Leanne “L-Stringz” Holmes is an expert violinist who has more than two decades of classical training. Holmes has performed at top venues and with top artists, including the Atlanta Hawks, the Atlanta Dream, the Harlem Globetrotters, Honda Battle of the Bands, 2 Chainz, 50 Cent, 85 South Show, and more.
Can you share more about your journey to becoming a violinist?
I started playing violin at the age of 10. I have been musical all my life as a singer, around 3 years old, but I moved to violin after my mom fought the school system to get me into a better school. What I love about the instrument is its versatility. You can play anything from Bach to 2 Chainz, which sounds fantastic. I also love how the violin is made as well. The violin is made from wood and glue, and the wood makes it a “living instrument,” meaning it expands and contracts just like trees. Over time, the violin forms you. Being a violinist has taken me places I never thought I would be able to go and in spaces where the violin is typically never found! I have performed in the countries of Austria, Italy, and Germany. I have also been able to perform in spaces like the NBA and WNBA, where 90% of the time, singers are performing, and the other 10% is usually a band instrument such as guitar or saxophone.
What would you say to Black parents about the value of music in their child’s life?
Musical training is such a valuable asset in a child’s development. For one, our life revolves around musical rhythms, from heartbeat to daily routines. Training in music on any instrument creates structure and discipline and develops leadership skills. Most successful people have musical training in their primary years that sticks with them into adulthood. Music can open doors to a more mature mindset for a Black child by exposing children to different cultures and languages without traveling.
What history can you share with our readers about Black violinists?
When it comes to Black violinists, history can be a bit shaky. Most black violinists started in slavery to entertain in the main house. In a month or so, a movie will be released regarding a violinist who is considered the “Black Mozart” named Joseph Bologne, [whose title was] Chevalier de Saint Georges. He was born in the French colony of Guadeloupe and became one of the greatest violinists and composers.