I’m a professional violinist and violin teacher.
I wanted to start playing violin when I was four. My parents thought that was a little young. But they told me as soon as I stopped sucking my fingers, I could start playing. I was like, “Done.”
When I was 14, I quit for a year. I was really into swimming and basketball and high school, and I just didn’t want to practice. There was a summer program at the school for the arts near my home. My parents said, “Give it a try, and if you hate it you can quit forever.” I went to the program, and there were kids all around me who loved what they were doing and were passionate and weird and goofy. I ended up going to that school the next year.
I came to New York after college, because I had some connections here. It was terrifying at first. Turned out I had fewer connections than I thought! It was the first time I was truly independent, covering all my expenses, so I worked coffee shop jobs, did recording gigs, and taught a little bit.
About four months in, I accepted a job in Belize through the Orchestra of the Americas. With them, in every city where you perform, you go into the schools and work with the kids. I was there for six months and started a youth orchestra. I came back with a whole new confidence and really got the ball rolling in freelancing and teaching.
So much of it is word of mouth, not necessarily auditioning all the time. It’s waiting your turn and knowing the right moment to speak up or make that connection, but not being too pushy. No matter how competitive you are, you’ve got to work hard, show up, and bring your good vibes.
I love what I’m doing right now because there’s a lot of variety. I’ve been playing at Hamilton since 2015. I’m a sub, so some months I’ll be in three or four times a week, and then other months I won’t play at all. Last week I played at Carnegie Hall with a bigger symphony, and then I played Hamilton a couple of times. A few weeks from now I’ll be doing a recording with a different ensemble.
I do crave consistency at times. Having that stable source of income versus not knowing where my money’s coming from this week. And it’s nice to have that family vibe.
I feel fortunate that I love teaching as much as I love performing. I learn more about myself as a performer while I’m teaching. My schedule is usually around fifty-fifty. Although right now I’m getting a master’s in arts management and entrepreneurship, so it’s really more in thirds. I’m learning about nonprofit management, arts advocacy, marketing for the arts. Eventually, I’d like to return to the kind of community work I did in Belize, whether it’s starting my own program or being on a development team.
I can’t see myself playing in a show every night until 11PM if I have children. I got married in May, so that’s something I’m starting to think about.
Interviewed on January 29, 2019