Why I Began Playing Violin
At seven years old, I attended a school assembly for the first time. Having just transferred from a tiny private school, third grade was a year of firsts for me: my first time in a public school, my first time in a class of more than five people, and my first time experiencing a live orchestra.
On a cold October morning, I remember feeling annoyed when our teacher explained we’d be missing my favorite subject (reading) to attend an assembly. Why should I have to listen to some middle schoolers talk and play music? How boring, I thought.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Squished on a cafeteria bench that day, the course of my life was irrevocably altered. As the orchestra performed, I stared, absolutely enthralled by their sound. One performer in particular caught my eye: the concertmaster. She was a girl with long blonde hair, who swayed with the music as she played her violin. Though I’d never seen her before, watching her felt like a reunion with a long-lost sister. I longed to join her, to create beautiful sounds with her, to make music like she did.
I want to be just like her, I thought.
That day, I told my mother I wanted to learn the violin, and I would join the school’s music program when I reached the 5th grade. She thought I’d lose interest before then. Instead, I surprised her by not only joining the program two years later, but voraciously moving through my method books. I couldn’t get enough of music.
I continued avidly playing all the way through my 8th grade year, when I joined my middle school’s honors orchestra on their yearly field trip to local elementary schools. By performing for their students, we hoped to inspire them to start learning to play instruments themselves, so that they too could join the middle school ensembles when the time came.
Nearly five years later, on another cold October morning, I took my seat onstage in my former elementary school’s cafeteria, violin in hand. That day, I led the orchestra as concertmaster, just as my seven year old self dreamed. As I gazed out into the sea of young faces, I imagined another young girl, falling in love with music that very moment just as I once did.
At that moment, I knew music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Thanks to the performance of a girl I’ve never met, I am a violinist of thirteen years and counting. I think about her often—whether she still plays, what her name is, if she knows the monumental impact her life has had on others. Especially mine.
The next time you question whether your art matters, remember this story. You are the inspiration for the next generation: a profound realization of a dream a child didn’t even know they had until seeing you.