Sophomore Esper finds inspiration, stress relief in violin


Elizabeth Kennedy and Holly Eberly

Some people spend their whole lives trying to find their true passion. Others, including Catherine Esper, are lucky enough to discover their interests at a young age. 

Esper is a fifteen year old sophomore at Canfield High School, and has an intense love for playing the violin. 

“I’ve been playing for eight years,” the violinist exclaimed.  

Wishing there were more violin opportunities, Esper said, “There’s nothing here at the school. It’s horrible. I do not get to play here at all.”

Though CHS does not offer violin related classes, that does not stop Esper from pushing her musical interests further.

She said, “I go to the JCC for lessons, and I’m also in the Youngstown Youth Symphony Orchestra – it’s so much fun.”

When asked what inspired her violin talents, Esper explains how the instrument was passed down through generations of her family.

“My dad played the violin when he was younger.  He also has two other brothers who played and my brother plays too,” she said.   

Because of this family tradition, Esper has been drawn to the instrument and has not been able to put the violin down.

One reason Esper enjoys the violin is because of its uniqueness compared to other instruments. 

She said, “There’s a lot of people here who play piano and piano is great, I love piano, but it’s so generic.” 

She prefers something that is more distinct with more originality.

Since she enjoys learning, practicing, and performing the violin, it is hard for Esper to pick a favorite part about the instrument. The joy and relaxation the violinist is able to achieve from playing the beautiful wooden instrument is something others can only dream of.

“It relieves my stress. If I have a horrible day, I go straight to my violin. A happy day, straight to my violin. It’s a great way for me to express myself, it’s my passion.”  

Esper assured us that the violin is an instrument she plans to play for the rest of her life, though perfecting the art is an intense process that takes someone who is very dedicated.

“I think the hardest part about playing is that it is really technical.  You have to learn how to get the correct notes and correct hand position.  You can’t just not practice and expect to be good.”

Esper explained the rigorous process by saying, “On the violin, you have to learn how to get the right notes and your hand positions and then when you start shifting everything needs to be technical. Even your bow hand needs to be perfect with your fingers in the right place and that’s how you advance.” 

To her, perfecting the art is worth it.

When asked if she would recommend the violin to someone looking for a new instrument to play, she immediately replied with an enthusiastic “Yes, definitely! But only if you’re dedicated, because you can’t just pick up a violin and play. You have to sit down for hours and hours and practice technical stuff and scales before you can even practice orchestra music or your solo. If you’re willing to do that, the outcome will be great.”