The classical melodies of her violin guide Abby Schnelker through life


Sophomore Abby Schnelker finds joy and delight in playing the violin.

Practice makes perfect, right?

For sophomore Abby Schnelker, every so often, practicing will, in fact, do the opposite of that.

“There are some days where I’ll practice [my violin], and I [feel like] I get worse after practicing,” Abby said. “That’s probably my least favorite part [about playing] because [those times are] incredibly frustrating.”

Every instrument requires a great deal of patience, and the violin is no exception. Through tough times and nonlinear lines of progress, Abby takes the time to remember the larger picture and focus on the positives of playing her instrument.

“I feel like I just have to look at it in a broader sense,” Abby said. “Even if one day I’m not playing very well, over time, I’m making progress, and I have to continue to remind myself of that.

Even if one day I’m not playing very well, over time, I’m making progress, and I have to continue to remind myself of that.

— Abby Schnelker

Even with inescapable rough practices here and there, Abby stays true to the simple fact that she loves what she does. 

Abby finds perfecting the art of the violin to be the singular highlight of each and every day, and time and time again, she is truly captivated by the instrument in all of its grace.

“I absolutely love [playing the violin],” Abby said. “Practicing is my favorite part of the day, and if you don’t play an instrument, you should totally [think about starting]. It’s wonderful.”

Present-day Abby may be urging others to take up an instrument, but the reason she began playing was not from simple desire but rather a requirement from her parents. She doesn’t exactly remember what made her six- or seven-year-old self gravitate toward violin specifically, but she does recall why she opted to not play the piano.

“[I started playing the violin because] my parents said that I had to take up playing an instrument,” Abby said. “My sister was already taking piano, and I didn’t want to do the same thing that she was doing, so I chose to play violin.”

In addition to playing and practicing her violin at home, Abby devotes even more time to the instrument by being a part of the school’s orchestra. Being accompanied by the sounds of other various string instruments first thing in the morning is the best possible way to start the day, in Abby’s book.

One way Abby participates and enjoys being in orchestra is by getting involved in one of the most important aspects of the school musicals even though her work happens behind—or rather, under—the scenes.

“[The most fun parts of orchestra are] pretty much anything [that has] to do with the pit for the musicals,” Abby said. “Those are a lot of fun. We always go pick up lunch on dress rehearsal days at Poke Toki, which is always great.”

Abby has solidified her role as a violinist not only through countless practices and memories made in the orchestra room and pit but also by listening to classical music in her spare time in addition to playing it. 

Every unique aspect of classical music sets it far apart from all other types of music, and Abby appreciates these distinct characteristics that separate it from other genres.

“[With classical music], I like [that] because you don’t have to include lyrics, you can do a lot more with the music itself,” Abby said. “I also like how some of the pieces are longer, so there’s more time for [the song] to develop, so you can really enjoy [the music you’re listening to].”

Classical music is a major part of Abby’s everyday life, and whether she’s listening to it or playing it herself, she finds a way to incorporate it into all of the daily motions of her life.

“I think the idea that I can play and produce something that other people can enjoy [is a huge source of inspiration for me to play the violin],” Abby said. “Also, when I hear really talented players play famous pieces, [I think] ‘I wish that was me,’ [which is motivating].”