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Profiles in Online Learning: Boyoung, Violin Student

AW: What made you want to learn violin?

Boyoung: I first discovered the instrument at my piano studio. The studio taught piano, flute, and violin. I thought the violin was so much more interesting than a piano, where you sit and hit a few keys. My interest became a reality when I followed my sister to a music store to purchase a flute for her. Of course, like all little girls with older sisters, I had to get something if my sister was getting something. My sister got a flute, and I walked away with a $150 half size violin.

AW: What's the hardest part about learning violin?

Boyoung: The hardest part about learning the violin is that it never ends. The more you learn, the more dissatisfied you become and more ways you can improve. At least that’s how I’ve felt as I’ve progressed in my violin studies. There’s always more you can do, something that can be done better. I am a goal-oriented person and I find it hard to motivate myself through that. There’s no end or a check list. You just have to accept that there is infinite room for improvement and there’s no box you can check off.

AW: What's your favorite thing about playing violin?

Boyoung: A lot of times, we are on the audience side of the arts and anything profound. We go to famous landmarks and admire the beauty of the architecture, art, etc. wondering how such beauty could have crafted by man power. Playing the violin gives me a chance to be on the creator side of beauty. I take it for granted, because I have been playing for so long, but it feels good to know that I have the ability to do something whose beauty I can appreciate.

violin lessons with nathan cole


Watch Richard's Free Violin Lessons

AW: How's it been going with Nathan Cole's online violin lessons?

Boyoung: They’re going really well! Every time, I am astounded that I am learning from a musician in LA. It would be nearly impossible for me to afford a lesson with a concertmaster of a major orchestra or even become his/her student. It’s so cool to be taking lessons from such an accomplished and talented musician in LA when I’m attending college in suburban Central PA. My teacher in college has seen noticeable improvement in my concertos because of my online violin lessons with Mr. Cole.

AW: What are you currently working on in your violin lessons?

Boyoung: I am currently working on “Havanaise” in E major for violin and piano by Camille Saint-Saens and the Rode Caprices (etudes). I usually work on Bach Sonatas year around, but juries are coming up, so I have been focusing on the piece I will be performing at the jury. These pieces are picked by my violin teacher. Each semester, he does a good job at picking a repertoire that will both challenge me and emphasize my strengths.

AW: What are your goals for playing - how far do you want to take it?

Boyoung: I haven’t set a goal for myself. I do know that I never want to stop playing. I might not always have the time to take lessons or play in ensembles, but it’s a part of my life that I would hate to lose.

AW: What are your plans for violin once you graduate?

Boyoung: I am currently majoring in finance and economics with a minor in violin performance. With my degree in finance, I would like to work in investment banking, which is notorious for having long hours. I’m not sure if I will have time to play violin. If I do, that’d be great and I would love to gather some friends and play in a chamber music setting. I think continuing to work on solo repertoire when I don’t have much time would stress me out.

AW: Do you play in an orchestra?

Boyoung: Yes. I have been playing in orchestra for 8 years. I’ve been in dozens of orchestras. Right now, I am a regular member of the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra, where I go to school. It is an orchestra comprised of graduate students as well as advanced major students. As a freshman, it’s been difficult adjusting from high school level orchestral pieces to professional level music.

penn state philharmonic

AW: Have you been on many violin auditions? 

Boyoung: I have been on many violin auditions. I usually do pretty well. Once you’re in the audition room, there’s nothing you can do. Panicking doesn’t change anything. It has taught me to let go and prepare well before hand.

AW: Who are your favorite violinists?

Boyoung: Itzhak Perlman and Hilary Hahn are my favorite violinists. Perlman has the most gorgeous vibrato, tone, and his playing seems so effortless. Hilary Hahn’s intonation is perfect. Her tone is so pure and she makes Bach Sonatas sound easy.

AW: Who are your favorite composers or favorite pieces to play?

Boyoung: I don’t have a favorite composer, but my favorite piece is the Glazunov Violin Concerto. I learned this piece about 3 years ago. I have never felt more pleasure playing a piece of music. Every note was perfection and meaningful.

AW: Do you write your own music?

Boyoung: No, I do not. I’m content with playing other people’s music. No way could I write as well as Mozart, Bach, Prokofiev, and all the other famous composers.

AW: What other kinds of music besides classical do you listen to?

Boyoung: I listen to a lot of jazz, I love how unpredictable the improvisations are as opposed to how predictable classical is.

AW: What do you think of our online learning format? Would you recommend ArtistWorks to someone learning violin, or any of our other instruments?

Boyoung: Yes, as an artist, you have to interpret the notes on a piece of paper. As a student still learning how to do so, it’s valuable to learn how to interpret from the interpretations of more experienced musicians. I can get one perspective from my teacher in school, but Mr. Cole can give me a different interpretation of the music. Considering all interpretations and making the music sound exactly how you feel it should and how you feel the composer intended it are essential in good music making. Additionally, if one teacher has one way of teaching a technique that doesn’t quite click with you, then you have the alternative of going to your other teacher through ArtistWorks.

ArtistWorks gives me that additional input in an affordable and convenient way. I think this convenience and affordability could benefit musicians of all levels. Advanced musicians would benefit for the reasons I listed stated previously. I remember first starting to learn the violin and always having so many questions to ask my teacher. Beginner musicians don’t have to wait until their next lesson. ArtistWorks provides a quicker method through which their question can be answered so that they could better utilize their practicing time.

AW: How has learning music affected how you learn overall? 

Boyoung: I have looked at many studies looking at how music students perform in school. For me, it’s simply a pleasurable and entertaining activity in my life. It enhances my life, but it doesn’t improve my academic pursuits.

AW: What do you think are the benefits to learning music?

Boyoung: Like I said in the previous question, music enhances my life. It makes me happy. By learning music, you can value it and enjoy it a lot more.

AW: What's the best way to encourage someone to learn an instrument?

Boyoung: The best way to encourage someone to learn an instrument, I’d say, is to perform in front of them. Once they hear you play, I’m sure they would be burning with desire to play like you.

AW: What's the most fun you've ever had playing violin?

Boyoung: My senior year of high school, I played in a quartet with 3 of my very close musician friends. For one of our gigs, we played outside during the Memorial Day Festival. We had great audience interaction and I always have a great time with my friends. Creating beautiful music, in an intimate setting, with close friends, outside, in amazing weather, on a festive day. What more can you ask for!




More Profiles in Online Learning:

Find out more about online violin lessons with Richard Amoroso



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