Violin and Viola
B.M. Violin Performance, Vanderbilt University
M.M. Violin Performance, University of Texas at Austin
Classical and Folk
I began violin lessons at age 5 with Lucy Shaw in the Village Violin School, a Suzuki program in Houston, TX. In high school I was accepted into Kenneth Goldsmith’s studio in the pre-college division at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. I then studied with Cornelia Heard at Vanderbilt University, receiving a BM in violin performance and psychology, and went on to complete my MM with William Fedkenheuer at University of Texas. I maintained an independent violin studio throughout my time in Austin, teaching violinists from age 5 to adults, and I had the fortune of doing my Suzuki training with Dr. Laurie Scott. In my first years of “adulthood” post-graduation, I taught beginning violin classes at Blackshear Fine Arts Academy through the El Sistema system in Austin, and directed the orchestra program at Brentwood Christian School.
I am as much a performer as I am a music educator. I won a position in the first violin section of the Austin Opera orchestra and performed frequently with the Austin Symphony. As is expected of Austin musicians, I also joined a folk band, American Dreamer, where I found myself dabbling in fiddling and singing.
I learned to love hiking during four summers spent in Colorado attending the Aspen Music Festival and the National Repertory Orchestra. When away from the mountains, I enjoy spending my free time taking adult beginning ballet classes.
When did you begin playing violin, and why?
My mother taught me to hold the violin after my grandfather gave me a tiny violin for my third birthday. I attended a Suzuki workshop when I was five, and loved it so much I cried when it was over. To console me, my mother enrolled me in lessons with one of the Suzuki teachers at the workshop.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I play viola mostly so that I can participate in as much chamber music as possible, but I also ended up recording a viola track on a folk band’s album.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
I intend to stay energized and inspired by music both as an educator and a performer, and to be an advocate for the arts.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
When I realized that the sight-singing and interval singing component to my aural skills class that I resented so much had significantly improved my ability to sightread on the violin.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Taking care of yourself and living a healthy lifestyle is a part of being successful in any endeavor.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
Overcoming performance anxiety took years of effort, and is something I am still mindful of when preparing for a performance.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
This summer I performed in an outreach concert on behalf of the National Repertory Orchestra that on the surface was rather unglamorous; a fellow violinist and I performed outdoors on a lawn for foot traffic in downtown Breckenridge. Nevertheless, we had a blast playing a mix of violin duets and folk tunes. At our next orchestra concert a woman took the time to find us and tell us that she had never been to an orchestra concert before, but was so inspired by our performance on the street that she bought her ticket as soon as it was over.
Favorite thing about teaching?
Seeing students express pride and agency when they overcome a challenge.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Make sure you recognize your achievements and find joy in the process!
Personal music projects:
While I had to leave my Austin-based folk band, American Dreamer when I left Austin, I had a blast being a part of their sophomore album, “Go Where You Go”.