On June 28th, 2016, we wrapped up one of our many free giveaways and chose our winner, Jasmine Reese. She won one of our Fiddlerman violin bows. I also found out that she had a story that was too good not to share with you guys.
Where are you from and how long have you been playing the violin?
I am from Los Angeles, but I've lived in Indianapolis for the past two years. I began violin at age 14. My teacher, Julissa Bozman, was kind enough to let me babysit her little ones in exchange for lessons. I haven't had continuous formal instruction for all those years, and I didn't go to music school which is one of my biggest regrets.
Congratulations on winning the Fiddlershop’s Fiddlerman bow, by the way. Do you have a particular bow that you like to use more than others?
I now like to use the bow I won from you guys more than all the others! Hahahaha! It's really a wonderful bow. I actually have two other bows, and my other one is a Fiddlerman bow as well.
You’re currently riding around Canada with just a bicycle, a violin, and your dog, which sounds like a really interesting story. Can you tell us a little bit about it and your mission?
When I was about 18, I started a website called LateStarterMusician which sought to encourage aspiring musicians who started later than others. Unfortunately, I didn't live the life I preached according to my website because I didn't follow my dreams, thinking I was too late to do so. I kind of hit a low point in my life where I truly regretted the time lost not pursuing my true passion, so I made the very spontaneous decision to leave school and bicycle across the U.S. It was very much so an ego boosting journey. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of something great. I wanted to transform myself mentally and physically. Bicycling across the U.S. Seemed to be the adventure that would challenge me as well as satisfy my travel bug. So, I set off with no cycling experience and I had some amazing experiences. Doors of opportunity opened; I built a network of friends and supporters. Most importantly, I became a person who could see pathways to success that weren't necessarily in any societal box of expectations. Cycling across the country literally set in front of me multiple roads for me to go down. After settling in Indianapolis for two years, I decided life is too short to continue to ignore my passion in life. I wanted to pursue my dream in a unique way. A way that even if it didn't work out, the memories and experiences from taking that road would be talked about for years to come. I want to bicycle around the world, and turn the road into my music school of sorts. Meeting people from various walks of life and letting them be my instructors and professors. Cycling around the world learning about other cultures and languages and musical styles, what a life! Building my own character through volunteerism and activism. Testing my endurance both physically and mentally. I hope my adventure inspires others to just go for it. Yes, we fail sometimes, but it's the journey we remember and grow from.
You also said that you will be attending a fiddle camp this June. Are there any camps that you would recommend for other violin players to attend?
I actually attended Kootenay #9 Fiddle Workshop in Castlegar, B.C. from July 11 to 15. What a wonderful experience! I have not been to many camps, so I can't recommend many. But I hope to make it to several more across Canada, and eventually also want to go to the Music Institute of New York's camps organized by Ellie Kang.
Knowing what you know now, what musical advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time that would benefit other musicians?
Don't be afraid. Always go after what you want. Enjoy the process.
How has the FiddlerShop helped service you as you grow as a musician and violinist?
Besides the bow I won in the recent competition, I took one of Fiddlerman's more inexpensive violins on the road. Although it was cheaper, it had a beautiful sound and did really well in the heat and cold temps. Customer service was also awesome and they were super patient with me and got my violin to me fast.
Have you learned any life lessons from learning how to play the violin?
Enjoy the journey. Work hard. It's never too late.
If you could perform anywhere in the world (fictional or non-fictional), where would it be?
I don't have a specific place. I'd just like to play a solo with an orchestra.
Is there any way that we can follow your music and your journey?
In 2013, Jasmine took a Fiddlerman Apprentice Violin outfit with her cross the U.S. on her bicycle. Listen to the Jasmine demonstrate the sound quality of our beginner level student instrument below.