John Fetter

Assistant Professor of Music Education

ECMS Collegiate Instructor in Violin




John Fetter, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Eastman School of Music. He also serves as Collegiate Instructor in Violin for the Eastman Community Music School and as Director of the Philharmonia and Sinfonia Youth Orchestras for the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. His research interests include identity development, alternative styles in string music education, music in urban schools, and string pedagogy. An active guest speaker and clinician, he has presented at the American String Teachers Conference, the College Music Society, and the MayDay Colloquium, as well as for state and local music education associations across the United States and in Ireland.

Actively engaged with music teaching in the urban community, he is the coordinator of the Urban Strings partnership between Eastman and the Rochester City School District. While teaching elements of all of his classes in the urban schools, Dr. Fetter works to forge mutually beneficial partnerships for students, music educators, and musicians, and to provide engaging opportunities for music teaching and learning.
For these efforts, he received the University of Rochester’s Presidential Diversity Award in 2012.

As a conductor, Dr. Fetter has worked with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra. Equally comfortable with orchestras in educational settings, he is known for his engaging teaching style. He is passionate about young orchestras, and in addition to his youth orchestras at the Hochstein School, is a frequent guest conductor with festival and regional orchestras of all ages.

In addition to sharing traditions of the orchestra, Dr. Fetter enjoys exploring other musical cultures as a player and a teacher. For over a decade, he has directed String Jam: Alternative Styles for Orchestra.
Working directly with performing guest musicians, this camp has exposed young string players to diverse styles of music from Reggae to South Indian Carnatic music, and traditional Irish to Japanese Koto.

Dr. Fetter earned his doctor of philosophy and master of music degrees in music education from the Eastman School of Music and his bachelor of music from the University of Northern Iowa. While earning these degrees he studied with violin Mikhail Kopelman and Frederick Halgedahl. Beginning his education career as a Suzuki violin teacher, he was a faculty member of the University of Northern Iowa Suzuki School. While continuing as a private teacher, he moved on to work as a public school orchestra director in Greeley, Colorado.

As a violinist, Dr. Fetter performs with the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, coordinates the festival’s Words on Music series, and has appeared as a jazz soloist. While occasionally found sitting in with blues and folk musicians, he is also enjoys performing in chamber music settings. He has performed on the Hochstein Faculty Artist Series and is a past member of orchestras in Colorado, Wyoming, and Iowa.