Yuli, A Violinist, Is Defying Expectations And Changing Minds Through Music

Yuli knows that even though she's been playing since elementary school, people don't anticipate her to be a gifted violinist just by looking at her.

Yuli knew she’d found her instrument the moment she picked up a violin for the first time. The violinist has been playing since she was a child, but her love for the instrument meant she was the type of youngster who didn’t need to be told to practice. Yuli tells Uproxx how she aims to defy preconceptions and show that the violin “is for everyone” years later.

Yuli recounts how she began playing violin by accident for Uproxx’s New Normalists series, which is sponsored by Instagram. She was born in Detroit and began participating in her public school’s music program in second grade, when she was given the opportunity to choose from a variety of instruments. Wind instruments repelled Yuli when she saw their spit valves, thus she chose a violin as her instrument of choice.

Yuli knows that even though she’s been playing since elementary school, people don’t anticipate her to be a gifted violinist just by looking at her. “Most people think of violin and viola as a specific class that you can’t be a part of,” she told Uproxx. “I’m a Black woman who plays this instrument,” she says. You may not have seen it, but you will like it and feel a sense of connection to it. I want to teach people that this is something that anyone can do.”

Yuli is most proud of her talent as a seasoned musician when she performs for children. “I enjoy showing them that there are people who look like them who can play these instruments well,” she said. Despite the fact that she enjoys “changing people’s perspectives” through her work, she always stays true to herself.

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