I got my start in violin making at the University of New Mexico. Peter White, professor of English and American Studies at UNM for over 35 years, began the violin making class in 2008. Formed under the name ‘New Mexico Musical Heritage Project’, his aim was to share his love of making violins and teach students the folk music of New Mexico. I took over teaching in 2015 when he retired.

Every semester I very much enjoy passing on my knowledge and love of instrument making with up to nine students. Since we only meet two evenings a week, it takes the average student about five semesters to complete their violin. A real camaraderie develops between all of us, as we get to know each other and watch each other’s struggles (of which there are MANY when making violins) and triumphs. One of my favorite aspects of teaching this class is that everyone is always so excited for everyone else whenever they reach a major milestone or do a particularly good job at something. We become invested in each other’s work, each violin becomes everyone’s. There’s nothing like it.

If you’d like to know more about this program at the University of New Mexico, please contact me at kpetti@unm.edu.

Alumni Day 2022 – Former and current students gathered together to show off their work.