Destined to play

From classical violin to metal guitar, Tim Snider plays it all

Tim Snider eschews “dead white guy” (classical) violin for modern music.

Tim Snider eschews “dead white guy” (classical) violin for modern music.

Photo By David Robert

Prodigy. It’s a term Tim Snider may have squirmed at as a child and would probably resist now. But hear Snider’s story—and his passionate performance on the violin—and the label’s bound to be evoked.

Just call it fate.

“My grandmother was dying when I was born,” Snider explains. “She held me in her arms and said, ‘He’s going to be a violin player.’ “

His grandmother’s dying words turned prophetic when Snider, at age 3, saw violinist Itzhak Perlman perform on Sesame Street.

“I ran into the kitchen [where my mom was] and said, ‘I want to play violin,’ and she just about passed out,” Snider says. “I learned how to play music before I knew my ABCs. When other kids were playing with their trucks, I had my violin.”

Snider has been making music ever since, although not always music of the classical variety. Snider, who graduated from Reno High School in June, put down the violin in sixth grade but couldn’t stay away from music for long. In seventh grade, he picked up the guitar and never looked at music the same way again. He discovered the punk music scene and began writing his own music on the guitar. Snider now plays electric guitar in the metal band Inflexus.

“Playing classical music, it’s great, but you’re playing dead white guy stuff all the time,” Snider says. “But [when] writing music, I get to share the music that I hear in my head.”

Ultimately, however, Snider was drawn back to his roots. He picked up the violin again last November, this time shying away from the “dead white guy stuff” and developing a more improvisational style.

“I’ve been applying what I learned with the guitar to violin,” Snider says. “I think the violin is still unexplored. I love to jam with people and not know what the hell’s coming next, to just sing through [the] instrument.”

Snider says he uses electric guitar effects, such as distortion and delay pedals, on the violin. He has also been listening to Celtic music, the fiddle and jazz violin lately for inspiration.

There is no end, it seems, to Snider’s musical interests. Although he loves to jam with other solo artists on the violin and play metal with Inflexus, Snider is most excited about Jibe, a project that he formed with a flamenco guitar player. Snider writes violin and acoustic guitar tunes for the band, which plays “kick-back acoustic stuff with a Latin flair.”

Amid these varied musical pursuits, a conventional job in the corporate world is beginning to look less interesting to the recent high school grad.

“I just made the decision to pursue music as a career,” Snider says. “It’s been a tough decision. I’m at the point now where I could go to school and make a lot of money, or I could follow my dreams.”

Retrospectively, perhaps, the path was pretty clear.

“I just want to share music,” Snider says. “I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Little wonder, since his vision began at the tender—and prodigious—age of 3.