Emily Yarascavitch

Biomedical Sciences Major and Music Minor, 2016

Emily in forestMusic has always been an important part of Emily Yarascavitch’s life. As a toddler, she took an immediate interest in the fiddle after attending her brother’s lessons, and at age four, she began lessons of her own. Soon after, she was competing in fiddle competitions across Ontario, which further led to North America-wide competitions, Royal Conservatory of Music Violin examinations, church choir performances, weekly fiddle clubs, and performing anywhere from nursing homes to big stage events. But Emily had a second interest, one for science and math. When it came time for university, Emily was “unsure of the job stability in pursuing music as a career,” so she decided to major in Biomedical Sciences instead.

It did not take Emily long to realize something was missing from her life. She felt hollow without her initial passion, and so by her second term she began choosing music courses as electives and found this hole was filled. “It brought me joy having music back in my daily schedule,” Emily said. “I soon started meeting friends from the music program and I felt so welcomed in the Grebel community. I set up a meeting and decided to add Music as my minor.”

Emily found that music, math and sciences had many connections, and discovered the reason she had an interest in all three. In particular, she found that the fine attention to detail and hand-eye coordination of playing the violin were very similar to the skills required in a multitude of science labs. After graduating in 2016 with a Biomedical Sciences degree, Emily believed she would move on to pursue a job in the medical field. But she felt that something was still missing. She realized she did not want to pursue a medical career, she wanted something more. And that something came in the form of a surprise not long after. “Within a few months of finishing school, I was offered a touring job playing fiddle that changed everything. Now I am succeeding in music as a full-time career and loving every minute of it!”

Currently, Emily uses her musical talents to explore multiple different avenues. “There is always something to involve myself in,” she said. “Some of my avenues are teaching, touring, composing, recording, social media, and managing.” In addition, she runs a successful violin/fiddle/stepdance studio where she works with students of all ages, and tours professionally with different groups as a freelance musician. Emily is constantly expanding upon her impressive set of skills and learning new ways to apply herself in music-related positions. As of now, she is learning her way around the media/marketing director role for one of the bands she works with. Furthermore, with the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions in place, Emily has found a way to make the best of a terrible situation, and is spending her time learning how to record music professionally from home. “Learning recording technology and electronic music is now opening up an entire new world of opportunities to explore!”

Throughout her years as a musician, Emily has won many competitions and achieved numerous accomplishments. One of her most memorable was winning the Canadian Junior Fiddling title in 2012, just before the start of her undergrad. From 2016 to 2019, she reached one of her lifelong goals of being chosen to represent Ontario at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, placing tenth in her first appearance. “It has taken a lot of hard work and determination and I am excited to see what is in store for me next!”

Emily has many amazing memories of studying music at Grebel. First, she was amazed by the wide variety of courses offered by the Music Department. She was able to take courses from Jazz to Cathedral and Court to World Music. The diversity opened her views to different styles of music and encouraged her to explore different genres in her violin playing. But Grebel gave her so much more. The community, friendships, performing in the chapel as a soloist and with ensembles, and the “beautiful walks” around campus. “I have always loved the community part of music and I have met so many incredible people throughout my musical journey,” Emily said. “Studying different areas of music and playing Gamelan ensemble instruments helped me expand my musical knowledge and added to my ability to improvise in multiple genres today.”

Written by Jace Jaeden Ellis