Sparks is director of String Instrument Technology at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He teaches classes in violin building and repair. Sparks attended the New School ( New York City) and Indiana University, and was a former consultant and buyer for G.L.P. Inc., in the U.S., France, and England. Professor Sparks worked as restoration foreman at Old Library Inc., and as a violin maker and repairer at Esty Violins. He is a recording artist with Rounder Records and the former United States Irish Fiddle Champion (1980-82).
Thomas Sparks: “We’re in the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music violin shop.
My interest in violin making came when I was young – I don’t remember the exact age – but I took apart my mother’s violin to see what was inside and that’s when I met my first violin maker, who had to put the instrument back together.
“I have been with the shop since 1978. It’s a violin making program. It’s unuisual. I think if you ask anyone who has come into the program what they thought when they came in, what their expectations were, and now that they are here, what they think."
Kit Holden: “I just started this year. I’m a base performance major. Really I came up here to fulfill the credits. Maybe be able to do some work on my base myself and save some money. But it’s kind of become…it’s kind of taken me over. I really look forward every single day to this class. Unless I cannot absolutely make it I am always up here every single day. I didn’t think I would be that interested in building a violin. But it’s kind of become a secondary passion."
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