Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, October 29, 2006

For as long as I can remember, I had wanted to play violin. As soon as I could talk, I asked my parents to let me play. For years I asked, over and over again. Finally, when I was six, my parents decided it was time to let me try.

Unlike many beginners who start with a cardboard violin, at my first lesson, a real instrument was placed in my hands. I stared at it lovingly before carefully placing it under my chin. I learned to play "See Saw" that day, and practiced it over and over that week in anticipation of my next lesson. I was so excited to play new songs, from the beginning, I fiddled around with the notes and taught myself pieces I knew by ear.

Around the time I was in third grade, and had been playing for about two years, my teacher decided to put together a string quartet. She had a cello student, and three violin students at about the same level. I was the youngest of the group, so I got to learn and play viola. We were called KEEP the Quartet, Kathryn, Emily, Emily, and Paula. We played together for years to come, sometimes we were payed to play weddings, other times we went to music camps as a group to improve our playing together.

In sixth grade I joined a violin group at Wheaton College called Vivaldi Strings. I was the youngest member of the group at the time. It was coprised of mostly high schoolers and we performed at weddings, nursing homes, and many other events. In addition to performing at events around the area, we would go on tour each year. We went to Disneyland, Michigan, even Canada. On tour we played for the groups in that area and did performances for money. I was in this group until I graduated this summer. By this time the group was mostly middle school kids and the level of playing had dropped significantly.

My sixth grade year, I auditioned for the DuPage Youth Symphony on violin and viola, I ended up sitting principal viola in the less advanced orchestra, ahead of my older students. The next year I played violin in the advanced orchestra, and french horn in the lower one, needless to say, it was a long Monday night. Then, my eigth grade year, I only played violin in the top orchestra because playing in both orchestras was taking up too much of my time. I stopped playing in the Youth Symphony at the end of that year so I could play in my high school one.

High school orchestra ended up being a mistake. Most of the members had only been playing for a few years and had never had private instruction, and the director had no string experience whatsoever. All of the pieces we played were arranged and they were too simple and did not challenge me to improve. I only played with them for that year.

My freshman year I also joined the DuPage Symphony, of which I was the youngest player. We played full Symphonies, not arrangements, at monthly concerts. I loved the director and the orchestra. Unfortunately, I had to quit after that year due to some psycological problems.

Throughout high school I continued to take private violin lessons and teach them. The summer between my junior and senior year, I went to a music camp in Kansas called Sound Encounters. Brian Lewis, Michael McLean, and many other professional musicians taught at the camp. I was placed in a violin quartet under the instruction the viola professor at a college in Utah. Through her instruction and playing, I realized how much I love the sound of the viola. I immediately told my violin teacher, who was at the camp, and we discussed the pros and cons of switching.

My parents were not at all pleased by my decision, but they decided to let me try to get into a music school on viola. I worked very hard my senior year to keep my grades up and get my viola playing as advanced as possible. I auditioned at three schools and knew I wanted to go to DePauw. When I heard I had gotten in to the school of music I was very excited. All I needed now was a scholarship. When I got the letter from the financial aid office, I knew my dreams had come true.

I am at DePauw studying viola performance. My dream would be to one day become a member of the performing group Barrage. As many of you know, I may be transfering next semester so I can study something that has always intrigued me-special education with an emphasis on music. I would love to tach kids with special needs by using music as a way to learn math, English, and anyting else. Although many of my dreams have come true, I still have many more to come.


At 10/29/2006 5:30 PM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

Very nice editing, Kat. This wasn't too long, but gave a good amount of detail. I liked it!

At 10/29/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger Godfather Outlaw said...

thats cool - the special needs thing - I have a book about how music affects the mind and helps with every aspect of life, you might like it - let me know if you want to borrow it.

At 10/29/2006 11:01 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Do people really start out on cardboard? I've never heard of that before.

At 10/29/2006 11:20 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

I think your plan to work with special needs children is really cool. I hope that works out because it would be a really good way of using music to change and influence people.

At 10/29/2006 11:39 PM, Blogger Vera Lynn Waters said...

it takes a really special type 0f pers0n t0 w0rk with special needs children. i c0nsidered it and i even really wanted it at 0ne p0int in time... i just d0n't think i have the guts 0r the heart t0 be that special pers0n. i really h0pe y0u d0. y0u d0n't find many 0f th0se pe0ple any m0re.

At 10/29/2006 11:46 PM, Blogger Renee said...

Kat... it takes a special person to work with special minds ;-)

At 10/30/2006 12:32 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

Good luck with the special needs kids. That is really commendable.


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