A major challenge for the development of the European technical music instrument sector is to open training courses for international students. Only 3 to 4 European countries have adopted a more or less complete system for technical music training courses. France offers the widest range of training.

Welcoming international students in Le Mans represents a major issue to preserve know-how and improve the international network of the French companies. In this context, Itemm organises a higher education diploma for international students with University of Maine. Since 2009, numerous students have been able to carry out their career project by studying at Itemm. More information is available here.
Some students benefit from the support of charitable organizations such as the belgian association Music Fund or Patrimoine sans frontières. Since 2004, numerous projects have been carried out with partner countries like for example Spain, Chile, Armenia, Montenegro, Italy, Mozambique, Portugal, Morocco, Israel, Algeria, Belgium, Bolivia, Venezuela, England, Tunisia, Benin and Palestine.

Become a student in France

If the candidate’s country of origin is not part of the European Union, an application for a long-stay visa or residence permit (VLS-TS) is necessary. The following websites may guide the candidate through the process:

On a local scale, these two websites give details about international students reception in Le Mans:

Become a student at Itemm:

At the arrival in France, the international student should present himself/herself at Itemm reception. A member of the teaching team will become the personal supervisor of the student. This person is in charge of advising the student and guiding him/her through the administrative steps necessary for setting-up in Le Mans.

Should the student not follow French language preparation course, he/she may directly arrive the day the vocational training starts or may arrive before for any information. In this way, he/she can meet the supervisor who is easily available.

Starting dates depend on the chosen option. All important dates as well as Itemms’ closing an opening periods are available on this page.

Should you need any urgent advice, olease do not hesitate to contact:

  • Patrick Sinigaglia : international application coordinator, +33 (0)2 43 39 39 04 – patrick.sinigaglia@itemm.fr
  • Catherine Thebault : secretary, + 33 (0)2 43 39 39 21 – catherine.thebault@itemm.fr
  • Contact ITEMM : +33 (0)2 43 39 39 00 – contact@itemm.fr

Administrative Processes

At the arrival in France, several administrative procedures need to be carried out. The supervisor of each student is in charge of advising the student during the whole process and especially:

  • Registration at the French family allowance fund called CAF (Caisse des allocations familiales) in order to benefit from a financial accommodation aid
  • Subscription of health and civil liability insurances
  • Opening of a bank account in France
  • Subscription for electricity, water and insurance contracts for the flat (if necessary)
  • Organisation of a French phone number
  • Subscription to local transport offers and discount cards


University of Maine organises accommodation for the time of the French language preparation course for all students taking part in it. For the rest of the year and for all other students, it is necessay to find accommodation, if possible before the arriving in France.

A foreign student in France can benefit from the same financial aids than French students. In general, students should foresee a payment of a deposit as well as finding a guarantor for any kind of accommodation which complicates research for accommodation from overseas.

The website of Campus France enables students to discover the different accommodation types available in France in order to better understand the system.

The “Accommodation” page offers some specific advice regarding accommodation possibilities in Le Mans.

Should the student have difficulty in finding accommodation, Itemm recommends an intermediate solution for the first days. The Itemm team will help the sudent once in France finding accommodation for the whole year.

French Cost of Living

French cost of living may be very different from the international student’s home country. Itemm therefore recommends to foresee a minimum of 7000 € for daily life in France during one year. This amount includes accommodation cost, restoration as well as transportation costs for training periods, etc.

Campus France established a handbook for students and daily life in France which helps preparing a stay in France.

For the last twenty past years, Itemm has gained experience in training “Engineering”. Together with the Univerty of Maine, Itemm is developing internationally recognised technical diplomas.

Together with the University of Maine, Itemm has developed a Higher Education Diploma for professional music technicians in musical instrument making-repairing-tuning (Guitar/Piano/Wind Instrument/Accordion) and in sound engineering.

Europiano, European Association of Piano Builders, strong of 3500 members, with the help of Itemm set up the “Europiano Technician Exam”, the first European accredited certification in piano tuning and repair.


This certification was the first step to a European diploma with skills confirmed by an international jury of professionals.

This certification not being recognised by European training institutions, two additional vocational training and diplomas schemes (equivalent to GCSE and A-Levels in the Commonweath or High school diploma and SAT in the US) should be available at Itemm soon.

To fastfoward the process of certification and equivalency, Itemm is bringing together international instrument making stakeholders.

Do get in touch with us to check on our progress.

Created following European Parliament decision, Itemm represents today the biggest instrument making training centre in Europe thanks to the widely spread offer.

  Resource centre for all professionals, Itemm’s mission is to respond to the European stakeholders’ needs. Therefore, the institute is in charge of regrouping all stakeholders to build together an operational network. From its creation on, Itemm stays in contact with European professional associations, training centres and scientists and tries to link them with each other.   Itemm also works closely with Europiano, Union of European Piano Builders’ Association. To make this collaboration easier, the French Europiano branch is located inside Itemm.

Institute with international connections, Itemm works together with authorities of different countries to organise revitalisation projects for the musical instrument sector. The objective of such projects is to train local craftsmen who will then in a second step become the local trainers.

  Several projects have been carried out in collaboration with ‘Culture & coopération’ and the French Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs. They are embedded in larger local development measures by making the cultural and especially musical sector more dynamic (musical practise support, music school construction, restoration of instruments, training for music teachers, training for musical instrument making professionals). Different actors are involved in these missions and succeed each-other.
  • in Kazakhstan: inventory and evaluation missions, technicians training
  • in Montenegro: technicians training
  • in Armenia: inventory and evaluation missions, technical assistance for Erevan conservatory, Technicians training
  • in Tunisia: training for technicians, inventory and evaluation missions, musical instrument inventory of cultural institutes, technical assistance for the Higher Education Institute for Music and Technician Training
  • in Brazil: technical assistance for Salvador de Bahia theatre, technicians training
  • in Mozambique: technicians training
Itemm is also a partner of the belgian association Music Fund as well as the association Patrimoine sans frontières by taking part in their musical instrument collection. Itemm students and trainers contribute to the restoration of musical instruments which are delivered to young musicians and music schools in developing countries or worldwide conflict areas (Haïti, Mozambique, Palestina, etc.). In Africa, Itemm has developed a partnership with the association Musique Evénements that supports musical promotion in West Africa and especially Togo. In this context, students and trainers from Itemm work together on the restoration of collected instruments. More information is available on the website.