My heart beats with a steady “bump-bump…bump-bump” as I walk onto the stage, the beats getting louder with each step. The bright light flashes on my face; I pick up my instrument, place my fingers on the fingerboard, and start to play ……. Veracini’s …… was a piece I had been practicing for months, for that single defining moment in Jacksonville, at the University of North Florida. Last year, I participated in a state competition for string players, competing against other violists for first in state under my category. A great passion of mine is music, and since middle school, I have channeled that love for music into playing the viola.
Playing the viola incorporates so much more than just knowing how to read the alto clef. I participate in the ….. Youth Orchestra, a non-profit organization. In the …. Youth Orchestra, I have had many different opportunities to play at different venues and to bond with other young musicians. In 2009, I played with the orchestra in the Guzman Hall at the University of Miami where we recorded songs for a CD titled Emotions. With FYO, I have played at the Mizner Park of Boca Raton, the Aventura Mall, and the Bailey Hall at Broward College, among other places. Though I have played in orchestras at a myriad of concert halls, what I cherish the most from playing the viola is playing in small everyday places in solos or quartets. Just a few weeks ago, my aunt asked me to play for the kids at her daycare, and it lit up my heart to put a smile on the children’s faces with my music. I love playing for small groups, whether it is for those kids at their daycare, or at the local nursing home during the holidays.
Music has been such a gift to me. Playing the viola, reading notes, and learning so much about music and its history has been such a great part of my life. Music helps define who I am; not only am I ……., a sixteen year old, and a high school student, but I am …….., a musician. The viola has let me be able to define myself as a musician, and that is something I am extremely proud of.
That day in Jacksonville after I walked off the stage, I sat down, and heard someone play the exact same piece that I finished playing. Panic ensued, but I did not feel that all was lost; I patiently waited for the judge’s decision at the end of day. At the awards ceremony they called out my name as the winner and I was ecstatic, running up for my trophy. All my work paid off, and I gained a trophy and another enriching experience from playing the viola.