Joseph Kaminsky is considered by experts to be one of the "finest violin teachers in this country" at teaching young children through high school. His 45 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 advanced teaching with 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 3-yr-old beginners to 60-something adults. His versatile studio encompasses students on the Autistic Spectrum, adults with beginning stages of dementia, and prize-winning students. Mr. Kaminsky each year is almost always one of the top 3 violin teachers as far as number of students that have won acceptance into the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra under his instruction, and his students have have won the SLSYO Concerto Competition three times. Joseph Kaminsky's students have placed in 123 local, regional, and international competitions since 2000. Mr. Kaminsky's students won Honorable Mention in the 2016 Walgreens National Concerto Competition, won 3rd place in the 2018 ENKOR International Music Competition, and won 1st Place in the 2019 Great Composers International Competition in "Best Wieniawski Performance" (see Student Honors). Mr. Kaminsky's students have won the MFMC State of Missouri Concerto Competition in the High School Strings Division in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007. In 2014 ASTA recognized Mr. Kaminsky as the "Missouri Artist String 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, Northwestern University, and SMU. 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 a rarity. Back in 1984 the Suzuki Association of the Americas selected Joseph Kaminsky's to become one of their youngest Suzuki Teacher-Trainers ever selected.
St. Louis Symphony Principal players; all the other Suzuki Violin Teacher-Trainers in the St. Louis area (who had children playing violin); St. Louis area University violin professors, and St. Louis County High School Orchestra directors 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 (long-term substitute), Phoenix Ensemble, Circus Flora, and
Syracuse Symphony. Some teach as University violin instructors at St. Louis University and Blackburn College. Students that Mr.. Kaminsky started on their violins are now orchestra directors at Parkway Central High School and Kirkwood High School, and another student is now director of the Lindbergh High School Symphonic Orchestra. Others became studio 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 a 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, having played in orchestras on stage with The Who, Moody Blues, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Diane Warwick, Bernadette Peters, Robert Plant, Peter Cetera, Antonio Pavarotti, Bread, Art Garfunkel, Tony Bennet, Tran-Siberian Orchestra, Barry Manilow, Weird Al Yankovic, and others. For the past for 5 years, he has been 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. "
David Halen, St. Louis Symphony, Concertmaster. (Announced at Webster University CMS April 13th, 2016 public Masterclass after hearing Mr. Kaminsky's student perform.)
"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. (during a St. Louis Symphony radio broadcast interview on Sept. 30, 2017.)
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