How dedication and a humble heart helped a Highland violinist succeed
Mar 12, 2018 04:22PM
By Natalie Mollinet
Cameron Jeppson has been playing the violin since age 3 and practices for hours a day to perfect his art. (Photo Courtesy Cameron Jeppson).
When most children start a hobby, it doesn’t last very long. Either the work is too much or the passion to continue dies out. But for one 17 year old at Highland High school, his passion to play the violin has pushed him further and further into a love for the instrument and performing.
Cameron Jeppson first heard the violin when he was 18 months old at weddings he went to with his parents. He’d see the quartet playing and point at them and asked when it was going to be his turn to play. Finally, after another year and a half at the age of 3, his parents got him his first violin. Since then, he’s been taking private lessons from Asheley Madsen Watabe and hasn’t looked back.
“We never really had to talk to him about practicing at all, he just gets the job done,” Watabe said about Cameron and his practicing. “I would say he practices more to achieve a challenge and master something each day.”
Jeppson wakes up early every morning to attend violin practices at 5 a.m., then he goes off to school where he takes in his other passions like math. At Highland, he was selected as the school’s Sterling Scholar in music. School and music also fuse together for Jeppson as he participates in the orchestra and Madrigal choir group. But his first love is the violin which has given him the opportunity to play outside the United States.
“I guess the more I play the more opportunities I have,” Jeppson said. “In the summer of 2015, I got invited to go to Russia, Estonia and Latvia and play there. It was a great opportunity to play with other violinists and the next summer I played with an orchestra and went to other European countries and opportunities popped up more.”
Currently, Jeppson plays with a string quartet called The Ringtone Quartet, a group made of other string players who Jeppson has come to know through his years of playing. They perform at schools, weddings and other parties and have competed in different music competitions. This summer, the group has applied to compete in one music competition where if they win, will have the opportunity to play in Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Jeppson was recently selected as a candidate in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program where 3.6 million students apply and only 4,500 candidates are selected. Those who are selected have scored high on the SAT and ACT and demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.
“I think that’s the neatest thing, to see him start to do things on his own and take ownership of his own playing and ownership of his own life,” Watabe said about Jeppson. “He creates more opportunities for himself.”
Watabe added that out of her 300 different students over the years, there really hasn’t been a student who has the same drive and ability like Jeppson has. She said that even though he’s very talented and is one in a million, he has always been the most humble, kind, considerate and polite person she has met.
“He’ll come and do these concerts and help the other kids and not let them know that he’s helping them,” Watabe said. “He’s just such a humble person which is probably one of his best qualities. He has never once lost any sort of humility or graciousness, he just 100 percent a kind, kind person.”
After high school, Jeppson plans to serve an LDS mission and then attend an in-state university and double major in math and music.
“There was definitely a bit of a learning curve,” Jeppson said when it came to playing the violin and practicing. “Initially it was difficult to practice but I have always loved playing the violin and the more I’ve played and the more I’ve worked on it, the more I’ve come to love it.”