Student in Athens, Georgia
One day I woke up and knew that my violin was a part of me that I could never give up. It had not always been that way. In fact, when I started taking violin lessons ten years ago, I disliked them so much I asked my parents if I could stop. They would not let me because they thought that music lessons were an important part of my education, and I cannot be more thankful now that they made me keep going.
Many of the violin lessons I have had over the years have been difficult. My first teacher wanted to build a solid technical foundation, and for three months she only let me pluck the strings – I did not even get to touch the bow. Because I was so discouraged, my parents found a new teacher, who let me hold the bow and play music right away. Lessons became more exciting, and I worked through little songs quickly. But after two years, my family moved to Georgia and I started lessons with a new teacher.
My new teacher soon discovered that I had technical problems, so I had to stop playing music and start focusing on correct technique and accurate intonation. I was discouraged, but determined to overcome these problems. In about four months, I was finally allowed to work on music again.
By this time, I was eleven years old. From then until I was fifteen, I thought of practicing violin as another thing to do – another box to check off every day. I did enjoy learning new pieces, and playing music, but I practiced only because I had to. When I was fifteen, I played in an orchestra for the first time, and everything changed.
The conductor of that orchestra was the most inspiring musician I had ever worked with. But it was even more than that – I was making music with eighty other people. Until then, I had never been inside the music. Afterwards, I felt I finally began to understand it.
I still struggle with both technique and making music come alive. But now I know what I am working toward, and my love for music and my violin will remain with me all my life.