Carleen Maley Hutchins

Hutchins's teaching of violin-making has been another important part of her career. Saunders congratulated her on securing her first pupil in a letter of March 9, 1953, and her instructional work continued until the late 1980s. She dates her most active work as a teacher from the late 1960s when three or four persons started to work with her, and she has taught as many as ten students at a time. She taught one or two weekends per month, giving students "hands on" instruction in violin making and tuning of free violin plates. In addition to teaching the basic skills she learned from Berger and Sacconi, she encouraged her students to learn other methods like those taught by German and French masters. A major part of her teaching has been the method she developed of plate tuning with Chladni patterns, a technique that is now in use by violin makers throughout the world. An noteworthy number of her students are scientists and engineers, a tribute to her scientific work. Her fifty or more students have included the following persons (in alphabetical order):

In order to further the cause of educating luthiers in the United States, Hutchins helped found a summer school of violin-making at the University of New Hampshire in 1975. Among the persons assisting with its organization was Harry Hall, professor of physics at the university and a former student of Saunders at Harvard. The extension division approached Karl Roy of the Mittenwald school to be head teacher, and he has returned each summer. Hutchins has sometimes taught her method of plate-tuning at the school, but is no longer associated with it. She has sent a number of her students to the school.

Hutchins's lecture tours have also been part of her work in education. An especially eventful tour took place in the People's Republic of China in 1982. The Chinese were then trying to develop their violin-making industry (now a lucrative business), and the Ministry of Culture brought her there for six weeks. She gave lecture/demonstrations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangchow, and also did lectures at the Chinese University in Hong Kong on the same trip. While in China she was approached by a gentleman asking why she was now reporting that Mode 5 on the free violin plates should be at the same frequency in top and backs, when earlier she had written that they should be a tone apart. His latest information, however, dated from before the Cultural Revolution when Hutchins was saying that. He held in his hands the one copy left of a book on the violin he had written before the Cultural Revolution.

Previous Section/CMH Home Page/Next Section

Return to CAS Home Page
Send comments/suggestions to Paul R. Laird at
This page is maintained by