Thanks to Virtuosi of Houston for recognizing me (+ Kids Aren’t Lazy!) in the program at their Kennedy Center performance last week in Washington, DC ! It was a huge honor. A little background — before we moved to London, I was so fortunate to be Virtuosi Concertmaster here in Houston. Nathaniel (my cellist brother) and I were two founding members of the Virtuosi Quartet and loved performing with our Virtuosi mates in Jones Hall before Houston Symphony concerts. Performing in orchestras and chamber ensembles has always been such a huge part of me, and it’s so fun to see my own students fall in love with these pursuits too!
Thanks so much to Dr. Garrett Peel for hosting our trip! Jake and I found each event more spectacular than the last.
This week we’re speaking with Molly H. on what it took for her to make the top HS Region Orchestra (Symphony) just one year (!) after starting viola. Molly began playing the violin at age 6 and often leads The Sugar Strings in their performances around Sugar Land. In addition to playing violin and viola, Molly runs her own piano studio for young musicians.
You study three instruments in addition to your academic subjects! What’s your best piece of advice for other young musicians who want to pursue multiple areas of expertise?
Enjoy it! Don’t let your music just become a grade or a requirement. I feel the most accomplished when I can share my skills and bring joy to others!
How do you balance nerves and confidence in auditions and performances?
Before the region audition, I put positive affirmation statements on notecards, to tell myself I was prepared and would do well! At the audition, tried to block out all the other players and focus on being mentally prepared. At performances, I try to enjoy the music as much as I can and trust my muscle memory and all the hard work I put in!
Leading up to your audition, what was your practice schedule like?
When the music first came out, I made goals to have much of the music memorized fairly quickly. About a month from the audition, I increased my practicing to at least two hours a day. It was definitely challenging, but I found a drive within me. I had worked so hard, I couldn’t just give up! I knew that every minute I worked could be the difference of getting in or not.
Does your viola have a special story behind it? Tell us your favorite things about your instrument and why you chose it.
I really like my viola’s rich tone and, since it is only 14 inches I can switch between violin and viola. It’s an antique made in 1893 and I enjoy thinking of all the people who have heard it played!
What new pieces are you looking forward to adding to your repertoire this year?
I am looking forward to adding both viola and violin peices this year! I am currently preparing Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata on my viola.
We welcome everyone for an evening of chamber music, solo performances, and a guest appearance by the LHS Sugar Strings! Pianist Evelyn Lam (DMA candidate, Eastman School of Music) will join us from New York to collaborate with LHS young musicians.
We’ll perform music by Tchaikovsky, Lalo, Bach, and Rachmaninoff in addition to holiday classics! All are invited to join us for a reception following the performances. See you there!
Sugar Land Moms is a new go-to site for families and is a chapter of The Local Moms Network, https://thelocalmomsnetwork.com. It’s a great resource for everything from local event calendars, arts and activity resources, and parent interviews to deals from nearby businesses.
In LHS news this week, we’re extra proud of Anika, who as principal viola in her Dulles orchestra will perform a solo in tomorrow’s orchestra concert. We’re also absolutely thrilled for Jordan, who (in the top group at Travis) has started coaching viola sectionals for a lower ensemble and has her own principal viola solo coming up!
We’re absolutely thrilled to post that on its second day of sales, Kids Aren’t Lazy: Developing Motivation & Talent Through Music (PDP, 2018) became a #1 Best Seller (see below) and reached the #1 New Release spot in TEN Amazon categories, including Music Instruction & Study, Psychology Education & Training, Gifted Students Education, Parent Participation in Education, Education Research, String Instruments, Baby & Toddler Parenting, Musical Instruments, Violins, and Music Techniques.
If you haven’t ordered your own copy yet, here’s a link! Kids Aren’t Lazy on Amazon.com: http://a.co/0braSwH
Congratulations to Emily, age 8, on her stunning violin performance today for all of the students and teachers at Bentley Elementary! Out of the 31 students across grades K – 5 who auditioned for a panel of four judges, Emily was the only second-grader (!) selected to perform for today’s talent show. She will follow up today’s performance with another one tomorrow for parents. Keep up the amazing work, Emily!