February 18, 2016

Vive Le Violon

Functioning as both a class and an extracurricular activity, the WashU Symphony Orchestra can be part of any student’s schedule all four years. With the exception of one semester, I am proud to say that I have chosen to be one of these students. For two and a half hours every Monday night, I trek to the 560 Music Building with friends to rehearse for our quarterly concerts.




At the age of 4, I was recruited by my Aunt Joeun to begin violin lessons. While my mom gushed over my prospective career as a violinist, I remember dreading the weekly meetings with Joeun. Running around the house with her chasing me down, I once purposefully kicked her coffee all over my books to avoid practice. Unfortunately, beginners didn’t actually need music to learn how to play, something my aunt called the Suzuki method.


After years of forced lessons, nerve-wracking recitals, and boring summer camps, my feelings towards the violin somehow morphed from dislike, to indifference, to appreciation, then finally rooted itself deep into my being. Growing up, the violin became my signature identifier. On top of daily classes with my high school orchestra, my extracurriculars revolved around music, ranging from weekly private lessons, to chamber orchestra, and to Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) rehearsals. With college on the horizon, it seemed obvious that violin would continue to be a huge part of my life.


With idealistic plans to major in both Music and English, I unhappily realized that I could no longer invest the same amount of time in music that I did in high school. Immensely intrigued by the literature classes I was taking, my passion for reading and writing eventually led me to choose English as my sole major. Swept up in schoolwork, violin moved to the back burner, and I could feel myself losing touch with the competitive spirit that once drove me to practice so diligently. Because I decided not to major in Music, I often wondered whether it was even worth keeping up with the violin; unsure, I finally quit playing first semester sophomore year.  


Ultimately, this was not the solution. I missed the violin and understood that I needed a fun, low-commitment way to brush up my skills. After a semester away, rejoining the WashU Symphony Orchestra became the solution. Not only is it good practice, but the music is enjoyable, the professor is hilarious, and I get to spend quality time with my one true love Hazel (half-joking).

School may be hard, but making time for the activities you enjoy shouldn’t be!