorers, Mr. Mohr also has restored a countless number of fine bows using a conservative approach. Mr. Mohr holds the distinction of Hors' Concours by the VSA along with numerous other Certificates of Merit and a medal from the City of Paris Competition.
David Orlin
David Orlin works out of his studio in Ann Arbor Michigan. He was elected into membership of the American Federation of Violin & Bow Makers in 1996. David has participated in the Violin Society of America's Oberlin Bow Maker's Workshop and is currently a Co-director of the VSA Oberlin Bow Restoration Workshop.  He has taught bow repair and restoration at the National String Workshops in Madison, Wisconsin since 1993, and has exhibited and presented at conventions of the AFVBM, VSA, and ASTA. He also lectures frequently about bows and has contributed articles for publication. 

Gregory S.Sapp
Gregory (Greg) Sapp provides high-level restoration and repair services to musicians and shops, around the United States, out of his shop in Illinois.  Greg has been a regular contributor to the Oberlin Restoration Workshops, in addition to being one of the instructors in 2017 and 2023. He has been providing master classes and presentations on advanced restoration techniques for many years.  He has dedicated much time and thought to creating devices to assist with challenging restoration projects and enjoys sharing these items and concepts with his colleagues and attendees at workshops.
William Scott
William (Bill) Scott is a violin maker working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned Hors Concours in 2006, with his 3rd Gold Medal for a viola at the Violin Society of America's International Violin Making Competition. In addition to these awards, he has won numerous other medals and certificates for violin, viola, and cello. Bill began his apprenticeship at the shop of Hans Weisshaar in Los Angeles. He has contributed to Strad Magazine, VSA Conventions as a presenter and as a workmanship judge. Over the past decade, he has been on staff at the Violin Makers Workshop in Oberlin, Ohio and is a past President of the Violin Society of America.
Stacey Styles
Stacey Styles has worked independently as a restorer of violins, violas, and cellos since 1995. She is located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Ms. Styles particularly likes a challenging restoration project but also enjoys the balance and insight afforded by working directly with musicians in fine adjustments for tone and performance. Ms. Styles credits Hans J. Nebel, with whom she studied for many years, for instilling a high standard of excellence in restoration, and a deep appreciation for a finely honed edge.