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Leonardo Guitar Research Project
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Leonardo Guitar Research Project wants to increase the cooperation between Vocational Education and Training (VET) and the labour market within the field of guitar lutherie, by creating an increased focus on environmental sustainability and use of non-tropical woods. Furthermore, this project wants to develop the field of guitar making in a more sustainable direction, creating a European network on non-tropical woods in guitar building as well as a sustainable supply base of non-tropical woods for lutherie. The Leonardo Guitar Research Project wants to make the educational curriculum for lutherie students more relevant to the future needs of luthiers/employers by introducing new teaching methods (where luthiers act as mentors for individual students, in combination with individual work placements) and integrating new study material into the curriculum (a handbook on the characteristics of non-tropical woods, a methodology for evaluating acoustic guitars and a teacher guide on sustainable forest management). The project partners want to teach lutherie students to use a wider range of woods in guitar making, specifically non-tropical woods, to improve their skills and knowledge, increasing their chances on the labour market, and to provide them with a better appreciation of the environmental impacts of lutherie and the importance of sustainability in wood use. From a business standpoint, the Leonardo Guitar Research Project wants to provide professional guitar luthiers with the proof that guitars made from non-tropical woods can look and sound as good as those made with tropical woods, give them broader range of woods to choose from for making guitars, a well as a sustainable and cost effective supply base of non-tropical woods and a potential competitive edge and point of difference for European luthiers versus lower cost imported guitars from Asia by market's exploitation of ‘Made with European Sourced Sustainable Woods’. The Leonardo Guitar Research Project will deliver the following results: - an enhanced educational curriculum for the students of the participating lutherie schools, developing and incorporating new study material (on non-tropical woods and sustainable forest management and on methodologies for evaluating acoustic guitars), a new teaching methodology (to have more students working together on the same guitar), the practice of entrepreneurial luthiers mentoring for students who will undergo work placements, and increased opportunities for learning mobilities (introducing transnational workshops) - the determination of the most suitable non-tropical wood types for making high-end acoustic guitars, to become a realistic option for schools/students and entrepreneurs/luthiers - the creation of a sustainable supply base of non-tropical woods. - the development of a European network for sharing experiences and good practices on guitar making with non-tropical woods - the development of a comprehensive communication plan to ensure broadscale results dissemination, including a roadshow with lectures and demonstrations, the appointment of some famous guitar players acting as ambassadors of our project, taking project guitars on tour, and the organisation of the first Leonardo Guitar Festival. The key impact of this project will be to change the mindsets of students, teachers, musicians, luthiers and their wood suppliers: that non-tropical wood can indeed be a good and viable option to make beautiful and excellent-sounding guitars. Creating a sustainable supply base and providing scientifically based information on the qualities of different kinds of woods will make non-tropical wood a true option for schools and luthiers. They will soon realise that using non-tropical wood is not only a good marketing trick, but it is also more profitable. As the craft is a very traditional one, the mindsets can only be changed by extensively researching the properties of the different woods, by creating a sustainable supply base, by influencing the curricula of the schools – and finally, by making great guitars and submitting them to comprehensive testing. As a result, non-tropical wood will be used more and more in guitar building. The partnership of the Leonardo Guitar Research Project is involving three renowned guitar lutherie schools (CVO Rivierenland, Belgium; Ikata, Finland; Lincoln College, England), one knowledge centre for lutherie (Cmb, Belgium) and four highly regarded entrepreneurial luthiers (Rémi Petiteau, France; Chris Larkin, Ireland; Thomas Holt Andreasen, Spain; Lorenzo Frignani, Italy), together representing seven different EU-countries. The goals and activities of the Leonardo Guitar Research Project are fully consistent with EU2020 policy on education, climate change, innovation and employment.
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