Five years after he graduated, Shane Aaserud carried his bass back into Skaneateles High School and spent the day in the orchestra room with teacher Karen Veverka and a group of young musicians.
He talked, he laughed, he answered questions, and he performed. He tried to tell students what it is like to earn a living doing what he loves.
“I never liked school very much,” he said, explaining how music was always his stress reliever. He would head to the music room and practice his bass or his electric bass during lunch time. Although music was always his favorite thing, he didn’t think it could be a career. “I tried to quit music,” he said, “but I realized I couldn’t do anything else … or see myself doing anything else.”
In high school, he performed electric bass as a part of the then popular high school group called Sharu and the Figtones. In addition to orchestra, he also played bass as a member of Fiddle-Styx, a select string group headed by Veverka.
“It is so cool for me to have known Shane since sixth grade and to see the path he took to where he is today, making a living playing music,” she said. Veverka remembers Aaserud starting out on the violin in sixth grade, before switching to bass in eighth grade. By the time he was a senior in her high school orchestra, he was composing. “He wrote a piece that we played for the senior concert,” she said. “It was really good.”
After high school, Aaserud got an associate’s degree in music at Onondaga Community College. “All the teachers at OCC are awesome,” he said. From there he went to University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he got much more involved in the music scene, and started doing gigs with his teachers. Going to school in Philadelphia earned him his bachelor’s degree, and more importantly helped him make many connections in the music world.