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Violin Monster Opens Up to Her Campus UMich

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

Chances are you’ve come across his path once or twice since coming to the University of Michigan. You may have seen him playing in the Dennison Archway on your way to the UGli to cram for that Psych midterm, or playing outside Good Time Charley’s while you’re there enjoying a drink (if you’re over 21, that is…), or maybe you’ve seen him playing outside the Big House as you join the sea of people stumbling—I mean walking—into the stadium for another win. Regardless of where you’ve seen him, you always recognize him right away—I mean, he does stand out quite easily amongst the mere mortals that go to U of M. He’s the one, the only, the terrifying, the talented: Violin Monster. I reached out to him, and he oh-so-generously agreed to let me interview him. I found underneath the terror and ferocity there’s a passionate musician who just wants to make people happy (or make them scream, depending on the full-moon cycle).


Her Campus: Where are you originally from?

Violin Monster: I’m originally from England. I can’t say exactly where in England, however. I’m 492 years old. My memory has faded over the past centuries. I’ve been in Ann Arbor for most of my life, however. I consider it home.


HC: When did you start playing the violin?

VM: I started when I was 7-years-old. When I was 3 or 4 I expressed an interest in it to my parents, having heard violinists play. After a few years they figured I was pretty serious about it, so they signed me up for lessons.


HC: Did you ever want to give up and quit playing?

VM: I did stop playing for a while. Life got very hectic and busy, so I had to quit taking lessons, but eventually I came back to it because I missed it, and I’m a natural at reading sheet music. I couldn’t stay away from it.


HC: How long have you been playing in Ann Arbor?

VM: I started playing in Ann Arbor in June of 2011, and I’ve been playing here ever since. I started doing street performances to practice. I used to take my stand out on the street with me. It’s also a way to keep me calm when the full moon rolls around. Ann Arbor is my number one favorite place to play because it has such a good community. I get a really good response from everyone.


HC: Where are your favorite places around campus and Ann Arbor to play?

VM: My main spots are the Dennison Arch, because the acoustics are really great in there, and there are a lot of students walking through on their way to class, Good Time Charley’s, which is always fun because I can go inside and play for people, Liberty and Main Street, and Graffiti Alley.


HC: What kind of reactions do you get from people?

VM: Mostly fear and intrigue. Honestly, though, I get really positive reactions. My biggest fans are probably children. Their parents will tell me that they always ask to watch YouTube videos of me. That’s really nice. But I also get good feedback from students. I’ve been in photo shoots and videos for students’ class assignments.  


HC: What other hobbies do you have, other than violin (and howling at the moon)?

VM: I love being outside and being in nature as much as I can. I go to Nichol’s Arboretum as much as I can. I also love travelling. This Saturday I’m actually leaving to go on my tour, which will take me to Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, New Orleans, and Austin for the South by Southwest festival. But I’m going to be in New York for Christmas to celebrate.


HC: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians/street performers?

VM: The most important thing to do is find what you enjoy most. Break away from the type of music you think you “should” be playing and actually play what you enjoy. As for street performers, it’s tough, but very rewarding. It will take persistence, so try out different locations before you find the ones you like the most.


HC: What is your favorite part about performing?

VM: I get to do what I love. I also get to bring happiness to people. If I can make someone who’s having a bad day smile, that’s great; it’s better if I can make those having a great day even happier.



There you have it, collegiettes! He may be a monster straight from the scary stories we told as children, but underneath it all, he just wants to do what he loves and make people happy—and I think he’s definitely succeeding in that. Next time you see him around campus, go say hello (just be mindful of the full moon, okay?)

I'm a sophomore at the University of Michigan, majoring in Communications and Creative Writing. I like gifs, videos of people falling, and my cat. I don't take myself too seriously.