For 30 years, violin maker Tom Verdot has seen no need to reinvent the wheel in an occupation that has been around for 400 years. But last spring he decided the time was right to have an apprentice.

Verdot is teaching the centuries-old practice of building violins in the Amati tradition, a style that originated in Cremona, Italy, and set the standard for quality. Vanessa Markley is the second apprentice Verdot has trained.

"She's bright, personable and very, very dedicated," Verdot said. She's in the first of an indefinite number of years that are required to become a maker.

As he works, Verdot explains violin theory, history and technique that has been passed down through maker to apprentice.

"I don’t see much changing in the next few decades." What makes a violin great, Verdot said, is a mixture of procedure, environment, and a little bit of magic.

  • I am a senior studying photojournalism and a summer 2018 staff photographer.

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