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About the Director

Paula Melton, a violin scholarship recipient and graduate of the University of Illinois, studied with John Kendall at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville (SIUE) during high school.  At the graduate level, Paula completed extensive long-term Suzuki training with John Kendall at SIUE.

A resident of southern Illinois for over thirty years, Paula Melton is a faculty member of Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Music. Paula Melton, recognized as a master string educator, is the Director of SIU Community Arts Outreach – College of Liberal Arts.  Paula has established the following Suzuki string and fine arts programs:

  • Cairo Suzuki String Program, Cairo, IL
  • Cape Hatteras Suzuki Strings, Hatteras, NC
  • Cape Hatteras Fine Arts Camp, Hatteras NC
  • Carbondale New School Suzuki Strings, Carbondale, IL
  • Carbondale New School General Music, Carbondale, IL
  • Giant City After School Arts, Carbondale, IL
  • Herrin After School Arts, Herrin IL
  • Meridian String Program, Mounds, IL
  • Murphysboro Christian Academy, Murphysboro, IL
  • Our Lady of Mt. Carmel After School Arts, Herrin IL
  • SIU Community Arts Outreach – College of Liberal Arts
  • SIUC Egyptian Suzuki School
  • Thomas String Program, Carbondale District 95
  • Tri-C After School Arts, Carterville, IL

Ms. Melton is committed to the art of teaching strings and the development of arts programs for children in under-served regions.  In July of 2000, Ms. Melton and five SIUC Egyptian Suzuki School high school students were invited to visit and perform at the Provincial Conservatoire, located in Feldkirch, Austria. In 2005, Paula designed an innovative approach to establishing string programs in public schools.  Recognized for excellence by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the John Thomas String Program, taught in Thomas School, Carbondale Elementary District 95, was designated as the state model for the “2006 Illinois Violin Initiative”. Established in 2009, Paula is founder and Director of Cape Hatteras Arts Camp, a two-week, multi-arts summer camp and Hatteras Suzuki Strings, located on the outer banks of North Carolina.   In 2014, meeting the musical needs of the isolated children of Hatteras Island, Paula established a distance education program, using technology, providing weekly private and group lessons to Hatteras Island children.

Paula Melton performs violin professionally in orchestras including the Illinois Symphony, Illinois Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Southern Illinois Summer Music Festival and Paducah Symphony Orchestra. As a public speaker, Paula joined the nationally acclaimed Cornerstone Chorale and Brass for the 2009, sixteen-city tour which culminated in a concert at Carnegie Hall, New York City.  Paula is also featured as a fund-raiser and advocate for children’s arts on live and taped radio and television programs throughout the Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky region. In her spare time, Paula is a professional portrait artist, open water swimmer and avid kayaker.