Cody Hiller Finds Footing As Infinity Instructor

With a master’s degree in violin performance, Cody Hiller has found a passion for pedagogy as Infinity Visual and Performing Arts’ newest instructor.
P-J photo by 
Gavin Paterniti

With a master’s degree in violin performance, Cody Hiller has found a passion for pedagogy as Infinity Visual and Performing Arts’ newest instructor. P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti

Infinity Visual and Performing Arts’ most recent instructor acquisition is now paying forward his extensive music education to a younger generation.

Cody Hiller, a violin instructor who signed on with Infinity in June, is currently administering private lessons to four young violinists and is hoping to see that number increase several times over as he embarks on his new career as an educator.

Now fresh out of college the young instructor, a Frewsburg native and 2011 graduate of Frewsburg High School, has returned to the area having earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance abroad at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music and DePaul School of Music in Cleveland and Chicago, respectively. Despite his education in performance Hiller said he developed, along the way, an interest in teaching.

“The more I’ve taught, the more I’ve realized that I love teaching,” Hiller said. “I’m huge on constantly studying and researching and trying to get as many ideas on teaching as possible, then I come up with my own ideas on that, as well.”

“And when you have those moments when a student gets done with a lesson and plays a piece that they’ve been working on, and I see that smile on their face and that they’re clearly enjoying it, that’s in many ways one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been able to experience,” Hiller said.

Hiller said he’s grateful for the opportunity to implement his newfound teaching abilities alongside a local organization that he believes in, and which is crucial in cultivating and propagating an interest in music among the community’s youth.

“I think Infinity is such a cool program, and it’s really amazing what they do for the community as far as their outreach and mission statement,” he said. “There’s a huge list of things I love about working there. The administrative staff is super friendly, the students and parents have been wonderful to work with, and the students have been so enthusiastic.”

Though he has an extensive background in various styles of music and performance — including classical, bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, Celtic, folk, blues and heavy metal — Hiller said he always imparts to his students the importance of classical technique. Citing his own experience, he said it’s important to learn the fundamentals before branching out into one’s chosen field of performance.

“I want to make sure each student is able to play their chosen style of music for as long as possible, and a lot of that has to do with proper technique,” he said.

Additionally, he said he always encourages his students to question the relevance of the music they are learning and how it relates to the world around them. Although every student will ultimately arrive at their own conclusion, he said it is important to understand and appreciate the music for what it is, which will then translate into a more emotive and authentic performance of that music by the students.

Hiller’s interest in violin began at the age of 3, when he saw Itzhak Perlman perform on “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” From that time on, he said, he urged his mother to get him a violin and to set him up with lessons, which he finally attained two years later at age 5.

His studies continued through high school under the tutelage of Frewsburg’s music teacher, Alicia Laska. He has been giving private lessons of his own since 2012, and furthered his pedagogical education at both Baldwin Wallace and DePaul.

His performance resume is also extensive, working regularly with music of the early Baroque period through today’s newest compositions. He has performed with various chamber ensembles as well as Baldwin Wallace’s Symphony Orchestra and the DePaul Symphony.

Recently, Hiller performed the world premiere of Eliza Brown’s “A Soundwalk with Resi” with Ensemble 20+, in collaboration with soprano Jessica Aszodi, at the 2016 Ear Taxi Music Festival in Chicago. Performing in Ensemble 20+ under the direction of Michael Lewanski, Hiller has performed several other world premieres including works of Christopher Wendell Jones and George Flynn.

As a soloist he has collaborated with, and appeared on albums by, local musicians such as Matt Otis and Christopher Bell. He also performs frequently in recital, collaborating with many different musicians and a range of instrumentations.

He has numerous awards and accolades including: having been the first-place recipient of the Josephine Fenton Gifford Award from the Jamestown Mozart Club; receiving the CCMTA music scholarship; having had the privilege of being selected for and attending Conference All State after receiving a perfect score on his NYSSMA solo; having been awarded the Semper Fidelis Award for musical excellence; and winning the Arlee Nelson Moore Scholarship Award.

To enroll in lessons with Hiller or other Infinity Visual and Performing Arts instructional staff, contact Infinity at 664-0991 or info@infinityperformingarts.org. For more information on Infinity, visit infinityperformingarts.org.

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