Frequently, people ask me, “What got you started with music?” The short answer is that my parents thought I wouldn’t stick with it, and it would be too expensive to buy an instrument since (they thought) I was going to quit soon afterwards. They had a point. Being the rebel that I was, I went ahead and signed up for orchestra in sixth grade. Ironically, the music culture is often the exact opposite of my scenario: some parents force their children to play, whereas mine, well, wanted me to keep playing soccer. At the time, I didn’t realize that my intentions to prove my parents wrong would rapidly turn into an authentic love for music. From the very first day, I was so in love with orchestra class that I ran to class every single day. This is not an exaggeration! I wanted to be the first student in my seat with my violin on my lap in rest position ready for my amazing teacher Mrs. Dobyns to begin warmups. The technical term for such a student in the education world is “orch dork.” Come to think of it, “violin dork” was inscribed on my converses in middle school. Who was responsible for this moniker I cannot recall. (picture below) From that very first semester of beginning to play violin, I knew I wanted to be a music educator. I wanted to instill the beauty that is music in all my (as yet unborn) students, just as Mrs. Dobyns had done with me.
There is one experience in particular after which I knew there could be no going back. Later in sixth grade, Mrs. Dobyns took me and a friend to see the world-renowned violinist Hilary Hahn. Now, at the time, I had no idea who Hilary Hahn was: the biggest factor in my decision to go was that Mrs. Dobyns said she would take us to the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, I was quite the immature sixth grader. Little did I know, I was about to witness one of the best violinists of the day. That evening, Hilary Hahn performed “The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. To this day, it is still one of my favorite pieces written for violin. That year, I set it as my alarm and woke up to it every day. I was in awe with everything she could do with the violin that I couldn’t—her bow hold, her tone quality, her control, the musicality, and so much more. After this experience, my junior high years were consumed by countless hours practicing, studying composers, and listening to innumerable violin performances on YouTube. I spent every moment I could with my friend, the violin.
Today it is twelve years later, and, as should be obvious from this website, I never quit violin. I am grateful I am able to teach students of all ages as I dreamt in sixth grade. My musical journey was not always fun or easy, but I had incredible supportive mentors and amazing parents along the way. In fact, with the exception of one concert, my incredible parents came to every single concert from sixth grade to my college graduation (I don’t want to know how many that is). I plan to discuss the importance of parental support and how to encourage children along their musical journeys in future blog posts. Don’t worry: it doesn’t have to mean going to every concert. Sometimes life gets in the way. Learning an instrument is not easy and I will talk about the struggles I encountered and what those struggles taught me. This blog will be a resource for both students and parents. Stay tuned.