In 2009, there was an option offered to students of CK Burns school to play a string instrument in the school orchestra. I don’t remember why I joined, but that decision changed my life. Sometimes I try to imagine what my life would be like if I never joined, but it’s inconceivable. Violin is an integral part of me. Some people who have made a profound impact on me, I met in orchestra or String Camp.
It took many years to make my playing sound like music. I started learning in a class under the instruction of Anne Wilkinson. She got us started on the basics, but it was clear that I wasn’t getting very far. I never practiced, so for two years I progressed very little.
In 2011, my mom got me private lessons with a teacher named Susan LaVerriere. To this day, both Ms. Wilkinson and Susan are my teachers. Since I started taking lessons, my technique improved rapidly. I owe where I am today to Susan. My lessons are half an hour once a week, and our routine is usually the same: first, the scale I’m working on, then the solo or duet I’m working on and exercises to improve my technique. I don’t remember when it was exactly that I actually started to love playing violin or when I knew I wasn’t going to quit, but it was after I started taking lessons.
It was also in 2011 that I first went to String Camp. String camp is like string musician heaven: living with friends (who are all musicians too!!!), playing in chamber music every day, orchestra rehearsals 2.5 hours a day, concerts every night, beautiful scenery, delicious meals three times a day, and a huge concert at the end! Every year it’s one of the things I look forward to the most.
Now, though I definitely have a long way to go, I’m so happy when I look back and see how far I’ve come. I can express myself and make music in a beautiful way. If I could master one skill, I’d master violin, and if there’s one thing I’d want to do for the rest of my life, it would be to play violin. That’s why my goal is to get a major in music and become a professional violinist in an orchestra or a quartet, and also teach students. It won’t make me a lot of money, but I’ll be doing what I love.
I believe that music is for everyone. Whether it be jazz, classical, folk, gospel, pop, or hip hop, music tells a story. It expresses emotion or ideas that the listener may resonate with. Music is a de-stresser, a way to communicate, bring people closer together, used in celebration or mourning. Music is powerful.
If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music. -Gustav Mahler