Yann Besson, luthier Yann Besson, violin and viola maker

From the child to the Violin Maker

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From the child to the Violin Maker
Yann Besson explains how the violin has permeated his life.

Yann Besson tells us how he discovered violin Making

More than a revelation, I recall a succession of events along my journey which have led me to being the violin maker that I am today.

This tape I listened to over and over

Yann Besson cassetteFirst of all, there is this Vivaldi mandolin concerto which I listened to hundreds of times.

It was the only classical tape in the family home.

This tape introduced me to the world of Classical Music and more particularly to Baroque music.

The Corme Royal Music school

My parents who were complete outsiders to the world of classical music enrolled me in the local Corme Royal music school in Charente-Maritime to satisfy my enthusiasm to play the mandolin.

The instruments taught in the school were, amongst others, the violin and the guitar, but I discovered that the mandolin and the violin had a point in common: their tuning ( G, D, A, E ). They are simply doubled for the mandolin.

Madame Simone Mège

This is the name of the teacher that taught me the violin in my local music school.

Her touching personality and the chocolate (s) which she freely distributed to her pupils… I wonder which got me into following her private tuition for the next seven years. Thinking about it, probably a bit of both!

I remember these years of apprentiships with much fondness and admit to being quite lazy for practicing.

Yann Besson chocolat

Was it the reason why Madame Simone Mege once told me about the Mirecourt violin making school, seeing more violin maker than musician in me? Her sensitivity must have helped her to discover what I didn’t yet now myself.

She must have also made a link with my father’s workshop in which I spent numerous hours sculpting and assembling wooden objects.

My father’s workshop

I remember as if it was yesterday the so particular smell of wood being sawn, planed and sanded. My mind is charged with the essences of resinous woods, oak, elm which give a joining and cabinet making workshop it’s identity.

In this space, next to my father, I forged a strong relationship with the wood and the craft needed to master these living substances.

My father’s books

The « Roret encyclopedia » (manuels “Luthier” and “Fabricant de vernis”), and the « Tolbecque » were amongst the technical books my father had on his shelves. These books were published in the 19th century and were fascinating to me.

My mother may have also told my violin teacher about the time when she saved me (my instrument rather) from opening my violin to explore it from the inside?

The books guided me through my first drawing of instrument outlines… With results of course as great as my inexperience!

The National Violin Making school of Mirecourt

I was 15 years old when it was time for me to take the entry exams for the Mirecourt Violin Making School.

Amongst the tests, one was related to our hearing capacities. It consisted of putting in the right order a tone divided in intervals of 1/20th. This exercise can seem complex but it felt easy to me thanks to my violin playing. If even my violin practicing was not to my teacher’s expectation, I had at least acquired the ability of hearing the notes “in “ and “out” of tune.

Anyway, I was selected and entered the National violin Making School.