I’ve been playing violin all my life. When I was a kid, my mom took me to see a show at a music school. We saw a kid playing the violin on stage, with everyone watching him. I remember thinking he looked very serious, but he also seemed like he was having a good time. It was really cool, and when my mom asked me if I wanted to play the violin too, I decided to go for it.
Today, I can’t imagine my life without the violin. I love the beautiful sound of the instrument and the way it allows me to express myself. It’s a powerful thing to be able to relay your thoughts and feelings through a medium that doesn’t use words but can say so much through sound. This is why I am so passionate about teaching at the United Conservatory of Music.
Years ago, a friend of mine, Leo Kim, and his fiancée recommended I come out here and start teaching music. I’d finished with my master’s degree and wanted to keep playing the violin in my career. Leo and his fiancée broke up before I was ready to move, and there was a moment when I was unsure whether I should still move or not. But Leo offered me an opportunity to stay at his house while I started teaching in schools, and I knew this was not an opportunity I wanted to miss. Teaching in schools evolved into teaching out of the house, which became a studio, which evolved further into the Conservatory it is today.
I enjoy working with kids of all ages. It’s amazing to see their growth and the joy on their faces as they learn music and discover something about music they never knew before. Throughout my life, I had many talented instructors, but I didn’t always feel like they were the best teachers for me. At the Conservatory, we have many great instructors so that we can make sure students are able to learn from a teacher they connect with in one-on-one sessions. No matter what instrument a student wants to play, I want the Conservatory to foster a community that is fun and supportive, where people can come together and fall in love with music.
It’s important to make learning fun, especially for kids. Yes, playing an instrument is hard work, but there’s no reason students shouldn’t enjoy their lessons. Learning an instrument like the violin can be trying because you don’t know that you’re progressing until many years later. If kid’s aren’t enjoying the experience of learning and playing music, they quit, even if they’re getting better. This is really tragic because not only do they miss out on the joys of music, but they also lose the chance to learn many life skills that come through music and art.
It felt like a big risk to go down this path with music, but I knew this was what I wanted to do, no matter what the chance of success may be. I only have one life and I want to spend it doing something I love. As I look at where I am today and at the students I have the privilege of working with, I’m glad I took that risk. The violin is still my life, and I’m proud to have the opportunity to share the joy of music with others.