One of only three violin making schools world-wide at the time, including the Mittenwald and Mirecourt schools, Tim chose the Italian school for the influences for which it was famous. The four-year program is organized into two sections. Only those who pass a very strict examination are promoted to the upper section. Tim apprenticed under guidance of the Cremonese maker Francesco Bissolati.
Tim Jansma is also a competent violinist. He studied violin performance with Walter Verdehr at Michigan State University. In Philadelphia, he studied privately with Frank Costanza of the Philadelphia Orchestra. As an apprentice, the Moennig’s utilized this talent. When people wanted to hear instruments played, Tim was called in. This gave him the opportunity to see and play Strads, Guarneris and Amatis, so many of the finest instruments available. When he returned to western Michigan, Tim played for the Grand Rapids and West Shore Symphonies. Since his workload keeps him so busy in the shop, he has retired from playing professionally. Tim continues to play the violin privately, and he finds his experience as a musician gives him much greater insight as to what a musician seeks when looking for an instrument.
A small farm near the Po River Valley was where Tim Jansma established his first workshop. The location gave him the opportunity to immerse himself deeply into the local culture. There he made great friends and completed many instruments. These early Jansma instruments were purchased by violin dealers to be sold in shops across Europe. His work today, in the shop relocated in western Michigan over 3 decades ago, is influenced greatly by his experience as a former Cremonese maker.
While living in Cremona, Tim began by travelling extensively through Yugoslavia, Germany and Northern Italy selecting logs. He processed the logs himself at his first shop, where he had renovated an old sawmill. Maple and spruce were sold to other Cremonese violin makers. The wood he selected for himself was crated and shipped to Michigan. Over the following decades, Tim continued to select logs from both Europe and Michigan and has been a dealer of tonewoods to violin makers all over the world.
The AFVBM is the only organization for the violin and bow making professions in America to require quality and ethics standards to be met by its members. Before being accepted into the AFVBM, candidates must have graduated from qualified schools or completed an apprenticeship from a recognized shop. They must also have run their own business for a minimum of 10 years. An example of their work is then to be submitted for the scrutiny of the AFVBM membership. Only if they approve of the quality of the workmanship will the candidacy be accepted.
The AFVBM gathers every two years to offer its members the opportunity to exchange technical and artistic ideas in the fields of making and restoration. They also present "Players Meet Makers," exhibiting the work of the AFVBM members. For more information, visit www.afvbm.com.