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Joseph Kaminsky

Joseph Kaminsky has a stellar reputation among St. Louis violin teachers over the last 27 years of starting out young beginners and nurturing them all the way to become some of St Louis's finest high school violinists. His over 40 years teaching experience, his University teaching experience, his being one of the very few St. Louis teachers that actually trained in Japan with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, and his collaborative teaching with both one of the World's most successful violin teachers Almita Vamos and with St. Louis Symphony Assistant Concertmaster Erin Schreiber, gives Mr. Kaminsky the breadth of knowledge to work with students of all ages and levels.

Mr. Kaminsky's studio ranges in age from fledgling 3-yr-old beginners to routinely having large numbers of students at the top of the local youth orchestras. In St. Louis's most advanced all-student orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Youth Symphony, Mr. Kaminsky more often than not has either the most or the 2nd most violin students in that orchestra each year. In the 2018-19 SLSYO he has 5 students in the top 7 chairs of the 2nd violin section. His students have won in 114 local and regional competitions since 2000, very likely more than any other violin teachers (see Student Honors). His students have placed Honorable Mention in the Walgreens National Competition, and won 3rd place (Division B) in the Enkor International Violin Competition. ASTA has recognized Mr. Kaminsky as the 2014 "Missouri Artist Teacher of the Year."

Joseph Kaminsky has the rare combination of teaching skills that creatively motivate the youngest 3-yr-old beginners to put forth their best efforts while he is also able to challenge the most advanced students with professional aspirations to gain admittance into top music schools such as Julliard, Cleveland Institute, Oberlin, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern University. Mr. Kaminsky's uncanny rapport with young children stems from what University of Northern Iowa violin teacher Theresa Fetter calls his "remarkable ability to see the world through a child's eyes." This special rapport motivates young children to put forth their best efforts, often resulting in substantial early progress.

The fruits of this early progress show up as these young violinists spread their wings into the St. Louis student orchestra scene. In the 2017-18 school year the youngest violin student to make it into virtually every St. Louis City/County's year-round student orchestra was Mr. Kaminsky's student: Including the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, the professional Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis' "Share the Stand With Professionals Program", and the 4 Webster University CMS Orchestras: String Ensemble, String Orchestra, YPCO, and YPSO (in this instance his student is not the youngest, but one of the youngest, and was co-Concertmaster). In 2018-19 his students continued to excel and were the youngest violinists to win acceptance into Metropolitan Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Youth Symphony, CMS Prep Program, CMS YPCO, and CMS SE. With the vast number of private violin teachers in the area, to have any one teacher be the teacher of the youngest student to win acceptance into more than one student orchestra is unusual. To have one teacher be the teacher of the youngest student to win acceptance into virtually EVERY St. Louis student orchestra has to be considered rare. Joseph Kaminsky's unique teaching skills could be why the Suzuki Association of the Americas in 1984 selected him to be one of the youngest Suzuki Teacher Trainers ever , and may be the reason why in 2016 one of the United States' most respected violin pedagogues called Joseph Kaminsky "one of the finest teachers in this country."

Area professional musicians and trainers of string teachers can be presumed to know who the best teachers in St. Louis are. St. Louis Symphony Principal players; every other Suzuki Violin Teacher-Trainer in the St. Louis area (who had children playing violin); and St. Louis area University violin professors all have chosen Mr. Kaminsky to be the private teacher for their own children.

Joseph Kaminsky is comfortable teaching at ALL levels and abilities. So far from only being a training ground for students with professional aspirations, his creative adaptive approach lets each student progress at their own desired rate, benefiting the vast majority of students who have no desire to put in the amount of practice time needed to become a professional, but still desire at times to sound like one:-) Many of Joseph Kaminsky's families are so appreciative of his style of teaching that they drive quite a distance for his weekly lessons, from as far West as Kansas City, as far East as Charleston IL, as far North as Quincy IL, and as far South as Rolla.

There are a number of students raised in his studio that now do play professionally in the Arkansas Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Iris Chamber Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Madison Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Paducah Symphony, New World Symphony, New York Philharmonic (substitute), Phoenix Ensemble, Syracuse Symphony, and other professional ensembles. Some, like the current Lindbergh High School Symphonic Orchestra director, became teachers themselves, but the majority just continue to play and enjoy music throughout adulthood while working professionally in other disciplines. (See video samples of his individual students age 4 and up playing by clicking on the purple "Solos" button on the upper right of the home page.)

Mr. Kaminsky is columnist for the American Suzuki Journal authoring more string pedagogical articles than anyone else in the history of the magazine other than Dr. Suzuki himself. He has developed a DVD "Vibrato from the Ground Up" for teaching vibrato, has authored a set of violin technique books "Technique Mastery" to supplement the Suzuki volumes that is sold by the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and has been in demand internationally as a guest clinician and teacher-trainer, teaching in over 400 Suzuki workshops in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan, and Singapore. He is also an accomplished performer, for 4 years Principal 2nd Violinist in the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, the orchestra many St. Louis Symphony string players choose to play in after retirement.  

"I have taught a number of your students over the years. You are certainly doing a wonderful job with your students. I hope you teach a ton of students.(announced at the Webster University CMS April 13th, 2016 public Masterclass after hearing Mr. Kaminsky's student Rich perform.) "

David Halen, St. Louis Symphony, Concertmaster.

"I can't imagine teaching vibrato to a beginner any better than Mr. Kaminsky has demonstrated... I will play this tape for my granddaughter. Maybe she will be inspired to begin to play the violin."

Almita Vamos, "among the leading violin instructors in the world." (According to Wikipedia)

"I know how lucky my children are have a teacher like Mr. Kaminsky. I tell everyone I'd bring my daughter to his lessons even if he taught the kazoo!"

Celeste Golden Boyer, St. Louis Symphony, 2nd Associate Concertmaster.




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